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your responsibilities as a submissive

Rating: 4 votes, 3.50 average.
I'm a great admirer of the singer/songwriter Christine Lavin. She manages to alternate laughable slice-of-life songs with ones that offer powerful reflection on parts of life we experience but don't know how to name. In particular, I was thinking of subs and listening to Lavin's "Damaged Goods." The middle lyrics:

She had her first man when she was 23,
Years after all her girlfriends gave away their virginity.
And now at last she thought her life had begun,
But she sees things a little differently now that she's 31.
She's had a lot of lovers, but no special man
Has ever really touched her or tried to understand.

Now there's an awkward hesitation in everything she does.
If only her life could be simple like it was,
But now she thinks of herself as damaged goods.
So far no one's ever treated her as gently as she hoped they would
And she don't hold her head up quite so high
And she finds herself longing for the innocence of times gone by.

I don't know about you, but it seems like all of my friends
Are either being hurt or they are trying to mend the hurt
Been done to them by somebody else.
And now they carry like a badge a slightly damaged image of themselves.

Pretty, lilting melody accompanies it.

Which made me wonder whether subs suffer rather more frequently from those perceptions, than do others. I've always known that the great majority of submissives are wonderfully healthy, sensible creatures. A remarkable number are powerful, well-respected and self-assured in the rest of their personal and professional lives. Nonetheless, I suppose all go through the "am I sick?" "are these people sick?" and "am I about to become a victim?" phases.

It's all complicated, a bit, by the fact that you might not want to sit down with mom for advice, or as a sounding board. ("Hi, mom! Do you think I'd look better in a leather collar or chain?" "Oh, a nice mahogany collar would bring out the lovely highlights in your hair, dear. That, and a couple piercings, what boy could resist?") Some folks are too tentative, perhaps too unready?, even to speak out in the judgment-free confines available here.

The challenge they face led me to recall an entry in a long-ago blog, originally entitled "Responsibility to Self." I've modified the title, since the real substance is closer to "a submissive's responsibility to herself." The author offered some, it seems to me, sensible advice to help folks negotiate an answer to the question, "is this His responsibility, or mine?" For folks who are still trying to figure out what questions to ask and are anxious about seeming too green ("to noob"?), this seems to me to be as sensible a statement as I've read.


Being submissive does not release you from being responsible to yourself, for only in being responsible to yourself can you truly be pleasing for your Dominant. A Dominant is not there to be your parent, but to be a partner and a guiding force in your growth both physically and emotionally, but when it becomes that the Dominant is holding you up, holding your hand~ through life, it has crossed the line into a co-dependent relationship and will only serve to diminish the beauty of D/s, the beauty of Power Exchange within your life. In this vein, the following are ideas of my own that every submissive should consider having a handle on.

  1. Never expect to have your dominant live your life for you. You existed before him or her and you will exist if they are gone. While it's in your nature to please, never forget there is only one person you will walk your entire life with, yourself.
  2. Keep up with your own personal self-growth, a dominant should not have to tell you how to grow, but be a guide on your journey. you are ultimately in charge of taking the right path. Read, write, ask questions of yourself and others, continually striving and actively seeking to better yourself, for yourself. This in turn serves and shows your Dominant that you are always in every effort, seeking to be the best you can be.
  3. Take responsibility for your life. If you do not live with your Dominant, don't expect Him/ Her to know when your bills are due, pay the rent, or solve your drippy faucet problem. (Your Dominant will Admire that you took care of it so responsibly!)
  4. Take care of your health. A Dominant expects a healthy submissive, one who cares about his/her body and mind. (No, this does not mean you have to be perfect, but you should be fit.)
  5. Don't be afraid to let your Dominant know when you are having a bad day. It's normal and happens to everyone. you should never have to worry that He/She will not understand, but neither should you make Him/Her into your own personal counselor. Be prepared as well for your Dominant to experience their own drops. No Dominant is safe from the occasional illness or bad mood themselves.
  6. Listen to your gut. Most times, we avoid doing this as usually we are hearing something we would rather not believe. Putting off facing the truth, will only make for a longer, harder road to walk.
  7. If you don't feel comfortable talking with your Dominant or a trustworthy friend, keep a journal. Track your own feelings and growth. Stagnancy is a killer.
  8. Never forget that as you serve your dominant, you should also feel just as special and treasured in return. D/s is a two way street, you should be getting back as much as your are putting forth. If this is not the case, do not be afraid to journey alone for a time. Submission is not made or broken by having or not having a dominant.
  9. Be responsible for your own personal happiness. While our dominants fulfill all those long unaddressed needs within ourselves to release control, serve to make Another happy with our deeds, it does not mean we can stop looking inside, or that happiness is a given. We all make our own happiness, we shouldn't rely on any other to make it for us. If you are unhappy with yourself, there is really no way you will make a pleasing submissive, for any Dominant worth His/Her salt will recognize it within you. While they can point you in the right direction and accompany you on the road to growth, at the end of the day, you are still in command of your ability to be happy or unhappy. It may not be an easy journey to find happiness, but the end result will always make the effort to grow and evolve a wonderful one.

This list originally appeared on 5 December 2006, in a well-written, short-lived blog by "Submissive Woman," about whom I know nothing. The text, variously cleaned and reformatted, has been reblogged from time to time. I've corrected a handful of spelling errors, standardized capitalization, added numbers. The only text change is the addition of the underlined text in item 3, which I added to summarize the point.


  1. chipmunk_'s Avatar
    A friend of mine recently said something along the lines of "in order to fully give myself, I need to learn my own self-worth." I think that ties in very nicely with what you're saying here, and what i'm learning from my time with you. Again, I'll say that I'm so happy to be yours.


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