My husband and I have a Taken In Hand relationship in which he is head of the household. He is a former military commander, easily capable of doing a lot of harm to myself or anyone else being well over 6' tall. But there is a fine line between the wuss, as some put it, and the brute.
I regularly beat my husband at board games, analytical thinking and other intellectual pursuits. Having a post grad degree and an IQ well over 140, it's a given. We both are leaders in our industry and I run a company of my own, albeit not a Fortune 500 one, I founded a successful business 4 years ago. Both of us are Alpha types and I am regularly dominant over other women I encounter... and more than a few men.
Submission is an individual thing. I run the finances in our home (each to their talents), my husband still has final say on matters but defers to my suggestions when they are clearly well considered and/or in the best interest of our family as we have several children.
I would laugh if he asked me on the sofa to get a beer, but if I hear a certain tone or word, I will get that beer right away. The mood comes and it goes, but we have agreed upon tones and words that indicate when not to trifle with him. And I must admit, that does it for me and it makes the power arrangement very neat and clean. If he told me to wash the socks, and pulled my silver chain while doing it, he'd have a pile of nice warm fluffy socks in an hour!
For some, that means physical conquest, but don't forget the deeper, more sinister and erotically powerful psychological form of dominance and submission. Once you have established that, you can trust more on the physical.
We did not start with physical and rarely use it. Iron hand, velvet glove, see. It is safe and less tiresome for the man to figure out your thresholds and maintenance level. I am high maintenance in that, but the word or look is enough to keep it up most of the time. I am not being very good at my role being submissive if my husband must work too hard at it all the time to keep up his end of the bargain—the sexy devil! ;-)
When you first know someone and don't have the benefit of 10 or 20 years together, see if you can establish that mental/emotional/psychological link of dominance first. Then it's safe to move on to bigger and perhaps spankier (is that a word?) things....