Jan 232014
 

Despite being impossibly vague, I made J respond to this reader question anyway.
(I was curious about how he’d respond.)

Today’s Q & J is on how to be a good submissive.

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Q: How did you become a good sub? I want to please but I am just terrible. Please help. ~ anonymous, via contact form
If I knew of a one-size-fits-all method for becoming a good sub, I’d be a thousandaire. But, I would say a lot of what shapes my behavior is based on who the dominant female is. There are four general points I’ll make that do not appear in any particular order. In fact, determining a hierarchy for the topics that follow might be impossible, for me anyway.

Respect/Trust:

I respect D, her intelligence, and trust both her ability and judgment to deal with daily issues: from mundane to extreme. This is essential because the only way I’ll ever turn over control to someone is if I trust their competence to handle situations as they arise.

Desire:

I try my best to be a good sub for D because I desire to be her submissive. That is, being her boy is a rewarding experience, sexually, psychologically, and emotionally. It’s a positive feedback system: the better I am, the happier D is with my behavior, the more likely she is to fuck, hurt, and use me. The fact she’s so damn good at doing those things is a powerful motivator. (‘Bedroom submissives’ might want to make a selfish note of that. Being hurt, used, and fucked all become exponentially more intense in direct relation to my efforts in striving to be her boy.)

Knowledge:

The only way I can please D is by knowing who she is, what she likes, dislikes, and prefers. For example: I know D hates to be embarrassed, I know she despises Cantonese food, and I know she dislikes change. I’m far from perfect. In fact I can be downright stupid about many things, but I really do try to stay mindful of how an event or transaction will be perceived by her. If D has to remind me of a preference/dislike for something, then I’ve failed. (That happens more than it should.)

Submission:

I mean really pushing myself to submit. Speaking only for myself, consistently doing what someone else wants takes work. While D and I share ‘core values,’ we couldn’t be more different when it comes many of the preferences mentioned above. So there are a lot of times that I will make a conscious effort to defer whateverthefuck it is I ‘want to do’ and instead do things that will please her or at least be the route she’d prefer. Furthermore, D handles many situations far differently than I would; but because I respect her ability to handle issues, how they are handled becomes a matter of taste. In short, her preferences dominate the ways a situation is confronted and resolved. And, finally, I try to respond to her requests and suggestions as though they were directives. (I fail at this a lot too, but I do try).
Believe it or not, what’s written above is the short version. There’s a lot more I could say, but I wanted to hit the most important points. I have no idea if any of what works for me will be useful to you, but I’d say at least attempting to articulate the basics is a good start. Good luck!
j avatar

archive view image: “A lot like LOVE,” by Jason Clapp, 2008. License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

  9 Responses to “how to be a good submissive”

  1. From the very beginning of this piece, creatively labelled ‘Q&J'(!), I KNEW this was going to be an absorbing post. And I was not disappointed. It’s clear to see J is no ‘mere’ submissive but punches at the same intellectual weight as D. Much of what’s been said shouldn’t be seen as a revelation but it comes across as fresh and invigorating. The heart of J’s message is eternal: We show our love for someone in what we are prepared to sacrifice for the other person. And submission can be a beautiful vehicle for that dynamic. J shows us with much clarity that the secret of a good sub is striving to be as useful and relevant to his Domme as possible. Thanks for what again is an amazing post. This blog is probably the best-ever online resource for commentary and analysis pertaining to Dommes and subs that I’ve ever come across – and I don’t say that lightly after decades of online experience.

    • It’s clear to see J is no ‘mere’ submissive but punches at the same intellectual weight as D.

      J is an incredibly smart man. I am very lucky to have found someone who is an intellectual match for me, and someone who could present D/s, his submission, and our dynamic in a way that suits me.

      While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with prescriptive rituals, acts of service, and lots of protocol, those aren’t things I’m interested in. I’m far more interested in a man who is willing to get to know me, anticipate my wants, needs, moods, and passions and meet me where I am.

      J shows us with much clarity that the secret of a good sub is striving to be as useful and relevant to his Domme as possible.

      Yes to this! But also, I appreciate that J also mentions that a big part of his motivation for submission is because it works for him, because he gets something from it. When he’s a good boy, I’m happier, and when I’m happy, he gets what he wants. Mutual fulfillment for the win!

      This blog is probably the best-ever online resource for commentary and analysis pertaining to Dommes and subs that I’ve ever come across – and I don’t say that lightly after decades of online experience.

      You flatter me, James — thank you. :) I’m so glad that my ramblings are useful (or at least interesting!). It’s an honest a take on our relationship as I can manage, with all the beautiful, intimate, sexy stuff, and the missteps, struggles, and problems. It’s all there — the guts and the garters. :)

  2. J’s comments gave me good food for thought. It started me asking the question, doesn’t every submissive have their moments of being a “bad” submissive? There are times (hello, PMS) where I want to do things my way, dammit. During that week of hormonal rampages, it sometimes feels like it takes all my strength to behave myself and act according to my dominant’s wishes. I think that makes me human, not “bad.” (And you’re right. The question was impossibly vague. What does “bad” mean exactly?) Just the other night we had a conversation recently about how my way of preparing dinner was more practical and efficient, but he wanted it done a different way. Ultimately that’s the crux of the relationship. I respect and love my dominant, and if he wants me to take an extra 20 minutes to prepare dinner then I’ll do it as graciously as possible with a minimum of sass. (I fail at this more than I should) The bottom line is that I want to please and serve him, because it’s a worthwhile endeavor for both of us. The effort is totally worth it because of the respect and trust I have for him. J, you outlined some core pillars of submission beautifully.

    • it sometimes feels like it takes all my strength to behave myself and act according to my dominant’s wishes. I think that makes me human, not “bad.”

      Of course it makes you human! I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think I’d want some infallible submission machine — that’s inhuman and (quite frankly,) off-putting. Besides that, I wouldn’t want “perfection” (as in infallibility) because I’m wildly imperfect — I want someone who I can grow with, mistakes and all.

      I respect and love my dominant, and if he wants me to take an extra 20 minutes to prepare dinner then I’ll do it as graciously as possible with a minimum of sass.

      I’m so curious about what the difference is? What’s the tradeoff for the efficiency?

      The effort is totally worth it because of the respect and trust I have for him.

      You forgot to mention the intimacy and crazy good sex that comes from a healthy D/s dynamic. :) Crazy good sex makes almost anything worth it. :)

      • Ah yes… crazy good sex and intimacy is my primary motivation. You’re so right, D.

        As for your question about efficiency, I think it’s that we have two different ideas about what’s more efficient. I can multitask, so I can wash all the dishes since I’ll need to use the cheese grater that’s in the sink to make dinner and this will free my time up after we eat. He sees it as me getting sidetracked. And no, I’m not rolling my eyes. (I’m totally rolling my eyes.)

        • Ha! I do the same thing — if I can wash the dishes while I cook, then they’ll be less to wash after dinner (when I’m fed and satisfied and hate the idea of having to clean up and wash dishes).

          Hey… watch that eye-roll, young lady. ;)

  3. “While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with prescriptive rituals, acts of service, and lots of protocol, those aren’t things I’m interested in. I’m far more interested in a man who is willing to get to know me, anticipate my wants, needs, moods, and passions and meet me where I am.”

    THIS. I’m a low-protocol type of dominant which has caused some confusion for potential submissives in the past. I find some protocols can help reinforce the dynamic and/or help us transition from our vanilla personae back into our personal dynamic when coming home, but mostly I want someone who is focused on me and meeting my wants and needs, on making me happy. Well put.

    And well done, J! You articulated your points clearly and I like what you said.

    • but mostly I want someone who is focused on me and meeting my wants and needs, on making me happy. Well put.

      Yes to this! Most formal rules and rituals come from outside — from the internet, or books, or what that kinky couple down the street is doing. For that reason, formal rules feel more about the rules than they feel about us (or me!). So, I’m not into them.

      Anticipate my needs; rise to meet them. Simple, right? (I hope!)

  4. A very interesting read. Thank you for that insider perspective from the sub side.

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