Always a #Dominant and Always a #Submissive

The power of conversation to inspire will always amaze me. One phone call with my Daddy (um, my Sir, if you’re new here), and I knew I had to share my insights with you.

“I can’t imagine a room filled with Dominants, every single one of them knowing they’re right and everyone else is wrong.”

I said that in response to news that he was attending a meeting for Dominants this weekend. He belongs to his local BDSM club (I am so jealous) and they have separate meetings for submissives and Dominants to get together and learn from one another. His knowing laugh told me I was right. Dominants want to be, and usually are, in charge; their word is law (sort of). A room filled with Dominants is an argument waiting to happen.

That observation led to a discussion about the inherent traits of Dominants and submissives. He made a statement that I’ve heard many times from many people in the BDSM lifestyle. “A Dominant is always a Dominant.” Of course, as usual, what follows this statement is how submissives aren’t always submissive. We commiserated about needing a Dominant to be submissive or a submissive to be a Dominant. The common saying among subs is, “I’m a submissive, not your submissive.”

I had a slightly different opinion, though (be shocked). I contend that if Dominant traits are inherent, then, to a certain extent, so are submissive traits.

Okay, of course I can only use myself as the example, and we are all unique snowflakes in this, but I believe that what I’m about to say could be true for many Dominants and submissives. And I think this crosses gender lines. This isn’t about male Dominants and female submissives, although that’s my experience. I think much of this applies regardless of gender.

Dominants often exude a certain amount of confidence. Some are brash and bold, some are quiet and unassuming. Some come across as arrogant, some appear more humble. The point is that when you look deep, and you get to know the person even slightly, you see the confidence. Dominants are not all high-powered CEOs or billionaires, in case you wondered. Sometimes they have ten bosses just like the rest of the world, but they often assume a certain amount of responsibility within their job and in their vanilla life. Dominants seem to be the go-to person, the one who will get it done, the one who will stay calm during chaos. In my experience, they can make a quick decision while thinking on their feet in the middle of a shit-storm.

Those are just my observations, and I will qualify all of the above with this – this applies to good Dominants. The posers, fakers, and abusers of the world do not fall into this category in any way shape or form. I have a feeling there are specific traits of the wannabes, too, and none of them inspire anything but aggravation and eventually contempt.

As a submissive, of which I am much more qualified to speak, I continuously look back on my life and see the proof that I’ve been submissive since childhood. Let me explain. I do not mean that I had the desire to kneel or be used sexually from childhood. I’m talking about the inner qualities of who I am as a person.

The biggest stereotype of submissives is that we’re often in charge or in positions of authority in our professional lives. When someone discovers that they as a high-powered boss are a submissive or when someone else discovers what a submissive does for a living, it’s often followed by the knowing chuckle and shake of the head, as if to say, “I should have known.”

But why do we find ourselves in these positions as submissives? I’ve heard that many of us become submissive in an effort to have one area of our life where give up control. Now, while I disagree on some levels, I will admit that the most freeing part of submission is handing over control and not making any decisions. And yes, while it’s a stereotype that most submissives have a lot of responsibility in our professional and even personal lives, I have a theory about why there’s such a dichotomy. Follow along with me here.

I say that I’m submissive even when I’m in authority at work, and I only have the responsibility and control that I do because I’m a submissive. Wait, what? I’m in positions of authority and responsibility BECAUSE I’m a submissive? Yep, that’s what I said.

Working hard, being good at what I do, getting the projects done ahead of deadline, coming in early, staying late – all of those are the ways I want to be the professional equivalent of a “good girl.”  I am absolutely that person who will understand the lack of a financial raise if my boss gives me praise and credit for what I do. Submissives gain our authority and control in the professional world BECAUSE the things we do to be “good” are the things that help you succeed in the business world.

My main traits at work are simple: work hard, know as much as possible, and be good at everything I do. There are also the added traits of politeness (yes, Sir and yes, Ma’am work wonders), pleasantness, and friendliness too. Given enough time, these traits will work in your favor on the job. And yes, you can have all of these characteristics and NOT be submissive. My point, though, is that many submissives do have these characteristics. In my opinion, I think it helps explain why so many subs are granted so much control on the job.

Ironically, these traits come across as controlling, in a different way. to the vanilla world. And at work, I am controlling. I know what it takes to do something well and to make the boss (or customer or whoever) happy. A part of that is the “good girl” in me. I don’t want to let someone else do a task for two reasons. One, they might do it wrong and two, I might not be the “good girl” anymore. Another part is my own ambition and drive, of course.

Look, it’s not a perfect theory, and without interviewing every submissive I meet, I can never come close to proving that submissives have inherent traits. But simply from pure observation, I say that a Dominant is always a Dominant, and a submissive is always submissive – regardless of the vanilla life they may lead.

About the author

Kayla Lords

I am a sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, international speaker, kink educator, and all-around kinky woman. You can find me online sharing my innermost sexual thoughts and experiences, teaching other bloggers how to make money writing about sex, and helping kinksters have happy healthy BDSM relationships. I'm also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom and business partner, John Brownstone. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!


  • Pretty good theory there and I don’t think I can -or want to – dispute it.
    If your theory is right, and I’ma gonna go with the assumption it is, I think those that are closet submissives, have a harder time being comfortable in control and they work with a chip on their shoulder causing them to be harsher than they need to be and less likely to be a good leader.
    Now, yes; there are asshats everywhere – but we’re talking submissives in a working roll of control – not just submissives: closet submissives (even to themselves)
    What do you think?

    • I think you’re on to something. It’s hard to write about D/s in general terms because I can only truly relate to my own experience. But what you say rings very true to me.

      The PC thing to say is that when those closet submissives learn to accept themselves, they’ll be happier, blah blah blah. What I would say, though, is that if they are fortunate enough to find the right Dominant for them, their Dominant will help them embrace their submissiveness. Then there will be less need for the closet and the chip. What do YOU think?

      • I look back to the days before BDSM when I was a drill instructor for the Navy (we called them something else) …. I was very uncomfortable in that roll and, looking back, I really sucked at it.
        I feel, if I had a second chance to do that roll now, I would be pretty damn good but I am no longer fighting against an unknown self … and the unknown always causes fear and fear causes fight or flight.
        However, I don’t think *having* a dominant to get me through it would have made it easier – accepting and understanding would have done well enough in itself 🙂

        But that’s just me 😉

        • I don’t disagree at all. Understanding who I am and feeling comfortable in my own skin has given me an amazing amount of confidence. When I’ve been alone, I’ve been enough to get myself through some tough times.

          But with a good Dominant,there’s an added support system that’s different than anything I’ve ever known.

  • I’ve always enjoyed your thoughts on submissiveness. I’m not controlling in my every day life so much as I don’t like to/am not good at asking for help. I want to defer, but don’t have someone to defer to so I won’t let anyone help. Submissiveness appeals in that it help (or could help since I’m not actively submitting) sate that need to defer.

    • I would say that’s something I recognize in myself, too. I would LOVE to defer to the one I perceive as stronger than myself, but at least in real life, that’s not possible right now.

      I think you have a completely valid point that deference is absolutely a trait of submissiveness. Now, if we could just find the one you could try it out with…/looking around for a good, single Dominant…hmmmmm….

  • Interesting thoughts. I’d like to see how you feel in a couple of months. 🙂 As for being submissive… It balances me out. I do all the “in charge” stuff in the mundane world, and I understand and appreciate that chance to let go and not be responsible. Which by the way is really difficult when Wolf looks at me and does the whole “hairy eyeball” of “You Know what you Should be doing…” when what I really want is a spanking.

    • Kayla, a pretty wise female dominant once told me the following words that are now my motto. She said, “Only the strong shall serve the strong.”
      I did a blog on this some time ago – I think … it goes along the lines of “Like attracts like” I suppose.
      So take your wiring as a good thing 😉

      • I adore my wiring! Now that I understand it…the moment I realized who and what I was, all the puzzle pieces fell into place…I’ve never been more confident in myself than I have been in the past year. I adore my submission and feel genuinely bad for people who don’t know who they are (whether in general or in kinky terms) and for people that are clearly struggling…I always wish I could help them, but I know we all have to decide who we are for ourselves…

        That wasn’t too preachy was it? 🙂

    • I’m still at the point where it has to be pointed out to me that a spanking would cure what ails me…

      I will probably always be an “in charge” person in the vanilla world…I think I’m just wired that way…but I still believe that *part* of the reason I’m this way is due to my submissive traits… 🙂

  • I LOVE Wordwytch’s comment. I have a friend who is neither my dominant nor my partner but he has dominant in him. I was apologizing to him for having been a smartass and he said to me, “I think what you really wanted was a spanking.” He was right!

    Didn’t get one, though.

    Dominance and submissiveness are also psychological characteristics. I heard about an interesting pseudo study in which they had waitresses take on acting either with dominant behaviors to their customers or with submissive behaviors. The dominant behaviors resulted in bigger tips!

    It’s not easy to be a switch, though.

    • I can’t IMAGINE being a switch. The idea of Dominating is as foreign to me as deciding tomorrow that I’m a man…it’s just not who I am…but I can believe that being dominant renders better results…I think on a subconscious level, many people want to be lead (Dominants excluded) and they respond to take-charge people…well, as long as those take-charge people aren’t total assholes… 🙂

  • Excellent points, Kayla. I like your theory of how submissive traits help one get ahead — certainly in an office that promotes on merit, the people-pleasing desire to work hard and know your job inside and out to accomplish what the bosses want before they know they want it is an asset. Possibly that’s why it often shows up as the secretary or assistant in fiction, because the attentiveness and desire to please are more obvious there. It’s not always easy for outsiders to see the motivation driving the submissive in a power role at work.

    • I find it funny that I never realized it about myself, either, though. If I didn’t know I was doing it, I certainly wouldn’t think anyone else would pick up on my motivations…

      The whole thing just reminds me that once you’re on the right path in life, the universe tends to open up avenues for you and things just begin to make sense in a way they never did before…

      The past year has been one of amazing growth for me…all because I realized that I like my sex a little (ok a lot) kinky…life is so strange sometimes…

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