Maintaining Dominance Around The Family

Any of us who are trying to maintain a Power Exchange dynamic will understand the frustration.

You have a beautiful partner all ready and willing to drop to bended knee and serve you.

But nope. Not now. Try again later.

See the kiddos are watching and waiting for a ride to the baseball field, or one of you have got to get to the carpool lane, or the babysitter got sick last minute and instead of heading out the door to the amazing play party you’ve been planning on for months, you’ll both be in bed by nine.

So how can one maintain Dominance while around the family? How can you lead the way if you are being watched all the time?

The answer is quite simple: discretion.

Most people understand “discretion” when it is regarding a vanilla relationship. While it is quite nice to give your spouse a kiss on the lips before they leave for work, sticking your tongue down their throat for a minute and a half would be, at best, poorly received by the other members of your family. So you wait until you are alone to have that happen, right? Seems simple enough.

When we go to apply this similar level of discretion to Dominance and submission, or even kink, there are several methods one can use to maximize time spent together.

Methods include: discreet hidden messages,  private protocols and rituals, subtle communication, and learning quiet play.

Discreet hidden messages: These could be any substitute for your standard means of Dominating. If you typically prefer to be called “Sir” or “Master,” maybe substitute out another word for when you are around family. My girl calls me “Daddy” around the kids because, well, they know me as Daddy. She needs to refer to me as that or my given name, and if she forgets, it is the same as forgetting to call me Sir in private. If your submissive always kneels to greet you at the door when you are alone, an act like a welcoming hug and kiss on the cheek, asking, “Hello, how are you, what can I do for you?” can be an appropriate substitute when you are in front of family.


Private protocols and rituals: These are the beat of the drum throughout the days and weeks and months that remind each of you, both the Dominant and submissive, that there is indeed a Power Exchange dynamic in the household. My girl and I have about a half dozen rituals that we do every single day; rituals that we can do even if we are traveling, or sick, or with family around. An example is starting every morning with a hug and kiss before leaving bed. Before getting in bed every night she kneels bedside and waits for me to grant her permission and tuck her in. We shower together every Sunday morning when the kids are elsewhere. We have a scheduled play night every week. These things may not be the most romantic part of our relationship, but by allowing that connection as Dominant and submissive all day, every day, we are able to make it last over the years.


Subtle communication: My girl isn’t supposed to leave my side while we are out in the world unless she has permission to do so. But when we are out as a family, when a kids gotta go, a kid has to go! She and I have perfected subtle communication in our relationship. Any statement, when lifted at the last syllable, becomes a light question.

“I’m going to the ladies room.” becomes “I’m going to the ladies roooom?”

It sounds like a statement to our family so there is no awkwardness in her asking permission to leave my side, but her request and my subtle nod (one tiny lift of the chin upwards) allows our dynamic to stay intact.

Subtle communication can be hand signals (I know a couple who the Dominant indicates to his girl for a coffee refill by tapping his ring against the mug), discreet collars or symbols of ownership that look less like a slave collar and more of jewelry, asking permission instead of telling, and also Dominant led gestures like door opening at stores, opening car doors, etc. A lot of what our relationship looks like to our family is simply the both of us treating each other with kindness and respect. It is that simple.


Learning quiet play: I own a ton of floggers. But I don’t often get to use them. They are just… so… loud.

One of the things I had to learn along the way in full time Dominance is to learn quiet play. Again, it is a discretion issue. Every vanilla relationship manages discreet sex with family in the house (well, most anyway). It is possible to manage discreet SM play with family in the house. The key is to know your tools and your submissive.

Quiet tools: Fire play. Breath play. Bondage/rope/plastic wrap. Knife play. Nipple play. Biting. Scratching. Wartenberg wheel. Kneeling/positions. (You’ll notice we do a lot of edgy play – please be safe, learn proper technique, and RACK or SSC, take your pick, but practice one of them.)

Loud tools: Floggers and whips. Paddles. Bare handed spanking. Most impact tools. Lots of mind-fuck scenes, like interrogation, humiliation, etc can get loud.

We have come to a happy place in which we play with discretion and quiet tools a majority of the time at home and save the louder stuff for public dungeons and play parties.

I hope you find these tips helpful in maintaining Dominance while you are around family. It is possible to live in 24/7 Power Exchange around family without them ever knowing a stitch about it. Because at the end of the day, it is nobodies business but yours and your submissives. We find that maintaining the secret of it all is very sexy. The name of that maintenance is discretion.

What do you do to maintain Dominace when around family? Have any tips to share? Do you use any of these methods? Care to share with other what has worked, or not, for you?

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4 responses to “Maintaining Dominance Around The Family”

  1. christopher knighton

    Liked some of your ideas me and my girl have been in the lifestyle for years and keeping it a secret is awful hard specially with kids being older and no sir so I know how hard it is to be decreet. Thank you for this article

  2. PrincessBabyGirL

    Thank you so much I a mother of 3 have recently become a member of to the D/S world me being the dominator am still learning however my slave has been in it for over 10yrs (we live together) so playtime can be challangeing espically around the kids this comment has helped me a lot I think if I implement some of these in my every day life it will make me feel more dominate and comfortable. To thanks hope to read more soon

  3. PorcelainPunk

    my boyfriend is a staidest and i’m not comfortable with being called a slave or using the word master. i really want to let him have those names and such and i enjoy giving him his control but i myself classify as a brat. how do i get him to understand that my sarcasm is playing, that telling him no is playing, also what are some tips to talk to him about rushing? he really wants to do anal and i have trama with it. he is usually calm about it but he thinks he needs to help me ” get over the hump” i dont want you to help me i want you to listen but he really gets off on my getting hurt…. how do i handle this?

  4. Steff

    These are great ideas! Thank you for writing this!

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