How to access and maintain a Dominant or submissive Mindset

How to access and maintain a Dominant or submissive Mindset

A mindset is a set of beliefs which affects how you think, feel and behave. People refer to having a fixed mindset where you can often be set in your opinions, or a growth mindset where you are more open to change. There has been a lot of work done around mindsets in general terms and the psychology around them, but here when we talk about mindset, we are referring to the specific Dom and sub mindsets that you adopt as part of your role.

What is a Dominant or submissive mindset?

For those who are naturally Dominant or submissive in all things, this will likely be a mindset that you carry with you, but for the majority who choose to live a D/s lifestyle or consensual power exchange, these thoughts, feelings and behaviours are something that you want to access as part of that choice. This post explores how to access your D or s mindset, and how to maintain it or remain within it, despite the other draws on your time.

Really how you do this will be dependent on you, but you will likely find that certain things make you feel more Dominant or more submissive and put you in the mood. Thinking about what these things are is a great starting point because those are the things that you want to build into your relationship and make part of your daily practice

Rules and Rituals

Often people will use rules and rituals to keep their D/s at the forefront and this can work whether you are the Dom (issuing instruction and providing feedback) or the sub (carrying out the things that you have been instructed to do). Having a purpose to rules and rituals is always a good thing and for many who have busy, less-structured lives during the day, they can be really helpful in keeping focus on your dynamic.

Rules and rituals can be things which help to remind you both of certain behaviours, such as addressing a Dominant as Sir or Mistress in order to show respect. They might be acts of service such as always fixing your partner a drink when they come home. And they can be things that you always do such as choosing your submissive’s underwear each morning in order to reinforce your power exchange.

If you want to know more about rules and rituals then check out these posts:
Respect the rules
Rituals: the why the how and the what

Keeping your partner in mind

If you are not someone for many rules and rituals and you prefer something less formal, you can still incorporate those elements in a less structured, more ad hoc, sort of way. Agreeing to send pictures, share fantasies, or send messages to one another of an erotic nature can help to keep the focus and the sexual charge. The small things that let the other know that you are thinking of them can go a long way, especially when it reinforces the respective roles that you have.

It is often not the act itself but the way it is offered and received which makes it Dominant or submissive so don’t get bogged down in the things you think you should or shouldn’t do as a D or an s type. This is about the things that work for you so it doesn’t really matter how anyone else interprets that particular activity. Showing your partner that you are thinking of them and that they are wanted and desired is a good way for you both to keep the other in mind.

For more reading, you might want to take a look at Meeting Emotional Needs and Daring Greatly

Greetings, Mantras and Transitions

Some couples will have particular greetings, mantras and transition rituals which help them to remain in a D or s mindset. Often greetings and mantras will be based around set phrases and statements which reinforce the power exchange between you. These can be shared with in a sort of statement, counter statement format, or may be something that one of you commits to the other.

In a similar way some people will have a ritual, action, or set of actions that they perform when shifting from one role to another. For example, this might take place when coming home from work, especially for a submissive who may have been in a position of power during their work-life which they now want to shed for home. Whether this is something that you say or something that you do, it can have a powerful effect over the way that you feel and really help to find the right mindset.

Positions and Actions

Building on this, you may find that certain activities make you feel more submissive or more Dominant than others. A good example is kneeling as lots of subs say that being in this position helps them to engage with their own submission and to reflect on it. Likewise for Doms, arranging the toys and getting ready for play might be something that helps you to switch into the right sort of mindset by aiding the feeling of being in control.

This post about accessories and mindset might also give you some ideas.

Resets and Maintenance

There is quite a detailed post on resets here, Resets – what, why and how. Essentially a reset is an action or activity which is designed to get things back on track when you have both drifted somewhat from your respective mindset. Following discussion of what went wrong and what you need to do to move forward, a reset action will sort of kick start things and get you up and running again.

Some people also choose to use maintenance activities in order to reinforce things too. For example some might use regular spankings, caning or an opportunity to self-report. Usually any action would go along with some discussion as to its purpose and intention. For many this helps to keep them thinking and feeling submissive or Dominant and can ground them in their power exchange.


Another tool for accessing and maintaining mindset can be the use of symbols, such as wearing a collar as a symbol of submission. These can be similar to rituals as really it just depends on how they are perceived by those using them. For example, a submissive might be required to kneel and wait to be invited into the bed at night. This can be seen either as a ritual as it is something they always do, or as a symbolic gesture as it shows respect and feeds the power exchange.

At the end of the day, what you do has to mean something to you and it has to have a purpose within your dynamic. Thinking about the things that make you feel D or s will give you a good indication of where to start and you can then use these things to support and encourage Dominance or submission in yourself as well as in your partner. Things tend not to remain static where relationships are concerned so be prepared for mindset to be something to reflect on and work at as you grow.

If you would like to focus more closely on mindset and working on yours then you might want to check out our Dom sub workbook which has a section on Mindset.

If you are interested then there is also a more personal post on mindset which I wrote over on my own blog: Submissive mindset and other thinking parts.

© The SafeworD/s Club

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