To All the Would-Be Subs

In the decade or so that I have been actively exploring kink, I’ve spoken to literally hundred of guys, mostly online, who are interested in being submissive to someone. But only a tiny handful of them, so far as I know, have ever gone beyond those conversations and actually chosen to play with a dom. So there are a few things I want to say to you if you’re one of those would-be subs who craves serving someone but hasn’t actually taken the steps to submit to a dom.

  1. The place you’re in is natural. Kink is intimidating by nature, so being nervous about meeting and submitting is normal. Almost every kinkster–dom, sub, or switch– was nervous and intimidated the first time they met a kinky guy for play. Additionally, many submissive guys are by nature shy, easily intimidated, and bad at putting themselves out there. It’s ok to be scared.
  2. Also, there are some good reasons to be cautious. Some kinks, particularly bondage, the harsher forms of pain play, and especially breath control, have real risks associated with them, so you want to do them with someone who understands the risks. There are some actively malicious doms out there–statistically, 1-2% of the total population qualifies as sociopathic (although that doesn’t mean they’re all serial killers; it means they just genuinely don’t care about other people’s needs). And while actively malicious doms are rare, well-meaning but basically incompetent doms are not. At a guess, at least 1 out of 10 doms has serious problems understanding safe play or consent in the context of kink. If you’re into findom, there are a lot of insta-doms who really will try to fuck you up financially. So as a novice, you’re smart to be cautious.
  3. But ultimately, if you can’t get past your fears (whatever they are), you won’t get to live the genuinely submissive life you crave. You’ll live your life yearning for the experience you want but never really having it. You’re going to wind up as the kinky equivalent of the clichéd lonely old maid. And that makes me profoundly sad.
  4. Years ago, I knew a guy in his 80s who had served in WWII, and had had several homosexual encounters in the military that showed him he wanted sex with men. But when he returned home, he was expected to get married, so he did. He was faithful to his wife until she died a year or so before I met him. So he had decided that he would finally try to explore sex with men. He spoke movingly of how he felt he had buried his desires for so long that he had lived a very unsatisfying life and he realized that at his age he was unlikely to find what he was seeking. I admired his courage in trying to find a partner at his age, but I always grieved for the loss of his authentic life. I’ve spoken to a lot of submissive guys in similar situations, though not quite that old.
  5. My point is that you have to find your courage. Everything you are seeking lies on the other side of whatever fear you’re wrestling with. As a dom, I can encourage you to meet up with me. I can offer you reassurance that I’ll go slow and respect whatever limits you want to set. I can give you references who can attest that I am respectful and safe and concerned for my subs’ well-being. But what I can’t do is find your courage for you. Only you can do that. Only you can wrestle that particular demon into submission (no pun intended).
  6. Being a sub requires a certain amount of courage as it is. If you play with me, I’ll do things that frighten you (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally). I’ll ask you to be very open and honest about your desires and your fears. I may push you to confront things in yourself that you don’t want to see, and even if I’m not pushing you, you may encounter the abyss of fear inside you. By its nature, kink play tends to bring up the sub’s demons, and you need to have the courage to face them.
  7. Let me give you an example. Years ago, when I was training my first slave, I was giving him a flogging. It was a pretty simple scene–I wasn’t being particularly aggressive, I wasn’t doing any verbal abuse or anything like that. But after about 5 minutes, he began to cry. Not just a few tears, but gut-wrenching, body-shaking sobs, far in excess of what I was doing to him. I stopped the scene, laid him on my bed, and just held him. It took him about half an hour to stop crying. Eventually he was able to admit that he was crying because he felt his mother had never truly loved him. Somehow the experience of being flogged reminded him of the cruelties his mother had shown him (so far as I know, she never hit him). My point is, the act of being submissive will sometimes open up that dark closet where your monsters lurk, and you will need to be brave enough to confront them. A good dom will help you with that, but you have to find the courage to confront them. So finding the courage to meet a potential dom isn’t the only time you’ll need to be brave.
  8. So what does this mean for you as a would-be sub? It means that you have to find the courage to meet up with a dom. Nothing can really happen until you do that. Chatting online with other kinky people can help you feel less isolated, but it can’t really show you the joys of submission, and cyber play is for the most part a pale shadow of an in-person scene (unless you’re interested in being a finsub, in which case, email me at hadriantemple1 at gmail dot com).
  9. But that doesn’t mean you need to meet up with the first supposed master or mistress you chat with online. You should talk to doms (or dommes) on sites like Fetlife or Twitter or Scruff and wait until you find one whom you are attracted to and who seems willing to go at your pace. Once you make clear that you are a novice and nervous about meeting, a good dom ought to offer you concrete reassurances that they will be patient and supportive. Ask about how much experience they have as a dom. Ask about their safety precautions. Ask for a safe word or if you can arrange a safe call. Ask to meet for coffee before you agree to play. Ask for a reference who can vouch for their skill and concern. Realize that when you meet that dom for coffee, it’s not just him interviewing you. You’re also interviewing him. You both have to be comfortable with each other. Your submission is a gift and you and only you decide who gets that gift.
  10. Above all, realize that you have the right to say no. You have a right to tell any prospective dom that you won’t submit to him. You have a right to insist on whatever safety protocols you need in order to surrender control and feel safe. You have a right to set limits to what you’ll do. You have a right to a safe-word, even if the dom is playing within your limits.
  11. Realize that being nervous is normal. In itself, it’s not a sign that the dom you’re considering isn’t a good dom. You’ll be nervous the first time you play with your first dom, and you’ll probably be a little nervous the first time you play with every dom you choose to play with. That’s not a sign that you’re in over your head. It’s a sign that you’re excited about having the experience you’ve been craving. So you’ll need to learn to distinguish between your ordinary nervousness and a genuine red flag. The genuine red flags are mostly related to the dom not listening to you and just insisting you have to submit, that you can’t say no or that you have no rights he has to respect.
  12. Your fear of submitting doesn’t hurt me. No matter how much I like you and want to play with you, I can find other boys to play with. It may be a loss, but I can make that loss up if I want to. The only one your fear is hurting is you, because until you move through it, it will deny you what you want. So realize that although I will be patient with you and hold your hand, I won’t do it forever. Eventually I’ll decide you’re too paralyzed by your fears to meet me, and I’ll look elsewhere. That’s not me being harsh or arrogant. That’s me just having been through this so often that I know when to walk away from a potential sub.
  13. Don’t assume that if you were better looking, you wouldn’t have this fear. I have dealt with a couple guys with fashion-model good looks who were as paralyzed by their fear as you are. Don’t assume that if you had more money or if you were younger or if you were better in some other way, you wouldn’t have this fear. Don’t blame your fear on some factor you have little control over. Recognize your fear for what it is, a voice in your head that wants to stop you from leaving your fear behind and being your true self.

So if you’ve been wanting to submit to someone, to explore your kinky side, it’s ok to be nervous. But please don’t let that nervousness become an obstacle to you pursuing your genuine kinky life, whatever that kinky life looks like. You’re beautiful, no matter what you think you look like. To me, the sexiest guy isn’t the one with the best body. It’s the guy who pursues his genuine passions in an authentic way and finds the courage to show me who he really is. So let your passion guide you through your fear and take the first step to meet up.

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