The difference between obedience and submission

Is submission important? As a slave – obedience is something we all like to do. When we think about Master/slavery a lot of our thoughts come down to control.  Loosing control, and being controlled by the other. A Master orders. The slave obeys. But is obedience enough?


Obedience can be forced upon someone. A person can obey because they have no choice to.  But is this the ultimate aim?

Let’s think about a situation at work where you had no choice but to obey. Maybe it was a restructuring at work – something that was inflicted upon you. How did you feel and how did you react? Or perhaps you were the boss having to enact a change upon your employers. How did the employees act in this situation.

Often people will grudgingly accept the change. They will do the least amount possible to do what is needed. But their heart is not in it. They do not really care about it. They have no emotional attachment to it. At worse they fight against the change.

So you can force someone to obey, but there is no heart.

Is there a different way?

But what happens if you empower people to be part of the change? To help shape it, to influence it and to be part of it? They become emotionally invested. They want to work to bring it about. Rather than putting up with the change, they become active participants in bringing it about.

I work as a coach helping to transform companies and departments.  I find the most powerful way of bringing about this change is to bring people on the journey with me. To become emotionally invested, to become part in defining the change, and to be active in helping to bring it about.

And all this is also true about slavery. 


Submission is the act of choosing to submit and obey.

As mention in here, there was a very serious Master I served. For a week I was locked in the dungeon the entire time, and when not being used was caged. It was total control for the entire time I was there.

Each day He would give me a choice: To be whipped across the back. If I said yes, He would do so, and I would be used in service for that day in however He wanted. If I said no I would be locked in the cage for 24 hours before given the choice the next day.

To this Master. He did not want my obedience through force. He wanted my submission as a gift. Something that I would freely give. And each and every day He wanted that slave to make that symbolic choice. To give their body to the Master to mark as He saw fit. And symbolise each day that the slave choose to submit to the choices, decisions and training of the Master.

So submission is more powerful, as there is a choice a slave has, and the slave decides to serve the Master.  When that person decides of each moment of each day to obey and submit, they are doing that with all of their being. They think how they can serve a Master better, they are an active participant in serving the Master better.

Whereas if you force obedience, the person will do what you say but not with all of their heart. They do it because they have to.

So the trick with any power relationship is how to bring the submissive to a place where they submit and choose to serve.

Shaping the slave through submission

In a long term relationship the Master will shape the slave to fit their needs. But do you do this through submission or obedience?

The most powerful change comes from within the person. So having a slave choose to make the change is much more powerful then forcing someone. So the power comes from submission and the slave choosing.

But how do you get the slave to want to make the change?

In coaching I often use the analogy of a frame. You create a frame of constraints for someone, and then in those constraints you allow the person to play and learn. What is key is that when the person learns, they are learning through their own actions, and this act of self learning is incredibly powerful – much more that telling someone.

And it should be similar for the slave. That by the Master creating a set of constraints they learn something that the Master needs them to. And that act of self learning is very powerful, and results in better service from the slave.

Some Masters I know who do this well. Some will also make the slave reflect and understand that it was the Master that created the situation that allowed the slave to learn. So the slave understands that the Master led them to this learning, so the slave can then thank the Master for HIs training in a way the Master likes.

Depending of the frame the Master choose, the learning could be painful for the slave, but very fun for the Master.

For you pleasure

I can give an example of this. Once I came without permission. I was honest and owned up to the Master. That night and many following nights He came up with a way of edging me which was incredibly painful. And through this he taught me that any pleasure I felt was for his pleasure only, and not mine. It took time, but eventually I understood the concept that when I felt pleasure it was for the enjoyment of my Master, not for me.

I learnt the more I focussed on Him, and on what He needed, the easier it was to take the painful edging, and to be able to take that edging without squirming or moving.

I believe He rather enjoyed the process He had created for me to learn, and I also learnt a very powerful concept that will help my slavery and service with any Master going forward. The reason why this is so powerful is that I learnt this for myself through the experiences the Master created. The Master created the frame (the constraints), and eventually I understood what He was trying to show me. For which I worshipped Him and thanked Him.

It can also be a thought exercise. Another Master I served had been talking and debating with Him about what I could do in a 24/7 for Him not to punish me. It was through this I learnt why begging is so important to a slave (something to talk about in another article). Though it was the experience that really allowed me to understand it.

So when training a combination of obedience (the slave must obey the constraints the Master sets), and submission (allowing the slave to learn within those constraints) can lead to the most powerful changes.

When a slave trusts and gives over to the Master, they will start to trust the process, and what the Master does to them, as they understand it will lead to better service.

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