A safeword may be used by the Dominant as well as the Submissive if they feel things have gone too far and are uncomfortable continuing. It is usually a negotiated lifestyle, with people discussing their wishes, limits, and needs in order to find commonality.
A D/s relationship may be sexual or non-sexual, long- or short-term, and intimate or anonymous.
Also, some submissives eschew personal pronouns, instead referring to themselves as "this slave" or "Master Bob's girl".
This is sometimes considered an expression of modesty, but it is an entirely optional method of depersonalizing a submissive during "play".
In D/s, both parties take pleasure or erotic enjoyment from either dominating or being dominated.
Those who take the superior position are called "dominants"—Doms (male) or Dommes (female)—while those who take the subordinate position are called "submissive"—or subs (male or female). Two switches together may negotiate and exchange roles several times in a session.
Safewords can have differing levels of urgency - some may bring a scene to an outright stop, whereas others may indicate that a boundary is being approached.
Fantasy role play can be an element, with partners taking classic dominant or submissive roles, or classic authority-figure roles such as teacher and student, police officer and suspect, or parent and child.
Animal play, where one partner takes the role of owner or caretaker and the other takes the part of a pet or animal, can also be D/s play.
Dominance and submission (also called D/s) is a set of behaviours, customs, and rituals involving the submission of one person to another in an erotic episode or lifestyle. Physical contact is not necessary, and D/s can be conducted anonymously over the telephone, email, or other messaging systems.
In other cases, it can be intensely physical, sometimes crossing into sadomasochism.