Submissive Rules

While the word “submissive” used to imply subservience to a man, as in he’s the head of the family and the wife must be in subjection to him (a staple of 1950s Golden Age culture), the new meaning of submissive is associated with the BDSM lifestyle. When a woman is submissive to a man (or a man is submissive to a woman or “Domme”) she is playing the part of a “submissive” and follows the lead of Dominant partner.

Is there a difference between being submissive or “owned” by a man from simply being a “sub”? Actually yes, and the complexity of those different dynamics is why some people have very impassioned arguments about sex, culture and male-female roles.

Consider first, the idea of wifely submission and how it’s different from what I teach, which is namely “feminine energy”.

Subjection, Submission and Headship

In conservative culture, the man was considered the head of the family. He made all the decisions, he worked, and he provided discipline for the family. You may have even seen some 1940s or 1950s advertisement of a man “spanking” his wife. Back in the day, a man who was head of the house earned respect. His wife usually cooked, cleaned and raised the children.

Obviously, much has changed from 70 years ago culturally speaking. Women are allowed to be equal now. Many seek empowerment, employment and an equal partnership union, when they get married. There is no need of wifely subjection anymore, except in some religious circles where the doctrine is still pushed.

Now a “submissive woman” in the classical sense is not using feminine energy for the sake of empowerment. She simply surrenders to her husband because of his male superiority.

Feminine energy is the concept of using one’s femininity to gain self-respect, to be treated with more respect by men, and to avoid aggressively clashing with men, just because there’s a disagreement. There is something very subtle and mature about this approach…coincidentally, a woman who knows the power of feminine energy is considered very “high value” by men. They’re even pursued by millionaires, actors and other successful men.

The main difference between submission and feminine energy is that a feminine woman doesn’t surrender her power or acquiesce to the man against her will. She simply avoids entanglement or conversation with a man who wants that type of uneven relationship.

What Submission Means in the BDSM Lifestyle

Submission to a Dom or even a Master has nothing to do with superiority or subjection to a husband. It’s simply a “role”, a kink, a form of “submission” that allows for sexual or psychological experimentation.

The important difference here is that “subs” actually have all the power in the Dom/sub relationship, because they establish the rules. They decide in advance how they want to be disciplined or “dominated” by their Dom partner. (Who may or may not be a boyfriend).

You may have seen the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, well known because of the “signing a contract” storyline. This shows “consent”, a desire by the submissive woman to be disciplined by her partner, as part of the kink.

Some women do like the illusion, the “feeling” of being dominated and giving a man the power to order her around, spank her, or discipline her. It’s not just about the “pain” or the adrenaline rush – the power dynamic is also significant in this scenario.

The difference between a “Dom” and a “Master” is that while the Dom relationship is usually short-lived, the Master is usually a lifelong role play. The sub wishes to be in a “daddy” type relationship with a Dom, full-time, ongoing, and intensive. So she becomes a “slave” (by consent) rather than a temporary sub.

Examples of Submissive Rules

Now when it comes to actually creating the rules, the scenarios and the activities, there are no universal guidelines. Anything goes, provided that consent is given and both partners negotiate the terms explicitly before the playing begins.

Usually the sub gives the Dom a list of “hard and soft limits”, meaning stuff she does not want, and stuff she might be willing to try under the right circumstances. From this point, the sub may request certain activities (“I like to be spanked”) or the Dom may create his own menu of activities (“I will spank you, tickle you, dirty-talk you, etc.) which the sub then accepts.

All of these negotiations are openly discussed, before and after play, so that there won’t be any painful or upsetting misunderstandings. This is something BDSM members take very seriously. In fact, their commitment to consent even requires a “safe word” to be used during play. If the sub becomes nervous, afraid or starts to feel pain or numbness, she must use the safe word to ask for a full stop. In addition, she can also ask for the Dom to slow down. The Dom also has the responsibility to ask the sub if she’s okay, if she’s still clear-headed and responsive, and so on.

So you can see, the Dom is actually the “giver” in this relationship. He gives pleasure in exactly the way the sub wants it.

An experienced Dom may create a list of “rules” for the sub to follow that establish the discipline and power dynamic. For example, he may give her orders regarding sex, hygiene, clothing, jewelry, daily tasks and playing activities. It’s the sub’s option to accept these conditions at the beginning of the relationship, or refuse.

The Dominant or disciplining person doesn’t seek to bully the sub or torture her (except in very extreme contracts). The goal is to treat her safely and kindly, as a surrogate parent, a dominant man who disciplines with attention, care and love.

A so-called “Dom” who only wants to hurt women in a misogynistic way will be chased away from the BDSM community, as it is considered offensive to their lifestyle.

As you can see there are clear differences between marital submission, feminine energy and BDSM discipline and submission. These three examples of power-based relationships are all very different from one another. But learning more about them individually may help you understand more about the male and female psyche and how power balance makes or breaks relationships in the modern age.

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Talk soon,

Matthew Coast

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Matthew Coast

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