Crawling and kneeling as submissive acts are depicted everywhere – from porn and erotica to the leashes and collars in sex toy shops. The common idea is that all submissives must kneel on the floor or crawl to their Dominant.
But what if you physically can’t crawl or kneel? Hell, what if you and your Dominant don’t want you to? Yes, it’s possible that crawling and/or kneeling aren’t turn-ons for people.
Even though the narrative is that all submissives must kneel for their Dominants and that some of us will crawl, too, not everyone can. So what do you do instead? Here are a few ideas…plus, some ideas for those who want to kneel on the floor but it’s a difficult or painful process.
Keep Your Eyes Lowered
Downcast eyes are a sign of submitting to a more dominant figure and not just in BDSM. It’s also not as easy as you might think. A submissive who has to be strong-willed in their vanilla life or is simply a curious person might struggle with it. Which is part of the point. Submissive acts aren’t just about turning each other on, they are also about allowing someone to have control and power. Not making eye contact is a sign of acquiescing power.
A bent head is another visual appearance of submission. Maybe you can’t get on the ground and kneel, but a tilted head is a way to be (and feel) physically lower than your partner. It also adds another dimension to the “lowered eye” option. You only look up and around when you’re allowed to by your Dominant. For some people, that might be really hot and a good way to remember “who you are.”
Hands at Your Side or Behind Your Back
Keeping your hands down or behind your back takes a certain amount of self-control. Your Dom might tease your body or use the time to stare at every inch of you. (In some cases, they may appear to ignore you but believe me, they’re aware of every inch of your body.) While some submissives love this attention, others find it difficult, wishing to hide themselves away. Not moving your hands to touch your partner, cover yourself, or gesture requires self-control while also making your body available to your partner.
Sitting on the Floor
If the problem is pain in your knees but you can (mostly) get yourself up and down from the ground, sitting on the floor is another option. Most seen in humiliation play as in “You’re not good enough for a chair” it doesn’t have to be. Some submissives enjoy being close to their Dominant, and many Doms will pet or stroke their submissive or feel comfort knowing you’re close. It’s a way to be physically close while maintaining a clear power exchange.
The alternative that John Brownstone and I use for kneeling is for me to bend over the bed. I may be flat on my feet or on my toes, depending on how far up the bed I lay. He has access to my body for light smacks or anything else he may want to do. He also uses the position to kick my feet apart, finger me, and edge or force an orgasm. We use the position for impact play and massage. When he wants to “remind me of my place,” he may hold me down or push my head into the bed (without constricting my ability to breathe).
Standing, especially while your Dominant sits, may put you physically higher than your partner, but it’s still a very submissive act. Why? Because you’re not in control of what you do – your Dominant is. If your partner tells you to stand, especially if they require you to use a certain posture, you have to maintain control over your own body, regardless of any minor discomfort you may feel. (Note: Let your partner know if you feel major discomfort, pain, or shakiness and change positions.)
Whatever Your Dominant Wants
The rest of that sentence is, “and that you consent to do.” Kneeling and crawling might be stereotypical submissive acts, but they’re not the only game in town. If your Dominant wants you to do something, even if it’s hop on one foot, or lay down in bed, it’s a submissive act once you agree to do it. You don’t have to “replace” kneeling or crawling with another thing. Simply recognize the physical things you do to please your Dominant, and voila, it’s a submissive act.
Okay, but you really wish you could kneel, and it hurts when you do. Where, Kayla (you ask), are the ideas to help with that?! I’ve got a few, but please remember that I’m not a doctor, physical therapist, or medical professional. This is what I’ve done that seemed to work for me. Take it or leave it, but always consult your doctor and listen to your own body.
Kneel on a Pillow
If your knee pain is fairly minor, a thick pillow offers a certain amount of cushion. In my experience, the longer I kneel, the less it works. Eventually my weight presses down enough that I feel the floor underneath, and it isn’t pleasant. But for very short bouts of kneeling, it has worked.
Strengthen Your Other Leg Muscles
I found this one out by accident. For a while, I was doing a lot of body weight exercises which built up my thighs and calves. Some of the moves, without me knowing it, strengthened my knees a bit, too. As a result, I could kneel down on the ground and get myself back up much easier. I had to add in a pillow because our floors are hard, but I could do it. Once I stopped working out like that (which I need to get back to), those benefits disappeared.
Kneel/Crawl on the Bed
This assumes you have a bed big enough (we have a queen-size bed). Before we switched to a bent over position which works better for our play, I knelt on the bed. When necessary, I came up on all fours and “crawled” – very little – over the bed to get from one side to the other. It’s not perfect but it didn’t require me to get on the ground and back plus the mattress provided plenty of cushion.
So there you go, a few ideas for those who can’t or don’t want to kneel or crawl but want what feel like “obvious” submissive acts. But really and truly, y’all, if your Dominant tells you to do something and you consent to do it, it’s a submissive act – no matter what it is.
Your turn! Have you had to give up kneeling or crawling because of mobility issues? What are your suggestions or alternatives? Share with us on Twitter or in the comment section below.