The One Question Beginner Submissives Ask Me Over and Over

The one questions beginner subs always ask me

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There’s one question I’ve been asked countless times over the years.

How do I be a good submissive for my Dominant?

It’s an interesting question because it implies two things:

  • Firstly that there is a definition of what ‘being a good submissive’ entails
  • Secondly that the main focus of becoming a sub is to please your partner

Let me pick apart these two statements.

What does being a good submissive mean?

I’m sorry to break it to you, but there’s no strict definition of what being a good sub means.

The world of dominance, submission, and power play is just too varied for there to be a single definition which encapsulates its meaning.

The question ‘what is a good sub?’ is like asking ‘what is good food?’ or ‘what makes a good holiday?’ Everyone will have different opinions because everyone has different preferences.

They aren’t wrong for saying pineapple on pizza is a great meal (although…yuck!). To them, it’s the most delicious taste in the world, but others turn their noses up in disgust.

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The same is true when introducing dominance and submission into your relationships. The type of submissive you want to be will be very different to another submissive’s style. And they can both be ‘good’.

What’s a bad submissive?

If there’s no real definition of what it means to be a good submissive, let’s instead look at where submissives go wrong.

The first thing beginner submissives tend to do wrong is make it all about the Dom.

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Submissives, in my opinion, tend to be very kind, caring, and attentive individuals with huge amounts of empathy. They often (but not always) enjoy helping other people. It’s one of the reasons the thought of being a submissive is often appealing (read Why Would a Woman Want to Be a Submissive?).

Because of this, they strive to be a good submissive for their Dom.

I advocate that they should be a good submissive for their Dom, but also for themselves.

Concentrate purely on pleasing your partner you’ll end up unhappy. They’ll pile chores, demands, and unreasonable requests on you. You won’t speak up, and will end up feeling run down and resentful.

You aren’t getting any of your own needs met.

Dom sub relationships are all about both parties having their needs met. Unfortunately due to the prevalence of Fake Doms and the empathetic nature of someone who wants to be submissive, it can very quickly lead to an unhealthy dynamic.

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Putting yourself first, rather than your Dom, is a way of guarding against this.

Being a bad submissive is therefore when you allow yourself to get into a situation where you aren’t enjoying the dynamic, feel unhappy, or aren’t getting any of your needs met whilst you do everything you can to please your Dominant.

You may even believe that as a submissive you don’t deserve to have your needs met, and you are solely there for the pleasure of the Dominant. I would say this isn’t ideal, certainly in the style of Dom sub relationship I advocate.

Back to the original question

Now you know there’s no real definition of a ‘good submissive’ because the world of BDSM is so broad and that everyone has individual preferences.

You also know there are things to watch out for to prevent yourself from becoming part of an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.

But how does a beginner sub know what on Earth they should be doing and how to protect themselves?

I believe that there are 6 principles which, if followed, will achieve this.

There aren’t just about ‘being a good submissive for your Dominant’, but rather a set of guidelines to ensure YOU get the most you can from the relationship whilst keeping yourself safe, and having a happy partner.

Here are the 6 Sub Principles.

The 6 Sub Principles

My version of being a good submissive means that you follow these six principles:

Gets satisfaction from being dominated (in some way).
Knows their likes and limits, and what type of submissive they want to be.
Keeps themselves safe.
Communicates well with partners, including giving and receiving feedback, and speaking up when things aren’t right.
Harnesses their submissive energy to impact their Dominant positively.
Continues to evolve their knowledge and role.

Notice how these are broad principles rather than specific recommendations.

The great thing about these principles is that they are broad enough for you to create your own version of what being a submissive means.

I’ve seen lists on other websites where they say things like:

  • To be a good sub you need to enjoy being spanked.
  • To be a good sub you need to be respectful and modest at all times.

So where does this leave the person who wants to be a sub but doesn’t enjoy being spanked?

And what about the person who enjoys being loud and bratty?

Strict definitions of what it means to be a submissive like the above are probably putting plenty of people off, who think it’s not for me if I have to follow those rules.

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That’s why I prefer the 6 Sub Principles.

Why these principles?

The 6 Sub Principles speak for themselves, so I don’t think they need much more explanation. The key message behind them is safety, consent, and satisfaction.


BDSM can be dangerous, and as a submissive people may want to take advantage of your generous nature. So you must learn to keep yourself safe.


Everything you do should be consensual. The Dominant should consent and you should consent. If your Dominant is making you do something you have not consented to (notice I didn’t say something you ‘enjoy’, because you may have consented to do something you don’t enjoy from time to time because ultimately it is rewarding) then this is wrong. Even in a Total Power Exchange dynamic you as the submissive must have consented to it. And remember – you can revoke consent at any time.


I believe that the most important aspect of dominance and submission is that both people in the relationship are benefiting in some way from the dynamic. They are both having some urge, need, desire, or want met by the arrangement. If you don’t feel you are then the relationship is one-sided, and that’s not healthy.

Follow these six principles and I promise you’ll live a more engaging and interesting D/s dynamic.

If you’d like to learn more about these principles and how to incorporate them into your relationship then check out my course The Art of Submission.

The Art of Submission. A course for beginner submissives
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