Part 2: The submissive

The Pressure Cooker

When it comes to teaching, I’m a fan of analogies, because visual aids tend to make it easier to absorb and apply foreign concepts. To that end, I will often use the example of a pressure cooker to describe a person who may find fulfillment in being the s in the D/s dynamic. Everything that has happened and is happening in that person’s life is inside that pressure cooker. Depending on their ability to manage their physical and mental health, work and home life, finances, relationships and anything else that can contribute to anxiety, the heat of stress begins to increase the pressure. The higher the pressure, the harder it becomes to keep going without exploding.

To continue with this example, if the sub is the pressure cooker, the Dom is the cook. And anyone who has experience with pressure cooking knows that to get the best results from what you’re cooking, you need to slowly allow the pressure to build. Then the cook maintains that pressure for just the right amount of time by controlling the heat. Finally, the cook releases the pressure and let’s the pressure cooker rest.

A true Dom is not a warden or a slave master. They are someone who help’s a person release the pressures of life in a way that can be simultaneously healthy and erotic. And while that is a simplified version of the full picture of the D/s dynamic, it’s still a remarkably accurate one.

Stereotypes Surrounding Submission

The most common stereotypes of leather, fetish and kink-related submission by people outside of those lifestyles tend to lean heavily on extremes, and commonly relate to what I touched on in Part 1. As is common with stereotypes and the stigmas they perpetuate, the reality is far different. In fact, there are probably people in your life right now who participate in some form of the D/s dynamic that you would never suspect. I know submissively-minded people who are CEOs, law enforcement officers, models, and even clergy.

The most important takeaway is this: if submission is not freely offered, it is abuse.

Submissive Roles

Recreational Players

By far the most common type of D/s submission is recreational. By that, I mean the sub is not living the lifestyle. Rather, they will hire someone such as a Dominatrix or sex worker to dominate them periodically. Many people under this category are in committed relationships with high-stress jobs, and contrary to what the stereotypes might have us believe, the periodic pressure release that submission offers them actually makes them better partners, better leaders. It increases their ability to focus, making them more productive.

In addition to those mentioned above, there are people who are not naturally submissive at all. People in this category may self-identify as Doms or switches, but occasionally explore their sub side for any number of reasons. In other words, it is possible for someone to explore submission without inherently being a submissive.

Other Submissive Roles

The realm of subs is vast and diverse. It includes an array of identities and identifiers including, but not limited to boy / girl, pup / puppy, and yes, even slave. The important thing to bear in mind here is that these are not identities that are being thrust upon them against their will. Adult members of the leather, fetish, and kink realms have autonomy and choice. They are participating in something that they find fulfilling and enjoyable.


Finally, I want to talk a bit about what I call subspace. When I refer to subspace, I am talking about accessing a state of stillness and bliss that is very much like what is experienced by a seasoned practitioner of meditation. In subspace, the submissive is free of active thought and fully in tune with their body. In my own experience, the best way I can describe this state is a perfect combination of euphoria and flying or floating.

One last thing here: I want to clarify that subspace is not the same as substance use, and that this state of being can – and most often does – happen when neither the Dom nor the sub are under the influence of mind-altering substances.

Domination and Submission Series