In BDSM, Master is one of the honorifics some people use to describe the dominant partner or "owner" in a Master/slave relationship. Because it is an honorific of the dominant form, it is usual for it to be written with a capital letter.
It might also be used by the submissive partner as an honorific term in a D/s relationship. This can cause confusion when trying to understand BDSM terminology as both "Master" and "slave" might be used - as terms of endearment - even though neither consider themselves to be owned nor owner.
Some people enjoy the connotations of servitude or submission in calling their partner "Master", or being called "Master". To others, the ritual of such a formal mode of address may be appealing. It may also be useful in building roles in which one partner or the other may indulge in sadistic or masochistic desires, although people living as Master and slave are not necessarily sadomasochistic.
Usage of "Master" in most BDSM environs does not imply any specific expertise, abilities or formal training. To successfully maintain a Master/slave relationship takes abilities and skills beyond or apart from normal relationship skills.
The term "Master" can be gender-independent but is mostly used only in reference to males. There is otherwise no male-specific equivalent. The female equivalent is "Mistress" or possibly dominatrix.
Although the Master is understood to have authority over the slave in some sense, this never extends to one's legal rights and thus there must always be an implicit element of consent involved.
- This article incorporates text from the article on Master_(BDSM) in Wipipedia, the free-content Fetish and BDSM encyclopedia.
- Owner in Wipipedia, the specialist BDSM encyclopedia.
- Mistress in Wipipedia, the specialist BDSM encyclopedia.