How we submit has a direct impact on our Dominant's authority over us. We need to make sure we take an active role in submission to help open up the dynamic and not wait for our Dominant to come up with a command to give us. By taking on an active role in our submission, we not only have more opportunities to be submissive, but we build a dynamic that provides an open exchange of power.
Dominants often struggle to feel empowered and confident in their ability to assert their dominance on us submissives. As a BDSM community, we emphasize what the submissive wants and needs, protecting the submissive and making sure the submissive is happy and satisfied. It's often assumed that the Dominant knows how to assert control and get what they want and need in the relationship. Dominants are instructed to care for their submissive, nurture them, and help guide them but rarely do they get taught how to take control of the dynamic or care for their own needs. Even though as submissives, we permit them to have authority over us, that isn't enough. We're missing a key point here. D/s is an exchange.
We need to learn how to make our D/s exchange an active one. Both the Dominant and submissive are learning and exploring together.
The Trap of Passive Submission
Our Dominants don't always know how to make authoritative decisions right out of the gate. Often, the way we've assumed submission should look is acting in conflict with providing an exchange of power. When you express disinterest or a negative attitude when your Dominant gives you a command, it displays an air that you only want to submit when it suits you. Perhaps you've applied pressure to your partner to be Dominant in a specific way that you prefer or that fits within what you think D/s should look.
Passive submissives are unlikely to get their needs met unless they force action on their Dominant because it makes the Dominant a servant of the submissive. They are also more likely to speak out against their Dominant, who, to them, isn't being dominant enough or never gives them orders. They sit and wait for their Dominant to take control, give them orders, and for the submissive to feel dominated. Passive submissives are not creating an environment where power exchange can ever happen.
You can see that being a passive submissive isn't healthy for a D/s relationship. How can we empower our Dominants to take control and show them that we're open to submitting to them? You do that by being an active submissive.
What is Active Submission?
Active submission is about making your submission available to your Dominant. When we make an effort to create open opportunities for our Dominant to feel comfortable asserting themselves, our dynamics become more fulfilling. Being present and open for submission takes practice, and it looks different for every dynamic.
Just telling your Dominant that you're open to submit isn't exchanging power or creating an opportunity for that to happen naturally. We have to actively create an environment of power exchange where openings for submission happen, and the Dominant feels invited to assert control at any point.
Let's build a scenario here. In this example, your Dominant has just asked you to bring them a beverage. In a static power exchange, where no active environment is created, you'd fetch their drink, deliver it, and then walk away. Sometimes without saying a word or receiving any acknowledgment.
While this exchange is compliant with their wishes, it lacks any positive feedback to encourage them to do it again or ask for more. You've performed the task, and that was it. If you want your Dominant to be dominant, make sure you let them see you are open and available to submit without making assumptions on how. Show them that you enjoy submitting to them and doing what they request of you.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
When given a request or command, respond enthusiastically and genuinely. Even if it's a task you aren't particularly interested in, avoid a negative attitude. When you are negative, that closes the exchange off, and your partner may not be inclined to give you a repeat request. Suppose you always respond begrudgingly and look like you're going off to your death to perform the task. In that case, you aren't demonstrating an interest in being submissive at all. That attitude also has an added effect in making the Dominant feel less secure in providing dominance. Sometimes we will be asked to do things we don't really want to do. Keep in mind that you have submitted to your partner's control. As long as it is within your agreed limits, then you should perform it without being negative.
When you need clarification on a task, ask detail-oriented questions. When you make assumptions on how a task is to be carried out, it does not fully comply with your Dominant's desires. For example, if your Dominant has asked you to pick up some orange juice while you are out, ask them what brand or pulpiness they prefer. Make a note of their answers so that if asked to do this task again, you can say, "would you like the Tropicana No-Pulp OJ like last time?" Your attention to detail will also demonstrate your engagement with the task. How you perform the task is still under your Dominant's control. It will also make things feel less like a chore for your Dominant in the future because they won't have to repeat key details.
When completing a task, offer active, open-ended suggestions for future service. Let your Dominant know that you enjoyed doing the task for them and are open to doing it again when they desire it. For example, "I really enjoyed making your coffee. Please let me know when you'd like some more." It's important to note that you aren't pressuring them to give you orders. You are creating an active opportunity to assert control in the future when they desire it, not just when you offer. A Dominant that may be hesitant to request or command you has now been given an open opportunity to request a beverage from you in the future. The fact you said you enjoyed it will provide them with a positive boost.
Building from these ideas will help you create the perfect atmosphere for your dynamic to grow and thrive as it should. Dominance and submission can not live in a vacuum. You have to actively demonstrate that you enjoy your chosen role and offer your partner opportunities to be a part of the exchange with you. Your Dominant will not only feel like they can ask you to do something but know that you're open to performing with a positive attitude and to their preferences. These are all things that demonstrate that your submission is active and engaged. You want your relationship to be a positive one that lasts for a long, long time.
When you are an active submissive, you not only show your Dominant that their role in your life is important, but that you value what you do for them too. In the end, you've opened the door for more dominance and, you know what? That means more opportunities for you to submit! You aren't just waiting for them to give you a command but also making the dynamic, dynamic.
Finally, we can see that power exchange isn't just about what we do, but how we build upon our roles' foundation. As an active submissive, we are continuously creating an environment that our Dominant can assert their control. In return, they offer us chances to perform tasks and be submissive. It's a beautiful thing.
Your power exchange will be an ever-growing, fulfilling relationship when you both work to fuel it. Active submission leads to active dominance. Dominants sometimes need a confidence boost to know that you love serving them and are open to doing whatever they desire. Keep the exchange open, and your relationship will thrive.
Have you caught yourself waiting for your partner to give you commands? What can you do right now to show them that you're open to submit to their control? Let's talk about it. Head over to the Submissive Guide FetLife Group and start a discussion.