Being tied down (or tied up), being blindfolded and gagged, being bossed around, obeying orders and living (for the moment) to please someone else...who knew to be submissive could feel so good? Who knew that feeling of powerlessness and obedience could make you feel so...alive?
Well, if you’re an experienced submissive, you already knew that. If you’re new to the wonderful and kinky world of BDSM, let me explain...BDSM stands for Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism, and Masochism. While most of us know what it stands for, not everyone really knows what it means...because BDSM is more than just how you conduct yourself in the bedroom.
Today we’re going to talk about being submissive in the bedroom.
What does that mean? How does it feel?
What are some BDSM terms you should be familiar with?
How do you even begin your search to find someone to dominate you?
When it comes to being submissive, there are so many questions...and all of them are important ones. So where do you start to learn how to be the best sub any dom has ever seen?
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s talk some BDSM basics...what does being a sub in bed really mean?
Well, it can mean a lot of things...because (like most everything), dominance and submissiveness are spectrums. This isn’t an all or nothing game like many think when they first dip a toe into kinky waters.
For some reason, more specifically when we’re talking about being submissive in the bedroom, our minds jump immediately to this all-or-nothing kind of mindset...but I’ve got news for you: you can be a little submissive. Or you can be completely submissive...to the point where you don’t speak unless spoken to.
It’s totally your choice! And yes...submissives get to choose just how submissive they are.
Along with not knowing where you lie on the spectrum of submission, it’s also quite normal to feel a bit strange going from everyday life to obeying someone’s orders or being tied up in your own living room.
Similarly to how doms can get into a kind of “dom” headspace, submissives can learn how to channel a kind of alter-ego, someone who is there to please their Master, someone who lives for the beck-and-call of their dom...and going from who you are outside the bedroom to who you like to be between the sheets can be...confusing, to say the least.
When you first begin dabbling in submissiveness, it can feel like you’re walking full-pace into unknown territory - but hey, that’s why we’re here.
Take my hand (that’s an order), and I’ll lead you into the land of sexual bliss, submissive style.
If you’re a brat, you’re likely a sub who comes with a bit of a bite. Brat is the BDSM term for a submissive who isn’t completely submissive...they have a bit of push-back. Brats might talk back to their masters, misbehave or give a bit of reluctance where other submissives may obey without hesitation.
If a brat is a wild child, the “bad one”, a slave would be the complete opposite. A slave would be considered the “good one”,the one who takes orders without hesitation, the one who follows instructions to a T. Not only that but slaves consider themselves to be “property” of their Master, asking permission before doing something and come when called.
If a slave misbehaves the way a brat does, they would be punished for it (in whatever way the Master deems fit) - this can be something from orgasm withholding to the silent treatment to something more intense. The difference between a slave and a submissive is explained in great detail in this article if you’re interested.
Being a slave is not something a submissive should enter into lightly because it often involves completely relinquishing control and being totally dominated in every aspect, even something like when to use the bathroom. Before deciding you’d like to become a slave, consider taking some time to really think about what this means for you, your relationship, your mental health, and your sex life.
Although a slave/master “contract” is obviously not legally binding, people who are interested in this kind of lifestyle generally take the agreement seriously and aren’t interested in people who are unsure if it’s what they want.
DDLG stands for Daddy Dom/Little Girl.
As you can tell from this title, DDLG is a kinky, taboo age-play/role-play between two people.
The most important rule of DDLG is that it’s something that goes on between two consenting adults. Although someone is portraying a little girl, they are of age to give consent. And although they are portraying a daddy/daughter situation, there is typically no incest involved as they are not actually relatives.
DDLG culture is vast and can be a bit controversial. If you’re interested in learning more about DDLG culture, Sexual Alpha has a super in-depth post about the topic.
Good Pain/Bad Pain:
This one is pretty straight forward - good pain is what it sounds like: pain that is pleasurable.
Some of these experiences could include erotic electrostimulation or knife play. It’s the kind of pain that gives off a rush of endorphins and makes things more exciting. Good pain challenges the notion that “pain” is negative, because some pain comes with a rush of feel-good hormones, especially when it happens in an erotic setting.
Bad pain, on the other hand, is what we all know when we think of pain: something that hurts with no positive effect. This could be from real torture, scary situations that have gone too far, cruelty, etc.
To make sure the difference between when you’re experiencing good pain and bad pain is understood, this is why people in the BDSM culture adopt “safe words” or safe gestures, to let the person leading the scene know when “good pain” turns into “bad pain” and the scene needs to be paused.
Kink Weekly has a really good story behind the differences between good and pain bad in terms of BDSM play - check it out, here!
The words “top” and “bottom” are often used to describe your sexual identity, many people associate being a “top” with being dominant and being a “bottom” as being submissive. While this is the way some people use these words, this isn’t always the case.
It’s completely possible to identify yourself as a top without taking on a dominant personality or wanting to be a dom all the time. Similarly, it’s very possible to be a bottom in a scene without being totally submissive.
It may be easiest to think of “top” and “bottom” to explain temporary shifts of power, sometimes you want to be in charge and sometimes you don’t. Whereas with the terms “dom” and “sub”, many people will tell you this is a lifestyle, a persona, a way of being - instead of just a one-time preference.
This is where it gets a bit confusing, but let’s dive into consensual non-consent for a moment. CNC is when two people agree to perform an act of non-consensual activity that has been talked about beforehand (and consent was given during that conversation).
Consent (which we’ve highlighted in this article if you need a refresher) is of utmost priority in sex. The concept around consensual NON-consent is acting as though you do not have consent to do the things you’re doing to your partner, even though they have given you consent to do it.
This can be something from breath play to edgeplay to laying out a kind of rape or sexual assault fantasy, for people who like to envision they are being assaulted without actually being assaulted because permission was given beforehand.
While I would love to write an entire article on consensual non-consent at some point (because it’s a huge gray area that needs to be talked about and understood) - until then, Dom Sub Living has a really helpful article on this topic.
D/s is something you may see when cruising through your favorite porn site, dating app or fetish-friendly online forum...it means dom/sub or dominant/submissive.
This can be used to explain what you are looking for in a sexual relationship or can be used to describe a scene.
Safe, Sane and Consensual (or RACK):
Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) is a term that is often used in place of what most BDSM kinksters know as Safe, Sane & Consensual.
It’s often used to describe sexual situations where some risk is present. If you’re familiar with kink, you’ll know that many fetishes and kinks involve a bit of risk - so this acronym is incredibly important.
These risks can be anything: say your partner has self-harmed in the past and you’re interested in knife play...there’s an obvious trigger/relapse risk there for them. Or say you are prone to anxiety attacks but also love to have thrilling sex...the risk of a panic attack happening during sex is very high when you’re dealing with more out-of-the-box kinks. It can even be something a bit more physical, like if your partner has a bad back but also enjoys being tied up...there is a physical risk there you both need to be aware of.
Communication is important with things that can carry some risk during sex. This talk doesn’t have to be a long and overly-complicated one, it can be something as simple as setting a safe word or checking in with your partner throughout the games to make sure they are still in a good head-space.
Let’s talk about the sub-drop.
Sub drop (similar to its counterpart, the dom-drop) can be explained as the low or lull after a BDSM scene concludes. When you’re a sub, you enter into sub-space or a certain state of mind...you become who you are as a sexual being. This kind of altered state of mind can be kind of intense, just like a dom-space, but in different ways (of course).
Where dom-space is intense because of the feelings of power it gives you, sub-space can have the other kind of intensity, where you have been subservient and submissive for such a strong period of time that it seems like the norm, until you’ve been pulled back to real life outside the bedroom.
The importance of aftercare in sex cannot be overstated.
Even when the sex you’re having isn’t outrageously kinky - aftercare is important.
Aftercare (in the world of BDSM and sex) refers to the time and attention shared between two (or more) people after sexual activity. This time can include conversations, cuddling, or doing something together like watching a movie, for example).
Galen Fous (a sex educator and kink-positive therapist whose name many of you might be familiar with), aftercare can look different to every one, since sexual preferences and experiences can be so different themselves.
However, in the most basic form, aftercare means communicating and caring for one another in some way after sex. This ensures that all parties involved are comfortable, satisfied and happy with what transpired. Which, you can imagine, is very important when it comes to the edgier and “pushing it to the limits” kind of fetishes.
Who’s a good little sub?
Whether you’re a total newbie to the world of submission or you’ve been around the block a hundred times and want a refresher, let’s talk about the ways you can up your sub-game and be the best damn sub your Master has ever ordered around.
There are generally a few different categories of being submissive, but for now, we’re going to talk about two main preferences: being a sub everywhere (including the bedroom) and being a sub only in the bedroom.
Leaving your sub-personality on the floor with your clothes while your dom is making you undress for them is a preference many have...but there is another way to do things, too. A bit less common is the idea that you’re also the submissive in your relationship. The idea that the power-exchange you both enjoy can benefit other parts of your relationship, too.
People who enjoy being submissive in the relationship as well as between the sheets, I want you to know one thing: you’re not a freak! Wanting someone to take charge of your relationship and feeling satisfaction from obeying orders or pleasing your lover isn’t something to be ashamed of.
What I will say on this, is that you need to think hard about what kind of sub you’d like to be.
While you can always change your mind, sometimes it’s difficult to find your way out of the relationship sub-space you’ve put yourself in, and even though resentment starts to grow over being submissive, you find it hard to pull yourself up to your partner’s level because you’re so used to obeying.
This kind of sub-lifestyle where your partner isn’t just ordering you around in the bedroom isn’t to be entered into lightly and takes a delicate balance from both partners to keep a healthy dom/sub relationship alive and well.
If you’re someone who only prefers to be submissive in the bedroom and not in life, find a dom who is able to respect (and encourage) this.
So much of the time, in the world of BDSM, it’s really just about finding someone who matches what you want, someone who is able to help you build a healthy relationship and sex life based on your mutual desires, whatever those may be.
The idea of safe words is nothing new, but the importance of safewords can’t be talked about enough when it comes to being a submissive.
Being a submissive, many people assume you obey without question, whatever your dom wants. While this is the “idea”, this is very rarely the whole truth of what it’s like to be a sub.
In reality, a dom/sub couple would have discussed and set boundaries for things the dom can request and things they can’t. For example, if there are certain words or phrases you don’t want your dom to say (calling you derogatory names, maybe) - those would be off-limits and your dom should know better than to use those phrases, as it’s not something you’ve agreed on beforehand.
Safewords aren’t the only precaution subs should be taking, though - because sometimes your mouth is a bit busy (if you know what I mean.)
Safe gestures (such as holding up 4 fingers, opening and closing your fist, shaking your head, etc) can be really helpful when it comes to letting your dom know you need a break.
It’s a bit of a preconceived notion for those who don’t know much about BDSM D/s play that submissives don’t have a say, or that being submissive means you can’t say no. Nothing is further from the truth!
Consent is always a necessity.
No matter how many people are involved, no matter what you’re doing, no matter who is leading the scene...in some way, consent needs to be arranged and maintained. You can do this beforehand, setting hard yes and no limits of what’s allowed. And many people keep the conversation going as the scene progresses.
Another important note?
Consent is not something you give that can’t be taken back, and this is an important thing to keep in mind even (or especially) when you’re a sub.
Be proactive - think about what your dom wants at any given time.
Part of being a good sub is doing what your lover wants you to do. Well, taking that one step further will get you a gold star (or maybe a little light petting, if you’ve earned it). If you know your partner well, ask them if you can do things for them that you know they will like.
Be transformative - morph into whatever desires your Master has.
A good sub knows how to please their Master...and nothing pleases Master more than having whatever they want, whenever they want it, how ever they want it.
Being what you need to be, what they want you to be, is part of the fun.
Be confident in who you ARE, inside and outside the bedroom.
Being a sub is not something to be taken lightly...it takes a lot of self-restraint, self-confidence, will-power, and determination to follow orders. Being in the wrong headspace when transforming into your sub-self can be damaging to your mental health - so take care of yourself.
Hygiene and grooming are important - your Dom wants you clean and pretty.
Keeping yourself groomed, polished and looking fine is one surefire way to keep your Master happy. Dressing the way they like, doing your hair and make up the way that they think is sexy and acting the way they want can be great ways to go that extra mile for your lover.