Active submission is the topic for the chat we are having tonight at The SafeworD/s Club so, as I was doing some preparation for that anyway, I thought that I may as well form it into a post. The great thing about talking about a topic is that you are able to learn from others so I am sure by tomorrow I will have some revisions, or at the very least some additions but hopefully this will be enough thought to get things going. I wrote a post Actively Submissive when we had not long started D/s. I actually wrote it for another site and it was never published so when I started my blog it seemed a natural thing to publish it here, but reading back I see that the style is more tailored to it’s original destination than it is to the style that I have developed so it reads more prescriptively than I am really comfortable with now; however, my opinion is still the same in that I believe that sometimes a more active form of submission is needed when you are living a 24/7 D/s dynamic.
Obviously being submissive can mean different things to different people, so the form our submission takes and the things that we do will also vary. I think that initially it had not struck me that I needed to be more active. I thought that once my husband agreed to this dynamic, he would be the Dominant and my role would be to respond to him. This was true to an extent but also a very simplistic view and not one that always helped to keep things on the right track, so I quickly realised that as far as the two way thing went, at least 50% would need to come from me. I expect that if you are with a very experienced Dominant who knows exactly what he wants from you that this will not be the case, but for a man who has been happily moving along in a vanilla marriage, to suddenly be expected to be completely controlling of your every move, action and deed is not really very realistic I don’t think.
Certainly that is not what happened with us. It has been a very slow transfer of control and each step has been reinforced and cemented over time. To change your habits is not easy and it has required a lot of reassurance from me, that I was not just willing for him to take control, but that I really wanted him to. It has required actions as well as words. And I think that is where my definition of active submission begins. I was active in asking for D/s and if I had not done so, I don’t think that HisLordship would have arrived eventually at the suggestion himself, although you never know. So I have had to be active in offering him the control and the power over me. At points he will just take it, and this is happening more and more, but certainly at the beginning, I felt a bit as if I was putting myself into his hands, so that he could be sure that I wanted to be there and then he would take it forward himself.
So for one who hates definitions and labels (because they never fit everyone and can make me feel that I don’t match up), here goes. For me, active submission is when you are participating or engaged in the act of submitting to (in other words giving yourself to) your partner. It contrasts with passive submission which I would see more as accepting or allowing what happens, or what he does, without resistance to it. As a submissive I do both and will follow instructions and commands when he makes them, but I also give myself as well as waiting to be taken if that makes sense. Initially I had not really realised that there was a difference. The erotic fiction that I had read with the mind-reading-über-Dom had prepared me only for the need to be passive in my submission. I would have to follow his instructions and learn to let go and not push back, but I hadn’t really thought further than that and how hot it was all going to be.
It hit me one night in the early days following a scene that had not gone according to plan. I forget the details now but something had not worked as it should and so he kind of froze, it all stopped and he lay down on the bed next to me in silence. This never happened in the books, but for him he had spent ages planning just for things not to go right. The control had been taken from him due to the way events had transpired, he lost confidence in his ability to lead and take charge, and I lay there waiting for him. His Dom did not burst suddenly with a pop like a balloon, but it did deflate quite noticeably in front of me. These days he is not easily thrown and can get back on track himself without any help from me, neither would he welcome it, but at this point all I could see was a man in crisis and I knew that lying there being passive was not what he needed. If I wanted him to take control of me again, I was going to have to do something to remind him that I was his for the taking, so I did.
A gentle touch or massage was not going to be enough so I knew that I had to give more. Now here is where you need to know what he likes and what will work for him, as I am sure that this would not do the trick for many people. I climbed astride him with my back facing to him, and lowered myself slowly down until I was just above his face. This is something that I hate doing and will avoid at all cost, but HisLordship finds it hot for some bizarre reason, so I knew that it would mean a lot to him. I hovered there uncomfortably hoping that he would feel my submission to him in this act, and it did not take long before it worked. Soon he seemed to reflate and was back in control. He pushed me up, smacked my arse, flipped me over, and resumed the scene.
Whether it was the same format that he had planned or he had altered things I don’t know and it matters little, but what was important was that I saw that I had a real part to play if I wanted this to work. This was not some fictional Dom who had it all going on in between the lines of a book; this was my husband who had agreed to try to do this for me because he loved me so much, and I owed it to him to do everything within my power to help him to feel that he was what I wanted, even when his confidence was knocked. I don’t think this is topping from the bottom, or even from the top as that was where I ended up – cringe. It is about giving yourself to someone else and helping them to see how and when and where they can take you, so that they will be able to do it more independently safe in the knowledge that it is exactly what you want.
It is interesting that when I looked up passive, one of the synonyms for it was submissive, so I think that many make the same assumption as me, that the Dominate person would need to be the active one, and I do think that it is by nature a much more active role. I suppose what I am saying is that sometimes you need to provide the opportunity for the action and then let him take it from there. Much of my Submissive Advent Calendar was about being active by providing things that I felt that HisLordship would like, but it was always up to him how and when and where he chose to use them. Sometimes he added to it, sometimes he instructed me to carry it out and sometimes he took it in a direction that I had not expected.
HisLordship has a naturally Dominant side but this will be linked to his self-confidence, his self-esteem and his own perceived ability at a particular task. He is commanding, decisive and authoritative at points but at others he is caring and sensitive and nurturing. He is a whole person who wears as many different faces in his life as I do in mine, so we have learnt how to get the best from one another. While we see ourselves as feeding each other and the dynamic 50/50 through our actions and responses, sometimes one is doing more than the other, depending on the circumstances at the time and I think that you just find a natural equilibrium. Being active is something that I do not see changing, although Sir is demanding more from me now in terms of my submission to him.
A lot of what I do actively would probably count as sexual, but that really is one sure way for me to engage with Sir as that is pretty much how he is stacked. A lot of that would be in terms of me offering myself or asking for permission to do things for him which I think will engage him in feeling wanted and in control. Some of the things aren’t necessarily sexual but are still physical as he likes to be touched, to be physically close and to feel desired. So things that are more erotic would also work well for him. I might ask permission to act out one of his fantasies for him, or ask him what the 5 most sensitive parts of his body are and then ask to kiss each one for 5 minutes. I might offer myself to him naked when he is not expecting it or tell him how much I have been thinking about the time that he did x, y or z.
Another part of my submission is asking him for things, particularly emotional support. I was cruel enough when we met to actually tell him that I wanted him but would never need him and really this was down to my past and my own defences and the being a strong, independent woman thing. I am still strong and independent at times but I have learnt to show him my weakness and my need and my vulnerability and to be active in articulating it to him, whether there it is a necessity to do so or not. I will tell him something happened today that bothered me a bit or ask if I can tell him about something that happened as I feel a bit hurt by it etc, and this sort of thing has also helped him to feel that I want him as my protector.
There are so many things that would fall into what I call active submission, including trying to do things which will help to lighten his load, that it is impossible to give examples of all of the ways I would do it here. For me it is about anticipating his needs, making him feel confident and desired and showing him that he is needed and wanted. This can be done by carrying out his wishes and instructions in a way which shows him respect, but as a gentle caring husband, he is not all about making demands of me. He puts me first, wants me to be happy and is focussed on the things that he can do for me, so our style of relationship requires that I am also doing the same for him. When he takes I give, but I also give so that he can take.