Bottoms Up: Be Your Own Submissive

Everything is about the election. I tried to think about something other than the election but I cannot. I’m scared a lot of the time, I’m stressed, I’m tired. It’s difficult for me to think about anything at all, especially myself. And I’ve been here before and I’ve moved past it before, but this feels more difficult. My number one coping method is to disappear and stop thinking about myself and those big, scary emotions.

This weekend, though, I was reminded that it’s okay to think about ourselves and to feel those scary emotions. I’m taking a course where I get to think about submission in conversation with other self-identified submissives. It’s an amazing experience because sometimes, this can feel like a really lonely journey, especially as a queer single person.

We were talking about discipline, and how difficult it can be to think about discipline when situationally our lives feel thrown out of control. Someone commented that the way they were able to remain disciplined in these times was to remember that their submission was not a luxury.

My submission is not a luxury. What a centering thought. For me, a lot of my submission is based on service. I want to give myself fully to a dominant partner. It feels easy and comfortable. But sometimes, my attachment to service can mean that I don’t pay attention to myself as much as I want to. And when I’m alone, and the world feels like it’s ending, then for whom do I do service?

The answer is myself. Obviously it’s myself. I am a submissive through my actions, even when those actions which are just for me. Now is the time for me to really lean into that. I don’t always think about being submissive to myself, but that thought feels good right now. I tied myself to the chair the other day because the bondage calmed my body and my mind. I did that for myself, because I can.

Our submission is not a luxury. We use it to take care of our partners and ourselves. Don’t just be your own daddy, be your own submissive.

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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. <3 These are good things to remember even when we aren't single. Caring for ourselves is how we best begin the work of caring for others. Thank you.

  2. I haven’t been taking care of my partner the way I usually do, and i haven’t been able to figure out what is off for me. I forget that it’s okay to take some time to take care of myself, right now is more important than ever. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this Alaina, thank you!

  3. Taking care of myself is hard. The election gave me an identity crisis. I know I am a switch and I usually feel like my dominant and submissive side are in sync and never feel like complete separate parts of a whole. It usually feels like both sides are integrated on different levels depending on my partner. Lately though, I feel like the extremes of one or the other and it doesn’t fit my character at all. So i guess this concept of being my own submissive is confusing. You have just asked me to do something (take care of myself) which I am not familiar with and I have no idea where to start.

    So I am probably going to start with a stupid question. Here is my stupid question: since you did self bondage, would this be a circumstance where you could hit yourself with a cane or something and it is not considered self harm? What if you need something more than bondage to calm down and get into subspace? The only thing providing comfort is working out. I command myself to keep going and I just surrender to the comands given to myself. That’s as close as I am getting to the whole being my own submissive when I really want to dominate also.

    • As someone that struggles with self harm and has *some* experience with kink I think what “counts” as self harm can really only be determined by you.
      How do you feel before? How do you feel after? What function is the pain you’re inflicting on yourself serving? The biggest thing to be sure of is that you’re in a head space where you’re in control of what you’re doing.
      With that being said I do know that what began as a more kinky thing can definitely spiral into a self harm thing pretty easily, it’s really down to you to monitor how you feel about what you’re doing and make sure you’re being physically and emotionally safe.
      (And like… these are just some thoughts from someone on the internet that’s done some introspection on how their masochism and self harming tendencies overlap, I am by no means an expert at any of this, I don’t have a /lot/ of experience with kink and my self harm issues are something I’m definitely still struggling with.)

  4. These are good things to remember even when we aren’t single. Caring for ourselves is how we best begin the work of caring for others. Thank you

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