My husband is my master but I am no slave

My husband is my master but I am no slave

What is a master?

A male teacher
One having authority over another
One that conquers
The male head of a household

What does it mean to master something?

To overcome (as in, he mastered his fears)
To become skilled or proficient in the use of
To gain a thorough understanding of

What is a slave?

A person that is owned by another as a piece of property
A person held in servitude as the chattel of another
One that is completely subservient to a dominating influence

Synonyms: subservient, captive, toiler, workhorse, peon, serf, etc.

Many of us here on Taken In Hand squirm at the thought of being labeled anything. We have recently been presented articles about why Taken In Hand is not BDSM or D/s or any of those other more commonly understood labels. Some people have put forth the question, "Why does it matter what we are labeled?"

I believe words can have power and deep meaning. Anybody who has ever been in love knows that certain phrases are special and meaningful between partners. In and of themselves, the words may not mean much, but to the lovers who understand them they may mean everything.

Before my husband and I met, I read through many BDSM and D/s websites and books. There was something I found in those pages that deeply appealed to me, yet at the same time, they left me feeling as if they went too far (for my tastes) in some areas and not far enough in others.

I had a deep desire to be owned, to be possessed. I wanted to belong to my spouse. I wanted him to want to own me and know that I am his and his alone. I wanted him to know me in a way that nobody else ever could or would. I wanted him to master me; to "gain a thorough understanding" of me. I wanted him to be my master; to teach me, conquer me and have authority over me.

But in all my searching through that kind of literature, I never had the desire to be a slave. I saw definitions like the ones above and they made me cringe. Did I want to be a piece of property that could be easily discarded? Did I want to be completely submissive, obedient and mindless? Did I want to be a "subservient, captive, toiler, workhorse, peon, serf" or the like? A clear and resounding NO.

In this context, having a person who could master me meant a lot of conditions had to be in place for it to work. This person could not just be a casual relationship. I don't believe that you can truly "master" someone unless you know them well. That means commitment, love, trust, respect, loyalty, time and effort. To me, it meant marriage. I scratched my head when I read story upon story of people rushing to be "mastered" by people they barely knew. To me, it seemed like only an illusion. Consequently, I also read story upon story of people who had been "mastered" by one person only to have it not work out. Then, they moved on to the next "master."

How can you give yourself away, I mean really give yourself to someone—repeatedly? In my case, I would find it impossible.

Since I felt so strongly about these things, I figured I would never feel comfortable really calling anyone my master, even though something within me cried out for it. If I had a master, wouldn't that make me a slave?

Now I am married to a man who is the leader in our home. He is a respectful, kind, loving, enthusiastic and strong man. Our relationship did not always have a Taken In Hand dynamic; it has evolved from just tiny seeds planted during our dating relationship and early marriage. We found Taken In Hand and the picture became much clearer—we knew that this was what we wanted for our relationship.

More time passed and I found myself again thinking about having a master, a desire I had suppressed my whole adult life. I thought about why I desired it. My husband was already in practice what some would consider my master. Why was it that the word itself held so much power for me? I searched myself for all sorts of theories as to why I might have this desire and what my motives were. Was I secretly harboring some desire to be degraded—a slave? Was there something wrong with me?

After much soul-searching I discovered that no, I was still a very independent and decidedly fierce woman. I did not consider myself to be a slave by any stretch of the imagination. To me a slave was a degrading term, meaning that my husband only owned me, but did not cherish me. He would not have to invest in a slave because the only thing that matters in that dynamic (in my humble opinion) is what the master desires. My husband is not the type of man to only consider his own desires and feelings. Like many Take In Hand men, he adores and spoils me.

I found that I did not even consider myself to be my husband's "submissive." I, like many other Taken In Hand women, desire to be brought to submission by a man who is actually more powerful than me. I desire the power differential to be genuine.

Still, I found the word creeping up in my throat, begging to roll off my lips. I did more research into the word "master" and its definitions. I found that the word master is actually very appropriate to describe what my husband is to me. He is my teacher, he has authority over me, conquers me and is the head of our household. He has invested time into getting to know me—mastering me. This is a process which I have no doubt will continue throughout our life together.

When I expressed my desire to use this word in our relationship, my husband carefully considered it. We talked at length about it and my husband also explored some definitions of the word. We also looked at antonyms to the word master. One surprising antonym came up: "woman."

Since our early relationship, my husband has called me that. If he was irritated with me (even in jest), he would exclaim, "woman!" This was quite effective in curbing the undesired behavior. This was something he did naturally, long before we discovered our desire for the dynamic we have. After my husband did his own research, he decided that he desired to be my master. He felt, as I did, that I could not be (nor did either of us want me to be) his slave. He decided I was his woman.

I am many other things to him. I am his lover, wife, friend, mother to his children. But I am also his woman.

Since the day my husband became my master, we use the term in many ways. He will have me use it to make a point about who is in charge, something that I find extremely sexy and powerful. Sometimes, though, the word has an intimate and affectionate meaning. Every night now before we go to sleep, my husband says to me, "Now I want you to go to sleep." He waits for me to respond, "Yes, Master." Afterwards, I feel peaceful and dreamy. I know who I belong to and who wants me. I am reminded that he is in charge and will protect and nurture our relationship.

Finally, after all the time waiting and searching (then doubting and second-guessing my own desires) I have my master.


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I really feel I learned something from reading this.

I had very similar thoughts but you explained it really well. When reading posts in BDSM communities the slave perspective did also make me scratch my head often, and that of many 'subs' as I can't imagine being totally of the man I love and then switching 'masters' or 'Doms' so easily. Not to mention the sharing and co-topping that goes on.

My love is for one person only and therefor also my surrender. I don't need to become and object or less of value for that. I just wish more women knew about that and don't get swallowed up in roles.


That's good

You have to find what works for you. I don't really like either the word master or slave but I don't think the words matter. It's the concepts that do matter. Sometimes I've said master if I've been asked but it feels silly.

To master

This is a lovely article, one which I relate to, but only in part. I would never feel comfortable being called master. Yet, there is no doubt, and my wife would agree, that I master her. For me, it is only when the word master is used as a verb that it feels right. Only in this context,

To overcome (as in, he mastered his fears)
To become skilled or proficient in the use of
To gain a thorough understanding of

does it feel right. As a noun it leaves me cold. This is not to say that you are in any way wrong to use it in whatever context you and your husband choose. It is simply a matter of personal preference. For instance, I like to tell my wife that she belongs to me. Sometimes when we walk down the street, or we are at a social gathering, I pull her close implying that she is mine.

In certain scenarios my wife will refer to me as sir. I have never asked he to do so, but it somehow feels natural when she says it spontaneously. For example, in the course of our daily life if I tell her she is to do something, she will sometimes respond with a "yes sir" or when I am scolding her during a spanking and ask her, "do you understand?" she will often respond with a "yes sir". However, if I required her to call me sir it would feel forced and artificial.

This only goes to show that as married couples we all have our own unique and private ways of expressing our affection and respect for each other. This is as it ought to be.


John and I have also talked about the master/slave thing, and neither of us was comfortable with that terminology, nor did that dynamic fit us very well, to be honest. Yes, he masters me, and we love that, but neither of us likes the formality of the titles or the implications of 'slave', even though some of our dynamics might look a bit like M/s (upon closer examination, one would see that is not the case, though).

'Sir' is something that he wasn't so sure he wanted me to use in the beginning, until I explained that there are certain times when I am in a particular frame of mind, and just can't bring myself to address him by his name. He said as long as I understood that it was not something he expected, he thought it would be ok. He has since come to enjoy it, because he knows my mindset immediately, when I use that.

When he calls me kitten, the rest of the world see it as just a nickname, but we know he uses it to let me know how much he loves me, and how he feels that sense of ownership that we both want so much. I love when he calls me that, and have come to prefer it to my real name, coming from him. The funny thing is, he can call me kitten comfortably, no matter who is around—but often, 'Sir' can draw odd looks from others. Then again, I guess 'Sir' doesn't sound much like a nickname. ;o)


The choice of words conveys nuances of feeling.

There was a time when I never would have chosen 'master' as an endearment. I think the master/slave or BDSM connotations can be off-putting and may run deeper than we realize, onto an unconscious level. There have been times during our journey into a Taken in Hand relationship that I have felt a deep and powerful compulsion to call my husband something—anything—that would convey the strength of my love for him, my desire to submit, obey, and be ruled by his strong hands. I was looking for a socially acceptable term for what he was to me, and there wasn't one. Sir, lord, master, king—all of these felt awkward and artificial at first, so I left them alone.

We continue to progress, however; I am learning to submit more deeply, and he is growing and becoming more truly my master. We are on surer footing. I have surrendered the fear and lack of trust that deceived me into thinking he would be put off by my attempts; in return he can trust that when I call him 'master' it is motivated by genuine feeling and not contrived or an attempt to force anything. He is my master! The word provokes a visceral reaction in both of us—in him, to protect, guard, and guide, and in me to submit, obey, and adore. We are pleased to have something so simple as a word to do this for us.

Of course not everyone will like the same things, nor will everyone's relationship take the same path. If there's one thing I've learned, though, it's to keep an open mind. After all, there was a time when I didn't get the point of spanking...

a rose by any other name.....

I understand perfectly what you are saying. It has taken me a long time to call my mate Master. Sometimes the words sound funny to our's becoming easier..and I am getting used to it. I know he likes the word Master, but sometimes I call him by his last name with the word Mister in front of it, and sometimes MY Mister (insert last name). We belong to each other, most especially I belong to him. And something inside of me is calm now, and peaceful. I revel in the words "you are mine, you belong to me". As if since I was born, I have waited to hear and believe these words. I smile from ear to ear. I love knowing that all of me belongs to him, because I love and trust him with all of me. And I feel loved, protected and cared for like never before in my life. Just call me.......LateToTheGate

I completely relate!

Thank you Augustina for your post. Wow, I could completely relate. I had a very similar experience. I too researched bdsm before I was with my man and was intrigued by the whole dominant/master concept, but felt reservations about some of the extreme, distasteful and degrading elements. A lot of it seemed somehow emotionally disconnected and the roles are just that…roles. And as you say, casual fly by night type relationships without commitment. I too sought the commitment and intimacy of an intense emotional connection. The exclusivity of being owned, possessed but also adored and cherished lovingly. I always dreamed of loving and being loved by a true alpha male who could balance his power with adoration. I have him now :)

I shared with my man my inclinations and eventually over time our‘seed’ also grew and together we did research into the bdsm possibilities before finding this site. The ideals on here were so much more fitting to what we were seeking. Still like you I could not shake a desire to address him as Master. It seemed so appropriate. It is a gesture of honor and respect. It is how I feel. I see him as the embodiment of the definition, but like you had the same reservations about the whole 'slave' thing. Master and slave seem to go hand in hand and for the same reasons you indicated, we too did not feel comfortable with the slave bit. It seems somehow void of love.

My man pointed out that even biblically (I believe it was Sarah) called her husband Lord and Master. It was a title of respect. By definition it seemed accurate, and like you it was just something that “Still, I found the word creeping up in my throat, begging to roll off my lips”.lol Anyways as we have grown in our Taken In Hand relationship, we concluded it was simply something that felt right. In our bedroom (or privacy) I call him Master. I do so out of love. He rather likes it, and it is something unique and special that we share intimately. Now sometimes he will demand to be addressed as such when I have stepped out of line and I agree that is wickedly arousing :) It is a term of affection that carries just that extra edge of affirmation of my surrender to him completely. But I am not his slave, like you I am his woman :)
You definitely hit home with me! Great post!


I have long been drawn to using the word "master"—if and when there's a man in my life to address that way. There is no reason why anyone should assume that the word "slave" is the necessary counterpart to "master." I think that idea just comes from the BDSM community, because they paired those terms up early on. I also don't like the word "slave" and could not identify with it at all. I can imagine that I would like being called "pet" or "sweetie" or any number of other endearing names; whatever affectionate my dominant man would like to call me. (I would not want him calling me nasty names, of course; that would just ruin the love and respect and tender intimacy of the relationship. I am very perplexed by women who seem to like it when their menfolk call them "slut" and etc.)

The first thirteen meanings of the word "master" according to an online dictionary at

1. a person with the ability or power to use, control,
or dispose of something: a master of six languages;
to be master of one's fate.
2. an owner of a slave, animal, etc.
3. an employer of workers or servants.
4. the male head of a household.
5. a person eminently skilled in something, as an occupation,
art, or science.
6. a person whose teachings others accept or follow: a Zen master.
7. Chiefly British. a male teacher or schoolmaster.
8. a worker qualified to teach apprentices and
to carry on a trade independently.
9. a title given to a bridge or chess player who has won
or placed in a certain number of officially recognized tournaments.
10. a person holding this title.
11. a person who commands a merchant ship; captain.
12. a victor or conqueror.
13. a presiding officer.

I love all the masculine and masterful connotations of that word. And aside from the "chess master" sense, I'd say that any of those meanings could be relevant to the man's role in a Taken In Hand marriage.

I don't personally relate well to the idea of my dominant man being my "teacher." If anything, I tend to imagine me being the older and wiser one in the relationship; but I relate very well to the idea of the man being my victor and conqueror, the man with the power and authority to control me and compel my obedience.

The BDSM games with playing and posturing at ritual dominance and submission always seemed odd and creepy to me. Like other people have said, it was very puzzling to me, because some of the D/s stuff seemed to fit my own inclinations, and so much of it did not. I cannot for the life of me imagine submitting to a "top" or "dom" that I was not in a deep and loving relationship with; and certainly not in front of other people.

Regarding some people's aversion to any sort of "labels"—that is something else I cannot understand. Language consists of words, which are labels; if labels are so bad then maybe we should all give up using words and just go back to grunting and pointing.

I personally like the word "master" but I don't care much for "sir" or "boss"—those other terms sound too cold or distant to me. On the other hand, it would be up to my man; and if he wanted to be called "sir" instead of "master" then so be it. But the word "master" makes me swoon; it carries all those connotations of being powerful and dominant and masterful. There's a lock on the gate outside, with the brand name "Master" on it; and often when I go to lock or unlock it, just seeing that word gives me wicked and happy daydreams.

My husband is my lord and master

My husband is my lord and master, and I am his WIFE. That's the way it should be, per God/Nature/what have you. I am a cherished loved protected WIFE, not slave. Yes, I do what I can for my husband, and he says I treat him like a king, but he treats me like his queen, not a slave. That would be degrading, and my husband is a good man, not a man that would mistreat a woman.