In Which I Answer Some Questions About Submissiveness

Take your seats, students. Class is in session. Recently I received some questions from an impatient commenter who wishes to remain anonymous: What does it mean if you’re submissive with a certain kind of person and not with others? And does that mean you are not submissive? What’s an ideal submissive? Is it a 24/7 submissive like a Dom would be? And what does it mean if you genuinely are the complete opposite with others and this can’t mean you only enjoy role playing a submissive if you genuinely are with the people who can bring that side out or make you want to let them take control? Is a good submissive always submissive? So let us try to unpack some of this and provide some answers.

What does it mean if you are submissive with a certain kind of person and not with others? Well, a lot can depend on what you mean by being submissive. But generally speaking, when a submissive recognizes, consciously or unconsciously, someone else as a Dominant with qualities the submissive likes, then the submissive often will be more submissive with that Dominant than she is with others. In other words, what it means if you are submissive with a certain kind of person and not with others is that you, the submissive, are reacting naturally to your preferred dominant qualities in that certain kind of person.

Does that mean you are not submissive? No, of course not. To a greater or lesser degree depending on the person, pretty much every submissive will tend to be more submissive to persons recognized as Dominants than to other persons.

What is an ideal submissive? Oh good golly. That is an understandable but impossible question. Every Dominant has his (or her) own idea of what makes for an ideal submissive. And I could not possibly answer for all of them. I could talk about some of the traits I think make for good submissives—like honesty, integrity, grace, et cetera, (and I have)—but other Dominants may disagree with me. Not all Dominants even agree on what submission is, so answering what makes an ideal submissive is simply impossible to answer. But many submissives want to know what direction to look when trying to be good submissives, so I understand the desire behind the question. I my opinion, the foundation of being a good submissive (and being good Dominant) is being a good person.

Is an ideal submissive a 24/7 submissive like a Dom would be? Not all Dominants and submissives seek to live a 24/7 D/s lifestyle. Some Dominants seek to be so only in the home or in the bedroom. So for them an ideal submissive may not be someone who seeks to be submissive in all things 24/7. So if you are not willing to be a 24/7 submissive, then you do not have to be.

Is a good submissive always submissive? Again, the answer depends a great deal on what you mean by being submissive. If you mean does a good submissive always only follow others and never assert her own needs or desires or thoughts, I would say the answer is no. As I explained to someone the other day, never confuse being a submissive with not being in control of your own life. Every person should spend time figuring out what he or she wants as a person. If you are a submissive, find out what you want as a submissive. Even in a 24/7 D/s relationship, the submissive is (or should be) in control of choosing to submit. Submission should always be a choice by the submissive, never something that leaves her without control. If the submissive has no control over her choices, then she is left in a position of insecurity and fear. That is never good. On the other hand, when a submissive has agreed to submit to a good Dominant and to obey his rules, then being a good submissive does mean being obedient to him and to the rules that (hopefully) you and he have discussed and agreed upon. Which connects back to the proper traits for a good submissive—honesty, integrity and the like—being the traits of a good person.

And what does it mean if you genuinely are the complete opposite with others and this can’t mean you only enjoy role playing a submissive if you genuinely are with the people who can bring that side out or make you want to let them take control? I saved this one for last because it seemed like the right thing to do. Before I go further I need to say that I am going to guess that “and this can’t mean” should be “and can’t this mean” because that is the only way the question makes sense to me. And now I am going to restate the question in way that I hope is somewhat clearer.

If someone is submissive only with some people and not with others, does that mean one only enjoys being submissive sometimes with those who are recognized by the person as Dominants? The answer to that is maybe. Every person is an individual, and this is certainly no less true of submissives. A submissive may start out being submissive only with certain people but over time may come to be submissive more often with others as she embraces her submissive nature. On the other hand, some submissives are ever only going to be inclined to submit to those they truly consider to be Dominants. The point here being that every submissive has to determine for herself (or himself) what being submissive means to her and how she wants to express that part of herself.

If you want a one-size-fits-all simplified explanation of how to be a submissive, then you will have to look somewhere else for some schmuck who is willing to make such a foolish explanation. You will not find such an explanation here. I do not believe such an explanation exists outside of the foolish ramblings of those choose not to understand that human beings are individuals.

Being a submissive or being a Dominant or being a vanilla person does not lock you into only one way of thinking and behaving. So there are no easy answers for being submissive or Dominant or whatever.

This does not mean, of course, that there is anything wrong with these questions. They are good questions to ask because they show the person asking is trying to find understanding. And that is always a good thing. I always encourage people, especially submissives, to ask questions. This is how one learns, by asking honest questions and looking for the honest answers.

I hope what I have said in this post leads to more questions. And I hope some of those questions at least, my readers will be willing to ask here. 

Be good, students. Class dismissed.

33 Responses to “In Which I Answer Some Questions About Submissiveness”

  1. Thank you, Sir for trying to answer these questions. I am submissive in a respectful manner to most authority figures. If they’re unintelligent, rude or mean spirited, I lose respect for them. That’s when I pull back and am unable to be submissive. Although it’s natural for me to serve others, I was making adult decisions at the age of seven. My father was deployed and I stepped into his role as a child. My mother didn’t speak English at the time and she relied heavily on me to help her cope with my dad’s absences.

    I’m sharing my story to illustrate that although I’m a natural submissive my life altered my behavior where I’m a strong woman in certain situations. Especially when it concerns protecting others. I’m submissive to those who are true Dominants. Posers and charlatans are inherently weak. I find that the Dominant who is the most interesting is the one who respects me as a human being. I want a balanced life and lifestyle with my Dominant. I hope this helps others who are on the same quest of self-discovery.

  2. Sherina Davis Says:

    I can relate to this entry, in more ways then just one. A few of your entries have seemed to touch base and right at home with me, though this one, more so then any others.

    Being submissive, makes you stronger then you realize. It takes a strong woman or man to submit, placing all their trust into one individual, this takes more strength then it does anything else I have ever faced. Some might say that it is wrong it what I say, but I disagree. It takes a strong person to be a Dominant, an even stronger person to submit. So being Submissive, makes you no less stronger.

    I, myself, for example, am a Submissive for one and a Dominant for anther. Finding a Dominant that respects my boundaries of being a Submissive is another thing, because I am all out Dominant when it comes to the other sex.

    Being one- Dominant for example-, does not mean I am any less of the other- Submissive and vise verse. I enjoy each roll, though one day, I’d like to meet the one person that brings out the best Submissive in me.

    For the longest, I struggled with being one or the other and who I might truly be. Am I a Dominant, or am I a Submissive? I have learned to accept that I am just me.

    Thank you for sharing this piece,

  3. Sir-

    I am new to your site, but am finding comfort in your writing and answers to questions.

    I am not necessarily new to the life. I have had one Master for many years, but we have very rarely been in the same state as his job moves him around quite a bit and he has allowed me to stay with my family. Now he has settled in one place and has asked me to consider moving there- several states away from my family and friends.

    I guess my question is odd, how does a sub know whether to trust that her Master will be able to be her whole support system if he asks for something like this?

    Thank you for your writings sir, and your answers to other questions, even if you choose not to answer mine.

    • Welcome to Liberate One, jessi. I will answer your question with a question. Do you trust your Master? If you trust him to know that he can support you, and trust him enough to let him support you, then you have your answer.

      But I should also add that even if you move to where he is, you will no doubt make friends there.

      • Thank you very much Sir for your answer. He has said much the same thing, but I am very afraid. The last few times I have lived away from my family by even just an hour or two, I have not made friends easily.

        As for trusting my Master, I guess it is easy to trust him when I have the safety net of my family there to catch me if something happens. He is asking for my complete trust, and I suppose in a way my complete submission this way. It is very scary, especially for a sub on her own in a small conventional town.

        Thank you again Sir for all you do. I shall endeavor to update you on our decision.

        • Your fears are understandable and reasonable. I am certain you have the strength to determine the decision that is right for you.

  4. whose questions? they are very good questions even i had too.

  5. how to ask a question anonymously?

    • The policy here at Liberate One for asking questions privately or anonymously is to submit a comment that introduces yourself, asks a question and requests the comment to remain private or anonymous. Since all comments must be approved by me before others see them, I will see the comment and no one else will. If the comment is respectful, I will respond. If you ask a question you wish to remain anonymous, I may use it in a post. If your question should remain private, then I will reply via e-mail. Be sure you specifically say in your comment that you want your comment to be private and/or your question to remain anonymous. Otherwise I will not know that is your intention.

  6. BallsyBilly Says:

    Great and informative post. I’m sure a few sub had tose questions in mind, but could not ask. You go!

  7. It’s wonderful that these questions have been addressed so well. I enjoyed this post.

    • Maria,
      Sir’s posts have helped me maneuver my way safely in the D/s world. I have several friends in D/s, but Xajow has given me the best unbiased advice. He is very good to his readers/students. All his responses are individually addressed to the commenter. He is sensitive to our vulnerability as the submissive. I feel safe and protected at Liberate One.
      He’s written some wonderful posts about Dominant and submissive relationships. Please enjoy all his posts. I look forward to his writings.

  8. Destiny_V~ Says:

    Interesting stuff.

  9. Hello,

    I have been following your blog for quite some time now, but hesitant on commenting. Yet felt compelled to reach out. I was introduced to the world of D/s about 8 years ago now by someone who has become a good friend. It was all in an online community. I was amazed at how quickly I learned about why I had felt things the way I had my whole life.

    To make a long story short, after learning more about BDSM and D/s in general, I have come to crave that connection and need the lifestyle in my personal life. After 5 years of marriage, I worked up the nerve to be able to finally explain to my husband what I feel inside…and used one of your articles to help communicate it. Since I met him, I felt he was a natural Dominant, but wasn’t completely sure. Even for the short time we’ve been talking about this now (about a month or so)…somehow he just seems to instinctively know what I need without me having to express it. I feel incredibly lucky to have my best friend, lover, husband AND Dom all in the same man! I’m very grateful he is open to learning. He was unsure at first because assumed it was all whips and chains and demanding and abuse…and was quite relieved to find out that was not what I wanted or needed.

    He has been enjoying learning as much as I have and both of us have been pleasantly surprised at how well it is fitting into and enhancing our marriage. I am definitely a 24/7 lifestyle sub and he seems to be enjoying learning about the lifestyle.

    I’m not even sure why I started writing this now, other than I feel like there is so much for both of us to learn, and wanted to thank you for your blog that helps to answer so many questions, and to explain so many feelings I have had. There are a million questions swirling around in my mind, and I can’t seem to grasp a single one at the moment, so will stop now before I ramble on any longer.

    Thank you for your words.

  10. With regard to the 24/7
    I was a sub to my Sir .I never thought of the time I was at work as not being his sub. I just did the best I could showing respect and compassion to those needed it and determined authority to those who deserved it. Every action I took reflected on my Sir so I did my very best
    While i may have presented myself as challenging in a situation .It never altered the reality or fact I was a submissive to my Sir. Its who I am and we each as unique individuals walk through our life differently.
    So yes as a sub I found strength through the guidance and care of my Dom.
    This allowed me to do the job I do.
    No one size fits all. No set in stone life rules .
    Your Dom and you set the life rules to suit you both.

  11. Evening Xajow
    I would be grateful if I may ask a question?
    Its regarding Play Parties. I never accepted any invitations to go. My ex partner would go alone.(note I do not refer to him as my Dom as I realise now that he simply wasn’t.)
    I got a lot of pressure to go but am not comfortable with public “performances”
    I got called “silly and not a proper sub” by the
    community when we met up at Munches occasionally.
    My question is was I alone in not wishing to attend play parties or are there other folk out there who prefer not to have an audience?
    My community was small and I wasnt allowed internet access to research Bdsm other than what I was instructed by my ex. I was and still am rather green as we say over here.
    thank you

  12. I am sorry..I blame my tread mill when I run my brain gallops off to explore.
    Further to my post above -at least I hope its above.
    Is it possible that there are Doms out there who also prefer to keep things between him and his sub or is it an integrel part of a D/s relationship? I have only known D/s couples who are happy to perform.
    Thank you again…I will recite poetry to keep my brain occupied .

    • You are not alone, Freya, in not desiring to perform. Though many groups allow you to simply watch, each group has their own rules. And yes, there Dominants who would prefer to keep things more private. In any case, you are not wrong to desire to not perform publicly. Performing for an audience is not an integral part of D/s. You do not need to do so in order to be a good submissive.

  13. Phew..thank you for your response. In truth I don’t think I would like to watch either. But to each their own.
    I always thought the act and nature of my submission was a deeply personal and dare I say it almost spiritual thing between 2 people, a thing of such pure beauty.But then at that time I only had my own romantic perceptions.
    Now I am free to look at websites and blogs
    and to learn all that embodies this life style
    wide and diverse as it is. (Does one need a
    Masters in IT to traverse Fetlife?) I dont think
    I shall be revisiting.Frankly it made me a wee
    bit nervous.
    Thank you again for your insight I do
    appreciate it.

    my eyes are like saucers!!

  14. Some of these questions are all coming back to me as ones I had nagging away inside my head when I first started my journey into D/s. I am still grateful for the help and guidance of the Dominant who I first embarked on this journey with who instead of taking advantage of my lack of knowledge of the lifestyle guided me as best he could in all aspects BDSM and in other aspects of my life too. I completely relate to your impatience, Amelia in wanting to get answers to your questions and the answers provided are very helpful. As a submissive in a D/s relationship you will find yourself always battling with some question or other and might I add how strange was the wave of nostalgia that hit me while I was perusing these questions! Good luck with your Dominant and your journey and just remember that a failed relationship with a particular Dominant does not mean you are not capable of being a good submissive. It’s easy to forget that when you are young and inexperienced and new to everything. And let’s not forget that not all Dominants are forgiving of mistake after mistake! God knows I learnt that the hard way. But you live and you learn.

  15. Hello. I have a question I would like to ask..
    I recently got introduced to a Dom. He suggested we meet for a coffee to get aquainted better. He told me laughingly he has been holding “interviews”for the position of subs and has worked his way through his own weight in coffee beans.
    my question is given the dynamics and etiquette here. Would I be in order offering to pay? I am more than happy too. I should hate to displease or offend him but it seems only fair and right in this instance. Any advice and feedback appreciated. Thank you

  16. Chancing on this post occurred pretty timely. From time to time, I ask myself I’m the “right” submissive for Him. I struggle in my role, and tend to challenge the status quo sometimes. But I think it’s also important to remember why I wanted to be in this relationship in the first place… and that whatever I say or do, is a reflection of Him, whether He is present or not.

    I recently decided to write a novella, inspired by my experience as His submissive, and it challenged me to revisit my beliefs, and see how much I’ve grown under His training and nurturing. 🙂

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