10 Different Types of Submission
A quick note before we jump into this: This isn’t a comprehensive list of every form of submission. That would take a long time to create and longer to read. Our list also shows each type as its own separate identity. Most submissives are amalgamations of many types, based on what best fits their personality and preferences.
A second note: Yes, sometimes labels suck because they seem to force people into narrow boxes. Take these labels and definitions in the context of their intended meaning — to educate and start a conversation. They’re not the gospel, and we’re not Jesus.
Prefer to listen rather than read? Listen here at Podcast Minisode 2: Submission Types
For the record, you can be any kind of submissive you want to be. Mix a little of this, a lot of that, and none of the other, and you’ve found what works for you. I know from experience that the type of submission that suits me best changed over time. What works for me now as a submissive is different than the early days or when John Brownstone and I were in a long-distance relationship.
We’re all unique and there’s no single right way to be a submissive. But, all that said, let’s talk about the different types of submission.
Service submission is not (necessarily) sexual submission. It tends to refer to submissives who perform services for their Dominant. The most common form is domestic service — cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. But a service submissive may also do your taxes, mow your lawn, clean your pool, or fix your car. The act matters a lot less than the feeling behind it — being of service and making the Dominant’s life a little (or a lot) easier and more comfortable.
A lot of submissives fall into this category, myself included. When it’s time to get naked, I’m the bottom, you’re the top, and I need you (John Brownstone) to lead. Sexual submission might be taking orders and being of use. But it could also be more primal with some amount of resistance and making your Dominant work for your submission. And, as always, it could be somewhere in between the two.
I haven’t found a good term for this type of submission and make no mistake, it’s consensual. But this isn’t a SAM, although more on them in a moment. Some submissives don’t want their submission coerced or seduced from them. They want it taken, sometimes with brute force. Sometimes it’s primal, but not always. They’re the “Make me” kind of submissive. Based on conversations I’ve had with a few people like this, I’ve been told it’s about the Dominant proving they’re stronger and worthy of submission.
Smart-Assed Masochist (SAM)
I don’t think all SAMs are masochists, but they’re kind of the brat of the bunch. They’re definitely trying to provoke their Dominant. As an accidental SAM, I can tell you it’s not always on purpose. I have SAM tendencies but don’t embrace the label because it’s not intentional when I do it. Some SAMs are driven by the punishment, others by the pain. When I’m in SAM mode, John Brownstone knows the worst (and also best) punishment for me is something that doesn’t cause physical pain. (And that’s why he’s the sadist.) I would say that the label of “brat” might be a SAM or it may be the person who wants their submission forced, or a combination of the two.
Brats can want their submission forced. They can be SAMs. But they can also be playful and sassy without trying to “force” anything. They push back against their Dominant. For some brats, it’s a constant thing with every request, order, or bit of control questioned, sassed, or resisted. For others, their brat behavior depends on the situation. The important thing about bratting is that your partner needs to be in on it. Some Doms call themselves Brat Tamers but we’ve heard the term Brat Handler and like that much better. If you’re a brat and your Dom doesn’t enjoy it or know what you’re doing it, it’ll create problems for everyone. So talk about it and look for partners who enjoy the sass, the back-talk, the occasional “No,” or however your brat surfaces.
In the little category, you’ll find a huge range of types: babygirls/gurls, babyboys/bois, age players, middles, etc. However it manifests, one trait remains fairly constant: we tend to have younger than our natural age behaviors, traits, and/or mindset. Their Dominant is a Caregiver, even if they don’t take a Mommy or Daddy title. A little wants or needs to be nurtured, taken care of, and, sometimes, be completely free of responsibility for a period of time.
Like any other form of submission, there’s a spectrum in being a slave. Some want to be and are extremely micromanaged. Details like when to eat, what to eat, when to use the bathroom, and when to speak are decided by their Master. Other slaves have fewer of the outward acts but may have a slave heart. I would imagine most if not all slaves have a slave heart, and I’ll let them define that for themselves. Slaves tend to give up even more control to their Dominant partner than other types of submissives do.
Pets may be primal and enjoy primal play (based more on who’s stronger and Alpha, and it’s more animalistic play) or they may, like littles, take on characteristics of specific animals. No, this isn’t about bestiality, just as Caregiver/little isn’t about pedophilia. But animals can’t speak and can only do what their Master/Dom/Caretaker let them do. Or not, as the case may be. Animals have minds of their own, and so do furries. Not all are docile and quick to obey. Kittens and puppies are most common in furries but definitely not the only options. See our post on butt plug tails for an idea of what kind of pet options are out there.
I won’t pretend to know a lot about this. Pro Doms and Dommes are much more common, comparatively. But I know a professional submissive (she’s a fellow sex blogger), so I felt like it should be included here. She has clients who want the experience of Dominating someone but don’t have a steady partner. Or they need a second partner for a scene with their submissive or bottom. There is negotiation and consent before anything begins. Some form of aftercare is negotiated and provided even if it’s not what we might be familiar with in D/s relationships.
This one is not included as a knock at people who haven’t experienced submission in the “real” world. For some, this is all they want, and for others, they haven’t had the opportunity to do more than this. But if the feeling is real for you, then so is your submission. As someone who has done what someone online told me to do, even though I could never prove I’d done it, I think it’s real. Do I believe that physical, in person experiences are more powerful and meaningful? To me, yes. But is online submission real and powerful? For those who embrace it, yes.
Even in making this list, I can come up with a few other options. But for the basics, this is a good start. If you recognize traits of yourself or your submissive in multiple types, that doesn’t surprise me. Personally, I’m a sexual and service submissive, a babygirl (little) with primal tendencies, who is sometimes a SAM and has fantasies of being forced to submit. Basically, we’re all complex, and that’s okay.
In episode 137 this week, we’re talking specifically about service submission, but don’t worry we’ll get to other types of submission in upcoming episodes. Got thoughts on submission? Share in the comment section or talk to us on Twitter!