This question is something that seems to cause a lot of deliberation and consideration in D/s circles. I am not sure why. I suppose somewhere there is pressure to be a ‘submissive type’ so that we can see how well we are doing and how well we match up. I think that possibly this comes from already having adopted the label of submissive. Happily categorised, we look around and wonder why we are not like others. So we look for further categorisation by means of explanation.
This sort of categorisation and labeling is part of our society and lends itself to human nature, however, it is often not helpful. We are all different and to celebrate our own uniqueness is important, but when we notice a difference, we somehow want to find others who are the same. I am lots of other things: wife, mother, daughter to name but a few, but there doesn’t seem the same pressure to categorise these is the same sort of way.
I think it is a fine thing to look more deeply into what sort of submissive you are if this is helpful, but I don’t believe being further labeled makes you more submissive, or a better submissive. You are what you are and it is fine for you to do you. Really, the only person other than you who should care what you are like as a submissive and comment on it is your Dominant. Anyone else seeking to draw comparisons and make you feel like you don’t fit, has no place to do so.
Labels, Labels, Everywhere …
When you go online and type in questions about submission, it isn’t long until one of these quizzes which will tell you your submissive type pops up. While these can be a bit of fun, I have not found one yet which accurately describes me, or is helpful to my own understanding of myself. Learning about myself and my submissive type has been gained through experience, reflection and discussion with others. So while others seem to seek to box you in further by creating terms to attach to, personally I don’t buy it.
New submissives to the online community that we host will often feel cautious to begin with. They feel that they are only partly submissive because they are inexperienced and starting out. Their research already has led them to feel green and as if they might not be doing the right things to qualify. Surely being submissive is part of your personality or your kink makeup? Being a submissive is something that you choose to do. There can’t be a wrong way and a right way for this. There is no set submissive type.
Even for those who do come to identify with being a particular submissive type, it is open to individual interpretation. I am different to the next person and my submission will be different too. If I were to switch partner, that person would likely bring some different aspects of my submission out. We are people, not numbers. We don’t fit neatly into boxes because we are ever-changing, depending on our experience and environment.
Umbrellas and their panelled parts
Submissive is really the umbrella term and it is fine to remain firmly under that without being more specific. However, if you do feel that things are more complex and that really you only fit under one particular panel or part, that is fine. It might help you to adopt a more specific label but what I am saying is that you don’t have to. For most people, there will be elements of lots of different parts to their submission. The stereotype for any of these parts tends to be as unrealistic as the stereotype of the general term, submissive.
Finding what fits can come over time. I suppose because of blogging, I have further categorised myself as a married submissive, a submissive wife and a lifestyle submissive. These terms help to define the sort of submission I have as being different to the stereotype that I was presented with when I did some research. And I guess that has been my driving force when I have adopted other submissive types. It has usually come from trying to explain what I am at the same time as explaining what I am not.
I am a submissive but not that type of submissive
The stereotypical submissive
So, I am not sure that she (because, again the assumption of gender is also a dangerous part of the stereotype) even exists other than in fiction. She is obedient, compliant and thinks submissively at all times. She doesn’t work, or she does works, but she is able to wait patiently to do the bidding of her master. She doesn’t wear clothes much (his choice) but doesn’t seem to get cold or for this to be inconvenient. She is punished (I am not sure why as she does what he wants anyway) and is glad for that punishment.
She is sexually shy but adventurous (she doesn’t know what she wants or likes but she likes and wants everything he does to her). She likes all types of kink and usually transpires, after a few swats, to be a masochist. She is independent of thought, but is so appreciative of the opportunity to serve and so in tune with him that her own thoughts are a convenient extension of his. She is beautiful and physically in shape. She is young and eager to learn. She embraces her training and life never seems to get in the way of her submission (no kids, no health issues, no stresses at all that a simple cock in her mouth or plug in her butt can’t fix).
So what are my labels?
Ok so this (she, the real submissive) is not really me. I very much doubt that it is anyone out there who is real but nonetheless it seems to be an unwritten standard that we all need to try to aspire to. When we don’t, the implication is that something is wrong with us. Why am I not like that? How can I be a submissive and be different? What sort of submissive am I? And we search for a different submissive type, a better fit. A male submissive, a service sub, a pet or a baby girl. A slave, a brat, a masochist or a pain slut.
While I do just see myself as a submissive, I do use other terms in order to drill down a little bit, and this is less to do with what I am and more to do with what I am not. There are a couple of terms that I do feel fit for this reason.
Married submissive and submissive wife
To me these are one and the same, although if you google submissive wife you tend to end up exploring the Christian variety. In terms of labels, I am not one of those. My faith has nothing to do with my submission, but I do still submit to my husband. Another thing I am not is a submissive who submits to people other than my husband. I only submit to him. I don’t do this because he is my husband (see type above) but because he (my husband) has agreed to be my Dominant.
I use the term lifestyle submissive to indicate that Dominance and submission is part of the way that we live all the time. This does not mean that we are actively doing it all the time, but it is there. It runs along on the background and forms part of the way we are with each other. It is woven through more areas of our relationship than just the sexual one. There can be areas which don’t fall under it, but most do in some form or another.
This is different to someone who is a bedroom only submissive. We did start like this and by that I mean that I submitted to HL on a sexual level only. While this works really well for lots of people, for me, I needed to submit to him in more areas in order for it to be successful. Essentially, despite wanting it more than anything, I found it too difficult to do when I had to click in and out. Basically, I need to submit on more levels in order to remain in a submissive mindset.
Flavours and sprinkles
While I don’t identify completely with any other labels, there are aspects of other parts to my submission. We are not in a DD/lg (Daddy Dom/little girl) dynamic, but I do identify as being a middle and at times, that can form part of what we do. I am not a masochist although I like some pain to enhance my pleasure, but I am an emotional masochist, due to the fact that erotic humiliation can push me deep into my submissive space.
I am not a service sub but I do enjoy serving and service is definitely part of our dynamic. When I am being more playful and in my middle space, I will be a bit more bratty, but I would not say that I am a brat as this is not something I would do without being in this space. My natural submissive is quite good at following rules and not pushing back unless something is wrong. And I am not using natural submissive as yet another submissive type. It is more that I see different aspects to my submission.
There will be differences in my submissive behaviour and my submissive responses depending on the context and situation. Some of this is external but for much of the time, I am responding to HL’s Dominance so that will shape the way that I am. He can bring out the greedy, the needy, the complaint, the cheeky, the silly, the naughty, the wanton. This is part of being submissive and it is what happens when a submissive is Dominated.
Sigh. The thinking parts!
One thing I am not, and now realise I will never be, is someone who always thinks submissively. My head is not submissive. My body is not submissive. What I am is a thinking person who wants to submit. Sometimes, more is the pity, wanting to do something does not equate to actually doing it. I want to submit but I need various things to happen in order to facilitate it. One of the things I need is Dominance. Not just knowing that it is present and correct, but feeling that it is active.
My friend, Lurv Spanking, put it in simple terms when he said dealing with someone who needs to be taken/forced into submission for their own good is much more difficult than someone who is naturally submissive. I am definitely the former and I wonder if that is my submissive type. I have referred previously to being an independent submissive but that doesn’t really cover it. I have also written about the kick ass part that we don’t talk about.
My need for Dominance
So I suppose what I am is a strong submissive but that implies that other submissive types are not as strong and that is rubbish so that doesn’t work either. Essentially I need to be taken or forced. It is like something needs to be broken: my will, my self control, my self-consciousness? Those are the things I have built as barriers around myself for protection. I want to be vulnerable but it is hard when I am pretty self-reliant and self-sufficient. It is not that I don’t want it enough though. It is more that I need someone who is stronger, who is all of the things that I am not, to see what I need and provide it for me.
I need someone to take control of me and of the things around me. I can’t let go unless I know that someone has my back and will catch me. I need to know that they are there before I can truly submit. Submit naturally that is. After that point, I do get there. So the wanting takes me so far and then with their help I can become what I would call completely submissive. At that point my thoughts, actions and behaviour all converge and take on a fully submissive stance. I am no longer thinking, I am just doing.
So in many ways I do feel I can be a naturally submissive type, but being Dominated in the right way is the vehicle to take me there. Without that I am a little lost. I am waiting and wanting but I need the strength of my Dom to push my own strength back and to demand my submission from me. I need my thoughts to be bent to his will. After that I can become the real deal. That is when I think submissively and that is not the same as behaving submissively.