BDSM & FemDom Advice: A guide to submission: switch, submissive or slave?

How to tell if you’re a switch, submissive or slave

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How can you be the best submissive for your Dominant? How can a Dominant receive the best service from a submissive partner?

For mutual fulfilment, it is imperative that both sides of the D/s orientation coin consider the issue of self-identity.

I believe it to be impossible to give the best service to your Dominant, or feel truly satisfied with your place in the power exchange arrangement, if you are not comfortable with or fully aware of your submissive orientation. Do you identify as switch, submissive or slave? Perhaps another term is more suitable? What do these terms even mean, and why do they matter?

Bottom

A ‘bottom’ in the BDSM scene is a person who submits for a session. This can be carrying out tasks as ordered by the ‘Top’, accepting corporal punishments such as spanking and flogging, or in some other manner providing a ‘service submission’ for the length of a session only.

Submissive

A ‘submissive’ person will find that they have a nature which predisposes them to submit when they find a Dominant partner to whom they feel a character attraction or bond. Those who identify as submissive do not, as is the mistaken popular opinion, submit willy-nilly, regardless of the person Dominating, or ‘telling them what to do’. Due to this frequent misunderstanding, submissives are perhaps those most likely to be taken advantage of by those unused to the moral code of conduct at the heart of BDSM.

Identifying as a ‘submissive’ person can be difficult for people who hold a position of authority in their everyday life, or for those who find that social and cultural attitudes have engendered a dismissive or scornful attitude, towards men in particular, who submit to others for personal enjoyment.

Switch

A ‘switch’ is a person who enjoys both submission and Domination in either equal parts regardless of the session, or who finds themselves swayed towards being either submissive or Dominant in the presence of particular people.

Switches can face the same claim that bisexual people constantly fight against in the mainstream world; often being accused of a greedy nature or ‘wanting it all’. Not only is the switch character not greedy, many switches even go out of their way to satisfy the needs of others rather than themselves.

Slave

Often a lifestyle progression from the ‘submissive’ state, although not in all cases, a ‘slave’ is one who finds most comfort and fulfilment from a full, inherent submission to their Dominant. The flipside of a slave is an owner, therefore many slaves will refer to their personal Dominant as their Master or Mistress.

Other submissives may also refer to their Dominant using a title such as Master or Mistress, but this title may not be used 100% of the time.

Within BDSM, slaves are generally owned by one owner, but may (according to any terms of a fetish contract which is a popular addition to kink slavery) be loaned out to other Masters or Mistresses under a general umbrella of consent.

 

Of course individual arrangements for the safety of both parties, with regards to consent, are between Top and bottom, Dominant and submissive, Master or Mistress and slave. This will usually be by setting a safeword either at the start of a session or the ownership term, or agreeing to use the popular traffic lights system (“red” means stop, “amber” means let’s stop to discuss, “green” is the assurance that everything is ok).

Identifying yourself correctly within the BDSM scene ensures the best compatible match for your personal nature when entering into BDSM relationships. Although these relationships may or may not be laced with romantic emotions, there are still strong feelings attached to Dominance and submission bonds formed in BDSM. It is therefore easy to get hurt if you do not take the precaution of adequately communicating your status or intentions right from the start.

Accurately presenting yourself to a prospective play partner, Dominant or owner is also a great start to your submissive attentiveness!

The above definitions of the various submissive characters within BDSM do not mean to imply that a person is one submissive identity for life. As emotional beings who go through different relationships and experiences, our identities and personalities are always evolving and changing. It is therefore a logical assumption, borne out by many, that submissives, just like everyone else, will find their own personal journey through the states of submission. A person may eventually settle on one submissive orientation, or find themselves going from one to another depending on their life at that time.

The important thing here is clear communication with those you get involved with in BDSM. Owning your identity in any space of time will avoid potential misunderstandings, confusion and hurt feelings.

Talk to your play partner, Dominant or owner honestly, with a view to either a series of power exchange sessions which you both enjoy, or a long, happy and harmonious relationship with the fetish life partner of your dreams.

 

– Cara Sutra

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