Monday, January 23, 2017

How submissive is too submissive?

I've occasionally heard the phrase, "too submissive."  I've also heard the expression, "not submissive enough."

In most cases these refer to D/s fit, or lack of it.  Oddly enough, I have rarely heard "too dominant" or "not dominant enough" tossed around, except in the cases of the latter being used to describe a reluctant wife or significant other that decides to go along with a husband's desire to turn a vanilla relationship Femdom.

Overall though, this happens to be a judgement that is used on evaluating subs.  While this might not seem fair on some level, it is actually fair within the context of how things work.  The Domme is the scarce resource as well as the one in the seat of power.  It is well within their right to judge and a sub must accept their judgment.

The only thing that I don't really like about those phrases is that there is rarely an explanation to go along with them.  I know in the case where I was called "too submissive," it was rooted in a gut feeling and was meant to describe something that was never articulated to me beyond that.

What do these words actually mean? 

"Not submissive enough" is the easier of the two.  In general, it implies mostly negative traits for a submissive, which may include but are not limited to:
-Selfish focus on fantasy/fetishes.
-Unwillingness to sacrifice or compromise one's ego.
-Unwilling to act obediently or follow directions.
-Unwillingness to be truly vulnerable to a Domme.

Thinking about this list makes it a bit easier to answer the other, but it is still incomplete.  I do not think it is possible for someone to really be too submissive, but I will get to that after I look at what people mean when they say someone is "too submissive" in a negative way.

Here are what I see as being a few of the negative ways the too submissive phrase can be used:
-Too passive.  Requires instructions to do certain things they do not wish to instruct. 
-Submissive at the "wrong" times.  e.g. I want them to be submissive when X, but not when Y, and they are submissive when Y.
-So submissive that the Domme feels obligated to act dominantly. 

What is fascinating about this is that while "not submissive enough" is fairly straight forward, the actual use of "too submissive" is rooted heavily in a person's expectations.  The actual translation becomes: it is not what I expected nor wanted. 

Let's say we work off of the opposites of the examples that I gave above for the not submissive enough usage.
-Too unselfish and unfocused on their own fantasy/fetishes.  OR Too focused on her fantasy/fetishes.
-Too willing to sacrifice or compromise their ego.
-Too willing to act obediently and follow directions.
-Too willing to be truly vulnerable to a Domme.

The main reason that any/all of these phrases seem silly is because I have never actually heard anyone say them, with the possible exception of a "too early on in the relationship" rider added onto each one.  In general I just can't see these as really being interpreted badly.

When viewing it under these terms it seems rather strange.  What is likely actually happening is the person using it is feeling like there are expectations that they have to be dominant in a certain way.  This is a feeling I have run across quite often and understand (it is usually with newer Dommes), but I think it also shows some misinterpretation of an individual being very submissive.

I believe that a submissive that is "completely submissive," is someone that is actually ultimately versatile.  I feel that if someone is completely submissive, it means that the focus of their being has shifted to put the needs and happiness of the one they submit to at the pinnacle of their thoughts and priorities.  If this is the case, then the end result of that is not to be a doormat, but to be the perfect compliment for any situation.  To show personality when it is desirable.  To serve and pamper when that is desirable.  To be a plaything when that is desirable, and so on.  The be what she needs and wants at any time.

I believe in my heart that fulfilling that role requires a sub to constantly change and morph himself as the situation calls for it.  It is not a static, one-dimensional persona or behavior style.  You must be everything.

As this is how my views fall, I do not think that it is actually possible for someone to be "too submissive."  I do wish people would stop using that phrase when it isn't what they really mean.


  1. I've never used the descriptor "too submissive" (nor its opposite), but I wonder if it ever has to do with being submissive to/toward too many people, and therefore the person either (a) has lost all sense of self/individuality, or (b) will kowtow to ANYONE, and is unable to make decisions.

    For me personally, those are two behaviors that would put me off.

    And I *have* heard people described as "too dominant" - always in a negative sense. As in, someone who sees themselves as above everyone else / in charge of ALL THE THINGS, no matter the skill (or lack thereof) or the context. The term "bossypants" comes to mind. :)

    1. Thank you very much for writing, Mrs Fever.

      Those are very good examples that didn't even cross my mind, but now that you mention them they do definitely fit with things and are probably the more common than what I had included in the original post.

      a) is definitely "doormat" territory. I believe they term this parallel submissive in M/f.
      b) would fall into the latter, but I've never known someone of this type so I can't speak to how they would interact with others.

      I could definitely see how those would be a negative.

      I have seen those who were described as "too dominant" and it was usually self-proclaimed and was a synonym for "I will make you bleed." I can't say I'm too fond of those types.

      Take care and thank you for writing.

  2. Too submissive and too dominant are both phrases that I can not recall saying. I have complained when a sub refuses to answer questions or have an opinion. And yes in those time I did explain my desire for him to answer my questions and why I want him to tell me HIS thoughts opposed to reciting some line about what will make me happy. I know there is a time and place for him to accept his fate without stating what he wants and I did explain to him the difference in those times and my expectations of him.

    1. Thank you, Miss Lily.

      I consider "being interesting" as a strong positive for a sub. I also agree there are times and places for a sub to suppress their self, but plenty of times where they need to have one.

    2. Well put, Miss Lily, as is fur's reply. FWIW, I agree with both of you.