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In human sexual behavior, a submissive is one who enjoys having any of a variety of BDSM practices performed upon them by a "Dominant"; or one who holds a submissive position within a relationship based upon dominance and submission (Ds or D/s). This enjoyment can spring from a simple desire for submission or an enjoyment of the interplay of wills involved in such a scenario. A submissive is also referred to as a 'sub', where the dominant in a D/s relationship is the 'Dom.'
The main difference between a submissive and a bottom is that the submissive ostensibly does not give instructions, although s/he does set limits on what the Dominant can do.
There are also indications that submissives substantially outnumber Dominants, in both males and females. Professional Dominants provide stimulatory services (which may or may not include sex) for those unable to find a compatible partner for this activity.
In many BDSM communities, there is a distinction between a submissive and a slave. In this context, a slave's goal is surrender and obedience. In contrast, a submissive tends to expect some gratification in return for his or her submission.
In a broader context, a submissive is one who needs to give most or all authority over his or her life to a dominant, who will protect, guide, and nourish the submissive. Such a D/s relationship need not include other BDSM practices, and is not necessarily limited to sexual behavior.
Natural submitters are strong relaters who need and may seek the deepest intimacy in personal relationships. Submitters can be placed on a spectrum of natural submitters, natural submitters with victimization traits, and full-fledged victims, who may or may not be natural submitters.
Offers to submit may be either passive, as in yielding or surrendering, or active, as in gifting or offering, just as the common verb can be either yielding to, or presenting to another.
- Dominant (BDSM)
- Top (BDSM)
- Bottom (BDSM)
- Switch (BDSM)
- Female dominance
- Male dominance
- Domination & submission (BDSM)
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