Life as a submissive :: an interview
subspace, chores, limits & respect
HOT: Thank you for sitting down with us, Isa. You're currently in a long-term relationship in which you play the role of submissive. Do you often refer to yourself as a submissive?
ISA: I generally don't really call myself anything at all. In my relationship, I'm the submissive partner. I don't always refer to myself as a sub. I don't like to put labels on people and things. It's a bit of a spectrum, like anything to do with sexuality. Some people definitely sit at one end or the other. Most people float, I guess. With relationships, I've tended to be the submissive partner, unless it is a vanilla relationship. I’m definitely not afraid to step up into a dominant role if the situation calls for it.
HOT: How did you get into playing the role of the submissive?
ISA: My start is not really a good one. My first DS [Dom/submissive] relationship was actually my first sexual relationship as well. My partner wasn't a Dom, he was an abuser. On the flip side, you also have abusive relationships where one partner tries to masquerade it as BDSM. I wasn't completely aware of everything that was going on, and then suddenly slowly became aware that things weren't right. I met a few people within the [BDSM] scene that I spoke to, and they basically said, "Things are not right. You need to get out." I met my next Dom after that. He was really good at what he did and very patient with me. After that relationship ended I met D*.
HOT: So in your first DS relationship, your partner was more domineering and abused the power?
ISA: Yeah, there was a bit of that. He would use rape as a punishment. I don’t like to talk about it much.
HOT: I'm so sorry to hear that. Following this did you have hesitation going into subsequent relationships with Doms after that?
ISA: I did, yeah, but I just dealt with it by taking things slowly. Lots of communication and checking in, having a partner that will check in with you and make sure that you're okay and keep the talking going in that moment, making sure you're not going back to the negative spaces.
HOT: You've been with D* for two years. How did you meet?
ISA: We met at an anti-Valentine's Day function. I was invited along by a friend. I didn't know anyone else there. I showed up and we kind of hit it off.
HOT: In your relationship with him you play the role of service submissive, can you expand on this?
ISA: Yeah I do the housework and the shopping and the cooking and all of that. It’s part of our arrangement that I do those things as a form of play and to make things run a bit smoother.
We have a Saturday morning routine. I usually try to head to his place about 9 am. I make him breakfast, and that's when I do the domestics. I clean the place up and I do all the tidying. Usually, I have to wear a uniform for that. It's like a little French maid outfit. When I'm done, at about 11 or 12, we just do something fun or work for the rest of the day.
HOT: Earlier you mentioned you love to please, do you think that's pretty common with submissives?
ISA: It is, definitely. It also can be common in what we call service Tops. I've got a few friends that mostly identify as service Tops but they have a bit of a sadistic streak.
HOT: A service Top is similar to a Dom/me?
ISA: It's closer to that side of it. They will Top people in play, but they're not a Dominant because they don't look for that power exchange. They will play with someone in the role of a Top, but they will do it more for the other person's pleasure, not for their own which seems to be the main motivator of a Dominant.
HOT: What is it about playing the submissive that gives you so much pleasure?
ISA: It's a way to step out of your own head for a little bit, it gives you something else to focus on. You can switch off. I'm a bit of a control freak in my life. So it’s a way of switching off. You don't have to think about things too much. You can just let someone else make decisions for a while, forget about anything that's stressing you out. I've always been a bit of a masochist as well. For me, I enjoy the pain play of it. It's a nice big endorphin rush. There's also the subspace.
HOT: Subspace is mentioned a lot within the BDSM community. Can you elaborate on it for our readers?
ISA: Subspace happens generally with pain play. It can happen with other sorts of play too. A lot of people can experience it just from being restrained or with rope. It's a chemical reaction that happens in the brain. It is a huge, huge rush of endorphins and serotonin. It takes you to this half asleep, dreaming stage where everything is just nice and fuzzy and warm and cuddly. A lot of people do it for the subspace. I don't tend to go there very easily.
HOT: Do you think you could easily switch between kink and “vanilla” relationships?
ISA: I do enjoy the BDSM. I think when it is a part of my life, it tends to become a pretty important part of my life. I have had gaps without it though. At first you miss it, then you don't after a while, and getting back into the habit of not making your own plans and decisions can take getting used to. For me, it's something that isn't a 100% necessary part of life. I think that I could be quite happy without it. Most of my enjoyment comes from making other people happy; I’m not into humiliation or degradation. Also, I want to get married someday and have kids. I don't see that fitting in with the BDSM lifestyle.
HOT: You don't think you could have a family and be into BDSM?
ISA: I think it's something that could work if there was a “vanilla” relationship first that moved in that direction, especially with raising kids. It needs to be an equal partnership more than anything else and built on a foundation that will take you through the good and bad. There’s also a lot of emotional ups and downs in D/s relationships and having a small baby and a Dom/me vying for you attention would be exhausting. I know there are people that make it work but it just depends on finding the right partner.
HOT: Have you always been interested in kink?
ISA: Yeah, I've read a lot of novels about it. I think a lot of the problem with young submissives in particular going into the BDSM scene is that there's a lot of the literature out there and some of it does not give the right message.
There's no concept of consent, negotiation, safety. I can't remember the author's name, but there's only one author that I know of that has a little preface in the beginning of all of her stories that says, "This is fiction. Everything happens a lot quicker in this story than it will in real life. If you do this in real life, please stop, negotiate, work out a safe word, always have a safety call. Make sure you've got a friend who knows where you are." None of that happens in the stories. You get a lot of people who are curious that jump straight in. They don't take any safety measures. On the other side, you've got a lot of young Doms that are interested in going into it, and they can hurt people because they don't know about the safety measures.
HOT: Have there been times that you've thought you'd be hitting your limit in regards to the kink and the things that you guys do?
ISA: There are moments. There's certain types of play that I don't enjoy as much as others. I'm not a huge fan of canes. I hit my limit pretty quick with those. I have a safe word, so when it gets to that point, I call my safe word. I'm more of a sensation person than a straight out impact person. I like electricity play and candle wax.
HOT: Electricity play? Tell me more about that.
ISA :There's machines called Violet Wands, and they're quite fun. They come with lots of different attachments. It basically just gives mild electric shocks, it makes your skin feel like it's getting too tight, then too loose, then too tight.
HOT: What do you think it is about the pain that you like?
ISA: I think it's just the endorphin rush that comes with it. Ideally, you'd have a partner that eases you into it and starts off gently so you don't have that initial pain response. For me, personally, if I have that pain response, I find it very difficult to move past that and get to the happy place. If it starts off gradual enough, there shouldn't be a big instinct of, "Oh my gosh, pain." That said, there are some people that all they want is that big pain response. So every person is different.
HOT: And it seems that it’s this type of play that is a focus, rather than sex
ISA: For a lot of people, BDSM is very tied to sex. It's different with every person but with my back story I prefer it not being about sex and keeping that aspect separate to the play. It’s about that mental connection that you can get to with the other person. I think you need to build a lot of trust and be very comfortable with the person before you can take the play to sexual place whilst you’re vulnerable.
HOT: When sex does happen, is it a more heightened experience for you?
ISA: I think it probably is for a lot of people.
HOT: If someone were interested in BDSM, where would you recommend they go to find out more?
Isa: I recommend they find a munch. A munch is a public meet-up. We have them once a month on a Sunday, the community meets up in a public space. There’s no overt kink or play. It's just a place where we meet each other, make connections, talk to people, ask advice. It's a nice, safe space to meet people. It's no pressure. It's not a dungeon or a play party which can be a bit full on if it’s your first real world experience on your own.