The Ultimate Guide to Being a Submissive
We asked five people who identify as subs during BDSM kinky play or within their relationships, to share their thoughts on what being a sub means to them, whether there’s such a thing as being a ‘good sub’, and what you can expect to experience, or relinquish.
Those who are on the receiving end of a Mistress or Master’s domination are known as ‘the submissive’, or ‘sub’ for short. You probably know that subs are consensually obedient and compliant to their partner. They crave being used and love serving their Dom and relinquishing control. Typically this leads them to being tied up, blindfolded, spanked and teased- just as they would like. But that’s only half the story about this kink...
“For me personally, being a good submissive is about understanding the needs of your dominant. Communication is a vital tool to achieve this. Without it, you can't begin to understand what their needs are and whether your requirements as a submissive are compatible. Whether you’re able to meet those demands and fulfil them requires you to be honest with yourself. Only then can Dom and sub agree on what’s workable, and discuss how those needs might change over time.”
- Communication is key in understanding if your needs as a sub are compatible with your Dom.
- This communication demands unfettered honesty.
- Keep lines of communication open and be aware that needs and desires might well change.
“Being a new submissive can be a daunting, emotional rollercoaster and you may need help understanding these feelings. There are numerous websites that can help with submissive self-discovery and offer advice and information. Alternatively, you could seek out your local fetish community. This can be beneficial in so many ways: receiving advice, meeting people and making subbie friends. Nothing beats meeting like-minded people to help you grow.”
- Take yourself on a journey of submissive self-discovery.
- Check out online resources for learning about submission.
- Get connected within the sub-community locally.
“Here’s one statement many Dominants loathe: “I'll do absolutely anything.” Everyone has limits and to prove a point if you say this to a Dominant you’ll probably receive a boundary-pushing session itinerary including hard BDSM play, like being a human ashtray and orgasm denial. The point is, their ‘absolutely anything’ could be very different to yours. Saying this could well be a red flag as it shows a lack of understanding about true submission. Be selective with your choice of phrases and always communicate your limits before play.”
- Suss out what your personal limits are and vocalise them to your Dom so you’re both on the same page.
- Do your research. Try to learn about submission prior to your first encounter and use your language carefully to avoid confusion.
- Always discuss your limits before play begins.
“There are often stereotypes attached to being submissive, but it should be understood that being submissive is not all about pain. Nor is it all about pleasure, or always playing in a dungeon environment. Submission can manifest in either a physical or mental way (or sometimes both at the same time), but in either case, it involves a mindset of total trust in my dominant.”
- Avoid limiting yourself by having fixed beliefs or preconceptions about what being submissive means.
- Submission often manifests in the mind and is not always a physical experience.
- For an enjoyable sub experience, you should have total trust in your Dom.
Consent, Power Play and Limits
Understanding each other’s limits is an important aspect of consensual play in the BDSM community. Whether that involves power play, role play, or impact play like spanking or flogging, it is vital to ensure the BDSM activities that occur in the dom-sub relationship are both safe and consensual.
As there is a power exchange in a BDSM relationship, it is especially important to use a safeword and keep communication flowing. The d/s relationship will not be successful unless both parties work to ensure the happiness and well-being of all concerned.
It doesn’t matter if your preference is for bondage and discipline or rough BDSM - as a submissive slave you (should) still always be in control as to what your limits and boundaries are. A professional dominatrix would respect that, and a dominant partner also needs to understand those limits whilst with a submissive partner.
This is a mistake that beginners make as they often fail to set boundaries for BDSM sex. Sadists can go too far in their dominant roles causing the masochist to not enjoy their experience in the submissive role. Dominance and submission are all about consent and satisfying each other’s desires.
The domme should also ensure that aftercare is taken into consideration, especially so if the submissive has had a subspace experience. After a heavy session, it is common for subs to crash emotionally and physically so aftercare is important in sadism and masochism play.
“If you choose to explore a 24/7, D/s dynamic there are little rules and rituals to help you transition from vanilla responsibilities to that of Dominant and submissive. For example, asking for permission is subtle and easy to do, but makes a big change to the overall dynamic between you. In my own relationship, Sir requires that I wait for him to open a door and take the lead; I would show respect by never eating a meal until he has started and will follow closely the health and exercise goals that he has set up for me. Sitting at his feet of an evening while he strokes my hair is an action which can reinforce things for us, but won’t seem odd to anyone else. It’s all about perception and what that action or symbol means to the two of you.”
- Consider using personal rituals, symbols and actions to transition into your Dom/sub role.
Keen to know more about roles within BDSM?
If you’re unsure whether you’re 100% submissive, read our Guide on Being Dom, Sub or Switch to learn more about BDSM roles.
Definitely into submission? Then you might be interested in our selection of fetish wear. At Harmony, we stock a wide range of adult products for your sex life, from pet play to anal sex and everything in between. So whether you’re into sadomasochism or kinky blindfolds, take a look at our current range of sex toys, sexy clothing and sex essentials and live out your own Fifty Shades of Grey fantasy.