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10 Signs You’re Confused About How Submission Really Works

10 Signs You're Confused About How Submission Really Works

It’s easy to believe that the only people who are completely confused about how Dominance and submission (D/s) and BDSM work are the wannabe Dominants. It would be unfair of me to say that the only problem lies with those who want to be in charge. There are plenty of submissives out there who get it wrong, too. After my own recent experience with this and a few conversations with others who have gone through the same thing, I thought it might be time for a little tough love for people claiming to be submissive looking for a long-term relationship and seem to be getting it all wrong.

To be fair, I’m not referring to submissives who meet the wrong person or believe the lies. That happens with any type of relationship, vanilla or kinky – and it can happen to Dominants, too. No, today, let’s discuss how other types of submissives are getting it wrong.

  1. Don’t offer your submission before you know their real name. I mean, really? I shouldn’t have to say this, but it seems necessary in a world of online-only kink and online profiles. You’re willing to let someone control your orgasms, the food you eat, and when you go to bed, but you don’t know their real name? Think about that for a second.
  2. Don’t offer to submit through the comments of a blog, on a Facebook profile, or anything that involves some online public forum – as a replacement to an actual private conversation about it. Also, don’t randomly cast out a wide net of submission to see who bites. Note: This happened to me of all people, as a comment on a post I wrote about the tasks I have as a submissive. No, I didn’t approve that comment or respond but I did have a good belly laugh over it.
  3. Think long and hard about why you only want to submit to married or otherwise unavailable Dominants. I have definite opinions on married people taking D/s partners without knowledge and consent from their spouses but that’s a post for another day. But if you seek out or seem to “attract” married Dominants who can never give you a full commitment, I challenge you to think about why that may be.
  4. Build your relationship the same way you would in the vanilla world first. Get to know your potential Dominant. Let them get to know you. The D/s might be an inherent part of your personality, preferences, and physical, emotional, and mental well-being, but you’re both people first. You should know who they are, what they do, and hell, even their favorite color.
  5. Don’t be surprised when you don’t always get your own way. If you’ve discussed, negotiated, and consented to a relationship where your Dominant has the power and control, you’re going to hear, “No” from time to time. This is part of the D/s package. Don’t cry foul when you don’t get your way. You don’t come across as a submissive when you do it – just a spoiled brat. Note: If you’ve got a real problem with something or it violates a hard limit, have a discussion with your Dominant – in a calm manner – and renegotiate. Also if being a brat is part of your power exchange, go for it!
  6. Don’t assume anyone can read your mind. There is no “should know, should think, should anything” in D/s. If you want someone to know how you’re feeling, what you need, or what you hate, you have an obligation and a responsibility to speak up.
  7. Don’t think this is all about you. I know many of us say that submissives have the real control because we can withdraw consent at any time. And I believe that. But don’t mistake that as an opportunity to think you don’t have to contribute to the relationship, too. The relationship isn’t all about you – just as it isn’t all about your Dominant. It’s a partnership and each side must give in order to receive.
  8. Remember that your Dominant has a life outside of you. This kind of goes hand-in-hand with number seven. I’m talking to submissives who freak out when their Dominant doesn’t text back immediately, drop everything to talk to them, and give them attention every moment of the day. Dominants, like submissives, and like everyone else in the world, have responsibilities – to their children, to their families, to their job, to themselves. They shouldn’t ignore you for days on end, but a few hours without a return phone call is rarely a reason to combust.
  9. Tell the truth, even if it’s painful. Don’t lie. Don’t lie. Don’t lie. We warn you about Dominants who lie, but I don’t think submissives hear this often enough. This includes everything from white lies to spare feelings to massive untruths to get out of trouble. If you didn’t do the task, own up to it. Yeah, you might have to face consequences for it, but that’s part of being a submissive.
  10. Understand the difference between BDSM/kinky sex and D/s. If all you want is a rough tumble in bed or to be tied up and flogged, but you don’t want the responsibility of a relationship, you’re most likely just a bottom. And there’s nothing wrong with that. D/s is how you relate to one another in a relationship. Frankly, D/s requires a lot more work than any intricate Shibari scene or the negotiations for some kinky play in a dungeon with a stranger. If you don’t want that kind of work, no problem. No one’s judging you. But before you go around calling yourself a submissive, make sure you know what it is you’re looking for.

To be fair, some people like to play anonymously online as a “submissive” or “Dominant.” For them it’s pure fantasy. This post isn’t for those people. This list is to give a little tough love for anyone, man or woman, calling themselves a submissive, claiming to be looking for their forever Dominant, and who don’t seem to understand that submission requires work and time. If you’re not willing to put in the effort and just want some kinky play, own it, and be a bottom. But don’t get people’s hearts involved and then cause hurt and pain to people who don’t deserve it.

Welcome to Wicked Wednesday! This week’s prompt was to write a “How to” post. Well, I went with a “how-not-to” post instead because this is something that’s been on my mind for a while. It’s not always about poser Dominants, ya know. Some “submissives” are just as clueless. Okay, with that, go forth and read other fun stuff shared for this week’s Wicked Wednesday!

Wicked Wednesday

Was this post meaningful and helpful? You might enjoy my website dedicated to BDSM and helping people have better D/s relationships – Loving BDSM – a blog and weekly podcast devoted to helping people find and enjoy healthier D/s relationships and kinky lives. Check it out at https://lovingbdsm.kaylalords.com.

About the author

Kayla Lords

I am an erotic author, sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, an opinionated marketer, and speaker. 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 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!

38 Comments

  • If I had a nickel for every submissive I’ve come across that wants it their way only (but they claim they don’t) I could but a new pair of shoes (nice ones). I despise the word ‘No’ and just as equally the phrase ‘Not yet,” but it is what it is. It’s my Dom’s right to decide. He is very obliging with ‘Yes’ so I can’t complain and I can sometimes do some serious Oscar worthy pouting when hear a ‘No’ for certain things, but this is what you get in D/s. Like my kids got taugh in Kindergarten, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

    • Yes, I know the pout well. No submissive wants to hear “no” but that’s part of the agreement. We give them the control to decide, so they do. Part of the strength in submission is trusting someone enough to acquiesce to their will. It ain’t easy, but with the right Dom, it’s worth it.

      LOL, I’d forgotten about that. My oldest throws that in the 5yo’s face a lot.

  • Great points very well made! So many people do not know the basics and sometimes it is necessary for someone to point them out from time to time. You have done so very well here!

    Velvet x

  • Great post, and something that needed to be said. I’m totally with you, it’s not only poser Doms but also poser submissives who need to be addressed. Sometimes tough love like this is needed.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Rebel xox

  • Great list. I especially like the one about building your relationship as you would in the vanilla world. That is so important and is something I am so glad we have done.

    • A lot of people forget that part. Sure, the kink is fun, and submission may be something you need, but a relationship is between people first…that part needs to built and dealt with before kink is added to the mix.

  • Anyone new to any experience will have wrong expectations/assumptions and make a few mistakes. Thankfully there are people like you who give a bit of advice on how those misunderstandings are viewed by the majority and what it means to those who practice/live it.

  • […] 10 Signs You’re Confused About How Submission Really Works by Kayla Lords Again this is a post that states several points that should actually be things that come naturally to all of us. Unfortunately it doesn’t, and Kayla has taken it on her to practice some tough love for those who need it. […]

    • It’s easy to talk about the “doms” but there are plenty of submissives out there getting it all wrong, too. Figured it was time to start talking to them, too.

  • […] my Straight Being a Disabled Top in Kink Community And here I thought kink was all about consent 10 Signs You Don’t Understand Submission The […]

  • […] my Straight Being a Disabled Top in Kink Community And here I thought kink was all about consent 10 Signs You Don’t Understand Submission The […]

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  • […] my Straight Being a Disabled Top in Kink Community And here I thought kink was all about consent 10 Signs You Don’t Understand Submission The […]

  • […] Straight Being a Disabled Top in Kink Community And here I thought kink was all about consent 10 Signs You Don’t Understand Submission  The […]

  • Hi Kayla. In your more recent “What Style of D/s Relationship Do You Want?” post, you seem welcoming of all types of submissives into the label. In this post, however, you seem to be implying the opposite; you’re saying rather clearly (e.g., in points 4 and 10) that if a submissive is not part of a 24/7 lifestyle D/s relationship, they are not a submissive but rather a bottom.

    Could you please clarify your view?

    • As I wrote that back in 2015, I had to re-read it to even know what I said. And since I didn’t mention 24/7 D/s at all in that post, I think you may have made an assumption on this one simply because I’m in a 24/7 D/s relationship. “Relationship” does not always mean 24/7, it can simply be the agreement that you make with another person in whatever capacity that means — casual, sometimes, bedroom-only, sexual, romantic, whatever. So while I might say things a little differently four years later, I still stand by this post, including points 4 and 10. I don’t think you should jump into any kind D/s relationship without getting to know someone at least a little (point 4) and in point 10, we can debate the definition of bottom and submissive, and there are definitely nuances to both, but if all anyone wants is a single scene with a single person at one specific time, and they don’t want to get to know them, be their friend, or have any kind of power exchange outside of that one moment, most of the time they’re likely going to be a bottom.

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