The Doctrine Of The Unowned Submissive

Author: Raven Usher ©


This article is copyrighted to the stated author(s) and can not be reproduced, copied, reprinted, or posted without the consent of the author. It is used here with permission of the author..


For the unowned or unaccompanied submissive, the BDSM world, or “lifestyle” as it is commonly referred to by it’s practitioners, is ripe with pitfalls and dangers. The “Doctrine of the Unowned Submissive” has been designed to minimize those pitfalls by giving the unowned submissive a road map through the BDSM fog. What follows here is by no means a hard and fast set of rules to be followed religiously. The Doctrine is a guideline. It is a generic tool to help unowned submissives find their way safely in what can be a very harsh environment.

For most lifestylers, BDSM is a safe and fulfilling way of life. Unfortunately, because of the cloud of “forbidden passions” and “dark desires” that loom over the lifestyle, many unsavory elements are also drawn to it. These people use the cloak of BDSM to mask dangerous, and sometimes criminal, behaviors. It is for this reason that it is imperative that the submissive who is walking these dark halls alone be as fully educated as possible. BDSM can be safe and joyous. The Doctrine is intended to help the unowned submissive achieve that goal.

chapter 1

There are many things that an unowned submissive needs to keep an eye opened for within the lifestyle. Some of these pitfalls can be dangerous. Others will interfere with the submissive’s search for a mutually fulfilling Dominant/submissive (D/s) or Master/slave (M/s) relationship. Whichever the case, by falling victim to these traps, you may be set back in your journey or even prompted to leave the lifestyle all together. Remember, the Doctrine is not meant to discourage you, only to make you aware.

The first trap is the most subtle. It is a command for respect. New submissives are often pummeled with the notion that if you do not “respect” all dominants that you are not a “true submissive,” (whatever the hell that means). There are two things you must remember about respect. First: There is a very large difference between the entity of respect and the act of being respectful. Second: Dominants are just people and people (no matter who they are or what position they hold) must earn your respect.

Being respectful should be a no-brainer. No one is going to want to take on a disrespectful submissive. More to the point, disrespectful people are not any fun to be around. It is possible to be respectful to someone that you have no respect for. People do it in the business world all the time. It is also possible to be disrespectful to someone you have the greatest respect for. As long as you are unowned you need to keep your wits about you and act in a respectful way to everyone.

As far as having respect for people... they need to earn your respect. Officers in the military have to earn the respect of the men under them. Businessmen have to earn the respect of their employees. And dominants in the lifestyle must earn the respect of a submissive. M/s and D/s relationships are very much dependant on trust. You simply can not trust someone who has not earned your respect. So, do not just give your respect out blindly and especially do not just hand it over to someone who demands it. A demand for respect is the tell of someone who does not deserve it.

The most dangerous element that prowls the shadow of the BDSM lifestyle are rouge dominants. These are people who are not interested in mutually fulfilling relationships. They are out to hurt someone and have found a bountiful hunting ground by hiding on the edges of the lifestyle and preying on the unaware and inexperienced. Submissives have been seriously injured, permanently marred, and on the rare occasion even killed. The perpetrators of these injuries are rarely brought to justice because of a fear of discovery on the victim’s part. BDSM is still a very closeted lifestyle and few have the fortitude to risk exposure. So the rouge dominants often escape and are free to find new victims. The best way to avoid being victimized by a rouge dominant is to be aware and know the signs that identify them.
Rouge dominants come in all shapes and sizes and their intentions are equally varied. The most common are the players. The player rouge dominants are in a contest. They want something specific from you. BDSM is their game board and they will try to turn you into a game piece. There is a sure-fire way to ID players: Theory and practice do not match.
Players are con-artists. They talk the good talk and may even be exceptionally knowledgeable. They will use that knowledge to make you think that they are sincere and a well-rounded dominant. But when it comes time to put things in motion, there is a single, specific activity that interests them and they will continue to come back to it over and over again to the complete exclusion of any other activity. Players are not dominants. Dominants are aware of, and interested in, the wants and needs of the submissive. Players are interested only in fulfilling their own interest and have no regard for you.
“Sexual predators.” If you need that term defined for you, you are SO not ready to enter the lifestyle. I am not even sure you should be out in public for that matter. Sexual predators have one thing on their minds; sex. They will go to any length to get it. And they do not care who gets hurt in their pursuit of whatever form of sex they want. Too many sexual predators have learned that by stalking prey in BDSM they can often find quarry that will willingly allow themselves to be subdued. Once they make their prey helpless, it is too late for the unwitting submissive to save herself.
It is easy to spot sexual predators if you just keep track of what they talk about. Their conversations always come back to sex. No matter what form of BDSM the general conversation is referring to, they will manipulate it to include some sexual content. If the conversation is about serious bondage techniques, they will insert the idea of having sex with the submissive while she is bound. In a discussion about over-the-knee spanking the sexual predator will introduce the idea of having sex with a freshly reddened back-side. Sexual predators are dangerous. When they can not get what they want by persuasion and trickery, they will resort to force and violence. A rapist is a sexual predator that does not have the brains to trick a woman into his bed.
Most of the time you can avoid the attention of rouge dominants by avoiding “predator and prey syndrome.” Predator and prey syndrome starts when an unowned submissive acts helpless or lost. It is the animal kingdom at its finest. Predators target the weak and injured. A “helpless submissive” will attract the attention of rouge dominants as surely as a floundering fish will attract sharks. “Submissive” does not mean “helpless.” The two terms are not even listed as synonyms in dictionaries or thesaurus’. You should not, must not, portray yourself to be helpless at any time. If you do, you make yourself a target. If you do find yourself in the company of someone you suspect may be a rouge dominant you need to re-evaluate how you are presenting yourself. A strong submissive will find a good M/s or D/s relationship. A helpless submissive will find people who want to hurt her.

Even dominants who are sincere in their BDSM lifestyle pursuits will still attempt to use unowned submissives while avoiding any real commitment or responsibility towards them. This usually happens when the dominant is interested in playing with a new toy but does not actually want to bother with its upkeep. There is nothing wrong with negotiating a play session with a dominant that does not own you. It is a good way to fulfill a temporary need and gain valuable experience.
When the dominant expects you to be at his beckon call but does not reciprocate anything of lasting value, it is time to take a long look at the relationship. Your search for a long term meaningful M/s or D/s relationship can be seriously jeopardized by a dominant who makes a claim to you that you have not consented to. They do this by suggesting possibilities. They do not actually promise the submissive anything. They just make it seem like it could happen. You can tell that this is happening when they do not give you any specific goals or indicate a specific reward. They just want to keep you where they have ready un-obligated access to you.
One of the ways a dominant can keep an unowned submissive on the line is by using “the lure of ownership” as bait. It is a simple tactic. Find what someone desires and use it to manipulate them. Dominants know that most submissives seek ownership. So by eluding to the possibility of ownership (but never actually promising it), a dominant can build a large stable of ready submissives without having to go through the trouble of taking care of them.
Another way of doing that is to give the submissive a new name; a “submissive name.” If a dominant does not own you, he does not have the right to change your name. All too often, though, dominants give submissives names to keep them in line. The inexperienced submissive is made to believe that a new name is one of the steps towards ownership. The truth is, giving new names to unowned submissives is a control ploy. It is a trick that attempts to convince the submissive that, “you have the name I gave you, so you have to do what I say.” Do not fall for it. If you are not seriously negotiating ownership, you should not regard a new name as anything more than a playground nic-name.
The new name is not the only false promise a dominant will make to an unowned submissive he has no intention of ever owning. There are tons; way too many to try to list here. I am not trying to paint dominants as liars or being dishonest. It is just that keeping an unowned submissive or two available for play suits a dominant’s interests. So it is a good idea, from the dominant’s standpoint, to pursue it. If a submissive enjoys being part of an “unowned stable” there is no reason not to participate. It is important, however, for the submissive to understand the situation and not to allow herself to be kept in the stable by false pretences and empty promises.

There is a phenomenon in the lifestyle known as “velcro collars.” In some cases, velcro collars can come close to being mentally and emotionally abusive. They are certainly hurtful to the submissive. Putting on a collar is akin to putting on a wedding ring. It is a deep commitment. Just as many marriages fail, so do many M/s and D/s relationships. That is the nature of humanity. A velcro collar is something that is intentionally presented with a false commitment. A collar is a promise of longevity. A velcro collar is the lie of that promise.
Here is the worst part of velcro collars. It is exceptionally difficult for a submissive to identify a collar as being velcro when it is put around her neck. When they come off (and they always come off) it hurts more than any whip or cat-o-nine-tails. Velcro collars happen when an unowned submissive does not respond to the lure of ownership in a dominant’s favor. In that case, the dominant offers a fake ownership; one that he can dissolve at any time with out care or consequence to himself.
Despite being so hard to spot, there are a couple of tell tale signs that a velcro collar might be coming. The hard part is to recognize them before hand. The first one is the phrase “under consideration.” When a submissive hears this, her radar should go up. Basically, “under consideration” is a way for the dominant to make the submissive think that there may be possibly the chance of the dominant owning her sometime in the “who knows” future and he does not want her to find something better while he “weighs his options.”
An authentic training collar (often times referred to as a collar of consideration) is the trial time for deciding if actual ownership is right for both people; to see if dominant and submissive mesh correctly. The authenticity of a collar of consideration is easily established with a submission contract that outlines the conditions of the situation and the options for the future when the time period (also stated in the contract) of the collar is completed. Just being “under consideration” is a way for a selfish dominant to keep other dominants from playing with his toys while, at the same time, keeping the submissive blind to other options. Beware of counterfeit collars of consideration that have no set time limit. They are velcro collars.
The other sign of impending velcro is when a dominant “ear marks” a submissive. This can be hard for the submissive spot. Ear marks are intended to dissuade other dominants from getting involved with the target submissive. The dominant doing the ear marking most likely will not let the submissive know she has been ear marked. When other dominants begin to routinely ask a submissive, “Aren’t you with (name)?” she can be fairly certain she’s been ear marked. The best way to counter an ear mark is to answer that question with a resounding, “No,” and then reiterating your unowned status. If a dominant is not willing to make a commitment to you, he does not have the right to interfere with another dominant seeking you out.

Sometimes someone will try to falsely convince an unowned submissive that she has some kind of obligation to take part in something. This is usually attempted by using the “I did something for you so now you have to do this for me” ploy. It is like the opening scene of the Godfather; “Some day, and this day may never come, I’ll call on you to do me a favor.” Excrement! First of all, that day always comes. Second of all, unless a trade of services is negotiated before hand, unowned submissives do not owe anybody anything. Unowned submissives should regard anyone that tries to convince them otherwise as a player.
Unowned means no obligation outside negotiated terms. If a dominant wants an unowned submissive to submit to him, he needs to cut the deal before anything else happens. And guess what, the unowned submissive is the one who gets to dictate the conditions of the deal. Do ONLY what has been negotiated and ONLY for the length of time negotiated. At the end of a negotiated play session, the dominant’s claim to the submissive ends. Do not allow a dominant to make you think you owe him anything just because he participated. It does not matter how much time, money, planning or effort went into the session. As long as the submissive held up her end of the bargain, that is it. Obligation ended.

The “party favor” syndrome sneaks up on unowned submissives. Unowned submissives have the advantage of being able to play however they want with whomever they want. Being unowned, there is nobody to restrict how active they are in their pursuit of lifestyle pleasures. When the unowned submissive has the added advantage of operating in an organized group or club that provides a safe environment, it becomes easy to get overly involved.
It stacks up like this: The unowned submissive has free reign to attend any party and to participate in any activity. All too soon she is suddenly attending all the parties and is a key figure in most of the activities. At that point, she becomes a party favor. Some submissives like being party favors. If that is what they want, more power to them.
For the unowned submissive who is seeking a M/s or D/s relationship, being a party favor works hard to her disadvantage. Used submissives are in the same class as used cars. The more mileage it has, the less valuable it is. Refurbishing a submissive is harder than retooling a car. There are few dominants that will want to take the time or trouble to turn a party favor into a viable submissive or slave. Educating a submissive takes time and effort. Re-education compounds it.

The final caution is something that nearly all submissives have had a problem with at one time or another; addressing inappropriate behavior of a dominant. This is one of the greatest disadvantages of being unowned. If a dominant acts inappropriately to an owned submissive, she can report it to the dominant who owns her. It is then his responsibility to address it. Unowned submissives do not have that safety catch. That lack of protection often prompts a dominant to act in a way with an unowned submissive that he would not attempt with an owned submissive. That is not acceptable and unowned submissives should not tolerate it.
The problem is that submissives, especially unowned submissives, get bombarded with the idea that they should not talk back to dominants. Too often that idea makes unowned submissives allow dominants to take liberties they have no right to take. Dominants often defend this bad behavior by making a claim that they are “testing a submissive’s ability to submit.” That is a predatory tactic.
Unowned submissives need to draw a line of acceptable conduct and confront anyone that crosses that line regardless of how uncomfortable they may be doing it. This is particularly important when it comes to dominants. Allowing someone to interact with you in an inappropriate manner makes you look helpless and kicks in the “predator and prey” syndrome which will attract rouge dominants who will act even more inappropriately. If a dominant does not own you, he does not have the right to choose how he is going to interact with you. Self preservation starts with setting your own rules and sticking to them.

chapter 2

Unowned submissives have special concerns and considerations that owned submissives and slaves do not have to worry about. For the owned, the dominant assumes many responsibilities for the care and well being of the submissive. Not having that support to rely on is the main disadvantage of being unowned. The unowned are on their own. To successfully navigate through the BDSM lifestyle, the unowned need to keep a number of extra philosophies in mind.

Although obedience is a goal of all submissives, the unowned need to remember that they do not owe obedience to anyone. Obedience is a toll paid to the owner of a submissive. You do not pay a toll when you are not on a toll road. An unowned submissive may choose to offer her obedience to someone. That is, after all, a major goal of D/s and M/s relationships. No dominant has the right to demand obedience from an unowned submissive. If this kind of demand, or expectation, is being made to an unowned submissive she should back away from the person making the demand.
On the other side of that same coin, neither does an unowned submissive owe allegiance to anyone. One of the many advantages of being unowned is being able to choose which side of any issue you want to support. The unowned can pick and choose her own friends and acquaintances. When a dominant tries to dictate who an unowned submissive is allowed to associate with, that constitutes the “cutting from the herd” phase of predator and prey syndrome. There is an old saying, “When one person warns you against another, be on your guard... against the person who warned you.”

Unowned submissives also have rights that owned submissives do not enjoy. The strongest of these is “the right of refusal.” Yes, you read that right. Unowned submissives get to say, “No.” As an unowned submissive, you are the only one allowed and able to set limits for what you will or will not do. If there is anything that you are not comfortable with, that you consider unsafe or that you just plain do not want to do... refuse. Say “no.” Anyone that tries to convince an unowned submissive that she can not say “no” is either a player or a predator. In which case, the submissive should say “no” to everything that person suggests.
Unowned submissives should never play or participate in any activity that is demanded of them. Unowned submissives participate by request, not by demand. Only an owner has the right to demand action from a submissive. No ownership = no demand. Even if the submissive enjoys what is being demanded, she should still refuse the demand. By obeying the demand, the submissive sets a president of unearned obedience. Even a single display of this can trigger predator/prey sensors of rouge dominants. It is a weakness they can exploit. Unowned submissives have the right to negotiate every request made of them and refuse unwanted aspects. Do not give this right away.
Self preservation is not only a right of the unowned submissive, it is an important responsibility. “Unowned” often is synonymous with “unaided.” This means the unowned submissive has only herself to rely upon for safety. You should not, by any action or remission of action, allow yourself to be placed in a situation that makes you feel even the least bit unsafe. The whole of this Doctrine has been written with the intent of giving unowned submissives a tool they can use to establish a means of self preservation. In a nutshell; if you do not feel safe, you are not safe. So fix it.
An effective way of maintaining a good level of safety is to operate within a group/club/organization that offers a safe environment to its members. It is another rule of nature: there is safety in numbers. Groups can ID rouge dominants better than individuals. Clubs offer valuable education that can prevent a misstep. Organizations will have operating procedures in place that offer extra safety. Just because a submissive is unowned, it does not mean she has to be alone. Find friends, advisors, people who have proven themselves trustworthy. These people can not only make your journey safer but a whole lot more fun.

Submission is a precious commodity. If it was available on the stock exchange it would out-price gold. As with any commodity, buyers will do anything they can to get a deal on the price. They want to buy low and sell high. Unfortunately, the only way to “buy low” is to try to make the unowned submissive believe her value is lower than it actually is or to even try to convince her she has no value at all.
Submissiveness DOES NOT equal worthlessness. If it did, dominants would not expend so much time or energy on submissives. In a 24/7 M/s relationship, the submissive has all her needs provided for her. Everything from clothes and food to a place to live are given to her in exchange for her submission. For M/s and D/s relationships that are not 24/7, the level of that exchange varies with the conditions of the relationship. Either way, it is a serious investment in time, energy and often money on the part of the dominant. If submission had no value, they would not bother.
One of the ways of trying to convince an unowned submissive that she is devalued is by using humiliation play in a harmful manner. It is a common tactic of rouge dominants. There is nothing wrong with humiliation play as long as it remains play. When the humiliation tactics leave the confines of a play session and begin to attack real life self esteem, they become a predatory tool. The unowned submissive that consents to humiliation play must remember that it is not a personal value assessment. When a dominant’s humiliation tactics begin to linger outside the play space, it is time to break off contact with that dominant.
It is very common for submissives, owned and unowned, to be labeled with terms like “bitch,” “slut,” “whore,” and worse. Many times they are referred to as “it.” This is intended to remove undue pride. Unowned submissives must be sure to maintain a high level of self-respect. It is a priority for maintaining healthy mental and emotional states. One of the best ways to keep your self-esteem at a high level is to take pride in the labels. Play little games with yourself. i.e.: “I’m not a bitch. I’m the bitch and it’s Miss Bitch to you.” “Yes, I am a whore. But you couldn’t afford me with a year’s salary.” These types of games remove the negative connotations from the terms that some dominants might use to deflate your self esteem. Yes, many submissives are bitches, sluts and whores... and we’re damn proud of it! So you stay proud of yourself, Miss Unowned Submissive. Wear your unowned status like a badge of honor.

Unowned submissives need to hone their communication skills to a fine edge. Every negotiated play session requires good communication to set proper limits. Finding the right M/s or D/s relationship will require massive communications just getting to know a perspective partner. And the ultimate negotiation of a submission contract will take communication that will directly affect you for the whole length of the contract. This is not just a high school teacher preaching about skills needed for the future. This is your life. And as a BDSM submissive, your life has very specific aspects that that need a great deal of attention. The average person does not have to think about being bruised over a large area of their body on a regular basis for the pleasure of someone else. BDSM submissives do.
Self preservation, self-esteem, personal value and safety are also dependant on how well an unowned submissive educates herself. If you have read this far into the Doctrine, you obviously have some interest in learning and education. That is a good thing. Do not lose that, ever. You cannot be safe from danger by remaining ignorant to its existence. There are many resources for learning in the lifestyle; books, internet sites, people willing to teach. Unowned submissives, more than any other people involved in BDSM, need to take full advantage of every resource. They are the ones facing the most danger. Dominants do not have predators vying for a chance to hurt them. Owned submissives have protection. Unowned submissives’ success relies fully on their own knowledge.

chapter 3

The best way to avoid the “helpless submissive” persona is to interact with people in the BDSM lifestyle in a manner that is socially acceptable within the confines of that lifestyle. The lifestyle is very structured. One of the key ways to identify a newcomer is by observing behavior that does not conform to lifestyle protocols. Getting a definite grip on protocol can be difficult because there are no set standards. Protocols vary from group to group and even from person to person.
Ultimately it is the responsibility of the dominant to set down the rules of protocol for the submissive he owns. Those protocols will set the groundwork for all rules that the submissives will be required to live by during her ownership. This leaves the unowned submissive at an obvious disadvantage. Being unowned, she has no one to set down any rules of conduct (protocols) for her. Without protocols she is an easy mark to make as being inexperienced. Luckily, since there are no hard and fast protocol rules for the lifestyle, the unowned submissive can adopt some generic protocols that most people involved with the BDSM lifestyle will acknowledge, accept and respect.

Protocols deal with behavior. They set a social norm of how people interact with one another. In the BDSM lifestyle, the protocols are much more strict than in standard society. All one’s inter-personal interactions will either be made or broken depending on how well one can adhere to acceptable protocols.
Protocol really is not a mystery. The best way to begin is to go back to kindergarten and take a refresher course on common courtesies. Mark Twain said, “Common sense ain’t all that common.” Well it seems that in the beginning of the 21st century common courtesy is not any more common. So go back to the basics. Being courteous and receptive to courtesy goes a long way.
Simple politeness is more valuable than can be accurately described. I know you probably think it is silly to actually say that. But the number of impolite and inconsiderate people head-butting their way through the lifestyle with no idea about why they can not connect for any length of time is astounding. Be nice. Any child who ever went out to play has heard their mother say, “Be polite and play nice.” Interacting with others in the lifestyle is a good time to do just that.
Since we are re-hashing things our mothers told us... watch your language! Yes it is true that the BDSM lifestyle very often involves heavy sexual content. That is no reason to saturate you speaking with all the words that have been deemed not appropriate for public broadcast by the FCC. Vulgarity for the mere sake of being vulgar is ugly. More to the point, it is not polite. Most to the point, it is not necessary. Sexual content can be discussed without degrading to vulgarities and offensive language. Yes, sometimes “fuck” is the proper word. But it should not be the single most common adjective in your vocal repertoire.
While you are being polite and watching your language, pay attention when others are talking. There go those kindergarten rules again. One sure-fire way to annoy and aggravate a dominant is to make him repeat himself. One sure-fire way to annoy and aggravate a dominant is to make him repeat himself. One sure-fire way to annoy and aggravate a dominant is to make him repeat himself. See how annoying that is? Dominants get very use to having their wills attended to swiftly. It is a punishable offence for an owned submissive to miss something that is said to her due to inattentiveness. As an unowned submissive searching for a M/s or D/s relationship, you need to display that you are capable of as high a level of attention as any owned submissive.

The Doctrine touched early on the importance of acting in a respectful manner. It is here, in the protocols, where that comes into play. When dealing with dominants, the unowned submissive should act with respect without obligation. There is that word “obligation” again. Remember, unowned submissives are not obligated to anyone. So neither you nor a dominant should imply obligation by your respectful actions. If a dominant politely asks you to fetch a drink, by all means do so. If he tells you to get it, stay where you are. An unowned submissive’s politeness is not a declaration of service. Politeness is a two-way street. The unowned submissive has every right to expect it from dominants.

When an unowned submissive does speak with a dominant, she should use titles that do not imply ownership. The safest titles are “Sir” for men and “Ma’am” for women. It is rare for a dominant to take offence at either of those terms. Do not use a dominant’s proper name unless it is made clear that it is ok to do so. Generally speaking, the best thing to do is to refer to a dominant with the term they are introduced to you with. Not all women like “Ma’am.” So if you are introduced to “Lady (name)” call her by the title, “Lady.”
The exceptions are titles that imply ownership. The two biggest of those are “Master” and “Mistress.” Any other term that feels like an implication of ownership should be avoided also. A master owns someone. So if an unowned submissive calls a man “Master” when speaking to him, it implies his ownership. That is a bad thing. Most dominants will act on the implication and attempt to take liberties that are not their due, even if it is a subconscious reaction. If you offer a dominant ownership you can not be surprised when he takes it. Do not make the offer.

A big pit-fall in protocol that many new and inexperience submissives fall into is not asking for permission to interact with others. Dominants have the right to decide who they will allow to talk to them. When an unowned submissive approaches a dominant for the first time, it is a good idea to start with something along the line of, “May I speak with you?” It is a great way to start off with a respectful demeanor and dominants will notice the effort. Once a dominant has given an unowned submissive permission for open conversation it’s not generally necessary to ask again. Unless the dominant has rescinded that permission for some reason.
Dominants also have the right to dictate who the submissives they own are allowed to talk to. If an owned submissive talks to you, it is a good bet she has permission to do so. When in doubt ASK. Most of the time you can ask the submissive. All owned submissives know who they can and cannot talk to. If however the unowned submissive wishes to catch the attention of the dominant, it is a good idea to ask the dominant for permission to talk to the submissive he owns.

This next protocol is a silent expression of respectful behavior. It is very simple, but the number of submissives, owned and unowned, who forget it is staggering. Submissives should keep their heads lower than dominants‘. It is like saluting officers in the military. It is a gesture that acknowledges their position as dominants. Of course, if the submissive is a six and a half foot Amazon of a woman exceptions will be made when she and the dominant are both standing.
This is so laughably simple it borders on incomprehension that so many submissives forget it. Submissive should not be on a higher level than the dominant. If the dominant is standing, the submissive should feel free to stand.
If the dominant is sitting, the submissive should sit. Where a submissive should sit is not always clear. It is a widely accepted “rule” of protocol that submissives should not sit on furniture unless given permission to do so. But it is not universal. Check in your area to be sure. If the dominant is sitting on the floor (which is rare) then the submissive should be on the floor as well. In a nutshell, do not stand up to talk to a dominant that is not standing.

Kneeling. Submissives spend a lot of time on their knees, owned more than unowned. Kneeling, when to do it, and to whom to do it for can be very tricky. To start with, let us define exactly what kneeling means in the BDSM lifestyle. 1) It is an act of respect. By kneeling in front of a dominant the submissive is acknowledging the dominant’s rank. 2) It is a show of submission. Kneeling is the submissive’s declaration that she is indeed submissive. You will never see a dominant on his knees without a gun to his head.
Now let us look at what kneeling is not. 1) It is NOT mandatory for the unowned submissive. Being unowned gives a submissive the right to decide to whom she is going to be submissive towards. That means she also decides to whom she kneels to and whom she does not. 2) If the unowned submissive does choose to kneel, it is NOT a declaration of servitude. Just because an unowned submissive kneels to show her respect, she is not tossing out everything the Doctrine has covered to this point. Dominants should consider it a gift of respect when unowned submissives kneel to them.

Finally, a few words on what can be a confusing aspect of the BDSM lifestyle; switches. Switches are people who play both sides of the dominant/submissive fence. They literally “switch” from one role to the other according to their desires. This does not mean that their submission or dominance is any less valid than anyone else’s. It just means that you have to guess what mode they are in from day to day.
For the unowned submissive, switches can pose some trepidation about what is the proper way to interact with them. It is a question with a simple answer. Unowned submissives should regard switches and interact with them the same as they would a dominant. Afford switches all the protocols and politeness that you give to dominants. This is done for one specific reason. Sooner or later there could be a chance that the switch will take the dominant position in a play session with you. That play session will go a lot smoother and be much more rewarding if the dominant/submissive protocols have already been established.

Here ends the lesson.







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