March 1, 2014

Submission vs Obedience...

I was recently asked about the difference between submission and obedience.  This is something that I have had in my head but never put a lot of thought into before.  I actually had to take some time to think about this and how I see the difference, which was harder to explain than I first thought it would be.  I had plenty of thoughts on this, but actually putting it into words was a bit ore difficult than I thought it would be.  

With a little help from my close friend google, I came up with a pretty clear picture of what was dancing around in that Dom space between my ears.  Obedience and submission are not one in the same, although similar.  Obedience is a matter of conscience and outward behavior.  It is the act of completing a task.  It is the actual action, so to speak.  Obedience isn't necessarily submitting, but I think it is a part of submission.  Submission on the other hand is the inward nonresistance, compliance, and giving of oneself.  It is a matter of what is in your heart.  It is about what you feel.  

I have always said that, for me personally, I don't want a woman that does something and behaves based solely on my demands, commands, or my making her do something.  I want a woman that does all this because it is what she needs and feels and has a desire to do for me.  She acts, behaves, or obeys because she has the need to do so and feels that from within.  So, without even knowing it, I was expressing my desire for submission as opposed to straight obedience.  Yet, the obedience is part of her submission.  

For many, it's the actual act of obeying that can be difficult.  You can want and need to submit and feel that inside, but the actual act of showing it through obedience can be hard to embrace.  This may not be the case with day to day submission and interaction, but is especially true when being more aggressively led and pushed in your submission.  This is where trust plays a huge factor in a D/s relationship.  A submissive has to trust her Dominant, the way he leads her, that he intends to look after her, and that he has her best interests at heart.  She has to trust that he understands her and will only push her to a point that she can handle.  That he won't take advantage of her and use or abuse her.  She has to feel safe in her submission and obedience, and this can't be accomplished without a deep level of trust.  

In case you ever have your own confusion on the difference between submission and obedience, here's a synopsis for you... submission is what is inside and what you feel, whereas obedience is the actual action that takes place.  Obedience is part of submission, but submission isn't necessarily part of obedience.  You have to feel it in your heart and then your actions to represent what you feel, for the two to be part of the same thing.  Anyone can drop down on their knees, but it's what you feel inside and the intent behind it that holds the true meaning.



  1. DV,

    Thank you so much for your very timly post. I've been struggling with my submission for a while now. But what I actually think, after reading this, is that I've been fighting my obedience. I think I periodically do this because it was so ingrained in me in childhood that submission was weekness and inherently bad. But it feeds me and nurtures me. Thank you so very much for your post.


  2. Husband and I are new to this lifestyle and I think the day to day is the hardest (because we've been doing things another way for 12 years) and while this post doesn't make me feel better about my behavior, it does help me to see that maybe it's not so bad because my heart is in the right place and change will happen if I want it bad enough.

    Thanks for the post

  3. Very well put and helps to clarify at the same time.

  4. Your posts are always inspiring and excellently put, Sir! You always have answered to everything I wonder about. :)

    hugs & kisses,

  5. You Sir are brilliant yet again and have left me in awe. I'm apparently struggling with my obedience as the winds of change blow. A very timely lesson learned.