6 Red Flags From Submissives That Turn Off Dominants
Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, we turned this post into a mini-episode for the podcast that covers the same points below: Submissive Red Flags (minisode 13)
We talk an awful lot about predatory, abusive, poser, wannabe Dominants and their red flags. But that makes it sound like every submissive is a perfect angel simply waiting for the right Dominant to appear. Uhhh, not quite.
The vast majority of submissives I’ve met have been good people who are like everyone else — trying to navigate desires, kinks, and life to find the right partner. But that doesn’t mean we’re all perfect or we get it all right.
Some submissives can be predatory. Just ask all the women who slide into John Brownstone’s DMs and promise they can make him forget me. Others aren’t actually submissive, they’re playing a game or enjoying a fantasy. And some just don’t know any better or think manipulation is the only way to get what they want.
In this list, we’re not talking exclusively about the motivation behind the action. We’re simply pointing out a few red flags to show Dominants aren’t the only ones who can behave badly.
Begging/Demanding to Be Dominated
“Tell me what to do, Daddy!”
“I’m yours, Mistress. I’ll do anything!”
Just like you don’t want a Dominant telling you what to do before you’ve even had an introduction, most good, solid Dominants don’t want the first submissive who throws themselves at their feet. Frankly, regardless of your motivation for doing it, it shows a serious lack of understanding about consent. Worse, it reeks of desperation. The person who pounces on that is likely full of red flag behavior, too.
Constantly Moving the Goal Post
Pardon the sports metaphor (I’m not exactly sporty or athletic). We all get to have our limits, boundaries, expectations, and needs in a D/s relationship. But some submissives will tell a Dominant they need to see this, experience that, feel this emotion before they’re ready to submit. The Dom jumps through hoops to accomplish it, only to find that the rules have changed again. Now they need to do something else before you submit.
I’m not at all saying that a submissive can’t change their mind. Of course you can. But if every goal achieved only brings more requirements, it may be time to take a look at what you really want. At best you’re really unsure and need more time, but at worst, you’re fucking with someone’s feelings and manipulating them.
Refusing to Do Anything You Said You Would Do
Before you pull out the pitchforks, this isn’t about boundaries or consent. You’ve had the conversations and negotiated with your Dominant. The parameters have been set. You’ve agreed to certain things. And now, when it’s time to act on it, you refuse. Worse, you’re not talking to your Dominant about what’s going on.
Are you scared? That’s normal. Talk to your Dominant.
Are you having second thoughts? Also completely normal. Talk to your Dominant.
Have you changed your mind about D/s or this specific partner? It happens. Talk to them. (See the pattern?)
When you don’t talk about what’s going on, you wind up manipulating the emotions of the other person. It also makes people angry and relationships get wrecked. If it’s fear, bad tapes, or anything else, talk about it!
Having Zero Limits…or Saying You’ll Do Anything
Any smart and/or experienced Dominant who hears a submissive say that have no limits is going to do one of a few things.
- They’re turning the other way and finding someone who has a sense of self-preservation.
- They might (if you’re lucky) take you under their wing and teach you how wrong you are about that.
- If they happen to be devious, sadistic, or have a twisted sense of humor (that’s every Dominant I know and respect), they’ll ask you to prove it. “Shave your head” or “Cut off a finger” or “Remove all of your clothes and walk through this restaurant naked.”
When you come across the poser, wannabe, fake, predator, or abuser with your “I’ll do anything” attitude, you put yourself in danger. Everyone has limits, even if you’re not quite sure what they are yet or how to discuss them.
Not Paying Attention to What a Dominant is Looking For
A lot of us meet each other online. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on Twitter, through Fetlife, or in a dating app. Which means we all have profiles of some sort. In that profile most people tell you exactly what you need to know about them.
“Love my slave. Not looking.”
“Looking for a service submissive.”
Next thing these Doms know, someone slides into their DMs offering themselves. This submissive isn’t a good fit and doesn’t want what the Dominant wants. But they saw “Dominant” or “Mistress” or “Sir” and figured one Dominant is like another.
Just like we hate being treated as if all subs want the same thing, the same is true with Dominants. If you’re going to send out the same tired message to everyone with a big D title, don’t be surprised if you’re ignored or blocked. You’ve sent a clear signal that you’re not interested in doing the most basic work to form a D/s relationship — reading a profile.
Not Wanting to Participate in the Relationship
Slightly different from not doing anything you’ll say you’ll do (see above), this is about expecting the Dominant to do all the work. Yes, some D/s dynamics mean that a Dominant “takes care” of their submissive. Not every Dom wants that level of responsibility and unless they can be with you every moment of the day, it’s not realistic all the time.
Even when it is a possibility, you’re still a part of the relationship. You have a responsibility to help make it work. If you’re not willing to talk, do your part, or be an active participant at the very beginning, it means you won’t be there long-term — especially when things get tough or when the D/s ebbs and flows naturally.
If you expect a Dominant to make all the decisions and all you have to do is show up and look nice,you may be surprised when they refuse. Yes, Doms want some level of control. But not every Dom wants a doormat or someone they can micromanage. Most want a partner who wants to build something with them.
As a Dominant, have you seen other red flag behavior from submissives? Are you a submissive who used to do this before you learned better or found the right partner? Share your experiences in the comments below or on Twitter!
Listen to episode 132 of the Loving BDSM podcast where we discuss submissives and their bad behavior for once.