The Trap of the “Cliché” Sub

miss caddy compson The Trap of the “Cliché” Sub

I recently listened to a rant directed toward new female submissives.  All the clichés and pitfalls and traps and nonsense.  All the crap (and sometimes sheer stupidity) that comes with being a new sub.  Of course there are some who skirt all the madness (hoorah!) but it’s more common than uncommon.  The whole rant basically boiled down to new subs not knowing that their submission is a gift.  I don’t buy into the whole notion of submission (or domination) being a gift*, but his rant seriously struck a chord in me.

  • Believing a man is a Dom simply because he gives himself the title
  • Subs who fall in love with a Dom who doesn’t love them back
  • Doms who only see their subs during sexy time
  • Subs who are so eager to please that they don’t examine if this Dom is a good man
  • Doms who restrict a new sub’s communication with other knowledgeable people in the scene
  • Subs pushing too many limits that aren’t ready to be pushed just to be pleasing
  • Thinking that a Dom is a “Master” of a particular craft simply because he owns the toys
  • Being a popular new toy to too many people
  • Getting into a committed relationship (or slapping on a collar, ahem) before proper negotiations
  • Negotiations?  Huh?

The list goes on and on.  It made me think about my own transition into the kink community.  That rant about naïve subs was directly aimed at the new submissive that I once was.  My entire sex life had been immersed in D/s and polyamorous relationships, but all behind closed doors, all in private.  It wasn’t until my mid 20s that I actually came into the community.  I found myself poking around online, seeking and researching and a so-called Dom quickly found me.  Before I knew it, I was in a committed relationship with a man I barely knew, who was screening all my interactions with anyone else in the community.  He wanted orgasm control, which anyone who has gone through this process will tell you is a major deal, often with long lasting repercussions.  No one was allowed to talk to me. He had the passwords to all of my profiles and email.  I was completely isolated with (still) no basis of comparison as to how D/s worked outside the bedroom.  Although he demanded a lot of control in most aspects of my life, he didn’t see me much outside the bedroom.  But, oh, how I longed to please.  He would beat me black and blue knowing that I had diving and swim practice every morning.  Those kinds of marks are very conspicuous in bathing suits and locker rooms.  But I wanted to prove myself as a true sub.  I didn’t even stop to think that I had to make him prove himself a true Dom, too.  I didn’t know I was supposed to.  Within no time at all, he wanted to bring other girls into the dynamic.  I wasn’t on solid footing with him yet, but he wasn’t interested in that.  He wanted more girls.  After a single conversation about it where I voiced my hesitation, he ended it abruptly.  It was a devastating blow at the time.  I had given so much of myself to this person who didn’t give me respect in return.

A lot of people (men and women alike) find themselves in similar states.  I’ve heard that losing your first Dom is one of the hardest losses in the BDSM realm.  It completely turns some people off entirely to this deliciously exciting world.  After one bad experience, they believe this just isn’t for them (and maybe it’s not), but they have fallen into the new sub trap.  Unfortunately, all the great writing geared toward new subs and all the knowledgeable people in the community come along with experience.  (Sometimes too little too late.)

And, indeed, all of those things did come to me with more exposure and experience.  I found the classes and the people who had my best interests at heart.  In retrospect, it was a great thing for me.  Obviously he wasn’t the person for me and I learned a lot.  Fortunately for me, I learned that all of this is worth it for me and is what I am at the core.  The experience gave me an arsenal of what is unacceptable and it helped me develop my voice so that I could better express my expectations and boundaries.  I learned what it means to take care of myself and what it means to take care of my partner.  And now I have a lot of wisdom to pass on to new people who come eager for advice.  It’s empowering once everything kinda “clicks” into place.

Ironically, that particular “Dom” touted the whole “hurt but not harm” motto, even as he continued to prey on new and unsuspecting girls.  He hasn’t ever had a long-term relationship since I’ve known him.

Toxic people permeate…everywhere.  All of life is filled with people who don’t care about us, but that becomes even more pronounced in the dark recesses of an adult playground.  Unfortunately for many, they do not come prepared to play and fall into the common pitfalls and traps.  Looking back on our experiences, I’m sure many of us grimace at some of the choices we made early in our journey (hopefully grimacing less with better choices and as time moves on).  Some of us halted and exited the journey as a result, but for those of us still here, we gained priceless perspective, experience and knowledge, some of which can hopefully be used to the betterment of someone else’s expedition.  Unfortunately, though, no matter how many people we try to save, there will always be those who end up the new sub “cliché.”


As far as submission being a gift, I don’t believe that submission (or dominance) is a gift.  It’s a mutual, ongoing, ever-changing dynamic, dependant on each other.  “Gifting” submission and dominance is simplistic and does not take into account things like consent or negotiation.  Gift giving is sometimes one-sided and cannot be taken back.  Of course, we all know that’s not true.  For me, this isn’t a gift that I’m bestowing upon you.  This is essential to my being.  Gifts are superfluous.  My need to submit is not.  Your need to dominate is not.  This is who we are.  And this is what we do together to nourish our souls.  (There are a million different views about the “gift” of submission, but this is what resonates with me.)

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Body Comfort by miss caddy compson

miss caddy compson Getting comfortable with BDSM has made me more comfortable with myself.  Even though it’s not always true, BDSM is supposed to be more open and inclusive of people.  No matter who or what you are, you’re someone’s special kink.  You’re someone’s tasty treat.

I’ve play privately; I’ve played publicly.  And it’s all made me a better person.  It’s made me settle into myself.  Typical of any teenager, I didn’t always appreciate my body for what it was.  I am, and have always been, petite.  All of me is petite.  The media tells me that I’m supposed to be skinny with big boobs.  Like many, I’m a square peg in that round hole.  I’m sure that with age comes a measure of comfort, but I think that BDSM has helped promote and expand that measure for me.  Knowing that I’m exactly the kink that someone desires definitely helps that.  I don’t want to be fetishized (or do I?); I don’t want to be reduced to simply being a kink for someone, but it does feel like I’m specifically sought exactly the way I am.

BDSM makes you examine yourself.  You become very intimate with yourself in ways that maybe you didn’t have to be otherwise.  I’ve been put on display for others.  I’ve had others poke and prod me.  I’ve been in compromising positions, doing compromising things.  It all pushes your comfort zone.  Sometimes it gets easier, but maybe it doesn’t.  Regardless, you face your insecurities.  All the guards you’ve built to protect yourself are tested and all the limitations you’ve put on yourself are pressed.  Through exploration and play, you come to better understand yourself, your desires, your fears.  All of a sudden you’re doing things you wouldn’t have imagined and enjoying things you thought would be impossible.  The relationship that you have with your body evolves.  Your views on yourself, on your body, change.  Ideally for the better.

The media is so damaging to self image.  You have to be skinny and toned, but not too muscular or you’ll look like a man.  You have to have big boobs, but they always have to be perky and resistant to gravity.  You have to have a voluptuous butt, but there shouldn’t be any dimples or cellulite.  You have to wear makeup, but it has to be perfect and not overdone or you’ll look like a prostitute.  You can’t be a prostitute because it’s morally reprehensible for women to take possession of their bodies that way.   Dark skin is too dark; light skin is too light.  You have to drop the baby weight immediately.  You can’t have freckles.  You can’t have body hair.  You can’t sweat.  You can’t have a zit.  You can’t have wrinkles.  You can’t have grey around the temples.  You can’t have scars.

Mainstream media has told me vaginas smell like fish and aren’t any more appealing to look at.  Blow jobs are mandatory for women to give, but sometimes going down on a girl is grounds for losing one’s “man card.”  Cunnilingus should be avoided.  Why would anyone want to learn how to please someone who smells and taste like day old fish?  I’ve been taught that my body isn’t okay.  More specifically that my pussy is gross.  Kink has taught me otherwise.  Actually, kink has only made what I have always felt okay for me to actually feel.

I actually like my pussy.  I like the way it looks.  More importantly, I like the way it smells.  I mean, I really really like the way it smells.  I’ve always liked the way it smells.  What I’ve come to realize is that it’s okay for someone else to like my pussy and to like the way it smells. It’s okay that someone wants to really spend time there.  Any acceptance of my pussy always felt like placation.  It somehow seemed abnormal that I would actually like my own pussy and if I’m not allowed to like my own pussy how can anyone else?  No one could possibly like that part of my body.  That would be too much to ask of another person.  How could I even expect that from someone, especially if I wasn’t immediately fresh from the shower?  It doesn’t even serve anyone but me which makes it even more unappealing to someone else.  Since fully embracing BDSM into my life, I’ve become more intimate with my body in ways that I would never have imagined, but I’ve let other people get more personal with my body in ways that I would have never guessed, too.  It’s acceptable for my partner to enjoy my body as much as I do.  BDSM is all about letting down guards and pushing boundaries, getting past your comfort zone and feelings things outside the norm.  Of course, the norm SHOULD be sex and body positivity.  But it’s not.

Still within the realm of good hygiene, someone recently made a comment to me that a pussy immediately out of the shower, at best, tastes like nothing and, at worst, tastes like soap or perfume.  They said that the real appeal of a pussy was the smell of arousal.  Pheromones are powerful and it’s okay for someone to be turned on by mine.  And despite what I’ve been told my whole life, arousal doesn’t smell like fish.  Arousal is intoxicating for me, as it should be, and can be so for my partner also.  I can’t even fathom where the whole “fish” thing came from in the first place.  Ridiculous.

In any case, I always felt like I was being told that I shouldn’t like the way my pussy smells.  But I do.  I secretly love the way it smells and I love it more the older I get.  I’m gaining a deeper appreciation for the body, in general, but I’m in an environment where it’s actually okay to like the body.  Outside BDSM, body shaming is the norm.  Within the world of BDSM, it’s less acceptable.  The world, vanilla and kink alike, have a long way to go before everyone can be comfortable in their own skin, but the BDSM realm is making grounds.

And my pussy is thankful for that.

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The “Velcro Collar”

There are two ways that collars are viewed in the community: fashionably and symbolically (not always mutually exclusive). Oftentimes, people confuse the two. What results is a “Velcro collar” that literally and figuratively comes on and off easily and at whim.

Collars are a staple in the BDSM community. It is the submissive “badge” that is worn proudly. There are times when it may be the only thing that a submissive wears, at all. Wearing a collar is kinky as hell and there are as many types of collars as there are submissives who wear them. Leather, metal, rope, whatever’s kinkiest to the players. It can be a real thrill getting led around in private or even at a kinky event with your collar and leash. And what D-type wouldn’t want to be on the leading end of that leash? In their most elementary form, collars look good and are super sexy. They are versatile in their kink and fun factor and immediately give a Dominant or submissive tangible roles in their play.

However, as fun and kinky as collars are to give and to wear, they also hold a much more meaningful and significant purpose to the community. To many, they are as important, if not more important, than a wedding ring. They hold that much meaning. Indeed, a collared relationship is likened much to a marriage. To collar someone or to be collared to someone is a sign of deep commitment and love. It signifies a pledge of longevity and devotion. Among countless other attributes, a Dominant is assuring guidance and protection. A submissive is vowing loyalty and servitude. Together they promise themselves to each other. Only with much thought and consideration should a true collaring take place. It is with one mind that the Dominant and submissive come to the place of a collaring. A partnership. It’s the road that many D/s relationships hope to travel. It is more valuable than any fashion token. (At this point, a token may not even be needed at all.)

Unfortunately, in the haste to enjoy the kinky, fun, more fashionable side of collars, people collar others or accept collars that don’t carry much weight or have much significance. They don’t value it for its true purpose. They bounce from partner to partner essentially “trying on” collars. The collars go on and come off as though held on with Velcro. One week a sub is collared to one Dom, the next to someone different. A Dom has given a collar to a sub and in a blink of an eye taken it away again. A veritable collar yo-yo as it were.

This misuse of collars is becoming even more noticeable as the online community gains momentum. People can now list their relationship statuses. It’s made the collar a very popular status symbol. Once you slap a collar to it, everyone knows that you’re fucking or playing or even sometimes doing something as seemingly innocuous as just talking. It’s kinda cool that way. Now everyone knows that you’re connected to this person. If you’re in an online relationship, it gives your relationship more cred. BECAUSE people put real value to a collar, it does make a relationship seem more important and more “real” if it’s collared.

Sometimes, though, a relationship doesn’t need to be anything more than fucking or playing. Or talking online. Just as in the vanilla world where it’s frowned upon to bounce from marriage to marriage to marriage without any real thought or commitment, it’s not thought highly to dabble much in the BDSM world of Velcro collars, either. It’s awesome to use collars in a scene or for play, but delineating it as an indicator for the deeper, more significant level of commitment devalues its true worth. That’s how we end up with Velcro collars out there.

That’s not to say that a D/s relationship is infallible and that a collar is never taken or given back, but it does mean that a collar is more than just a fashion statement in the BDSM world. It means that there is a partnership full of dedication and allegiance. It means there’s deeper significance than a status symbol. And it also means that deliberation and contemplation have been given to arrive at the place of a collaring. What the relationship looks like in the particular D/s relationship is as varied as collars, but the universal value is essentially the same.

Of course, a collar is only as significant as the people who use them. And sometimes a person needs to go through a few Velcro collars to really find its true worth. Maybe they never find a deeper value for a collar and use it as a more disposable commodity. Not everyone puts the same weight on relationships. Or collars. Conversely, relationships can be just as valuable without the need for a collar, at all. Not everyone feels validated by a collar (nor should a collar be the sole validation in a relationship). People can experience full and rich D/s without any use of a collar, fashionably or symbolically.

Regardless of how much power individuals put on collars in their personal dynamics, collars are going to continue to be an important part of BDSM. And it’s good. We need to have something distinct to kink that makes it different from the vanilla world. Some people are going to use Velcro collars and some people are going to use a collaring ceremony as marriage vows. It all depends on the agreed upon dynamic with the Dom and sub. Whatever that dynamic, communication is key. One party has to be privy to the other. Negotiation and communication is always mandatory, as well as an honest look at one’s self and partner. It would be a horrible and jolting reality if one or the other was using a collar in the Velcro sense and the other was looking at it as an indication of commitment.

Collars are kinky. Use them wisely.

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