I like to be submissive in bed i.e. I mean I like to be told what to do. This is a huge turn on for me and I would like to find out more about the BDSM and D/s community but I am scared by how seriously some of the people involved appear to take it. How do I work out if I'm a proper submissive?
First of all, there is no such thing as a 'proper submissive'. Most people have submissive tendencies, dominant tendencies or a mixture of the two, and everyone is 'proper'.
I wonder if the issue you are looking to resolve is about how deeply you want to involve yourself in the D/s world. It is understandable to wish to be cautious in this area; the motto of the majority of this community is SSC – Safe, sane and consensual, but it is always wise to be careful about who you are meeting or getting to know.
A good guideline is: nobody has the right to abuse you whether in a BDSM environment, a non-fetishist sexual environment or day-to-day life. The difference between being treated as a submissive and being abused is to do with whether boundaries have been clearly agreed in advance of participation in any 'scene', including safety measures being put in place to protect you. The experience should be about being stimulated and satisfied, not manipulated or taken advantage of.
Communication is key when dealing with any fetish activity, and if you and your partner/s are not making sure that everyone understands exactly what's going on then you need to step back and re-evaluate.
Some people like to be tied up in a bed or lightly spanked by their partner, whereas other people live a whole lifestyle based around a Dom/sub relationship, and of course there is everyone in between. People on the BDSM scene can seem to take it extremely seriously and you will need to work out who you are comfortable with and around. Having relationships in a fetish environment is the same as having relationships in a non-fetish environment: you will suit some people but not others.
Traits commonly thought of as submissive are: enjoyment of obedience, hyper-awareness of others' needs, honesty about one's own needs and boundaries, a sense of adventure but willingness to be guided, adaptability to the needs of others, humility, patience and warmth. This list is, of course, a generalisation; everyone varies in their preferences and everything is normal as long as it is discussed and agreed between consenting adults of sound mind.
Discovering more about your own submissive tendencies and what turns you on can be a truly enriching journey of exploration and fulfilment if handled with respect for the self and others. The sexual 'kinks' that you enjoy can be uncovered gradually, or perhaps your submissive tendencies are more about emotional submission than sex: there is a place – and a 'Master' - for everyone!
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