I’ve been a practicing submissive for roughly five years now; most of that time has been in a long distance capacity, but regardless, my role as a sub has played an integral part in shaping my role in my relationship with the person who is not only my Dominant, but (I hope) my life mate. We’ve faced a fair few challenges over the past five years, the least of which being the development of my submission and her Dominance, but as we trundle tenaciously towards living with each other on a permanent basis, there’s been quite a lot of introspection on my part regarding the continued development of my role as my partner’s sub. Questions like, “What exactly do I bring to this relationship?” and “How do I define my submission to other subs in the community?” have become fairly compelling—the former because my Dom and I have substantially different sex-drives, and the latter because I write for Submissive Guide. The questions felt like they’d go hand-in-hand, which was helpful, and I felt like I had bits and pieces of the answers, which was also helpful, but I felt (and still feel) that they were important enough questions to merit coherent, easily articulated responses rather than haphazard Kind-of-Sort-of turns of phrase.

Living with my Dom for a longer period of time has allowed us to develop some rough routines and expectations that we’ll continue to develop as time progresses, and these have begun to help me form answers to the questions that I’ve been asking on and off from the beginning of my submission. Although these revelations are not fully developed, nor are they necessarily permanent, I felt sharing them would help readers understand how aspects of one’s relationship can shift and change as the relationship progresses.

The first thing I’ve realized is that the answers to my questions are definitely connected. The way I submit should not only fulfill my needs, but the needs of my Dom as well; part of what makes people compatible with each other is the willingness and ability to recognize and fulfill the needs of their partners without compromising or giving up their own needs. What I bring to the relationship should essentially be the aspects of my Dom’s needs that she cannot fulfill herself, and those aspects should thereby define my submission to her.

For the most part, my Dom’s list of needs is fairly short, but one of the more defining components that she receives enjoyment from is observing when I’m being admired by others and knowing that I belong to her. A lot of the rules that I had when starting out related directly to the clothing that I was and wasn’t allowed to wear, her knowing what I was wearing, marking myself with her name to indicate that I belonged to her, etc.; the majority of my rules still related to these areas of my life, though some of them have become more prominent and some rules have fallen away. My Dom’s pleasure is still primarily derived from knowing that other people find me attractive and that I belong to her, regardless, so what I bring to the relationship, as of past and present, has been a sort of decorative appeal, and I tend to fall into the role of eye candy when we’re out together.

At home, we have an even exchange of caring for each other. I take care of the house, make sure that there’s food on the table, that the room stays tidy, bring tea for her when she’s working. In exchange, my Dom might brush my hair, help bathe me, choose my clothes, or allow me to sit at her feet and pet me. She fulfills my needs by giving a sense of control and expectation to daily routines, and I fulfill hers by making sure that our living space is relaxing.

Regarding what I bring to the relationship, the above is pretty straight forward. Regarding how I define my submission, the above kind of throws a wrench into the machine. Humans like to label things, and while simple forms of identification rarely seem to work, a good part of the population, including myself, likes for things to be fairly neatly compartmentalized. I don’t think that anyone likes to feel like they’ve been filed under “miscellaneous,” and we certainly don’t like saying that we’re part of a group that we don’t feel a distinct kinship with, so looking at the rather rough sketch of my role and responsibilities as a sub, then trying to find a label for myself, felt a bit like inviting trouble. On the one hand, my role outside of the house was fairly on par with what I’d read about bimbofication, but my fashion sense looks nothing like Barbie’s, and I’m way too proud of my intellect to even pretend like I’m ditzy; likewise, my clothing and make up outside of the house fluctuates in the narrow margins of neo-vintage to classy street fashion. So the function was in line with bimbofication, but the execution felt strikingly different. Likewise, I couldn’t really call myself furniture, because my Dom encourages me to talk and interact with people so that she has the benefit of watching me engage with others. I retain a personality and function completely separate from the way that I dress, and in addition to the expectation that I be admirable to others.

At home, I can’t exactly call myself a housewife, because although I take care of a lot of the domestic aspects of the household, my Dom fulfills roles that aren’t exactly relative to the image of a housewife, and I might be bathed and pampered like a child or a pet, but neither of have been overly bothered by the aspects of Little or Pet play outside of my Dom going out of her way to pamper me on a physical level when the occasion arises. And I’m certainly not a slave, because my Dom and I are both adamant that I retain the right to choose whether to obey her at each command rather than having a pre-standing agreement that takes that choice away. So, for a while, I’ve been stuck in a sort of strange void between bimbo and furniture, and little and pet, and housewife and slave. My submission reflects pieces of each, but none of them fit wholly with what I bring to the table as a sub—quite the problem if you’re looking for a concise explanation of your function to other subs.

It’s been fairly recently that my Dom and I settled on the term “ornament” for a description of my submission. I’m not sure if I decided it was a good word, or if she did, but I think it carries the right impression: alluring and feminine, both physically and intellectually designed to attract attention in roughly the same way that any decoration does, but I’m cared for, pampered, just like any breakable, expensive thing that you might set out for display. My Dom gets the benefit of watching others react to me, and vise-versa, but she gets the pleasure of helping to take care of me without the obligation of the roleplay that seems to accompany Little and Pet dynamics. The housework just seems like it’s an even exchange: she has a full time job, and I don’t. When she gives me specific jobs to do around the house, I follow her instructions, but for the most part, I run the house fairly independently from my submission.

Whether the distinction of “ornament” will become my long term identification or just a passing phrase until we find something better remains to be seen, but for now, it suits me, and maybe it will suit others.

So how do you identify?

What acts of submission do you perform to fulfill your Dom’s needs? How does your submission inside the house compare to outside? Share below!