The D/s ‘effort exchange’ – what do you bring to it?

Before ‘power exchange’ comes ‘effort exchange’

I had a brief exchange of messages with a would-be sub on Fetlife a while back that highlighted a very important factor in D/s relationships. And it’s particularly valid for sissies who are looking to attract a lifestyle Dominant. And that’s the idea of ‘equal effort’.

This is how his approach went.

XXXXX 26M slave

Would you use an infertile masochist that consents to extreme pain, CBT and beatings?

I’m 5’7, Arab, masochist. Have references from pro dommes I’ve met before



You’ve got no profile and no photos, and I have rules about that.

Also, I’m a lifestyle Domme.

So I don’t think I’m what you’re looking for.

Mistress Virago

XXXXX 26M slave

I have a Twitter profile. I’m a little private about this 😦


I understand your wish for privacy.

But I think you and I are at different stages of our BDSM journey. I attend events and my friends know I’m a Domme.

Also, I meant your Fetlife profile.

I’ve taken time to write meaningful words and take photos to help people connect with me.

You’ve not bothered.

This means you’ve approached me, bringing less than I have brought to the exchange. I don’t want a sub who thinks this is ok.

ProDommes don’t care about effort as they take your money instead.

I wish you all the best.

Mistress Virago

XXXX 26M slave

That is deep!

Be an equal in effort 

As this slave discovered, Dominants don’t want a lazy sub. They want to see effort and motivation. These aren’t things your Domme should have to beat out of you. When you submit, these are the riches you freely give to your Domme. So, if you’re looking to get noticed and owned, show what you have to offer.  

Put effort into you and your D/ feels the benefits  

The effort exchange changes when you get into a D/s relationship, but it doesn’t lessen. You still bring effort and motivation in how carefully you fulfil tasks and how devotedly you serve. And that effort also goes into how patiently and positively you wait when your Domme is tied up in daily life. 

I know my absence is felt by my sissies when I’m too busy to message and play, and I miss them with equal longing. But their behaviour in these times is exemplary. No neediness, no attention-seeking, no pouting, no resentfulness. And this is because they’ve put effort into handling their emotions and found the emotional maturity to deal with the ups and downs of D/s. This is a huge thing. As a Domme, I treasure this deeply. I see it as a true expression of submission and a demonstration of just how strong submissives have to be to serve.

Self-development is still serving

Whether you’re a sissy who’s serving a Mistress or you’re still searching, self-development is a positive way to show that you’re motivated about your submission. (Unless your Dom/me is micro-managing all aspects of your existence and has forbidden this.) Self-development might mean perfecting your nail painting skills (also useful for your Mistress’s nails), learning head and foot massage techniques, brushing up on BDSM skills, thinking up ideas for scenes that align with your Mistress’s kinks, doing yoga so your body is strong and flexible for sessions, learning a vanilla skill that might be useful to your Domme, discovering toys you might enjoy. 

It’s an ‘Ooh’ moment for me

Devoting time to things like this is a way of serving and submitting even when you’re not under orders. For sissies who don’t live with their Domme, this is a positive way to spend time when you’re between sessions. And I love it when my sissy pops up and says ‘I’ve read a book you might like, I’ve been practising my lipstick application, I’ve made a caption photo for you, I’ve been getting fit.’ It shows me effort – that they are taking care of themselves and working on personal growth as well as serving me…and not just because I’ve ordered it. (This also touches on ‘anticipatory service’, which is a subject I’ll come back to in a later blog.) Effort and motivation are sexy.

What effort do I make?

You might think that the Domme doesn’t have to make any effort at all. (Maybe as a sub, you’ve had an experience with a do-nothing Domme.)

But as a lifestyle D/, I believe in bringing things to the party. With lockdown in place, I haven’t been able to do physical sessions with my sissies for months (and believe me, I’m feeling withdrawal!) Plus, my work has become much busier in that time, so cam sessions have been really tricky. So, I found some things I could do instead. I’m enjoying both of these.

But my favourite thing – learning Florentine flogging.

This meant a financial investment in twin floggers and a daily time investment to learn this technique. It’s going really well. When lockdown ends, I have a new Domme skill to bring to sessions with my painsluts, proving effort and motivation count on both sides of the slash.

3 thoughts on “The D/s ‘effort exchange’ – what do you bring to it?

Add yours

  1. Thank you for this piece, Mistress. An enlightening read.

    I don’t have much experience with what I’ll call Female Domination – just two sessions – both long ago – with wonderful Pro Dommes.

    There was, of course, a payment required. But I knew on my own – and the women reinforced – that the money basically just allowed me to be present.

    I was there to obey, to learn, and to provide entertainment or amusement or enjoyment for them.

    I was corrected a few times but I realized that was necessary.

    The best re effort that I was able to demonstrate then was a fervent desire to be a good male sub, to be “a good boy.” I had to be taught to kneel, to keep my eyes lowered, to hold still and the like.

    The second visit ( a different Mistress) involved feminization so that also involved learning how to walk in heels and other instructions about being “ a good girl.”

    I completely agree that a good sub should work hard – at all times – to be a good sub ( e.g., stay in shape, be well groomed, buy clothing and toys that will please Mistress, etc. And, as have a good understanding of what does or may please Mistress. To anticipate.

    And to be at least mentally prepared to act appropriately if you fail or even just disappoint Mistress. And, I think, some courage to try things even if there is some risk that Mistress will be displeased.

    The effort to want to please Mistress should be unflagging – a constant. That is the sub’s duty and should be his joy.


  2. Mistress Virago,

    I get absolutely infuriated at the way many “sissy maids” want to flounce around in a frilly outfit without doing any useful work. It gives sissy maids a bad name. Grrrrr!

    To your excellent point, a sissy should scrub, clean, straighten and serve, and if they are valuable enough, then they may be able to earn the status communicated by a maid uniform. (An easily-cleaned plain cotton one!) Be valuable first!

    Sorry for the rant, but fighting the lazy reputation of too many sissies gets really old. It’s frustrating; I can’t imagine what it must be like for Mistresses.



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