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Some Advice for New
Submissives
©
by jade

The Shock of Cyber D/s

When Lord Colm and I first began exploring the D/s channels on IRC and AOL, we were, quite frankly, appalled. It didn't take long to find out that most of the online activities had little to do with the "real-life" aspects of the Dominant/submissive lifestyle. The behavior we saw was both frightening and comical. We were fortunate that we had been in the lifestyle before venturing into the realm of the online scene and we became determined to present the truth, as we know it, on our own channel. This determination gave birth to the #D/s_LightHouse and we spent several months attempting to dispel some of the myths about the lifestyle we love and live.

Some of the most popular discussions we had in the LightHouse were those concerning the behavior and rights of submissives. Many of those who were just beginning to explore new feelings about their submissive nature were totally confused by what they had seen and heard about being a "subbie." Although there are wide variations in what is and what is not acceptable, I feel there are some things that aren't up for compromise. What follows are my opinions, based on my personal experience and training.


A Submissive's Bill of Rights

  1. You have the right to be treated with respect. Not only do you have this right, you have the right to demand it. Being submissive does not make you a doormat or less of a person than anyone else. The word "submissive" describes your nature and in no way diminishes you as a human being. You have the right to respect yourself as well.

  2. You have the right to be proud of what you are. Being a submissive is nothing that should ever bring you shame or feelings of reproach. Your submissive nature is a gift and should always be a source of pride and happiness.

  3. You have the right to feel safe. Being a submissive should not make you feel afraid, insecure or threatened. Submission is not about living on the edge or flirting with fear. In any situation you should feel safe or there can never be true surrender.

  4. You have the right to your emotions and feelings. Your emotions and feelings come from you and they are just as valid as anyone else's. You have a right to them. Those feelings, whether positive or negative, make you who you are and suppressing them will only bring unhappiness later.

  5. You have the right to express your negative feelings. Being submissive does not make you an object that no longer has negative thoughts or concerns. Your concerns are real and you have every right to express them. If something doesn't feel right, bothers you, makes you feel bad or you just plain don't like something, say so. Failing to express your negative feelings could give the mistaken impression that you are pleased or satisfied with something that is not pleasurable or agreeable.

  6. You have the right to say NO. Being submissive does not take away your right to have dislikes or negative feelings about things. If something is happening or about to happen that you feel strongly opposed to, it's your duty to speak up. Remember, failing to communicate the word NO is the same as saying YES.

  7. You have the right to expect happiness in life. Being submissive is not tantamount to being miserable, suffering or a life of despair. Your submission should bring you joy, peace and fulfillment. If it doesn't, then something is wrong.

  8. You have the right to have input in a relationship. You are an active partner in any relationship you enter and have every right to contribute to it. You are submissive, not passive. A relationship that doesn't include your needs, thoughts, hopes and desires is not one you should be in to begin with. This applies to friendships, partnerships and D/s relationships.

  9. You have the right to belong. Being submissive greatly involves the feeling of belonging. Many submissives have expressed that it was in discovering their submissive nature that they felt as through they "belonged" for the first time in their lives. You belong to the lifestyle and will eventually belong to the One. It's in that relationship you should find the final fulfillment of "belonging" at last.

  10. You have the right to be loved and to love. Anyone who tells you that love doesn't fit into a D/s relationship has never experienced the fulfillment of all it truly can be. Submissives are by nature loving and needing of love and have every right to expect this to be a part of their lives. It takes love to bring your submission into full bloom, so don't settle for less.

  11. You have the right to be healthy. Health involves your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Any relationship, D/s or otherwise, that causes you to suffer physically, mentally or emotionally, beyond your limits, is abuse. There is no place for abusive behavior in a D/s relationship and it's up to you to make sure those lines are not crossed. Being a submissive does not give anyone the right to harm or injure you in any way. The D/s community will stand behind you if you should encounter such a situation but you are the one who has to make them aware before they can help.

  12. You have the right to practice safe sex. Not only is this a right, it's a duty to yourself and others you may come into contact with at a later date. Sexually transmitted diseases have reached epidemic proportions and must be a concern to any sexually active person. Safe Sex is something you have the right to insist upon and protecting yourself should never be discouraged by anyone who really has your best interests at heart.


New Submissive's Tips on Behavior

Finding the One is not an easy task and submissives are at some definite disadvantages compared to their "vanilla" counterparts. The nature of submissives can make them less likely to initiate an encounter with someone who has caught their eye and the D/s lifestyle makes it difficult for subs to aggressively seek the attentions of a Dominant that has pricked their interest. So how does a submissive get noticed? The answer is often this: By her or his behavior. That behavior can be good or bad, as is the notice it receives. Some things always apply and these are a few of the most important ones.

  1. Be respectful. Showing respect for others and yourself is a must in almost any situation. There is seldom an excuse for anyone, especially a submissive, to be rude, disrespectful or disruptive. In a real-life social situation it probably will not be tolerated and will most likely lead to you being viewed in a negative light by those who take the lifestyle seriously. Online, it exposes you for what you are: untrained or a wannabe. We've all seen the sub who brags about handcuffing a Dom to a chair, is constantly causing a disturbance during polite conversation or jumps in every lap in the room. Believe me, this is NOT the way for submissives to act, nor is it acceptable in any real-life situation I've ever seen. It is very hard to be respectful to someone who doesn't deserve respect and we've all encountered situations where we've been pushed past our "limits" of tolerance. It takes some real ingenuity to find a tasteful way to tell someone to "take a hike."

  2. Be polite. Good manners are appreciated everywhere, and in a formal D/s situation, they are imperative. The use of such things as "Thank you," "Please" and "You are welcome" will not go unnoticed, just as the failure to use them won't go unheeded. Using common courtesy may go a long way in gaining you some positive attention; at the very least, it won't give you a negative reaction.

  3. Be well groomed and dress appropriately. Contrary to popular belief, submissives do not run around half-dressed or naked in all social situations. Maintaining a neat, clean appearance will gain more positive attention than a thong and chainmail bra. Being demure and feminine (if you're a female) is often the best option. Remember, a potential Dom is looking for a submissive, not a call girl, so a little modesty should be your trademark in most social gatherings. Some things look much better when enhanced by the imagination and a little hint can be a nice appetizer before the feast.

  4. Be well behaved. Being well-behaved speaks louder than any words you could use. Your actions will be watched by any interested Dominant, and although you won't be expected to be perfect, you will be expected to have behavior befitting of someone He/She would want to claim as theirs. Misbehaving seems to get a lot of attention but it's not the kind you may want. Picture a spoiled or undisciplined child who disrupts a classroom. The teacher is very aware of this child, but I doubt he or she want to take that child home. Although some Dominants may enjoy the challenge of a "feisty" submissive, I doubt many want the "subbie brat from hell." Dominants take pride in the behavior of their submissive, so start out on the right foot.

  5. Be yourself. Don't fall into the trap of trying to be what you think someone else is looking for. It's important to be yourself. If you are playful and spirited by nature, then by all means don't be afraid to show this side of you. The same applies if you are the more serious, quiet type. Little will be gained by trying to be someone you are not. Sooner or later your true nature will be apparent and both you and your Dominant will be in for some major problems and disappointments.


Some Conceptions and Misconceptions

I've seen many things on IRC that do not fit into anything I've learned in real life. Although some are relatively harmless, they do add to the confusion of what is expected of new submissives in a real-life situation, as well as online. These are only a few of the more obvious ones.

  1. Kneeling at a Dominant's Feet It is my experience that kneeling does not come into play until a submissive is under the protection or care of a Dominant. Kneeling is an outward sign of submission and respect and should not be taken lightly. It signifies a relationship between the submissive and Dominant and without some sort of interaction between them, kneeling is not expected and shouldn't be done. Online I've seen totally unknown submissives kneel before every Dominant on the channel and addressed each as Master or Mistress. I have wondered where this practice began and have reached the conclusion that it's done by those who have little or no real life experience. I think too many submissives get their ideas from the "Beauty" books or from visiting the land of Gor. While these books and channels can be amusing, they are NOT the basis for a realistic D/s relationship. There are many positions that submissives take when kneeling before their Master/Mistress. The Dominant will teach His/Her submissive what is most pleasing to them.

  2. Using the term "Master/ Mistress" Again, this should not be taken lightly and is very much overplayed online. A Dominant is not your Master or Mistress until there is an agreement made between the two of you and an exchange of power has taken place. The more appropriate term "Sir/Ma'am" should be used until you have truly given control of yourself to this person. You might gain a better understanding of the correct use of these terms after reading the discussion held in #Ithaka_Bound by Master John.

  3. Taking your place with your Dominant. Once ownership has been established, submissives are expected to take their specified place when in the presence of their Dominant. Dominants have their own preferences and standards, and it's the duty of the Dominant to make sure His/Her submissive knows what is expected. One thing I've noticed online that I've not seen in real life is the practice of a female submissive "hopping in Master's lap." It seems to be quite commonplace online but is a rarity in a realistic situation. Most submissives sit near or at the Dominant's feet, either on the floor or on a low stool provided for them. Some remain in a relaxed kneeling position at their owner's feet in some social situations where sitting on the floor may not be advisable. If the Dominant wishes to have His submissive on His lap, He will direct her to do so. She is not to ask for this pleasure or assume it on her own, but is to accept what His preferences are at the time.


Avoiding "Online" Pitfalls

Because so many new submissives are discovering themselves online, I've directed most of this toward them. I've seen too many tender souls lead astray by the behaviors and information they've gleaned from watching the activities of the popular BDSM or D/s channels. Although there are some channels populated by "real-lifers," the majority are inhabited by "online wannabes" who don't have a clue about the realities of real-life D/s relationships. They do our lifestyle a real disservice by playing a dangerous game with other people's lives and feelings. I often wonder how many submissives lost the chance to discover the fulfillment of their true nature because of the myths and fallacies they've found on IRC or other "chat" providers. Here are some of the typical things you should know about and avoid.

"On your knees, slave" The first time someone said that to me on a D/s channel I was stunned. I was unowned at the time, new to "chat" and couldn't believe that this was happening. I soon learned that this was a common occurrence online and I would have to deal with it several times a day. You do NOT have to get on your knees for anyone, nor should you do so when this happens. No true Dominant would ever say or expect such a thing from a submissive who does not have a relationship with Him/Her. Put the clod on "ignore" and move along.

"I am your Master/Mistress and you will do as I say" Wrong! Until you have entered into an agreement with a Dominant, no one is your Master/Mistress. It doesn't happen because they say so, it happens when you reach an understanding. It's a mutual decision, not one made by a stranger. You will know it when someone is your Master/Mistress and it won't be when a stranger announces it to you in a private message.

"Because you are a submissive you will serve me" Not even on a good day! You serve because you desire to, not because you are ordered by someone you've never met. Your service is a gift that's offered, not taken, and you have every right to refuse, or better yet, ignore the comment entirely.

"I order you to submit to me" This one left me in fits of laughter for nearly 10 minutes. Submission is NOT ordered. Submission is given, and then only after trust has been established. Your gift of submission is a precious thing and one you should not toss around on a channel freely. If you would not give the keys to your car to a stranger on the street, why would you even consider giving a stranger the keys to your very life? Take your time and don't be afraid to say "NO."

Another thing to watch out for is the ridiculous behavior of some of the "online" submissives. You will see things like subs hugging, kissing and lap-sitting with every Dominant on the channel. Be aware that this is NOT acceptable or desired by any Dom worth His salt. Dominants may be amused by these actions, but it's doubtful they would choose one of the subs that participate in this sort of thing. I'm always embarrassed by submissives who go out of their way to provoke or anger Dominants. This seems to be a childish attempt to gain attention and seldom gets more than an occasional "swat" from a Dominant who has had enough of it. Other similar activities are subbie revolts, collaring Dom/mes, tossing water balloons, and sexually inappropriate behavior. If you want to be respected and honored, you will avoid these pathetic attempts to be noticed. Your poise and respectable behavior will draw the attention of those that are worthy of it.

I could continue listing these kinds of comments and behaviors for the next week and still not cover all the ignorant things you'll hear in one day on "chat." There are lots of "players" online, those who use IRC as an erotic fantasy, and if that's what you are after, you'll find it. But if you are truly wanting to learn what those strange feelings stirring inside you are really about, you'll have to be smarter than the average "wannabe Dom/me." Trust your natural instincts. If it doesn't "feel" right, it probably isn't. Know that you have rights in decisions made concerning you. You can be submissive and say no. Find reliable sources of information and READ. Learn what the lifestyle and your nature are about. You can find some good sources for information in the links sections on Lord Colm's View From the Top page, my Chains of Love page or the numerous articles found in the Castle Library.

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