Training: Developing an Effective Program

One of the most important facets of BDSM is the Training of the submissive. Some Dominants may train submissives for personal use or for basic skills somewhat like a submissive school. In some areas submissives may seek out Dominants for training so that they may develop their skills before finding and committing to a D/s relationship.

Whatever the nature or condition of the relationship there are specific steps that must be taken to develop a successful training program. This page deals with the steps that should be taken by the Dominant including assessment of personal desires and of the submissive in question.

The Process

First and foremost it is important the Dominant ask themselves two questions:

  1. Am I willing to take the responsibility to train this submissive for trainings sake?
  2. What do I want to get out of this arrangement?

The answers to these questions need to be answered before any other step, a Dominant should know at all times the ultimate goal and the requirements needed to reach that goal before committing to training and submissive.¹  Not understanding what you want for your efforts and not being clear about those wants from the start can lead to loss of reputation, frustration, and loss of a possible long term investment.

Once you have successfully answered and addressed the above concerns with the submissive in question, if he or she agrees to your terms and the end that you are seeking for the dedication of your time, then you may begin to assess the submissive.

Assessment Phase

Submissive assessment is extremely important, you need to know more than just what they like and do not like. This assessment helps the Dominant to determine if they indeed want to make the effort to train the submissive, and the answers gathered will dictate the direction and structure of the training program. ²  To properly develop a training program the following information should be gathered prior to the written contract.


  1. Personality Test (Jung & Briggs Meyers, IPIP Neo, Keirsey Temperament)
  2. Learning Styles Inventory (VARK Questionnaire, Kolb ELT, Kolb LSI)
  3. Associations Tests (Implicit Associations Test, Word Association Test, Free Association Test)
  4. Whether or not the submissive is seeking therapy, counselling, or psychiatry? S the Health-care professional aware of, knowledgeable about, and accepting of the BDSM lifestyle?


  1. Does the submissive have any physical conditions: allergies, injuries, heart conditions, weight restrictions, medications, addictions. If so what are they?
  2. How flexible is the submissive?
  3. How much weight can he or she hold comfortable?
  4. Physical Exam from a physician (at the submissives cost)
  5. STI, BBP, and HIV/AIDS screening

The last is essential if there is to be any sexual contact or physical activity which could result in the letting of blood. taking someone’s word for it is not good enough, you should also be willing and able to provide documented proof that you are free of infections of any sort.


  1. Miss Abernathy’s Quiz for Submissives in Training (Training with Miss Abernathy ch. 2, 3, & 4 or see Ms. A’s Submissive Quiz under Paperwork)
  2. Two- three minute written explanation of what the submissive wants from the relationship.


  1. Experience Rating (See Paperwork for Experience Scales)
  2. Likes and Dislikes  (See Paperwork)

Work Ethic:

  1. Submissive Journal (to be kept during the length of the assessment period and continued if wished by the Dominant)

Risk Assessment:

  1. Work Risks?
    1. What would the repercussions be if a coworker or employer discovered the submissives involvement in the BDSM D/s lifestyle?
    2. What would the submissives financial situation be if he/she lost their job or were forced to quit due to this discovery?
  2. Home life risk?
    1. Does the submissive have a significant other?
    2. If yes, is he or she informed of the submissives participation in BDSM and D/s?
    3. Is he or she accepting of this participation?
    4. Are there limits to what the submissive can or can not do outside of the relationship?
    5. Is the submissives family aware of his or her participation in the BDSM D/s lifestyle? Would there be repercussions if they were to find out? How severe?

The Training Program

For reasons of simplicity and clarity the training program should be broken into two categories. The first phase of training should be the basic training of the submissive, this phase should continue until the submissive shows exceptional understanding and practice of the skills. The second phase, which is specialized or advanced training should focus on skills specific to the inclination of the submissive and further develop those skills to the taste of the dominant or to the standards of that form of service, if the submissive is not to be used as a personal submissive following training.

Basic Training:

Basic training lays the foundation of expectations, protocol, and rituals to focus the submissive on the Dominants needs or style of BDSM. If the submissive is inclined toward a specific type of submission the Dominant should ensure that the Basic Training takes this into account, especially if the submissive is not going to become a personal submissive after the training process.

  1. Submissive Presentation:
    1. Address:establishes the demeanor that the submissive will display toward the Dominant and others.
      1. Forms of address toward the Dominant
      2. Forms of address toward others
      3. Silent communication
    2. Forms of Service: How the submissive is to serve under different conditions
      1. Formal protocol  (High)
      2. Standard protocol (Regular)
      3. Couching protocol (Relaxed)

Make sure that for each form of protocol you establish When, Where, and How.

C.  Forms of Posture: How the submissive should hold him/herself given the situation.

  1. Levels of Service: What and how the submissive should perform the tasks assigned to him or her.
    1. Technique
      1. How the duties are to be performed
    2. Mindfulness
      1. Ensuring the proper mindset while performing duties
      2. Supporting the idea of reward for fulfilling the Dominants needs
    3. Schedule
      1. What duties are to be performed
      2. What times the duties are to be performed
    4. Instruct
      1. Supervision of submissive while performing duties
      2. Correction of technique
      3. Positive reinforcement for perfect completion
  2. Playfulness: The types and times for relaxed or playful interactions
    1. Recreational fun
      1. What outside activities the Dominant and submissive will participate in
      2. Times and protocol for those activities
    2. Sexual fun
      1. Whether or not the submissive will be allowed to pleasure the Dominant
      2. Whether or not the submissive will be used as a tool for pleasure or as an active partner in pleasure
    3. Fantasy play
      1. Discussion and creation of fantasy scenes
      2. Setting of limits
      3. Exploration of limits as discussed
    4. Initiating new forms of play (Development)
      1. Introducing new forms of play of interest to the Dominant
      2. Introduction of new forms of play of interest to the submissive
      3. Development of compassion, humor, and understanding
  3. Establishing Trust: how the submissive responds and reacts to the interaction with the Dominant.
    1. Journaling
      1. Keep track of the submissives feelings and interpretation of training, protocol, duties, play and time with the Dominant
      2. Reviewed by Dominant and discussed
    2. Aftercare
      1. Discussion of aspects of a scene after the scene ends
      2. Establishes a safe place for the submissive to come to terms with experiences
    3. Discussion
      1. Allows the submissive an opportunity to request changes or advancements to the training in a safe respectful manner
      2. When, where, and how many times a week should be clearly established by the Dominant
    4. Compromise
      1. Allow for compromise based on the needs and feelings of the submissive
      2. Specify a ritual for asking for a discussion of compromise
    5. Consistency
      1. Maintain rewards and punishments justly
      2. Establish a system of reward and punishment with a clearly defined structure
      3. Administer punishment as soon as an infraction is made
      4. Give reward as soon as an accomplishment is made

Giving Credit where Credit is due

Most of the information and ideas on this page where taken from SAADE an author on the Iron Gate website. Without her preliminary form, I would have been at it for weeks trying to put in writing the best way to devise a training program. The articles “Developing sub/slave Training Programs Part I and Part II”, are my original source material, with assessments taken from The Art of Erotic Slavehood by Miss Abernathy. I give each author full credit for their insights and the development of resource materials. Below I have listed links to the articles aforementioned and also a link to Miss Abernathy’s book.

SAADE Articles:  Part I  Part II

Abernathy, Christina; The Art of Erotic Slavehood (Oakland: Greenery Press, 2007).

Testing Links:


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