It seems so often in the lifestyle that people feel the need to have an impressive title to be accepted. This is definitely not the case. Jumping into the lifestyle for your first time with a grand title like Master, Mistress, even Lady is not only deceiving, but it is a downright lie. These are titles that need to be earned through your actions, experience and acceptance in the BDSM community.
The word MASTER indicates a level of expertise. If you are new to the lifestyle, you certainly are not a Master. A Dominant is a person with a dominant aspect in their personality, be it sexual or otherwise. A Master is a Dominant with significant real life BDSM experience.
Same goes with MISTRESS, though by definition is not the same, it gives the same idea to other lifestylers. A Mistress or Lady is a Dominant female (or Domme) with significant real life BDSM experience.
If you have chosen your title to make your orientation known, Sir or Dom is recommended for males, and Domme or Ms is recommended for females. Dont try to be something you are not. You wont get any respect that way.
"The Master/Mistress is beyond the last level of the Dominant. They are generally well experienced, often having LIVED as a full time slave for up to several years as part of their training. Yes, training. This title USED TO BE given within the local communities in a ceremonial way when the individual had earned this title by the estimation of a majority consensus agreement of the Dominants within that local community. It was considered to be a high honor and carried with it a measure of respect by all those so encountering it."*
With BDSM slowly becoming more and more a trendy, mainstream thing, true lifestylers are constantly struggling to maintain the importance of the words Master and Mistress. If we do not maintain the protocol, the lifestyle is just going to become a joke.
*quoted from http://www.angelfire.com/md2/domsub/domaster.html