To Sub or Not to Sub (A Guide for Dominants)

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To Sub or Not to Sub (A Guide for Dominants)

This article is dedicated to Lord Colm and the memory of 'jade' and all of the hours and hours of labour and love she poured into writing so many articles. We have been unable to contact Lord Colm to seek His permission to post these archives. This article, that originally appeared on the Castle Realm website, is posted here, pending the appropriate permissions from Lord Colm. The content of the article remains intact and exactly as originally found on the Castle Realm website.


Must a dominant spend time as a submissive in order to be a "good" dom? In a word, maybe. I often hear the age-old D/s addage that "the best doms start out as submissives" and, never one to accept blindly conventional wisdom, I've considered the merits of this notion.

Through my personal experiences and in speaking with other members of the community, I have come to the conclusion that for many, this is very true. On the other hand, for some it offers little.

I do believe that it has the potential to help many a dominant understand what it is that submissives experiences when they submit--the emotional, mental, and physical issues that submissives must deal with.

It can give dominants a more realistic approach to their domination when they have actually experienced the things they are asking their submissive to do.

They may better understand how much of a struggle it is to bend one's will to that of another, the physical discomfort of kneeling, the anxiety from not knowing when, where, or how they will be touched next.

Without a doubt, this can be a valuable experience for many a dominant.There are a few of us, however, for whom such a thing would be almost inconceivable.

Try as we might, we simply cannot derive pleasure from placing ourselves in a submissive role. The benefit of submission comes from being able to experience what the submissive experiences, to be able to identify with their emotions, to know their struggles. Some of us will never know those things simply because we cannot get there. Does this impede our skills as a dominant? Not necessarily.

It depends on how willing you are to try to learn by other means what motivates submissives to surrender, to observe them, to encourage them to share with you their emotional conflicts.

To paraphrase jade, I do not have to spend time as a woman to know how to have a relationship with a woman. The same principle works here. Just as we learn to interact with members of the opposite sex based on our experiences and observations, so we can with submissives.

I find preposterous the idea that every dominant must spend time as a sub in order to be "good." I have never spent a moment in the role of the submissive, yet I am in a relationship with jade that is more fulfilling and successful that I could have ever dreamed.

Conventional wisdom is based on the experiences of the average person. And for the average dom, experiencing the role of a submissive would probably be helpful. For the few who aren't average, however, such standards may not apply.

Whether or not you should try it depends upon you: your character, your level of experience, your understanding of "submissive psychology." One of the truisms about human nature is that no single theory applies to every single person: there are always exceptions.

This applies to the question at hand, as well. My conclusion is that, overall, it tends to be beneficial. However, this does not hold true for every dominant. So if you find yourself trying to measure yourself by other people's standards and are struggling, trying to force yourself into a mold that simply does not fit, consider the possibility that you were cut from different stock and direct your efforts into understanding the submissive in terms to which you can relate.

In the final analysis, the measure of a dominant isn't in whether or not he or she has trained as a submissive, but the skill with which dominion is exercised in a relationship.

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