What, in your eyes, makes a person submissive?
A submissive is a man or woman that for whatever reason chooses to follow the directions, adjust to behavior modifications and submit to the power of another. These things can include but are not limited to sexual submission, domestic service, platonic recession of power, work environment with a power exchange, limiting the control to one or select few, or voluntary slavery and servitude. Every submissive has chosen to be one or more of these things.
Sexual submission is the most commonly talked about on message boards, munch discussions, IRC-Chat, and between people everywhere. One can be a sexual submissive and not be in the D/s lifestyle. Whenever the control of sexual activities is given over to the other you are submitting yourself to the power of another. Within the BDSM context that could also include scenes, play, bondage, whipping or various other activities. Sexual submission is a big fantasy amidst vanilla men and some women.
In our patriachal society submission is most emphasized as a woman’s trait, and was bred into them for many many centuries until feminism was able to grab ahold of the modern public. This form of submission is rooted in domestic service and platonic submission. Women were to be seen and not heard, keep the hearth warm and the house clean and always aide in the success and wellbeing of her HOH (head of household) husband. In D/s domestic service is polished and ritualized or relaxed and commonplace. It can be a part of the agreement that relationships carry, or it can be the common sense activites that go on to care for house and home. Platonic submission is the deferment of control to anyone outside the relationship and includes common respect and courtesy given in public situations, kindness to strangers and polite attitudes towards others. Most of the time these are enhanced in a D/s dynamic to be primarily a submissive trait.
Within the work environment, people that choose to be submissive commonly choose jobs where they follow rather than lead and is iconized in the CEO / secretary position. Not all submissives choose submissive work environments, but those that do not know the are submissive may select these as they feel most comfortable under the control of another. The workplace submissive is just another revelation of the prefemenist movements of putting a woman below a man in social situations.
A submissive can choose who they will submit to. This is most commonly accorded to negotiations, personal preferences and desires. A submissive establishes limits and lines that the Dominant / Dominants can not cross. With the trust established between the dynamic partners a submissive can then submit to this person or people for which the “contract” was placed. There are no submissives that elect to submit carelessly without regard for his or her own safety. So-called submissives that submit without this protection of self are dangerous and do not deserve the title of submissive.
Voluntary slavery and servitude is the most extreme of submission. This is where the submissive has choosen to become property, without limits, rules or hinderances against the Dominant. Free will is practically defered to the Dominant in these situations. You can not be a slave without a Master. One can not submit in these situations without anyone to submit to. Also, all slaves are submissive, however not all submissives are or can be slaves. Progression to slave status is slow yet rewarding and not everyone can reach this point. Complete desire of a slave is to feed and nurture the desires and whims of the Dominant.