BDSM: What is a submissive and what do they do during sex?


A woman reveals the reality of being a submissive (Photo: Getty Images)

When it comes to sex in the 21st century, many of us have left shame and stigma behind (thank goodness) to enjoy a healthy and safe sex life without judgment.

In fact, research has shown that an increasing number of us are enjoying spicier sessions between the sheets, with even those who aren’t particularly fond of experimenting with BDSM more.

According to last year’s results, 84% of 2,381 adults surveyed said they had tried BDSM – aka Bondage, Domination, Sadism, Masochism. The report also found that those who enjoy kinky games claim to have significantly better sex lives than those who don’t.

For the true beginners among us, many relationships under the BDSM umbrella are characterized by complementary and entirely consensual roles that people inhabit, such as the dominant partner, known as “dom” and the submissive, or “sub”. “.

But what is life (and sex) like for a woman who is firmly entrenched in the BDSM community as a submissive? Well, according to a sub called Monieau, that’s far from what misconceptions and stereotypes would lead outsiders to believe.

“A lot of people think submissive women are brainwashed and unintelligent or just follow normative social ideas about men and women,” Monieau says on Metro.co.uk’s unrestricted sex podcast, Smut Drop. “But that’s such a broad generalization. There are plenty of confident and capable submissives working in many demanding and powerful roles who just want to be submissive in the bedroom.

In its most basic form, being submissive means giving in to the whims of the dominant.

“Having a submissive kink as part of a BDSM sexual encounter is where the ‘submissive’ participant voluntarily obeys and gives control and power to the ‘dominant’ participant,” says wellness expert Tracey Coates sex for the sex toy site Ricky .com. “Being the submissive partner means you find pleasure in activities such as discipline, punishment, or spanking.

Monieau seeks to combat stereotypes attributed to submissives (Photo: Supplied)

“BDSM can take place in and out of bed, as some fantasy role-playing may not involve any physical sex.”

However, there is no one “right” way to be submissive, as Monieau explains that each submissive will have their own preferred style of domination that they like to be the recipient of.

“I like someone who is confident and can command a presence,” she says. “I like someone with a dark side. Not a dark side like in, their personality shows red flags, but someone who can do nasty and amazing things to me.

Monieau’s journey that led to her foray into the world of BDSM is unusual, as she grew up in the Mormon community, which insists on their strict law of chastity – to abstain from sex outside of marriage and to avoid intermarriage or same-sex relationships.

“I grew up thinking sex was shameful,” adds Monieau. “I didn’t even know what masturbation really was, but I knew it was bad.

“As I got older, I accepted conventional ideas about male and female roles. I became a full-fledged feminist. It’s like I did a 180, which ended up being a 360.

“Somehow I twisted my past trauma about sex and leaned into it.”

“I like to be submissive because it grounds me,” continues Monieau. “Because of my past feelings of shame and guilt around sex, I find freedom in submission because someone is doing these things to me.” It makes it much easier for me to experience sexual pleasure than if I were doing it myself.


Dominant beauty in handcuffs
Monieau had grown up thinking sex was shameful (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

However, Monieau is used to people not fully understanding what it means to be submissive, especially on a superficial level, so much of what it consists of seems to be at odds with feminist principles.

“Both men and women can be subs, it’s all down to personal preference,” Coates says. “Yes, of course, just because you choose to be a submissive doesn’t mean it has to impact the rest of your life and your views in and out of the bedroom, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you are not a feminist.

“You can also argue that being the submissive actually gives you more control because you give the dominant partner full permission and the submissive chooses to embrace their femininity.”

In order to better understand people who are curious about what submission really entails, Monieau now chooses to share her experiences both on social networks and on dating apps.

“When I first started using apps, I had to sift through a lot of manure,” she explains.

“I put that I was submissive in my dating profile because I was just fed up with the gossip – I don’t care about the gossip, so I explicitly stated what I wanted in a whole list.

“So about a third of my inbox just took the p**s, and another third of the guys were just rude, saying things like, ‘Hey babycakes.

“Another third was really curious, so we explained what it meant to me to be a submarine. Some people found it really enlightening. In fact, it made me feel better around men, less afraid to engage with them.

Of course, if you’re new to submissiveness, it’s not as easy as going on Tinder to find the right match, Coates says.

‘You want to be able to trust [your dom] and know that you want the same things,” she advises. “Choosing to do it online is the easiest way, as there are hundreds of sites available to anyone. In doing so, you want to make sure your online profile speaks for you, not against you. Making sure you don’t give out too much personal information is also key to finding the best dom, you want to advertise what you want out of the relationship and avoid those whose first message to you is about sex.

“You want to be able to build a foundation of trust and understanding before you commit to being their sub.”

Barbara Santini, a psychologist and sex counselor at adult toy site Peachesandscreams.co.uk, agrees that your safety should come first when looking for a dom.


Sexy couple at night in bed
It is important that consent and boundaries are discussed (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“BDSM is a vulnerable experience, you can learn a lot about yourself,” she says. “Make sure you want it and do everything to protect yourself. It is essential that you express your consent, that you negotiate the game scenario and that you and your partner stick to it. When you decide to meet a new dom, first discuss your safety, choose a place wisely (public place and later a well-equipped hotel), never change agreed plans, let your friends know where you are, with whom so so they can check you. Have a safe word and use condoms.

In Monieau’s experience, many new submissives, and perhaps even a few more experienced submissives, fall into tropes and stereotypes that can harm their BDSM relationship.

“Submissives need to work on themselves first,” she explains. “A lot of subs fall into the trap of wanting a dominant to basically solve all their problems.

“Before you get into BDSM, you need to figure out what you really want from submission. If you have a sign saying you are here for the taking, people will take advantage of it.

For Monieau, she points out that there is a difference between what she wants in physical sensations and her basic emotional desires.

“Physically, I want orgasms. I want excitement,” she says. “I want to reach slipspace.”

For those unaware, subspace is what Monieau describes as a “nice bonus” to being a submissive.

“Subspace is a different state of consciousness that can happen, usually to the submissive partner during BDSM play,” Santini explains. “It results from a mix of hormones like endorphins, cortisol, dopamine, adrenaline, oxytocin that are released during play when different emotions are felt.”

handcuffs in bed

Submissives can experience a unique euphoria known as “subspace” (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Monsieur Moneau compares it to the euphoria of a runner. “I basically become a pasty puppet,” she laughs. “I’m just starting to ride with the vibes.”

However, subspace can often lead to subfall – essentially, the depletion of these chemicals.

“The subdrop can occur right after play, or even as a delayed reaction from the submissive showing signs of emotional imbalance and sometimes flu-like symptoms,” Coates explains. “This physical and emotional state can be known to last up to a week, but everyone experiences it differently and can recover within hours or days.” So taking care of yourself after subgame is very important.

Feeling emotional, crying, and needing comfort after reaching slipspace, is common for Monieau.

“I am a source of tears,” she admits, laughing. “My dom puts me in a little blanket burrito, and it makes me feel like I’m in my safe little bubble.”

She adds that, for her, being a submissive is far from any weak and vulnerable stereotype.

“I realized that submissives have strength, even through their submission,” says Monieau. “Choosing to submit to someone shows that you reserve that space for them.”

“Sex is good and healthy. It’s good for you. It’s okay to feel sexual pleasure and to be a sexual being.



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Smut Drop is a weekly podcast with host Miranda Kane from Metro.co.uk, tackling sex, dating and relationships.

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