Can a Submissive Fulfill All a Dominants Needs?
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Show of hands if you’ve heard a submissive say this or thought/said this yourself:
“As a submissive I can/should be able to/have to fulfill all of my Dominant’s needs.”
So can you? Is it possible? More importantly, should you try?
My non-scientific answer is…No.
One person can never satisfy every single need their partner might have. And I don’t even mean that in the “this is why polyamory exists so we can have our needs/desires fulfilled in multiple ways by other people.” (Which, for the record is an extreme oversimplification of polyamory.) This fact is true for devoted monogamous relationships, too.
What I mean is that one person cannot give another person every single thing they want, need or think they need. Even if we just use examples in the realm of sex and D/s, it’s easy to see. Imagine this: your partner fantasizes about being penetrated anally by a person with a penis, but you don’t have a penis. The fantasy may be all they ever want or need (great masturbation fodder, amiright?), but it’s definitely a “need” you, their partner, can’t help with in a practical, physical way.
And I haven’t even mentioned needs/wants/desires your partner may have that fall within your personal hard limits!
So does that make you a failure as a submissive? Of course not! But I think it’s worth unpacking this question a bit because there are (usually new) submissives who believe they can or should fulfill every single need their Dominant will ever have. Conversely, there are Doms who think a submissive should, too. And that only leads to bad feelings and negative outcomes. So let’s talk about it.
How do you define “all”?
I see a statement like “all your needs” in the same vein as “I have no limits.” What the person usually means in both instances is that “all” or “no” is whatever they can personally conceive of at this moment in time. Which can never be all a partner’s needs — only what you know they want/need now or what you think they might want or need in the future. Sometimes that’s based on conversations you’ve had and sometimes it’s the fantasy of BDSM and D/s you imagine based on porn, erotica, and other people’s experiences.
Why do you think you have to fulfill all your Dominant’s needs?
If you’re a Dom looking for a sub to fulfill every need, the other way of asking this is “Why do you think a submissive should do this for you?” If you accept the supposition that no one person can fulfill every single solitary need of another human being, then where does this thinking come from?
I have a few theories…
The lie of monogamy: For those who are definitely monogamous, you might have fallen into the trap of thinking that any relationship means that your partner has to be your literal everything. It’s just not true. First of all, we’re all autonomous people with our own rich inner and outer lives that we choose to share with a partner. To try to be someone’s “everything” sounds like co-dependency.
Secondly. when I was monogamous, I accepted that there were things I might desire that I wasn’t going to get. It wasn’t something I wanted so much that I felt the need to seek it out or even ask for it from my then-husband. I understood that you can desire something and never have it — much like the million dollars I’d like to have in my bank account.
Subfrenzy: My first thought when a submissive breathlessly asks how they can be their Dominant’s everything is that this comes from subfrenzy. Not that calm, educated, established submissives don’t want to be a partner’s “everything” but this does seem to occur most frequently in newer subs. It’s that excitement to serve and please and to experience submission coupled with what you think BDSM is instead of what it actually is.
The fantasy of BDSM: I’m not gonna lie…the fantasy of what BDSM can be is HAWT. The giving of everything you are as a submissive, the taking of what they need and want by your Dominant. In a seriously sexy scene, it’s hot, hot, hot as FUCK. But…that’s not the reality. Even when it’s a scene that actually happens, it’s only a moment in time. Eventually the scene ends, and you go back to whatever your life is like outside of kinky fuckery. And that means going back to being the perfectly imperfect people you are navigating your D/s relationship and your vanilla life — at the SAME TIME.
What can you do instead?
Okay, so I’ve rained all over a few submissive (and Dominant!) parades with this one. So how do you give all that you are as a submissive, fulfill your Dominant’s needs, and be your “best” submissive self — in a more realistic way?
I got a few thoughts there, too.
Talk about the needs and wants of both partners. Find where each partner can fulfill the desires of each other. Remember, a submissive isn’t the only one with a job to do. Dominants need to do some need and desire fulfilling of their own. This relationship is a give and take for all parties involved.
Discuss how you want to handle the things either partner just won’t do. These would be your partner’s hard limits. Will those desires go unfulfilled? (For many people this isn’t a problem.) Will you open up your relationship for other play partners? (This isn’t a requirement in BDSM — don’t let anyone try to make you believe it is. But it is an option if it feels right to you.)
Focus on what each of you does for the other. This is especially true to help a submissive who worries they aren’t doing enough when there are things they can’t or won’t do. For some people, it can eat away at their confidence or make them question themselves as a kinky partner. By focusing on what someone actually does, you create ways to positively reinforce their part in the relationship.
Okay, so what if this is you? You’ve thought this is what D/s is and now you’re no longer sure. What do you do next? A lot of problems in D/s are solved by education and communication with a big heap of introspection thrown in. So try one of these:
Join our free 30 Days of D/s program to look at bite-size topics related to D/s to learn more and figure out what you want. You’ll receive an email every day for 30 days, each one on a single topic about D/s – with resources to help you learn more. If you prefer not to get an email, you can purchase the 30 Days of D/s workbook instead.
Read Tongue-Tied by Stella Harris (affiliate link) to improve your communication skills so the big conversations feel less daunting.