Almost every submissive or slave I speak with questions their “voice.”

How much to say to their Dominant? When to say it? Can they say anything?  What if s/he thinks I'm rude? Would it be better to not say anything? What is appropriate?

Can I still have a voice?

Speaking up vs. speaking out

  • Speaking up: I believe most Dominants like their s-types with a voice. I've used the analogy before, if they wanted to own property with no brain, they'd buy a sports car or a new fishing pole. They want to own a person, and people come with brains and hearts and bodies.
  • Speak up when you have something intelligent or interesting to share. The Good Wife's Guide calls this, "Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it." You're a sexy lil ball of fun! Share that smart, sexy energy.
  • Speak up when you have important information to share. Details about the schedule, changes in plans, changes in your life that your Dominant needs to know in order to lead you properly. Medical info, vacation plans, financial struggles. Important shit. Speak up. They need to know.
  • Speak up if your emotions in general or regarding a specific issue are anything other than happily content. Ask for a bit of your Dominant's time. Specifically speaking solves the problem. "I am feeling disappointed because it has been several weeks since we have played. I am hoping that at some point in the next week we get the opportunity to do so. Thank you." Speak up... specifically.


  • Speaking out: Remember that ill-behaved child everybody heard chatting during church service? The over-sharer in mixed company? That uncomfortable couple who always disagrees with each other in front of friends? Awkward. That's speaking out. Speaking without regard to appropriateness. Big no-no.
  • Speaking out is not the same as speaking up. Just because you have a voice, and your Dominant wants you to keep that voice, doesn't mean you can run your mouth willy-nilly.
  • Speaking out is correcting your Dominant on being wrong in a laughing, mocking tone and/or in front of others. If he is wearing egg on his face, there is a couth way to assist him. Ask if you can speak with him privately if not already, and kindly educate him with a caring attitude.
  • Speaking out is speaking towards others in a way not befitting their ideal submissive. Now each D-type has his or her own preference. Mine prefers me cordial and polite to all so speaking out would include being rude, unhelpful, or unkind to others. I am a reflection of Him; speaking out is a poor reflection.
  • Speaking out is crossing the line from calmly sharing your emotions in an adult way to becoming over-emotional and lashing out. Snippy words, bad attitude, throwing things, stomping, pouting. Life happens, and sometimes our emotions get the best of us, but most of the time if we are continuously speaking up we don't have a need to speak out.

Shutting up vs. Shutting out

  • Shutting up: Ah, the fine art of knowing when to shut your mouth. Shutting up when appropriate is a good thing, a great thing even. It encourages a Dominant to lead a conversation, to have his viewpoint come through, have his voice heard.
  • Shutting up is when the learning happens. You can learn amazing things from others in the Lifestyle if you sit back, shut up, and let them talk. Everybody has something to teach you if you give them a chance.
  • Shutting up is sometimes actually biting your tongue. Literally. If you feel the urge to join gossip, or correct your partner in a public setting, or jump into the middle of a conversation across from you at a munch because you are convinced your advice would be the best, ultimo-supremo advice that person could ever get, ever, STOP. Shut up. If it is a good time to actually speak up, do it in a "speaking up" manner.
  • Shutting up is quieting your mind and your mouth when you can tell your Dominant needs that. Right after a hard work day, when preparing for SM play, if they have a lot on their mind. Tuck away the non-vital stuff and shut up, become a help for them instead of a hindrance. Let them talk. Or give them silence. Whichever they prefer.


  • Shutting out: Shutting your Dominant out is purposefully keeping things from them. It is wanting to maintain some shred of (independence? control? dignity?) yourself by keeping something private, particularly something they should know. Something that if they knew, they may lead you differently.
  • Shutting out is going silent in the face of a personal problem. Deciding to handle it yourself instead of asking for advice or help. Closing the door. It creates a distance between you and your Dominant. A gap now exists; you're less close, less connected.
  • Shutting out is a destructive way of forgoing honest communication for privacy. If you are putting your life, your decisions, in the hands of another, they need the information that only you can provide.
  • Shutting out is convincing yourself you are selfless enough to shoulder the burden of your emotional struggles so as not to bother your Dominant. This won't work, and is essentially lying by omission. If you're hurt, you're hurt. If you're angry, you're angry. Time to speak up, not shut out. Every time your Dominant steps up and helps you work through the trouble, your gratitude and trust increases.
  • Shutting out pushes people away, where shutting up brings people in closer. Be a listening ear to others; not a closed door.

In summary:

UP-lift yourself: Learn to speak up and shut up and you'll be appropriately using your voice.

OUT with the OUT: Leave speaking out and shutting out behind in the dust.