Head of Household

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Head of Household (HOH) is a relationship term used where one person is clearly in charge of most practical matters in the home. It literally describes the position that one person holds but is used more widely to encompass the style of relationship, and is related to the concept of a D/s Household.

Head of Relationship (HOR) is another, less well-used, term meaning effectively the same kind of relationship. It is used where 'family' is thought to necessarily include children but there are none, or where one partner is in charge of the other but not necessarily in charge of the children (for example, if he is a step-parent).

Head of Household is also used in legal senses such as census and taxation areas in a manner not dissimilar to that described in this article: the one person who will take responsibility and authority, albeit in limited sphere in these cases.

Head of Household is also an historic term often referring to the senior domestic servant of a large household, for example the butler.



The Head of Household is normally assumed to be male. Where this is not the case, it would normally be made specifically clear, if not implicit in the context. Similarly HOH normally refers to a heterosexual household.


The HOH supports and maintains, in one household, one or more people who would normally be related to him by blood, marriage, or adoption or be his acknowledged sub or slave. It might be quite obvious that the man is in charge but it also might simply be something that evolved naturally between the partners and just be that he is the one to 'wear the trousers'.

The extent to which the HOH takes charge will naturally vary from one family to another. At one extreme, he will make all decisions, even day-to-day ones and at the other extreme he might simply be the one who resolves disputes and acts as beneficent judge. Most Heads of Household will have some position in between, normally controlling financial spending, making all major decisions but leaving most day to day matters in what he considers the most appropriate hands.

Whatever the level of control applied, the HOH's final decision is one that will be expected to be obeyed. He will normally use punishment where necessary, including corporal punishment.

This kind of relationship only works where the HOH takes full account of everyone's needs, often placing them above his own. His is a life of service to the people he is in charge of and at the same time he will normally command respect, devotion and servitude from them, depending on their individual relationship to him.


Many religious texts urge women to look up to the man as the head of her/the household and exhort men to take care of the women and children in their household. For some, this is the underlying reason for their initial involvement in such a relationship though it is questionable as to whether they would be happy in it if the man was not considerate of their needs and in receipt of appropriate respect and obedience for his position.

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