have spent a lot of time discussing with others through chats, real life,
discussion lists and posting forums, what makes a good submissive. What
marks a submissive from a player or wannabe. Through these discussions
and my personal experiences I have been able to compile the following
list of traits. I list the ones that were repeatedly told to me or in
my experience seemed to be desired by a majority of dominants. From my
personal life experiences, I feel that almost all of these traits are
what makes a good person not just a successful submissive.
Many of these things intertwine
with each other. But all are my personal beliefs of what makes a good
submissive as well as a good person. Most of these can be applied to
any relationship, not just those within BDSM. I list them in alphabetical
order for ease of reading.
This is the ability to see and accept
yourself for who and what you are, be they your good points or your
bad ones. This includes knowing your limitations yet keeping the thought
that things can change and knowing you will change as well. This is
the ability to let yourself be who you are, to take pride and pleasure
in the person you are, and not lose that acceptance because someone
said you are not what you know you are.
This is the ability to talk openly
and honestly about what is in your heart and mind, your opinions and
beliefs, your needs vs. your wants, your responses or reactions, basically
to be able to talk about everything. This ability also calls into play
the honesty of the submissive and the dominant. Once open communication
has been established it should remain that way and will do so provided
the submissive does not stop communicating honestly. To not communicate
is to endanger yourself physically (as well as emotionally). Communication
need not always be verbal. Just so long as what you need to say to your
partner, gets said to them, then the lines of communication stay open.
For example, you may find a particular topic easier to write about in
your journal and thus "tell" your partner that way. This is
Courtesy (aka Manners):
This one is
fairly self explanatory but many people have asked me for specifics
on courtesy. Since the specifics of this
one vary with each relationship, I will only address general manners.
It is the ability
to show proper courtesy by using please and thank you, addressing people
with general respect and courtesy.
This is another whose specifics
vary with each relationship, but is basically the ability to not appear
stilted or halting in your movements. I'm not sure this one is of major
importance to many people, but I list it here anyway as it has come
up frequently. Of course this may be affected by physical limitations
that will reduce its importance.
The ability to grow within yourself,
look for and attain new goals. Be these mental, emotional or physical
goals. The ability to continue to grow and sharpen your abilities is
very important as it prevents the relationship from stagnating, helps
you to grow as a submissive and thus discover new ways to please or
serve your dominant.
Personally I feel this shouldn't
need to be said, but there are far too many people who lack honesty
so it has to be said. Honesty is the ability to speak up, be open and
truthful about what you say. Don't hide your emotions, fears, limits,
fantasies, ideas and thoughts. Don't tell the dominant what you think
he/she wants to hear. A successful submissive is an honest person, one
who does not lie, deceive, or intentionally manipulate. Honesty builds
trust. Trust is the basis of a relationship. To lie, breaks down the
trust and therefore the relationship by removing it's very foundation.
This is basically the ability
to see yourself as fallible. A successful submissive knows they will
make mistakes; that they are not perfect. A successful submissive admits
his/her mistakes, and strives to correct them. Giving off an attitude
of being better than anyone else, is not a desired trait. Having a sense
of pride is good, but humility is necessary to prevent one from being
By intelligence I don't mean book smart, the ability to do long involved
mathematical equations or pull apart and rebuild a computer. As it applies
to a successful submissive intelligence is the ability to think for
themselves. The ability to make informed decisions about who to submit
to and just how far their submission goes. The ability to take the time
to learn their partner outside the roles of dominant and submissive,
to learn them as the person they are, their likes and dislikes. The
ability to learn what pleases their dominant and remember those things.
This is a very important trait
in a submissive. It is the ability to uphold your dominants rules over
anyone else. A successful submissive will not act in a manner that will
raise doubts about his/her commitment to their dominant. It is upholding
your end of the agreement made with your partner to the best of your
abilities. This can also mean standing by your partner when difficulties
arise. This tends to come hand in hand with commitment and both are
necessary for a long term relationship to survive.
This is exactly what is in every
day life, the ability to do what you are told. Within a power exchange
relationship this means willingly following the terms of your dominant
and doing what you are told. Willing obedience is pleasing to the submissive
as well as the dominant. This can directly relate to the person's submissiveness.
A submissive does not obey because they fear their dominant, they obey
because they have an intense need to please the dominant. This does
not mean blind obedience (never question anything). Specifics
regarding obedience do vary with each relationship, but obeying
one's dominant is part of a power exchange relationship and is expected.
This is the ability to view things
with as little preset prejudice as possible. To maintain the ability
to learn new things and be open to trying something new or different.
It directly compliments Growth.
That is the ability to wait
for things. Being pushy is aggravating. This does not mean to push your
most urgent needs aside, but to learn the difference between what is
a necessity and what is not and to convey these things to the dominant.
Pride: (self respect, self esteem)
This does not mean be arrogant,
just the knowledge of your ability. Having a sense of pride in your
abilities shows that you have a healthy sense of self esteem and your
whole identity does not rely on another's point of view. A good submissive
values themselves and respects their own limits. A solid sense of self
esteem is a necessity for a submissive or they can become co-dependent
upon the dominant, relying on the dominant for their own mental picture
of themselves. Humility is part of this as well.
The ability to show respect through
one's tone of voice, manners and general attitude. A sub must respect
their dom (unless it is destroyed) and be respectful to others. This
goes along with manners. Showing respect to one's dominant should be
at all times, and not just when the submissive feels like it. Yes, we
have arguments in these relationships, but a submissive should strive
to maintain a respectful demeanor even during such times.
Willingly completing tasks (sexual
or otherwise) set for you by your dominant. As well to apply your observations
to the things you do to please your dominant. Service usually points
to those things outside of sexual ones and play (sessions). Such things
as housework, cooking, and other things designed to make the home of
the dominant more pleasing to him/her. Service can include tasks set
for you by the dominant which do not fall under household chores. Perhaps
the household budgeting is one task the dominant sets upon you, cooking
his/her favorite meal, and many other things can be service. Basically
anything done with the direct intent to please the dominant in some
manner can be seen as service.
This can be taught or an inherent
personality trait. This is the need to please others and by doing so
pleasing yourself. As well, it is the ability to give in (so to speak)
to another's control and feel content doing so. Submissiveness as a
learned behavior does occur in bdsm relationships. This usually happens
as the submissive gains experience and thus grows in their submission.
However, if a person has to learn to submit against their natural inclinations
not to, then submission is probably not for them.
A submissive must be able to trust
themselves, the choices they make and be able to trust others. An overly
wary or closed submissive, will have a more difficult time attaining
a good relationship with a dominant. Being able to trust your instincts
is necessary for a submissive, specially when looking for a dominant
because your instincts will often tell you if something is not right.
Listen to them because to ignore them can be dangerous.