One of the many delightful side-effects of moving to the same country as my Dom is that we get to actually DO couple things. We get to go out on dates, go out with other couples as a couple, invite people to our home for dinner parties—all of the grown up stuff that my parents did that made me think that they were kind of lame. It’s easy to take that sort of thing for granted when it’s been a constant aspect of your relationship, but for us, it was a massive shift in our dynamic.

Despite the fact that these situations involved us going out into the public eye, neither my Dom, nor I wanted to remove the Dominant/submissive aspect of our relationship. I don’t doubt that this is a desire we share with other couples, whether they’re new to the scene, or trying to find new ways to incorporate the dynamic into their lives outside of the bedroom. What’s certain is that it can be difficult to achieve a public dynamic that fits the needs of all parties while remaining within the confines of public social expectations. As much as I love to sit at my Dom’s feet, for example, there will be certain times, even in our own home, when doing so would be a little unacceptable.

There are subtle ways around that, which we’ve taken a real delight in working out as we go. For example, when we’re out at meets or with friends, one of the things my Dom loves particularly is the ability to just look at me. Despite what might be considered traditional expectations of a sub, if I’m dressed particularly well, my Dom tends to hold the majority of the bags when we go places. I tend to be the one who sets the pace for the conversations that we engage in: if I am feeling confident and social, I usually get to chatter uncurbed; if I feel shy, my Dom picks up the conversation and holds it for both of us. The effect my Dom is after is not a display of discipline so much as decoration. In public, I’m an ornament, and she gets her satisfaction from the fact that I decorate her arm, and that I’m pretty enough to charm people whether laconic or gregarious. In addition to this, we retain some more traditional D/s aspects. She orders for both of us when we go out to eat. I usually get to choose what I want, but when the server approaches, she’s my voice.

Things are a little different, though, in the home. I’m not particularly a homebody, but I’m a bit of a housewife—especially now that we’re waiting for my visa so I can start working properly. I do the majority of the cooking and keeping the house tidy, so when we entertain, it seems fairly natural that my Dom would be the person doing the actual entertaining while I see to the needs of everyone at the table. My flat is great for this; it has an open kitchen, so my Dom has the added bonus of watching me while I cook, and encouraging me to take part in the conversation when I can. It also gives me a good view of the whole living room and dining room, so if anyone needs a refill on their drink, or if food needs to be refreshed, I’m aware of it.

And at the table? Everyone is served before me. My Dom is seated before I sit. These aren’t wildly out of the way methods of incorporating D/s dynamics, but they’re subtle, and not far out of the way of common social graces. I can serve my Dom, and she can enjoy my servitude without having to incorporate overtly dominating tactics, and it’s enjoyable to fall into that sort of casual routine knowing the reason isn’t just because you’re being a good host, or because you’re too shy to speak to your waiter at a restaurant. It also means you can save some of the less subtle displays of Dominance and submission for when you are together, whether as a prelude to a scene or as a general display of devotion to each other.

I’m sure there are many different methods of expressing your submission in public. These are just the few that my Dom and I have worked out which work well for both of us, and we’re still learning. Are there methods that you use to express your submission? Do you have routines that you’ve adapted for the public eye? How do they vary from what you do when you’re alone? Post your experiences and thoughts below.