People often argue over whether being submissive (or a slave for that matter) means doing things you don’t want to do. It can get pretty heated. This doesn’t seem like a yes-or-no issue to me though. It’s not that simple.
I don’t think that submission requires doing things you don’t want to do. Submission means submitting to another’s will. What if you enjoy everything the dom makes you do or asks of you? Does that mean it’s not really submission? No, it just means you’re extremely compatible. I don’t feel that being miserable is a requirement for submission. I also think deliberately doing something solely to make the sub unhappy is a pretty lousy thing to do.
At the same time, no one is 100% compatible in every single way all the time. There will be things the dom asks of the sub that the sub may not like. I’m not talking about hard limits though; those should be respected. I’m talking about things that the sub may not necessarily like but aren’t limits. Things that they’re willing to do for the dom under the right circumstances. This may or may not involve some level of persuasion, torture, threats, coercion, or force. Things like this are going to pop up eventually in any relationship. The sub may not be enthusiastic about a certain action, it might make him uncomfortable, or he may flat-out hate it. Yet the dom wants it to happen. What then?
It depends on the level of power exchange shared between the two. If it’s more of a casual play situation or a limited-to-the-bedroom submission, that activity probably won’t occur. But when there’s more power exchange happening, it’s more likely the dom will have the power to make this happen. The sub is more prone to doing whatever it is to please the dom as well. Generally activities like this will push the sub, often quite hard. People don’t always allow just anyone to push them like that. Personally, if I’m going to be pushed on that level, I want it to be for someone special. I want it to have value.
Complicating things even further is cognitive dissonance. It’s that conflicted feeling some people get in bdsm when the brain is screaming “yes” and “no” at the same time. They may really want that action to stop, but at the same time, they’re getting something else out of it. Or they know they’ll get something out of it later. It’s a contradictory rush. When I’m being pushed really hard, I get this. The feelings can be a varying mix of positive and negative, and they can swing from one end of the spectrum to the other and back again in a short time. So for certain actions, I can’t give a yes-or-no answer as to whether I like those things. I do and I don’t. Certain things can really turn me on, and I can deeply despise them, all at the same time. This can apply to pain, humiliation, enforced chastity, erotically disgusting things, or anything else really. When more extreme things and lots of hard pushing are present in our scenes (or even outside of scenes) on a regular basis, I’m happier. Yet in the moment, I want nothing more than for it to stop. The negative component can be really strong when it’s actually happening.
So what happens when the dom enjoys making the sub do things he doesn’t want to do? When she gets off on pushing that far, to the point of begging, tears, and safewording? Or even beyond? For us, our d/s is deep enough that T has the power to do these things whenever she likes. For other couples, that may not be a good solution; it’s all a matter of what’s right for that particular couple. When she pushes me that hard, it’s difficult for me. But I know she enjoys taking me further than I want to go, so I see it as a form of submission. I really enjoy submitting to her in this way, even if what I get out of it isn’t readily clear, sometimes even to me. I do know that it works, and that’s enough for me.