It was popularized in internet chatrooms, to make it easier to identify the orientation of the writer or the person being written about.
In a given scene, there is no requirement that the dominant also be the top, or that the submissive be the bottom, although this is often the case.The term "vanilla" refers to normative ("non-kinky") sex and relationships, the vanilla world being mainstream society outside of the BDSM subculture.This includes cases where the dominant may feel things have gone too far and is uncomfortable continuing.As with any other participant, the dominant's safeword call should herald the stopping of all play and the start of a recuperative discussion between the participants. It is usually a negotiated lifestyle, with people discussing their wishes, limits, and needs in order to find commonality.There can be any number of partners in a D/s relationship: one dominant may have several submissives, who may in turn dominate others, or a submissive may have multiple dominants. Romantic love is not necessarily a feature in D/s: partners might be very much in love or have no romantic relationship at all.
Some D/s relationships are sexual, others completely chaste.Note, it is common for writers to capitalise the "D" in Dominant but leave the "s" in lowercase for the submissive.Many extend this to His/Hers, Him/Her, He/She, etc., to make it clear when they are referring to a Dominant.If an emotional boundary is breached and the safeword spoken, the dominant should cease all play immediately and discuss the emotional breach with the submissive in a tender and understanding manner.Negotiating limits in advance is also an important element in a D/s relationship.A D/s relationship may be sexual or non-sexual, long- or short-term, and intimate or anonymous.