Are You Sexually Submissive But Don’t Know It?


Marlena SalernoContributor. Marlena is a fellow sex blogger from Chicago burbs. Her blog Modern & Blissful covers various sex-related topics including those that common society deems “taboo.” She talks about the things we all think about but are too afraid to discuss. When she’s not blogging she is focusing on her education in Psychology and Social Work and caring for her twin girls as a sex-positive mom. If you have any questions or comments for Marlena feel free to email her: She’s an easy going gal.

As we navigate through our sexual exploits in the different stages of our lives we may ponder what types of lovers we are. With more involvements under our belts, we become more sexually experienced. We reach a certain point in our lives (late 20s, early 30s) where we develop a better idea about who we are sexually. What do I mean by this?

Well, have you ever attempted to sexually categorize yourself? Am I a dominant lover, a submissive lover, a lazy lover, a kinky lover, an adventurous lover? Perhaps, you are each of these types depending on your mood or how much you drank that evening! Let’s face it — you let your freak flag fly high when you get a couple shots in you. Alcohol does make us more confident, but I digress.

In this post, I am going to cover what the BDSM community calls “submission” and then we can discover together whether or not you fit into that category.

What is Sexual Submission?

Sexual submission is when one individual (the submissive) turns over all power to another individual during sex or even 24/7. The submissive gives their partner (the dominant) control over their mind, body, and soul. The submissive is thus freed from decision making.

It’s important to note that there are various types of submissives, those who prefer 24/7 D/S (dominant/submissive) roles, those who prefer 24/7 master/slave roles, and those that only take on their roles during sex. (Generally speaking, a master/slave relationship is a d/s relationship that is much more intense because it is voluntary slavery.) These are just a few of the categories. However, I’m assuming for the purposes of this blog that you’re just beginning to figure yourself out, so let’s keep it simple without too many details.

Popular culture assumes submission to be negative, associating it with weakness. In BDSM, this is far from the case. The submissive is, in fact, empowered by having ultimate control over the sex scene because of their ability to stop the act with the use of a “safe word,” which is usually “red.” So, although the submissive gives up their decision making powers regarding the ins and outs of the experience, they have the ultimate control over the scene itself.

For example, when a submissive feels uncomfortable and wants to end the “kinky fuckery” (as Anastasia Steele would call it, if you recall from Fifty Shades) all she/he has to do is say “red” and it’s all over. Sometimes people may also use “yellow” to signify the need to slow down or take it down a notch. However, any choice of words is acceptable as long as it is agreed upon by both parties prior to play time.

Establishing Limits in BDSM

For those who are inexperienced with BDSM, submission may seem scary because of the perceived absence of control and power. What many vanilla individuals don’t realize is that in BDSM, sexual limits are actually set and negotiated prior to the acts themselves in order to reduce fear and establish trust.  Negotiating limits is vital in BDSM. Everyone needs to be on the same page. If they are not, then the scene can take some unexpected turns and not in a good way.

For example, let’s say you were previously in an abusive relationship where your partner would choke you. In this instance, the mere idea of being choked causes you to panic. You must communicate this with your BDSM partner when establishing boundaries ahead of time.

Here’s a great BDSM limit checklist that you can print out and review with your partner if this is something you want to explore together:

The wonderful thing about submission is that it’s the ultimate test of trust. If you trust your partner enough to be willing to give them control over your body and your well-being, it takes the relationship to a whole ‘notha level. You develop a stronger bond, which is a rare thing in today’s relationships.

Are You Submissive?

So how do you know if you are sexually submissive? Don’t dismiss the notion that you may fall into a dominant or submissive category right off the bat, just because your sexual accessory collection cannot rival Christian Grey’s.

Here’s a little story to spark your imagination and provide you with a real-life example of a young woman (aka me) discovering her sexual “personality.”

I became sexually active pretty early on in my teens. With zero experience, I simply allowed my partners to lead. Once I achieved some sexual confidence, I began to dip my toes into being more sexually adventurous, attempting to take the lead. However, being in control always felt odd to me, it made me uncomfortable. It just wasn’t my thing.

In my early 20s, my husband began questioning me as to why I wasn’t more aggressive in bed. He pushed me to take more control during sex, to be more dominant and passionate. He wanted me to throw him on the bed, rip his clothes off, and ride him like a mad woman. Although I was already pretty sexually experienced, being that dominant person just felt awkward to me, unnatural even. I actually thought that there was something wrong with my sexual style since I couldn’t give him what he wanted.

During my mid-20s, I became more curious about alternative sexual lifestyles — and that’s when I discovered  BDSM. As I began researching the many aspects of the kink community it all began to come together. I kept mentally going back to one past sexual experience that was unlike the rest, yet made the most sense to me. My lover was dominant, he manhandled me, commanded me — and I loved it.

Now in my late-20s, beginning my journey in the BDSM world, I categorize myself as a submissive. I am finally at peace with myself and my sexual style.

Telltale Signs You’re Sexually Submissive

So based on my experience, I have come up with some basic signs that you are probably sexually submissive:

  • You feel both excited and peaceful when the opportunity to submit arises because it feels natural to you.
  • Taking control during sex and being aggressive feels odd.
  • You are always in control in your day to day life, whether you’re an entrepreneur or any other professional (even a mom), but when it comes to sex you just want to enjoy yourself and not have to make decisions. You basically want to be a passive sexual partner. Not boring, but passive.
  • You get turned on when dominated or commanded during playtime.
  • The idea of pleasing someone turns you on or when the idea of disappointing someone greatly upsets you.

The bottom line is that the majority of us are either submissive or dominant by nature. It’s simply ingrained into our personalities and behaviors, and our bodies respond to it. You can also “train” someone to take on either role through behavioral modification techniques just like anything else in life. Some people can take on either role just as naturally. These individuals are classified as “switches,” meaning they are able to switch roles with ease.

I hope this post is beneficial to you. Understanding oneself and coming to terms with one’s sexual style can make you feel more at peace. Sexuality is an important aspect of one’s well-being, yet many times it’s overlooked when people take an inventory of their overall happiness. It’s  like another piece of the puzzle we call “self”and without this piece, we will never be complete, content, or at peace.