I hope you have been enjoying Rika’s Lair, my monthly column dedicated to thoughts and experiences regarding power dynamics in Service-Oriented D/s relationships. Look up “Ms. Rika” in the search box for links to all my articles in KinkWeekly!
A couple of days ago, I participated in a forum discussion on FetLife regarding attributes that dominants look for in their submissives. There was a lot of talk about appearance, obedience, strength, etc.
As I often do, when I structured my answer, I did so in two parts: Attributes of a partner in a relationship (any relationship) and additionally, the attributes of a submissive. After all, a D/s Relationship has both the power dynamic and underlying relationship in play, simultaneously.
In terms of relationship partners, I look for reliability, trustworthiness, good communication skills, a good sense of humor (the ability to make me laugh), intelligence, empathy, and loyalty (is that so much to ask? ). They also need to be respectful, honest, and caring. I look for these things from my spouse, my friends, my family, and even from my business associates. Even acquaintances need to have these attributes, in some level, to last.
Submissives are relationship partners, so they require all the above. In addition, there are some critical attributes that I feel will help them to be top-notch submissives: First, they must want to be the best submissive they can be. An inner need to strive to improve, and continually improve. They also must be able to divorce themselves of any preconceived notion of what submission is, and adapt to deliver it the way I define it. They must internalize feedback quickly and continue to adapt their submission accordingly.
In terms of characteristics that make a great submissive, I’d have to say CONFIDENCE, HUMILITY, and FLEXIBILITY: A great combination!
They must be confident enough to trust that they can do things without assistance and confident enough to take correction to heart and make changes. They must be confident in their desire to submit; in whatever way is required of them. Confident enough in themself to not be needy and to be able to function independently without constant assurance, attention, and monitoring.
As far as humility, they must be humble enough to realize that their submission is not all about themself and yet, to accept praise without getting cocky or know-it-all. They must be humble enough to consider themself a student, continually striving to learn and improve.
Lastly, they must remain flexible to adapt. Good submissives are good listeners and act on what they learn. They don’t get stuck in “the way they’ve always done it” and, in fact, are usually looking for better ways to achieve the tasks assigned to them. They need to seek to understand and internalize my preferences and expectations and allow themselves the freedom to adjust to fulfill them. They believe they can always do better and seek out constructive recommendations for improvement.
There’s great value in a good submissive. They make your life easier; simpler. A good submissive is easy; you just find yourself being able to use them and rely on them. Good ones are a pleasure to have around and generate positive energy.
If you find yourself having to work harder to maintain a submissive or find yourself having to play games in order to get them to do what they committed to do when they submitted to you, they are likely missing some of the characteristics I’ve listed above. Figure out what those are quickly – and inform the submissive to make the changes needed. If they don’t, or aren’t willing to – then “cut bait” as quickly as possible and get out. It will only be a matter of time before the frustration wears you down.
If, however, you find yourself a great submissive – they’re worth their weight in gold! Use them, mold them, and custom fit them to you. They will appreciate it and your life will be lifted by having them around!
Ms. Rika is a lifestyle dominant, educator, and author; living in the suburbs of NYC with her husband/slave. She has written several popular books on her approach to adding Dominant-Centric, Service-Oriented D/s to relationships. You can find her books (in both print and eBook formats) at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/msrika), or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iStore, Books-A Million, Kobo.com, or anywhere books are sold. Search for “Ms. Rika”. Write to me at Ms_Rika@hotmail.com