Of course you can be a good sub and have limits

Not so long ago I saw a discussion where the original poster asked if it was possible for him to have limits and still be a good sub. On one hand I can understand how someone would come to think that was a question he needed to ask but on the other hand HOW IS THIS A QUESTION?!!!

Having anything even vaguely resembling a survival instinct is still in, I promise you. Aside from really obvious limits about serious bodily harm, what on earth is supposed to be attractive about not having the sense to know that not every kink is your kink? Or the profound self-absorption to think that no woman will ever be into kinks that you’re not? For god’s sake knock that shit off.

Even leaving aside the blatant misogyny of assuming dominant women couldn’t possibly exist for any reason other than to service your boner and the willful and carefully maintained ignorance it takes to deliberately avoid finding out that kinks that turn you off exist, the idea that good s-types never say no is deeply, deeply fucked up.

First of all, it’s damaging to the people we supposedly care for as dominants. Believing that a good sub never says no leads people to force themselves to tolerate things that are bad for them because they want so badly to be “good.” Now obviously that’s dumb and a dom who wouldn’t  want to know about it if they were harming their sub is trash you should run from as fast as you can, but people don’t deserve to be harmed just for being naive and kind of dumb.

Second, it’s insulting as hell to d-types to assume we’re such fragile flowers we can’t ever handle being told no. I am a grownup and I want to know if my idea is terrible or if I’m about to do something stupid. And yes, it’s possible to disagree respectfully. If you can’t understand the difference between telling me “Stabbity, I think that’s a bad idea because of x and y” and “That’s stupid, do it this way,” come back when you grow up. You’re not ready for kink if your communication skills are that bad.

Come to think of it, not understanding the difference between a respectful and disrespectful no may be a big part of why people get the idea that good s-types just don’t say no at all. If you don’t realise it’s possible to say no and still be respectful, of course you’d think it’s not okay for s-types to say no. Not recognising a respectful no or a soft no as a no could also screw up your ideas about whether it’s okay to say no.

If you’re not sure how to say no respectfully, I recommend looking at articles about how to say no to your boss. If you read a few of them, you’ll see a common theme of explaining why you can’t do the thing they want and asking how they want to handle it. The conversation part may be another reason s-types don’t feel like they should say no. If you think of “saying no” as a single, blunt “Nope, not gonna happen” instead of a conversation, of course that seems disrespectful.

If there’s just one thing you take away from this post, take this: it is always okay to say no. It doesn’t make you a bad sub, it makes you a person who has the sense to look after their own well being.

6 thoughts on “Of course you can be a good sub and have limits

  1. Good post. Total sense. For me the tension comes from that real desire to please my lady, so I indulge in some pain play that I probably would not have placed foremost on my list. I endure more than I enjoy, and what pleasure I take is from seeing her enjoyment. I’m in a very emotionally healthy relationship so there are no exploitation or abuse factors at play. I consent because of the joy it gives my lady. I hope this makes sense, and I totally agree with your wider perspective.

    • (commenting way late!)

      This is interesting–I always thought that kind of dynamic would never in a million years work for me. (I’m a female switch, fwiw, who doesn’t so much sub as bottom.) I have giant issues with anything that approaches “suffer for me.”

      Then I played with a sadist. And the LOOK on her face! Goddamn, that was so much fun. I mean, most of what we did was good!pain for me (I don’t consider myself that much of a masochist but sometimes, yeah, yum) but even when it was edging into “I wouldn’t have picked this on my own” territory, it was so much FUN watching her reactions. I’m like…dude, I would do that again, because the energy exchange was brilliant.

      Now, if it were 100% things I didn’t like, it probably still wouldn’t work for me. But…now I get it when people say things like you just did in your comment. It is pretty rad making someone’s face light up like that, isn’t it? 😀 And probably even more awesome if you’re coming at it from a submissive headspace.

  2. Interesting and needed. Just finished reading a Dominat’s blog and her post about limits. It was strongly suggested that a sub who had hard limits was “topping” from the bottom. A major point in her argument was the sub should “trust” the Dominant when it comes to matters of limits and “expanding” them or even casting them aside. Her example was eating cum. If it is a hard limit, the sub should trust the Dominant when she wants to or feels its time to move beyond that as a limit. Hard limits are that hard. If there are to be any changes the changes must be discussed with the sub who should have the genuine feeling it is OK to say No.

    • “Her example was eating cum. If it is a hard limit, the sub should trust the Dominant when she wants to or feels its time to move beyond that as a limit.”

      I hope the dominant in question doesn’t have a hard limit of being vomited on, then. Just because SHE thinks it’s time to breach her sub’s limit doesn’t mean his gag reflex is on board with it.

      I think it’s okay to revisit a sub’s stated limits occasionally (VERBALLY, I mean, not physically doing anything) and see if they’re still the same. But a dominant who just arbitrarily decides it’s time to break a limit…that’s gross.

    • It was strongly suggested that a sub who had hard limits was “topping” from the bottom

      Oh my fuck I can’t even. Sounds to me like she’s read waaaaaay too many porn stories.

    • Yeah, just chiming in with the others here to say that that’s total bullshit. You get to decide what areas of your life you’re willing to give control over to your domme, and if you’ve said no way, no how and she tries to manipulate or force you into it anyway, that’s someone who doesn’t respect you as a human being. Slave or sub or not, you still own yourself on a deep irrevocable level that she has to respect.

      Now if you’ve said “hmm maybe” or entered into a dynamic where you’ve agreed that some of your no’s can be ignored (CNC and so on), that’s a thing. But even then. Yes, limits. You can has.

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