In BDSM a bottom or submissive is the partner in a BDSM relationship or a BDSM scene who takes the passive, receiving, or obedient role, to that of the top or the dominant.
Many submissives are high-flying professional males seeking escape from their almost overwhelming responsibilities and their power to determine the fates of their employees in public. They do this by assuming their subordinate role in private and by enjoying the fantasy of having no personal authority; by being controlled and dominated themselves.
In reality, submissives tend to be people with profound intellectual and emotional depth whose sensitivities are beyond the ability of modern media or popular culture to accommodate or value. They find satisfaction by submitting themselves to someone else whose intelligence and honesty they trust above all others; someone they believe to be worthy of their worship.
For some, submission means being able to recognise the greatness of a dominant by kneeling before them. In the case of male subsmissives, the act of worshipping a strong woman is contrary to religious tradition, education and nature. In the case of a female submissive, her enjoyment in complying to the whims of a dominant male seems to contradict the hard-won achievements of feminism. In reality, however, neither individual is betraying their respective genders but are, instead, choosing to dismantle their own social programming in private to define their own identity and power more fully.
There are three defining principles to the submissives vital connection to his or her dominant:
Firstly, there are types of worship that they need to display in addition to their formal BDSM relationship. They can take the form of foot worship, constant verbal reminders to the dominant of their superiority and providing regular and significant gifts to them.
Secondly, there could be tasks to be performed by the submissive outside of the controlled and controlling environment of their BDSM relationship that enhance the connection.The dominant gives the submissive permission to break his or her daily routines by acting in counter-intuitive ways in front of friends, family and work colleagues while keeping his dominant in mind at all times.
Lastly, the submissive lives for those moments when his or her efforts to please their dominant are acknowledged. They dream of a reward for their successful work but a harsh penalty for their failure to impress can be equally significant and just as pleasurable for them. Whether they are praised or criticised becomes irrelevant as long as the potency of a constant connection with, and the attention of, their dominant is maintained.
There is a theory that a submissive, in thought and action, is really nothing of the kind. It is always in their power to either collaborate with the designs and desires of their dominant or not. A dominant shouldn’t take the unthinking devotions of their submissive for granted and should never withhold acknowledgement of their efforts or act indifferently towards them. If a submissive senses that their treasured connection to their dominant is under threat they can misbehave tactically by provoking a disconnection themselves that will force the dominant to reaffirm the submissive’s importance to them and the necessity of their continued association.