In short, yes. Yes, of course. While free falling into letting go of all control is the sensation subs are seeking, there are some rules to follow, and, in fact, they can take the worries off when a sub does let go making for a better experience. I’ve put together a starter set of submissive rights:
A Bill of Submissive Rights
The right to express your interests and expectations in play
It is easy to lose oneself in the fantasy of the all-knowing dominant. His/her/their selfish desires and your wants will align like the stars. Of course, a healthy D/s dynamic is a journey two people take together, and agreeing on the paths to take on this journey makes it oh so much more enjoyable.
For example, if your sexual satisfaction is the crucial thing in play (and that is okay as your preference), you need to make that known. Not everyone culminates their play in an orgasm. It is your right to express yourself and your needs, and if your potential play partner is not agreeable to those needs, you have the absolute right to continue seeking a more appropriate partner.
The right to know about the safety and cleanliness of all toys and surfaces used in play.
Before you put yourself naked and helpless in someone’s care, discuss the maintenance of the equipment that will come in contact with you. Toys are expensive, and if your top has already broken in their implements on previous partners, there are procedures to keep them sanitary and in good working condition. (I outlined my procedures in a separate post.)
Not only should your top be ready to tell you how they have already prepared for your physical health in how they take care of your equipment, but doing so will reassure you during the scene. You can keep your head in the scene and all its sensations instead of wondering where everything has been. Worry more about where it’s going to go.
The right to end a scene if it crosses hard boundaries
Often a difficult task, especially in a dynamic where pushing limits is the game’s objective. However, you know when they are crossed beyond the point of acceptability. Your top may not be malicious but believe they are pushing the excitement level. Perhaps a medical condition has arisen the dominant is not aware of. Consider this a part of communication with the top.
The right to maintain a financial budget
Just like physical boundaries, one needs to keep financial boundaries. Despite the fantasies written about at length, you are NOT an ATM for your dominance. Agree out of role and definitely out of subspace what your financial responsibilities are. If you desire specific outfits, locations, equipment, and so on, it is perfectly reasonable for you to pay at least, if not all, of those costs. If domination is how your dominant makes a living, a tribute will be negotiated beforehand. It is best to change your expectations if these costs will cause you financial stress.
Changing financial expectations while in scene and subspace is unacceptable unless it has been EXPLICITLY negotiated, such as a findom scene, before play began.
The right to end a D/s relationship for any reason
Even perfectly healthy and happy relationships come to a natural close. Circumstances change. Sometimes things go in a not mutually beneficial direction, and the benefits must be mutual for any relationship to continue. Circumstances change. Sometimes things go in a not mutually beneficial direction, and the benefits must be mutual for any relationship to continue.
People’s preferences evolve. Ideally, one’s partners grow in kind, but not always. BDSM is never a stagnant practice, as those who enjoy it tend to be sensation seekers, looking for new flavors to taste. It may be time to part ways if these go in different directions.
The right to give and withdraw consent
Without consent, BDSM and D/s are abuse, full stop. In a perfect world, a top would always know the exact level to push a bottom without going too far. In a perfect world, a top would always be connected and attuned to the changing conditions of a bottom. Things happen. Miscommunication and distraction are a thing. Sometimes the “chemistry” is just not there for that day. Acknowledging this and stopping the scene is perfectly fine, and negotiation can begin again when both parties see fit.
Most dommes, especially newer dommes with new subs, will use a “safe word” to indicate consent for what is happening has been withdrawn and it’s time to halt activities.
The right to aftercare
After the scene is over, you have the right to a transition from playtime to the outside world. Depending upon your dynamic with your top, this can take many forms, but if you have specific needs, you must communicate them beforehand. Of course, some will like to be tossed out of the dungeon to the street upon finishing, but that’s not recommended.
Some switch off the roles like a light, changing the interaction to soft caresses and whispers. A shower is always a good option if that is too much of a contrast. If a scene has been done well, it will excite the adrenal system into something similar to “fight or flight.” Everyone is responsible for returning their mental and physical states to a normal operation range before moving out into the world.
These submissive rights should not interfere with the scene but keep good boundaries so as no lasting damage, mentally or physically, continue when it’s time to hang up the whip. This should allow both parties to dive further into the ephemeral world of kink.