I was once an online submissive. I know a bit about the language and grammar rules that reside there. They are creative and interesting and serve their purpose online. When you bring them into real life they get more annoying, but in some relationships and dynamics, they still serve their purpose. What language adjustments am I talking about? Well, there's slash speak, third person and capped/uncapped.

Slash Speak

This is when S/someone uses capital and normal case letters whenever Y/you use a pronoun or person identifying word that could include Dominants and submissives.  It is used only in written speech online and for the R/reader can get very confusing very quickly. I tend to avoid reading it if at all possible. It wasn't always the case because it's very popular online. It supposed to show submission in that Y/you recognize there are Dominants and submissives present or could be accounted for in Y/your conversation. What's interesting is how many Dominants I've seen use this form of writing as well.  (I exaggerated the slash speak in this paragraph.)

Third Person

Very popular in the Gorean IRC channels, the third person is when the slave/submissive is not allowed to refer to themselves in the 1st person. I believe it is used to enhance the role of slave into believing that they are nothing more than property and are granted no personal power by removing their identity. One of my favorite bloggers and a contributor on this site, thisgirl, uses the form of writing on her blog by choice.


I tend to still follow this form of writing even on this site. If you'll notice I tend to capitalize Dominant, Owner, Master, Mistress and other titles of the Top side of the D/s equation. I guess it started on IRC, but it's one that I find the least annoying and I haven't had a single one of you say that it makes what I write hard to read so I continue doing it. It also follows that I will lowercase submissive titles, as well as names if that is how they are shared with me. I am luna, not Luna although I will never correct someone because I don't force anyone to follow my personal protocol in that regard. It also means if you introduce yourself as Slave, I will not change it and call you a slave. I respect you enough to not force my personal protocol for you.

But what other language rules exist in BDSM dynamics? You name it, then it probably exists. I'm not allowed to curse except during sex and playtime and still within that I really shouldn't call my Owner names because he doesn't like it. I can't call him by his first name in most situations. We have alternatives that work for me to remember that I am deferring to him.

I'm only mildly familiar with silence rules, where submissives are restricted from talking at all for periods of time. Or with the interesting way to speak where you have to say Master before and after EACH sentence. But in every situation, they seem to serve a purpose.

In all situations, altering speech and writing is to do an important task of reminding the person that they are not in control of themselves, which includes their speech. They are asked to use deference in situations that call for it and even to learn a new way to talk to keep them in role. It is not expected that you will be asked to use any of these speech changes. Every Dominant is different.

Every submissive is different too. Make sure you know and can express in negotiations if you are comfortable with having these speech changes applied to you. I know I would have serious issues if I were to be asked to do anything but proper grammar and so third person speech is a no. Thankfully KnyghtMare is happy with the way I talk and write.

  • What do you know about different language rules? Are there any I don't have listed above?
  • Have you been or are you in a relationship that requires special speech rules? What are they?