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Also see the Roles and Functions Page

In BDSM, a submissive is the person who follows the orders of the Master, Dom or Mistress Domme.

Dictionary definitions:

Main Entry: sub·mis·sive Pronunciation: s&b-'mis-iv Function: adjective

adj 1: inclined or willing to submit to orders or wishes of others or showing such inclination; "submissive servants"; "a submissive reply"; "replacing troublemakers with more submissive people" [ant: domineering]
adj 2: willing to submit without resistance to authority; deferent
adj 3: abjectly submissive; characteristic of a slave or servant; "slavish devotion to her job ruled her life"; "a slavish yes-man to the party bosses"- S.H.Adams; "she has become submissive and subservient" [syn: slavish, subservient]

Main Entry: sub·mis·sion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (sb-mshn) n.

The act of submitting to the power of another: “Oppression that cannot be overcome does not give rise to revolt but to submission” (Simone Weil).
The state of having submitted. See Synonyms at surrender.
The state of being submissive or compliant; meekness.



A submissive (abbreviated sub), in a BDSM context, is a person who submits to the will of another person: the dominant. The submissive may or may not receive physical punishment, but the submissive always takes direction and instruction from the dominant.

In consensual spanking, the spankee can assume a submissive role, which may include accepting "punishment" from the dominant. The submissive surrenders control, both mentally and physically. For example, when a spankee is instructed to undress, a submissive follows orders and bares her/his buttocks without question. Thus, he or she willingly surrenders control of the scene.

However note that a spankee is not necessarily submissive, and a spanker is not necessarily dominant. In sensation play, for example, there is no domination and submission. A spankee may also play the role of a recalcitrant brat, or can even be dominant in a scene (see topping from the bottom).

Some people have a more or less fixed orientation as a submissive, while others assume the submissive role for a limited time, perhaps only a single scene. A person who is at some times (or with some people) a submissive, and at other times a dominant, is often called a switch.




Being submissive is wanting to or being willing to submit to orders or wishes of another. Showing an inclination in this way. An overriding desire to be pleasing. Willingly submitting without resistance to authority. Being subservient or servile.

Enjoying erotic activities in feeling powerlessness or under the control of another.


A submissive is a person who submits or potentially submits to another, taking on the submissive role for the duration of a scene or is a submissive partner within a power exchange relationship. They are not necessarily submissive all of the time.

This term can be associated with being on the receiving end of bondage, discipline or sadism but need not necessarily be any of these.

The term submissive as a noun is mostly synonymous with sub but some people use it more widely to denote anyone disposed to be submissive and would therefore say that a submissive might be a bottom, a sub or a slave. Not all slaves feel themselves to be submissive, however and not all bottoms are submissive.

Submissives can vary in how serious they take their position, training and situation. Reasons for this include relief from responsibility, being the object of attention and affection, gaining a sense of security, showing off endurance, and getting sexual excitement from humiliation.

Note that it is not uncommon for two partners to switch roles from one encounter to the other, or even during a single encounter, depending on mood and preference.

Submissive Behaviour

A submissive person submits of their own free will and seeks to submit to another, or consents to another’s dominance. Submissives vary in how seriously they take their position, training, and situation. Motivations for engaging in submissive behavior may include relief from responsibility, being the object of attention and affection, gaining a sense of security, showing off endurance, and working through issues of shame. Others simply enjoy a ‘natural’ feeling when they are in the presence of their more dominant partner. What are known as service-oriented submissive may also have a deep seated desire to be “of use”. Submissives also vary in the extent to which they engage in play, in how often they play, and even in whether they consider their "role play" at all.

Within a S&M-only context particularly, submissive is often considered synonymous with bottom while others opine that a submissive is specifically pursuing a D/s power exchange as a key element, whereas a ‘bottom’ may or may not be interested (or even willing) to engage in a power exchange relationship. Some have proposed the “pitcher” and “catcher” (borrowed from baseball terminology) as more neutral terminology, with the “pitcher” delivering the sensation, the instruction, etc; and the “catcher” receiving what is “pitched.”

Also see the page [ Subs and Slaves ] and/or [ Subservience ] and/or [ Submissiveness ]
Also see the page [ RPOV:Submissive ]


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