What Makes a Good Submissive?

topic posted Sun, January 15, 2006 - 7:51 PM by  Unsubscribed
Just wondering if anyone has some good information on this topic too?

I have a lot to learn yet, I realize, about how to be a good Submissive and how to be self-disciplined in some regards whether it is for a no-strings attached training experience, a playful friendship that results in a certain amount of bonding and hitting-it-off, on up to developing a full-fledged Master/slave relationship or at least some sort of exclusive one for however long it lasts.

I also realize that if one doesn't have enough experience or is playing with others who are unexperienced as well, someone can maybe get hurt. A Master told me that yesterday and I guess I can understand that. There has been some confusion for me beginning to play with someone who is in an unhappy relationship and who I awakened something in and vice versa but now we have to cool it for emotional reasons, I think. I am not sure.

That is the thing for me as well. I am generally a soulful, emotional person and I wonder if learning to be a good Submissive will help me in making my experiences more comfortable and less confusing for me.
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  • Unsu...
    Here is something I was directed to about levels of submission. This clarifies things more for me about the limits and freedoms of each situation. I actually have interests in seeing if being a full-time live in consensual slave would be for me at all. It would be bizarre if I actually enjoyed having my free time controlled that much though.

    9 Levels of Submission

    By Diane Vera 

    (these are not rigid definitions of submission)


    Not into servitude, humiliation or giving up control; just pain and/or spiced-up sensuality, on the masochist's own terms and for the masochist's own direct pleasure (i.e. turned on solely/mainly by one's own bodily sensations rather than by being "used" to gratify one's partner's sadism). 

    Not into even playing "slave," but into other "submissive" role-playing, e.g. schoolteacher scenes, infantilism, "forced" transvestism. Usually into humiliation, but NOT into servitude, even in play. Dictates the scene to a large degree. 

    Likes to play at being a slave; likes to feel subservient; may in some cases like to feel one is being "used" to gratify partner's sadism; may even really serve the dominant in some ways, but only on the "slave's" own terms. Dictates the scene to a large degree; often fetishistic (e.g. foot worshippers). 

    Really gives up control (only temporarily and within agreed-upon limits), but gets her/his main satisfaction from aspects of submission other than serving or being used by the dominant. Usually turned on by suspense, vulnerability, and/or giving up responsbility. Doesn't dictate the scene except in very general terms, but still seek mainly her/his own direct/pleasure (rather than getting one's pleasure mainly from pleasing the dominant). 

    Really gives up control (though only temporarily; only during brief "scenes" and within limits) and gets main satisfaction from serving/being used by dominant-but only for FUN purposes, usually erotic. May/may not be into pain. If so, is turned on by pain indirectly, i.e. enjoys being the object of one's partner's sadism, on which the submissive places very few requirements or restrictions. 

    Really gives up control (usually within limits); wants to serve and be used by the dominant; wants to provide practical/non erotic as well as fun/erotic services; but only when the "slave" is in the mood. May even act as a full-time slave for, say, several days at a time, but is free to quit at any time (or at the end of the agreed upon several days). May or may not have long-term relationship with one's Mistress, but, either way, the "slave" has the final say over when she will serve. 

    Has an ongoing commitment to an owner/slave relationship and regards oneself as the dominant's property at all times. Wants to obey and please dom(me) in all aspects of life-practical/non erotic and fun/erotic. Devotes most of time to other commitments (e.g. job) but Dom(me) has first pick of the slave's free time. 

    Within no more than a few broad limits/requirements, the slave regards herself/himself as existing solely for the Dom(me)'s pleasure/well being. Slave in turn expects to be regarded as a prized possession. Not much different from the situation of the traditional housewife, except that within the S/M world the slave's position is more likely to be fully consensual, especially of the slave is male. Within the S/M world, a full time "slave" arrangement is entered into with an explicit awareness of the magnitude carefully, with more awareness of the magnitude of power that is being given up, and hence is usually entered into much more carefully, with more awareness of the possible dangers, and with much clearer and more specific agreements than usually precede the traditional marriage. 

    A common fantasy ideal which probably doesn't exist in real life (except in authoritarian religious cults and other situations where the "consent" is induced by brainwashing and/or social or economic pressures, and hence isn't fully consensual). A few S/M purists will insist that you aren't really a slave unless you're willing to do absolutely anything for your Dom(me), with no limits at all. I've met a few people who claimed to be no-limit slaves, but in all cases I have reason to doubt the claim. 


    "9 Levels of Submission" Copyright 1984 and 1988, Diane Vera 


    • Wiley,

      I think that "9 Levels of Submission" is best viewed as a sort of description of *some* of the different ways submission may manifest itself for different people, and should be taken more as a tongue-in-cheek comment on the wide variation in ways people "do" submission than anything else. I occasionally refer a prospective dom to it to point out somewhat of a description of how I am.

      What it definitely should *not* be viewed as is any sort of indicator of the relative value or "rightness" of any particular style, especially in regards to how it relates to any other. Being better described by level 9 is *not* inherently better than being at level one. It shouldn't be viewed as a ranking in that sense.

      We are each different, and it is necessary to figure out for ourselves what style our own submission will take. One dom's ideal submissive will be another's complete nightmare. So to will one submissive's idea of how to be a good submissive differ wildly from another's.

      Thus, to a certain extent, what defines a "good submissive" is pretty much subjective - and up to each person, and their dom of the moment. What works for one dom might not work at all for another. There is no such thing as a single "ideal" submissive.

      That said, I think we can make some general statements that a submissive is willing to actually give up the power to the dom, be it for a scene or a whole relationship. Usually, people speak about showing respect in one way or another, and again, exactly what that looks like is going to vary. Some people are into formal rituals and specifically prescribed ways of addressing the dom and behaving, others are considerably more informal.

      Often, some sort of "service" is involved, which I put in quotation marks simply because definitions of what constitutes service vary wildly from being indistinguishable from a housekeeper running a huge household to a valued employee, to just giving sexual "service", perhaps as simple as giving the dom a blowjob whenever he wants it. Some subs wait on their doms hand and foot, literally even bathing them; the possibilities are all over the map. It's all in what works for the both of you.

      She should be responsible, have power of her own (how else can you give it away if you don't have any to start with?), and generally have probably most of the better character traits we look for in doms.

      There are others, of course, but I'm tired, so for the moment, I'll just agree with the recommendation to read _The Bottoming Book_, suggest you also read _The Topping Book_ so you can get more of a perspective on what tops look for in submissives, and point you towards the Castle Realm website at .

      You need to figure out the sorts of things you would enjoy doing, the ones you absolutely would not do under any circumstances, and then be prepared to learn you've got it all backwards in the end, and to find out that you actually love things you thought you would hate and vice versa, once you are introduced to them <g>. Good submissives do know themselves well, but are also open to learning.

      • Unsu...
        I think that post after my first one was a bit misleading to my train of thought on what being a good submissive is about, though it provided me guidelines as to the different types of submission. I am a person who is working on my own boundary system right now in levels in my life other than BDSM and I think this would be useful to define what I want or how I might develop.

        I think it is a good way, as you said, to point out to a Dom how you might be functioning as a submissve at any given time.
      • good thread. i think those 9 levels of submissiveness are useful for illustrating the variety of attitudes a submissive may take. of course there may be grey areas between them, and they are certainly not ranked in order of desirability. every dom desires different things in a sub. i think my ideal sub would be level 4 or 5. i guess you could rank domination in a similar way. perhaps i'm a level 4 or 5 dom, so to speak.
        • >> i think those 9 levels of submissiveness are useful for illustrating the variety of attitudes a submissive may take. of course there may be grey areas between them, and they are certainly not ranked in order of desirability. <<

          Exactly, which is why I really prefer giving my own description of where I stand on a variety of relevant issues, rather than trying to give someone else's description of a "type" and try to fit myself into one of a specific handful.

          In the end, none of the labels matter a whit. It's all about finding someone whose needs and desires complement your own, no matter what combination you have.

    • Sounds ytoo much like a progression to me. I honestly don't believe there is ONE TWOO WAY and the whole concept of levels of submission just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

      As to what makes a good sub. This totally is up to you and your Dom to define.

      Personally I think I have a pretty damn good one.
      Is she into service?.... Nope
      Is she a brat?... Yep
      Is she at times ill behaved?.... yep
      Does she absolutely adore me? Definately

      The reality is though she is the person she is and compliments me well.. So for me she is a good submissive. She would likely make other Doms nuts.

      I do not do well with subs that are too service oriented. I am independent and like doing things for myself. This is a bad thing for a service sub because it makes her feel un needed and unwanted.

      I like to play with Pain sluts but would not have them full time because my sadistic streak is tuned to screams and complaints. To elicit the reponse I want with a pain slut would likely place them in a position that could cause real harm. Not something I desire.

      The best you can likely do is communicate <yep that word again> with your Dom in terms of what he wants who you are what you want and see where those lines cross and coincide.

      • Unsu...
        Thanks for sharing that, JSin. I am finding that communication is absolutely necessary and I have already been required to communicate with my Dom (as he was with me) on some pretty deep levels that I don't think would have been able to occur in a vanilla sexual relationship.

        I think being able to mature this way is essential for me to become a good submissive - the kind I want to be, who is closer to my real self than someone made up or not being honest about particular things that come up during the adventure.
  • So far, in my experience, I think people make the best submissives. I've tried domming wooden spoons and barbie dolls, but it's just not the same.
    • teamnoir wrote:
      >"I've tried domming wooden spoons and barbie dolls"<

      Yeah tried it too... The spoiled little plastic cunt won't do a damn thing I say. Though the use of a propane torch on her does hold some appeal.

      • Unsu...
        >"I've tried domming wooden spoons and barbie dolls"<

        "Yeah tried it too... The spoiled little plastic cunt won't do a damn thing I say. Though the use of a propane torch on her does hold some appeal."

        LMAO. I had a boyfriend at age 14 (also 14) who had a bit of a dominant streak in him right off and he made "Barbie with a Darby" - gave her a mohawk and did things to her nipples (you have to imagine those on a barbie actually) and what he did to Grow-up Skipper is unmentionable.
  • Being a good submissive is such a subjective thing...

    Many people don't believe I am a good submissive at all. I have a serious mouth on me and I am very irreverent. Those who pay attention notice that when I am told to do something I do it immediately though. I am extremely service-oriented in general. Anyone who wants a more passive/less mouthy person thinks I suck though.

    Taste is relative. :)
    • Yes.. I'd agree with's Relative...

      I've had very limited experience --- however.. one constant that is extremely important is communication.

      It's important for emotional and physical safety.. as well as the development of the bdsm relationship.
      • >> however.. one constant that is extremely important is communication. <<


        Which brings me to the concept of "transparency". Most people feel that being "transparent" is one of the most important traits of a good submissive. This means you communicate absolutely *everything* that is going on with you, good, bad, or indifferent, no matter how painful or embarassing it might be to say. And you do it in a timely fashion, not put things off forever.

        The point of this, of course, is that the dom needs that feedback in order to keep the sub safe and the whole relationship heading in the direction he wants it to head. It also helps reinforce the whole power exchange on a variety of levels, and can be very hot in and of itself.

        • Unsu...
          I think this is also important in regards to safe or at least safer sex, especially where people are in a lifestyle that is as open-minded and adventurous as this one.

          This could make for a whole new topic, but if I decide to start or continue a relationship with a Dom, I need to be very vocal about safer and safe sex and then waiting for the rewards of being fluid bonded - and then trusting that he understands he isn't going to be putting me at any risk of getting HIV or something as equally damaging to my health - or his.

          I have been reading on having safer to extremely safe sex and how fun it can be even though the idea immediately seems to conjure up visions of dampening the mood (no pun intended). I would like to be involved in this life and this lifestyle for many years to come.

          I often wonder too if this lifestyle for some fosters an almost complete disregard for health consequences after a while or if it actually and paradoxically heightens the need to feel physically safe from disease via being able to connect with the wonder of one's own body and spirit in such a magnificently almost ritual way?
          • >> I often wonder too if this lifestyle for some fosters an almost complete disregard for health consequences after a while or if it actually and paradoxically heightens the need to feel physically safe from disease via being able to connect with the wonder of one's own body and spirit in such a magnificently almost ritual way? <<

            Good question, and I don't know that I know the answer - or that there even *is* just one answer that applies to most. I've certainly seen everything from people who flat out refuse to have sex with anyone they haven't known practically forever and only in a mongamous context to those who completely blow off the whole notion of safe sex altogether.

            The one thing I *do* think is probably true is that perhaps more people at least *discuss* the subject, both of sex and of protection, than maybe do in a vanilla context. I see just as much ignorance of the realities of many STDs, though.

    • Unsu...
      Interesting. That makes total sense as no one is perfect, oviously, though to me being submissive is also about pleasing a person and not just sexually.
      I have learned recently that I am a mind-slut and I think that will help clarify some of this and allow me to explore what I feel is required for my own development.

      I am very interested in having a good training experience though don't know if I would be able to give up certain parts of myself or certain forms of control. This is where more communication comes in before the experience is played out.

      Yes, "taste" (and "good") are relative and there is no way to be all things to anyone, even if you are there just for an hour to play.

      I am glad I started this one because what came out is that the important thing is Communication. I look forward to seeing how this lifestyle is going to help develop my ability to communicate with my partner and know that a lot of communication might become telepathic in certain cases.
      • >> I am very interested in having a good training experience though don't know if I would be able to give up certain parts of myself or certain forms of control. This is where more communication comes in before the experience is played out. <<

        It's also where taking things one step at a time comes into play. Many newbies run into more trouble with trying to do too much too soon, myself included. It's especially difficult when *both* are new. It can be done; it's just more challenging.

        Some things probably *shouldn't* be given up control of at an early stage, though, and would be more appropriate later. What's appropriate at what point will, of course, differ from person to person, at least to a certain extent. I personally don't feel it would *ever* be appropriate for a sub in a new D/s relationship to turn over all her money and assets to a dom or give him complete say in where she lives, what she does for a living, etc., for example. If you wouldn't give over control of something to a partner in a new vanilla relationship, it's probably better left for later in a D/s relationship as well.

        It takes time to build the trust necessary for any D/s relationship, and the more all-encompassing you envision that to be, the more time it will take to build to the point of being willing and able to give up control of more and more. The more reluctance you have to give up control over a particular area, the longer it might take to bring you around to it appropriately. Many times submissive do grow into being willing and able to give up more and more control, even over things they may have previously thought they would never want to yield on. It helps a lot when the dom is experienced and skilled at reading a sub, and in leading her along the path he wants her to go down.

        You may find that there are certain things you will *never* be willing to give up control of, though, and that's perfectly OK, too. Many times this includes things like control of one's money, any say in raising the submissive's children, control of her career, etc. I call those sorts of things "relationship-level hard limits" - or "carveouts" in the context of a 24/7 relationship, the things that you "carve out" from being part of what the dom controls.

        Another one, for me, would be sleeping anywhere but in the bed with my dom - ain't *no one" gonna keep *me* chained and naked on the floor at the foot of the bed or in a cage in the basement overnight, thank you very much. That just doesn't fit with what I'm looking for in a relationship, and so would be a deal-breaker, same as someone trying to get control of my finances.

        • Unsu...
          "What Makes a Good Submissive?"

          One entry found for submissive.
          Main Entry: sub·mis·sive
          Pronunciation: -'mi-siv
          Function: adjective
          : submitting to others
          - sub·mis·sive·ly adverb
          - sub·mis·sive·ness noun

          Main Entry: sub·mit
          Pronunciation: s&b-'mit
          Function: verb
          Inflected Form(s): sub·mit·ted; sub·mit·ting
          Etymology: Middle English submitten, from Latin submittere to lower, submit, from sub- + mittere to send
          transitive senses
          1 a : to yield to governance or authority b : to subject to a condition, treatment, or operation <the metal was submitted to analysis>

          1 a : to yield oneself to the authority or will of another : SURRENDER b : to permit oneself to be subjected to something <had to submit to surgery>
          2 : to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another
          synonym see YIELD

          Main Entry: 1yield
          Pronunciation: 'yE(&)ld
          Function: verb
          Etymology: Middle English, from Old English gieldan; akin to Old High German geltan to pay
          transitive senses
          1 archaic : RECOMPENSE, REWARD
          2 : to give or render as fitting, rightfully owed, or required
          3 : to give up possession of on claim or demand: as a : to give up (as one's breath) and so die b : to surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another : hand over possession of c : to surrender or submit (oneself) to another d : to give (oneself) up to an inclination, temptation, or habit e : to relinquish one's possession of (as a position of advantage or point of superiority) <yield precedence>
          4 a : to bear or bring forth as a natural product especially as a result of cultivation <the tree always yields good fruit> b : to produce or furnish as return <this soil should yield good crops> c (1) : to produce as return from an expenditure or investment : furnish as profit or interest <a bond that yields 12 percent> (2) : to produce as revenue : BRING IN <the tax is expected to yield millions>
          5 : to give up (as a hit or run) in baseball <yielded two runs in the third inning>
          intransitive senses
          1 : to be fruitful or productive : BEAR, PRODUCE
          2 : to give up and cease resistance or contention : SUBMIT, SUCCUMB
          3 : to give way to pressure or influence : submit to urging, persuasion, or entreaty
          4 : to give way under physical force (as bending, stretching, or breaking)
          5 a : to give place or precedence : acknowledge the superiority of someone else b : to be inferior <our dictionary yields to none> c : to give way to or become succeeded by someone or something else
          6 : to relinquish the floor of a legislative assembly
          synonyms YIELD, SUBMIT, CAPITULATE, SUCCUMB, RELENT, DEFER mean to give way to someone or something that one can no longer resist. YIELD may apply to any sort or degree of giving way before force, argument, persuasion, or entreaty <yields too easily in any argument>. SUBMIT suggests full surrendering after resistance or conflict to the will or control of another <a repentant sinner vowing to submit to the will of God>. CAPITULATE stresses the fact of ending all resistance and may imply either a coming to terms (as with an adversary) or hopelessness in the face of an irresistible opposing force <officials capitulated to the protesters' demands>. SUCCUMB implies weakness and helplessness to the one that gives way or an overwhelming power to the opposing force <a stage actor succumbing to the lure of Hollywood>. RELENT implies a yielding through pity or mercy by one who holds the upper hand <finally relented and let the children stay up late>. DEFER implies a voluntary yielding or submitting out of respect or reverence for or deference and affection toward another <I defer to your superior expertise in these matters>. synonym see in addition RELINQUISH


          So much for negotiations.... (oops this is bdsm).

          What makes a good submissive? To submit-to actually submit.

        • Unsu...
          "Some things probably *shouldn't* be given up control of at an early stage, though, and would be more appropriate later."

          I totally agree, Wendy, and there must be an awful lot of new sumissive out there on BDSM dating sights that are just chock full of more Domineering A-holes (or worse) with other agendas trying to hit on them and who are more than wiling to gross advantage of the situation right off.

          I love the rest of what you had to say too and it is important that I go easy and not allow someone to dominate me to the point of getting me to give over control that is not wise to give right away nor comfortable to give away.
    • >> Anyone who wants a more passive/less mouthy person thinks I suck though. <<

      Same here.

      I've been accused of being a brat, but I also do what I'm told pretty much right away, and I'll definitely go out of my way to please my dom, so the brattiness is more because of my own mouth and irreverence. I tease and kid around a lot, and I'm a smartass; it's just how my personality and sense of humor are. Thank the good lord there are plenty of dominants who actually enjoy subs with personalities like mine, whatever labels anyone else might want to stick on us.

      And fortunately, those same dominants also realize that respect is not necessarily measured by never teasing or being smart or flippant, but that it's about an overall underlying attitude. One dom of my acquaintance once told me a story wherein a former sub of his was once taken to task by another dom for her own irreverent comments to my friend in public. I really wish I could remember what he said her exact reply was, because it was beautiful, but it was definitely along these lines. *They* knew who they were and what their relationship to each other was, and that was all that mattered.

  • Ok, serious answer.

    I think that communications is great, but styles of communications vary a lot as do skill levels. I don't necessarily require any particular style or skill level. Some are more challenging than other, though challenging isn't necessarily bad. But a general value for improving communications is key for me.

    Self awareness is similar. One doesn't necessarily need to be completely self aware, nor self aware in any particular way. But a general value for studying, learning, and improving one's self awareness is important to me.

    Personally, I also like passion, but there's a balance. Too much passion and communications can be difficult. Too little passion and, well, there's just not much to work with. I'm sure this is a taste thing, though.

    For pretty much any quality we can think of for a person, I'm sure there is some other person out there who would find this property an attraction in a partner, sub, bottom, top, spouse, lifemate, whatever. So I'm pretty sure these are all just lists of preferences.

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