Friday, 22 October 2010

active vs passive submission

I was reminded of this by a recent post by David in A view from the Top. He wrote of exactly this issue here.

I was sure I had written about this before at least once. However when I looked back I could just find one post of mine that remained in draft, never having been published. It looks still unfinished. I wrote it in February 2008!!!! My thoughts then were:

"Many Dom's expect their subs to be passive. They should not use their initiative but wait to be told what to do. In extreme cases their lives can be micro-managed by their Dom. This can be useful in training situations to emphasise and embed the control of a Master or just as a helpful discipline on occasions. However for much of the time I prefer more active submission. Is it not the purpose of a sub to provide for the pleasure and happiness of their Master? Should they expect to have to be told before knowing that he would like a cup of tea, or to have her display herself gracefully or offer herself for a spanking just in case it should be necessary?"

In response to David's post on this subject I responded with the following:

"Thank you David. "Active vs passive submission." It is a hobby horse of mine. I thought I had written about it and on searching have discovered I did two years ago but it is still in draft! I am afraid I am often too long getting my brain into gear. As a Dom my own personal preference is for active submission. That is not to say that a sub should not be obedient and at times passive - but I am not so interested in that model. I do not want a doormat. I want an intelligent, bright, enthusiastic sub. Surely the role of a sub is to please her Master. Is that not active rather than passive? Perhaps I am just lazy but I do not always take my pleasure through ordering my sub around. Rather I would delight in her constantly searching for ways to please her Master. I have always tried to "train" my subs in that way. It can be difficult to do so. For many subs submission can be an easy way out. No longer do they have to think for themselves - their Master will decide. Submission should not be intellectually easy. A sub should be thoughtful and dedicated to the pleasure of her Master. I am sure she could delight herself in such activity and in doing so give great pleasure to her Master. Yes of course - there is a place for passivity. The Master will take control and direct. It is central to the dynamic. But subs should not neglect the active service in searching for ways to please their Master."

So what do my readers think?


DauntlessVitality said...

I tend to agree with the "active" approach. I prefer my sub to be active and forthcoming in her need and desire to want to please. I'm not much for the sit back and wait to be told mindset. I'd much rather see her actively trying to be the best sub she can, and then I can reign her in if needed. That is much better to me than having to poke and prod one along. There is a time to be passive, as you mentioned, but active is much better in my opinion..for me at least.


Jen said...

I guess I tend to be more of an active sub. But I was actually kind of struggling with it. I was afraid I was crossing some "unspoken line" by not just waiting for A to tell me what to do.
But as it turns out, the worse that can happen is he gives me a little correction if I do something I shouldn't.

Thank you for this post! :)

Pygar said...

Thank you both. We seem to be agreeing with "active submission" for now!

Vesta, greengirl and cassie have all also written recently about this subject.

Anonymous said...

My partner and I were already together for 14 years before we began our exploration of BDSM, so we entered into this together as newbies. We do not live the D/s role 24/7, but it is manifesting in our day-to-day life more and more.

Passive submission on my part is more common when we are intimate or playing; active submission is more common the rest of the time. As my partner is new the Dominant role as I am new to submission, I think it is fair and appropriate for me to take an active role where it is helpful to do so. J notices this and is pleased by it.

To be honest, I think I'd find passive submission very stressful if it was required all the time. I had nearly 50 years of living under my belt when my exploration of submission began. I really don't know if I would be satisfied in a relationship where I had to wait to be told what to do all the time.

Pygar said...

Thank you SubRosaNoMore.

I think you are very right in your approach. I believe there is no right and wrong (except in an ethical sense)way in this life - but to explore together is to grow together.

So yes - take an active role when you feel it is right. You know already when passive submission is right.

So just enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Hi Pygar,
Active submission is risky. At times I have invested significant time and money into offering my man something designed to please him only to be told he doesn't like it, or is not in the mood. Sometimes, even when I point it out he chooses to ignore me. Risky.

Pygar said...

I am sorry Maryann that your man has been so ungrateful when you have taken time, trouble and expense to try to please him. Perhaps it is his loss that it does not encourage you to try again.


Anonymous said...

my own hobby horse as you put it is balance, that almost everything must be balanced to be fully enjoyed. It seems to me this one area where that is most true, a balance of both is the makings of a perfect submissive.

Scarlett said...

I have found that passive submission can be frustrating for my Master (and long-term boyfriend). We are very new to this lifestyle (only a few weeks) and he already has trouble in being a Dom as he is overly concerned about de-valuing me. (Ironic, don't you think?) He respects and loves me, while I CRAVE his dominance, to please and to serve him. It seems, to me, the best balance of our needs is active submission. To seek out ways to please him and take initiative in my service. He is always appreciative and its more rewarding to us both, than when he tentatively asks "if I wouldn't mind". I appreciate this post and feel more confident that I'm not being insubordinate or, as Jen so accurately said "crossing some 'unspoken line'". That's a good way to look at the other side too. A little correction is a positive thing ; -)
In short, active submission is good, but passive is also often appropriate.


NewToThisLife07 said...

I find it difficult to be passive. Maybe that's because of my persona, or maybe because I'm in an online relationship, or both. But the o/l aspect of it kind of requires me to be active and creative, especially when we play. If something is not possible to achieve practically in the doing of an idea, as thought on paper, I try to be creative and take initiative to make it doable. I know my Master appreciates this (well, I think He does atleast?. I also take my own initiatives in other areas. I feel sad for Maryann that her Master don't appreciate her efforts. Just last night (well 3 o'clock this morning :P)I sent my Master a card from when I realized it was exactly 2 months since our first chat. He appreciates this. I think it shows that I appreciate and think of Him, not because He expect it from me, but just because He doesn't. For me it's a display of affection. And I think, not only the words, but the fact that I thought of, and took the time to do something special for Him is appreciated. And wouldn't it be boring to only have subs do what is asked of them? It takes more effort to try to please someone without having instructions of how to. And if it would be something that didn't work, yes then all that is needed to say is to say: "now you took a little bit too much initiative", wouldn't it? But we're all different. Interesting to see Dom's different views on this. And before it goes amiss -of corse there are times when one should be passive. There's a time and place for everything :)

Now why can't I keep my comments short and sweet like other ppl? Apologise for taking up half Your comment space Sir!

Pygar said...

Thank you Scarlett

You are right that passive submission is also appropriate. I can see you crave the opportunity for that and to have your Master take complete control.

As you say you are both new to this and will grow together - perhaps active submission at the moment may be a good way of developing the relationship and giving your Master more confidence - but being active in telling him of your own desires and needs is also appropriate and may help him to feel more confident in his domination of you.

Good luck.


Pygar said...

Thank you NewToThisLife07 for your comment here and elsewhere.

You are discovering for yourself what works and what doesn't as your new relationship grows and blossoms. I think it would be pleasing to a new Master to have his submissive be so eager to please him - I know it would for me in a similar situation. But there is a balance to all things.

There will be times when he wishes you to be still. To just be there ready for his command. To wait ready for use. That passivity can sometimes be much harder than activity.

Good luck.