Not your regular submission guidelines
Artem Labunsky via Unsplash
To submit to a partner is to trust deeply; when you do, you place yourself in the hands of someone who has the highest concern for your safety, pleasure, and wellbeing.
The submissive gives up control, willingly, because it pleases and empowers them. The Dominant acknowledges this responsibility and guides their submissive with care and reverence.
This is how it should be.
But, unfortunately, it isn?t always so.
Abuse of power comes as no surprise
This title has been used extensively in the work of neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer and is part of her ?Truisms? series. The saying is true everywhere ? also in kink-scene.
While the BDSM community is one that values communication, trust and mutual respect?which should be minimum requirements for any D/s relationship?the scene also occasionally draws those looking to take advantage.
Sexual powerplay has the potential to forge heightened levels of intimacy because it requires ultimate vulnerability. The more you dare to bare the higher the potential reward?and the higher the risk.
Practicing Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) and being aware of possible traps and issues, you?re less likely to run into harmful situations. And, when you?re educated and prepared, you won?t be surprised when you do encounter those looking to abuse their position.
I previously published a step-by-step guide to sensual domination, to help inform those looking to take the Dominating role in a D/s relationship. Because the submissive holds a less (visibly) active part in the dynamic, this guide is less about how and what to do, and more about what to look out for in order to stay in your power?while letting go of control.
But first, let?s debunk a few stigmas around submission:
Submission can be empowering
When I submit to a trusted partner, I?m seen, held and honored, which feels humbling, and ultimately empowering.
I may physically kneel or do other things that put me physically below my partner, but, in my submission, I?m strong because I choose to submit and I do it on my own terms.
The lioness is not submissive, she merely lets you be king for as long as it pleases her.
This quote of unknown origin sums up how I feel about submission; I do feel like a brave lioness!
Submission can connect you to your divinity
When I submit, I connect deeply to my sensuality, my womanhood, and my own divinity.
With my partner?s undivided and focused attention on me, I?m not really below them, but rather, I feel as if placed on a pedestal and worshipped. A holy hor, I embody the goddess within, and frankly, I feel fierce as hell?hot as Hades.
Submission doesn?t make you weak, or less of a feminist
There?s a stigma attached to being submissive. But contrary to what some may believe, being a submissive female doesn?t make you any less of a feminist, just like being a submissive male doesn?t make you any less manly.
Speaking up about, and living out our desires is empowering?regardless of whether we?re a top, a bottom, or a switch (someone who likes being both).
Submissives come in all genders, shapes, sizes and personality types, and more often than not we?re strong, capable and in charge during our day-to-day lives.
Personally, I?m a self-employed, solo-parent, living far from my family. Being very independent in real life, I?m used to calling the shots and carrying a ton of responsibilities on my shoulders.
While submitting sexually may sound at odds with that, it doesn?t have to be so. It might, nonetheless, confront us with our egos, values, and inner daemons ? and therein lies the true power.
Submission can be healing
Submission can allow us to carve out a mental space in which to take refuge from daily responsibilities; where we can show up, completely honest, vulnerable, and naked ? in every sense of the word.
I find this space liberating and healing: In a world that constantly demands that I?m hard, this space lets me be soft. As someone who?s used to holding the people around me ? here I get to lean back and be held.
Author, diarist and feminist icon Anas Nin embodied these dualities as well, and described her own desire to be dominated in the bedroom while holding her own ground elsewhere in life:
I do not want to be the leader. I refuse to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness. I want a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone, the command, my pivot. I don?t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically; but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated. I don?t mind being told to stand on my own feet, not to cling, be all that I am capable of doing, but I am going to be pursued, fucked, possessed by the will of a male at his time, his bidding.
Artem Labunsky via Unsplash
D/s submission guidelines
1. Spot the fake-Doms
There are posers out there, so beware. If you?re new to exploring BDSM and you?ve ventured into the scene through sites like Fetlife, you?ll likely run into guys flashing the ?Dom card? in hopes that it?s an easy way to get eager and inexperienced subs to have sex with them.
These so-called-dominants believe that domination is free-pass to acting rough and violent with little care for their partner?s pleasure, or even safety. You can usually spot these by how they speak or write about themselves.
If someone talks to you in a demeaning way and assumes you?re already their submissive from the get-go ? get the hell out!
Good Doms are empathetic. Look for someone who treats you with respect and pays attention; who asks you questions rather than boasts about their own experience and prowess.
Further, make sure they?re someone who prioritizes your pleasure as well. Dom?s who won?t ?go down? on their subs because they feel like it ?compromises their authority? are not good Doms in my book.
2. Know that your submission is a gift
As a sub you are vulnerable and while there?s immense strength in vulnerability, you ?don?t want to give that up to just about anyone?.
I don?t mean that in a prudish way, but submission reaches deeper than regular sex. Trusting someone at this level is akin to giving them a precious gift, so treat it such. Don?t waste it on someone who doesn?t understand the value of what you have to offer.
3. You?re always the one in power!
Never forget that you, the submissive, is always the one in power. You can pause or stop the action at any point and there is no shame in doing so.
Without this dynamic, and without the trust and knowledge that the Dominant will always stop when you tell them to, sexual powerplay can?t exist. Period.
4. Never let anyone convince you to play without a safeword
Your safeword is one of the keys to your power, and I don?t recommend playing without one, especially if you?re new to BDSM, and if you and your partner are new to each other. Never get into hard play or edge play without one, even if you do have experience.
I prefer the classic ?red? to indicate a full-stop and ?yellow? to call for a break or slow-down, but you can choose any word that you and your partner agree on beforehand.
When I first started playing with BDSM, I saw it as a personal defeat to use my safeword and was often too proud and stubborn to do so. Luckily, I learned fast and know better now:
The magic word is your friend, and it?s there to be used?the feedback only helps you and your partner grow and learn together.
5. Discuss boundaries BEFORE you play
While your Dominant should be tuned into you and do their best to listen, and read your body language, things can get intense and passionate to where it?s hard to tell whether someone?s in agony or ecstasy.
We might also be easier to sway into doing something we wouldn?t normally do when flooded with hormones and floating in the euphoric, out-of-body state called sub-space.
Make sure you?ve established your limits before you play; be clear about what you will and will not do.
Further, discuss safer sex practices, including the hygiene and use of all tools and toys taken to a scene.
Your Dominant should know their tools beforehand, but in case they don?t, make sure you inform each other if any of you are trying something for the first time.
6. Expect to be heard
There are a few things that are never acceptable from a Dom: Not respecting previously discussed boundaries and not reacting immediately when hearing your safe-word. Not only are these serious consent violations, but they also remove the most important component of powerplay: trust.
Ready, set?let go!
Now that you?re done with your homework: You?ve done the thinking, planning, and preparation, you?ve made sure your Dom is someone with whom you share trust, respect?and plenty of chemistry. Now, it?s time to let go. Completely!
Disrobe, and leave your stresses, responsibilities, and worries behind. Ditch the heavy robe of guilt, shame, and inhibition?and jump in.
There you go. Float in that enchanting, sparkling pool of dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. Find your inner lion(ess), retrieve your divine power, worship and be worshipped?and most of all, enjoy the ride!
Demeter deLune wrote a great ABC of BDSM that explains many of the terms usind in this article, in case you?re unfamiliar with BDSM.