What I Look For in a Submissive Partner
This article sat in the drafts folder for weeks; I found it hard to finish. It forced me to reflect on some things... I'm single, and dislike being so — I'm a better, more effective man when I have a committed partner. I don't do kink casually, so being single means my dom side gets almost no love. Pondering my search is dispiriting, as it's a process that has no clear calendar. And it troubles me to wonder, after talking with a lot of kinky girls over the past few years, whether the girl I'm seeking even exists. I'm a tall order to fill, no question, but if I don't admire a girl in multiple ways, I wouldn't want to acquire her.
But here it is at last, written for myself as much as for you. I've tried to highlight generally valuable qualities in a submissive partner, and deemphasize things which are singular to me.
Possesses a strong will. As a friend of mine who's the master half of a master/slave pair likes to say, "A good sub has a spine of steel." Ultimately, it is inner strength that lets a sub give of herself in profound and intense ways, and carry on this way year in and year out.
Wants kink for the way it makes her feel. Doing it "for his sake" may seem like a submissive attitude, but activities which are not rewarding to her, either during or afterwards, are ultimately depleting and unsustainable.
Shares a few significant, non-kinky passions with her partner. D/s partners must have vanilla chemistry; they can't spend every minute of the relationship in a kinky fog. (For example, I go partner dancing twice a week, and if my girl wasn't into that, I'd feel like she didn't really know me.)
Attentive and curious. These are essential for a submissive partner, since she has to learn to read her dom, and to respond to his needs or goals in any situation where they've agreed she will submit.
Desires and acts on feedback. A dom may wish his girl to adjust her behavior in ways small and large over time. When I offer input, I want to hear, "Got it, thanks for telling me!" However, she may not effect big changes overnight, those usually require practice.
Grateful. I, for one, need to hear that my partner appreciates me, believes in me, feels blessed by my company and all it entails. Such offerings can help assuage occasional "dom's guilt".
Strong emotional boundaries. She's not easily offended or triggered or manipulated. What others may say to her won't knock her off-kilter or lodge in her self-perception. It's important to hold boundaries with family, colleagues, friends, and one's lover. One of the goals of D/s is to dismantle boundaries between dom and sub, but even so a sub needs to recognize it when her dom says something to her that's due to stress or confusion. (See also Emotional Issues in Dom/Sub Relationships.)
Self-esteem. This has been a challenge for many of the women I've dated, both vanilla and kinky, and thus something I've come to expect to help a partner with. But an emotionally healthy girl will have some inkling of her abilities and gifts, even if she has doubts about them in some contexts.
Communicates rationally when under stress. The ability to hold oneself together when stressed out or upset is invaluable. Of course, there are limits to how much duress anyone can withstand before they shut down or lash out.
Loves learning and is addicted to it. A big mind is a huge asset; I'd be bored by a girl who didn't devour new knowledge and share parts of it with me. In doing so, she enriches my understanding of her, the world, and myself.
Enjoys some kind of challenging physical activity. Moving keeps her in touch with her body — a big part of the brain is devoted to the body after all. The practice could be dance, hiking, running, a gym circuit, ultimate frisbee, yoga, tai chi, gardening; the list is endless. It needn't be mindless exercise for its own sake. Also flexibility and strength are particularly helpful for more intense S&M work. :-)
Awareness of nutrition. This is essential in today's food market, because competition has steadily driven vendors to offer huge portions of addictive foods at bargain prices. A healthy diet is high in lean protein and very low in sweets.
Not preoccupied with consumptive activities. I find that undertaking challenging, creative projects together, whether out in the world or at home, is more bonding than ordinary entertainments like shopping, dining out, traveling, and the theater.
Willing to push back when wise. Any dom needs a reality check from time to time. If he suggests something foolish, or is about to dive into some chasm, he'll benefit if she pipes up.
Doesn't set arbitrary limits. Claiming some kinky thing is a "limit" without reason — other than "ew!" — isn't a sign of an open mind. That's not to say that a sub should say yes to something out-there early in the relationship. Intense activities need a strong container, which takes time to build.
Aligned ambitions. Some subs have big life goals for themselves, and so may not be well-matched to doms that wish to be the sub's focus whenever she's awake. Some doms enjoy it when a sub has responsibility and authority at work; they may not be compatible with a sub who's less invested in career progress.
Chemistry. Note that the above characteristics do not create rapport with someone, in and of themselves. Chemistry counts for a lot — although having it cannot compensate for the lack of must-have features.
Intro/extroversion. I'm somewhat introverted, and have had both introverted and extroverted partners. Both have enriched me. I would only suggest that a personality that hates crowds should not be paired with one that only thrives as a social butterfly.
Enjoys pain or humiliation. Many subs don't enjoy pain for its own sake, yet still gladly endure it, and eventually come to crave it, as a service to the dom. Others do relish certain kinds of pain, however there's always methods a sadistic dom can apply to cause distress in a sub who usually gets off on pain.