People like to say “submission is a gift”. To a certain extent I understand that – personal submission (that is, submission to *me*, not to the nearest dominant woman) is hugely valuable to me. It feels like an incredible gift because I don’t truly understand what the submissive person gets out of the deal. Like giving a gift, submission isn’t submission anymore if you force someone to do it.
However, there are some very important differences, too. A gift can’t be taken back when you decide someone is mistreating it. A gift is given freely, without any expectation of getting something in return. A gift is just given, it’s not something you have to earn. Submission isn’t any of those things.
Submissive people have the right to stop submitting whenever they damned well feel like it, whether their dom is a jerk or the relationship just isn’t working. You are not a bad submissive if you decide to end a relationship that isn’t meeting your needs. You’re not a bad submissive if you have needs at all, but that’s another rant. It doesn’t matter if you’re collared or you signed a contract or swore you’d never leave, you always, always have the right to change your mind.
While I do believe that submission isn’t submission if you’re only doing it to make your partner feel like they owe you something, I also believe that submissives have a right to either get their needs met or end the relationship. If you accept someone’s submission, you need to hold up your end of the deal. Maybe all your partner wants is someone who will give them the opportunity to serve without getting uncomfortable with it and insisting on doing things for them. Maybe they need to feel dominated, maybe they need to feel owned and cherished, maybe they need some play now and then. Whatever it is a submissive person needs out of the whole exchange, they have a right to need it. A dom who takes and gives nothing back is not a dom at all, but a leech.
Finally, I believe dominants should earn their partner’s submission. Or more precisely, I believe submissive people have every right to judge potential partners and decide whether they’re worthy of submitting to. Not that trying to be a good person entitles you to anyone’s submission, but it can’t hurt for doms to ask themselves why someone would want to submit to them. If you’re not willing to keep your word, to be honest about what you want and what you have to give, to know yourself well enough to do that, to look out for your submissive’s best interests, why should anyone submit to you?
Submissive people are awesome, but calling submission a gift leads to all sorts of stupid ideas about what you can do with it after it’s given.