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Am I a BDSM Submissive?


BDSM submission: it’s not what it seems. Folks of any gender can engage with consensual submission. Author M. Christian breaks the myths and stigma surrounding this misunderstood role. This article includes tips on how to identify if you or someone you know might be a BDSM submissive.


For those beginning their explorations of it, BDSM can feel pretty darned intimidating. And rightfully so, as those four initials embrace far, far more than just Bondage/Discipline/Sado-Masochism or Slave Master and/or Mistress. 

One of the most prevailing commonalities is power exchange: where a person consensually relinquishes control of themselves to another—or, conversely, dominates a partner.

But what exactly is submission, and how do you know this is something for you—and, from there, what can you do with this vital self-knowledge regarding coming out to a partner or finding one to play with?   

Essential Facts: BDSM Submission

Let’s begin by going back to the fact that kink is tremendously varied, in what kind of activities it might involve and the degrees or forms it can take. 

Though there are some “traditional” submissive roles and behaviors in the kink community, this should never get in the way of making BDSM your own 

As long, of course, you and those you play with adhere to the one, pretty much universal thing about BDSM: that it should always be safe, emotionally and physically; sane, where no one should play if they are unable to do the previous; and more than anything consensual.

On the subject of consensually, I’d like to take a brief moment— speaking as a self-identified cis-gendered male submissive — to mention that:

Consent is not a one-time, at the start-of-play kind of thing. It can and should be revoked at any time by those involved if necessary.

Additionally, if given due to a spoken or even implied negative result of slowing, stopping, or renegotiating BDSM activity, this is not giving consent. Period. End of sentence.  

Submission is never limited by gender, orientation, or anything else for that matter. Back to tradition, yes, kink fiction too often helps propagate unrealistic expectations. Therefore it’s vitally important to, repeat after me, remember that the media is make-believe and doesn’t reflect the realities of BDSM play. 

So, for the cheap seats in the back, let me reiterate that as long things remain safe, sane, and consensual . . .

. . . you can be any kind of submissive you want.

As a few examples plucked from my own kink life, I know Goddess Worshippers who happily served their Owners by doing chores and running errands; Physical Submissives that are thrilled to be caned, whipped, flogged or bound, but without acting as servants; as wells as Smart-Ass-Masochists (SAMs, for short) where submission is a playful struggle—sometimes to where they’ll deliberately misbehave to be punished. 

The list, wonderfully, goes on and from there. Which takes us to our next question:

How do you know you’re a Submissive?

A Superhighway of Different Routes

The subhead above kind of gives away my thoughts on this: that there are near-infinite paths leading to realizing, “Oh, wow, I’m a submissive!” 

Back to the Most Fascinating Man In The World . . . well, okay, maybe the Second, if I’m generous about it. What got me from here to there was primarily forged by my distinct fondness for strong-willed female-identified persons.  

From my adoration of Emma Peel and Morticia Addams—I’m a child of the 60s after all—to three decades as a member of the Bay Area BDSM community, I finally came to grips with my submissiveness.

Your experiences will, of course, be your own—and more power to you!  However, I have found that an exciting way to explore potential submissiveness is by playing a kind of word association game.  

Take a moment to look at some BDSM toys . . .

Or, to be more precise, a toy association game. It goes like this: take a moment to look at some BDSM toys. It doesn’t matter which, though if bondage tickles your sexual fancy, I suggest gandering Padded Ankle Cuffs, Blindfolds, and for impact play things like these floggers. 

. . . pay close attention to your immediate impressions.

The idea isn’t just to ogle these exciting kink playthings, however fun that might be, but to pay close attention to your immediate impressions. If, for instance, glimpsing a flogger flash-conjures fantasies of being on the receiving end.  

It can also help to examine what kind of relationships appeal to you.

Do you find enjoyment in pleasing your partner or being told what to do?  If so, then BDSM submission could be very well worth some exploring. 

If this route isn’t to your liking, there are other great ideas for delving into your potential submissive self. My favorite this piece from SubmissiveGuide 

Strength in Submission

Regarding the sadly too-prevalent falsehoods about submission, the one that needs to be firmly and loudly dispelled is that submissives are in any way weak. For AMAB folks, this could equally lead to fears of somehow not being considered masculine 

Let me be very clear that this, again speaking from several decades of experience as an active member of the BDSM community, is pure, unadulterated bull 

In fact, it’s the complete opposite. This article from The Link, which interviews many submissive male-identified persons, does a great job showing that

submission requires a phenomenal amount of courage.

The realities of BDSM reflect this. One of the very first things anyone learns is that though dominants wield floggers, canes, or slap on the cuffs, everything is in service to the submissive’s pleasure.  

There’s a partnership there, of course, as dominants should find pleasure in their role as well, but

one word, or even a gesture, from the submissive, and the scene should completely end.

Unfortunately, for many would-be submissives, that old misconception still lingers. This often leads to them being actively in denial of their sexual identity. Or sublimated as a form of passive-aggressive, people-pleasing behavior: like being submissive in everything but name. 

I know this very well, as it reflects my struggle. But I can say, backed up by my one and others’ experiences, that

if you accept who you are in regards to BDSM play your life will be all the better for it.

Talking About Being a Submissive

If you’re ready, and enthusiastic applause to you and your admirable decision, how do you broach the subject to your significant other? 

To begin with, I suggest taking things slow and steady.

Depending on your relationship, the personalities involved, and so forth. So no leaping head-first into sharing your volumes of self-starring BDSM fanfiction, and instead prime the conversation by explaining why submission turns you on. 

Education can play a big part as well, for yourself as your partner.

In addition to the articles referenced above, there are many resources out there—and here at HotOctopuss—to assist newbies in their BDSM education. 

Open yourself to your partner’s sexual interests and aim to create a situation where both of you are as happy as possible. Besides, no rule says a dominant can’t enjoy a good flogging or bondage session—by perhaps ordering their submissive to deliver the blows or put on the restraints. 

Am I Submissive?

Submission is not for everyone. And more power to that, as it demonstrates the beautiful diversity that is human sexuality.   

And sometimes there’s an interior or exterior barrier preventing them from accepting it about themselves.

That too is okay! It’s only when an inability to be open and expressive results in emotionally damaging thoughts or behaviors that it should be a concern. In this case, it should be addressed as soon as possible, preferably with the aid of a BDSM-supportive therapist.  

But, at the risk of sounding trite about what can be a serious subject, if your mind repeatedly wanders to:

  • wearing cuffs
  • kneeling before your Master, Mistress, or Goddess
  • the pleasure in being punished
  • or so many other clues, then . . .

I enthusiastically suggest looking at yourself and where your happiness may lie.

By coming out to yourself and your playmates, you’ll serve the person who matters most of all — you 

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