As the first in a series of articles focusing on male submission, this article presents thoughts about one of the archetypes of male submission, the “worm.”
Men and women are different, of course, and in some cases that goes beyond the obvious physical characteristics. Almost all of the articles on The Submissive Guide are valid regardless of gender, but there are sometimes subtle differences in the application of advice even in the emotional and mental aspects of submission.
One common archetype of submissive men is the worm, a man who wants to be humiliated, degraded, and tormented as much as possible by most any and every dominant woman he encounters. Depending upon the male sub’s orientation, he may want to be treated this way by only dominant women, only dominant men, or regardless of gender. There are submissive women who fit the worm mindset but I believe that it is a much more common desire with submissive men. It is such a common mindset for some sub men that it is a stereotype within the BDSM community that almost all sub men are worms, which is not at all true. Also, the worm type of sub men is sometimes not respected by others even within the BDSM community, which is unfortunate because we should all be allowed to be who we want to be, as long as it is Safe, Sane, and Consensual (SSC).
Not all submissive men are worms. In fact, I believe that only a small percentage of submissive men are worms. It is not at all reasonable to believe that just because a man is submissive, that makes him a worm. Every individual is unique and has his own needs and desires, which often have nothing to do with being a worm.
What is a worm?
Even that varies by individual and many who enjoy this type of submission may not even classify themselves with the term “worm.” The term “worm” is offensive to some sub men who do not identify as a worm.
In general, a worm enjoys when a dominant, who fits his gender orientation or desire, treats him as a lowly sub-human who must never stand, must never use furniture, must never eat human food, must never make eye contact, must serve as a human toilet, must never be temporarily free from suffering of some sort, and so on. Often, worms enjoy being dominated by a group, though this is not always the case.
Many subs who are not worms enjoy many of these mindsets and even when some of these mindsets are in place 24/7 that does not necessarily make a specific submissive a worm. A worm is mainly the overall mindset of being treated as a sub-human to most every dominant as often as possible. In some cases being a worm is a fantasy where the reality is being a worm part of the time or being only partially a worm, or even being a worm only in the imagination. Note that the term “worm” does not refer to acting like an earthworm, it is a slang term.
There are subs who might be offended that I list an activity they enjoy, such as not being allowed to use the furniture and categorize that as being a worm. For clarification, the term worm is subjective and it is not the specific activities which classify a worm. For example, if a sub is openly loved and cherished by a dominant and part of that love is manifested in the dominant’s requirement that the sub does not use the furniture, then that is likely not a worm dynamic. By contrast, if the dominant and other dominants think of the sub with disdain (whether real or in role-play) and sometimes kick the sub who is on the floor, then that may be a worm they are kicking.
As with most every sub, a worm has limits. For clarification, breaking an arm is a limit for all BDSM subs, but it’s a limit nonetheless. Many worms would not consent to particular activities, even ones which are commonly associated with worms. For example, a sub man may be a worm but not consent to be involved in anything in the bathroom. Also, many worms only want to be a worm some of the time or to only be treated as a worm by one dominant or by a select few. All worms are unique.
Many worms want to be treated online as a worm by everyone who contacts them, even from the first message. The idea of a dominant sending a message such as “Hi, I saw your profile and you seem interesting” may break the fantasy of some worms who might prefer a message such as “You are a disgusting pig and I demand that you send me a reverential e-mail in return!”
However, and this is very important, it is inappropriate to send someone an initial message containing non-consensual domination such as in my “disgusting pig” example. If a user’s profile explicitly indicates permission to send a domination type message, then that constitutes consent but otherwise, there is no consent until the sub provides consent. Unless domination consent is given, an initial message should be polite and neutral, without any domination in it.
Similarly, it is inappropriate for a sub to send an initial message of submission, unless the dominant’s profile specifically provides consent for that. Many dominant women on FetLife receive frequent messages out of the blue from sub men such as “Mistress, I worship you and want to submit to you spitting on me and anything else you want!” This is completely inappropriate as an unsolicited initial message unless the woman’s profile specifically indicates something like “You must always address me as Mistress and grovel at my feet so do not send me a message unless you are worshipping me.” Otherwise, if you are a sub male sending an initial message to a dominant woman, please be polite such as commenting on something non-sexual you like in their profile or on a group message board comment they posted, and if she wants you to submit to her then that can happen later once she gives you consent, not in the initial unsolicited message.
Why would a submissive man want to be a worm?
The worm dynamic may seem very undesirable to many subs. The answer to why is unique to the individual. Why do any of us want to be the type of subs we are? As long as it is safe, sane, and consensual, then a worm should be free to explore his identity and desires. We should all recognize that there are many different submissive mindsets within BDSM and just because we may not like specific mindsets, that does not make those mindsets any less valid to others.
Is it safe and sane to submit to sub-human treatment by every dominant? That depends on the situation. For example, if attending a BDSM party by a trusted host in which it is known that attending worms will be free to be worms, and if there is some sort of screening process such as only invited guests are attending, then yes it can be safe and sane. Just as with any sub, a worm should judge the situation for safety.
There are difficulties which are somewhat unique to worms. From what I have read on FetLife and other websites, dominant women generally do not want a worm as a long term partner and instead often want a strong man who submits. If the worm is a strong man, there may still be great compatibility if the dominant woman enjoys treating the sub as a worm a certain amount of the time. However, I have seen comments from many dominant women that they do not enjoy the worm dynamic at all, so as with everything else it is up to the individual. Finding a long term compatible partner is difficult for most everyone, not just worms.
Another difficulty for worms is that it seems to me that there are a whole lot more submissive men who are worms of some sort than there are dominant women who enjoy the male worm dynamic. I have seen comments and profiles of dominant women who do enjoy the worm dynamic, but I have also noticed that many of those dominant women who enjoy the worm dynamic are also Pro Dommes and/or Financial Dominants. Consequently, many submissive men who are worms often feel the need or, in cases of an enjoyment of Financial Domination, the desire to pay money to be treated as the worm they enjoy being. In some cases paying money fits the worm dynamic, but there are also many worms who do not want to be financially dominated.
Is it too much to ask to find a long term partner who is a dominant woman but does not need money to change hands early in the relationship? It is not too much to ask, but as with any compatibility, it is not easy finding the right match.
How does a man know when a dominant woman requires money? If a dominant requires money, then usually there is a reference to money in her profile such as “I enjoy Financial Domination,” “I love being spoiled,” being a member of Financial Dominant groups, or being a Pro Dominant. References such as those do not necessarily mean that they require money but it is often an indicator that they do. As usual, it is recommended to read the entire profile. This is actually a common issue with sub men who are looking for a dominant woman, especially sub men who are worms, in trying to ascertain whether a particular dominant woman who enjoys the worm dynamic would require money to change hands.
Doesn’t being treated as a worm mean that the man just does not want a loving relationship at all? As with everything, that depends on the individual. Many worms do want a loving relationship with the display of love sometimes, though generally not always, being through the worm dynamic, despite how contradictory that seems. I know one FetLife user whose loving dominant wife treats him as a very low worm literally crawling in the mud of their backyard and being intermittently chained and beaten in his own muck for an entire weekend and as a much less worm-type BDSM slave the rest of the time.
In fact, even for submissive men who are not worms, many of them enjoy when their partner is “mean” to them in some of the worm-like ways or in different ways. And there should not really be any quotes around the word “mean,” many subs desire or need truly mean treatment from their dominants. It is a paradox: “I want you to do to me things I don’t want you to do.” There are informational websites for dominant women on how to be mean to their man, and many Femdom fictional stories are about a woman being intentionally mean to the man they love. Being loving and mean at the same time is a talent. And the usual caveat applies, not all sub men enjoy when their dominant is mean to them, it is completely up to individual preferences and it is not reasonable to assume that a man being a sub implies that he enjoys anyone being mean to him.
Personally, I enjoy the worm dynamic from a fantasy standpoint but the reality of more than just a taste of it from my dominant wife, even in a safe environment, would be difficult for me at best. Fantasy versus reality will be the subject of my next article on male submission.
So if you meet a worm, then please treat him with respect because everyone deserves the right to be who they want to be. Or … if you and he both consent, then feel free to treat him with the lack of respect he deserves.