I know how a “submissive trigger” feels long before I came across the phrase on the internet. I know being on my knees in front of my husband and taking his cock into my mouth makes me feel surrendered. I know his hand grabbing me by the throat does it. I know him pulling my hair does it, or grabbing me by the wrist and pulling me along like a child, or putting me over his lap. Having him shove my head down against the bed really does it.
Each trigger feels like it trips some primal switch in me that gives me a visceral wave of relief and letting go. My mind goes calm and quiet, and I feel such awe and adoration for my Dominant that I am compelled to do whatever he tells me to do. This headspace is what I will come to know as the submissive mindset, as opposed to subspace, the hypnotic trance created by endorphins and other chemicals that flood the brain in response to the steady application of pain. Subspace is deeper, more intense, but more challenging to create, and also fairly brief. When it wears off, it can sometimes leave behind a post-high feeling of “subdrop,” kind of like a hangover.
The submissive mindset, however, can last a long time, and even become consistent when properly cultivated, day after day. It is also easier to create. All it takes is the right triggers, which seem to work through some hidden, symbolic levers in the subconscious mind. Indeed, the first few times I feel a new trigger work on me, it delights me the way a good magic trick does.
Being sub triggered also makes think of images I have seen on nature videos of mating animals, where the male bites the back of the female's neck as he mounts her. I think about how docile the female becomes, with a hypnotized look on her face. I am convinced there must be an evolutionary sexual Domination/submission mechanism within the more primal part of our brains that helped ensure our female ancestors would allow males to mount and mate with them, no matter their particular mood. (Of course, many men identify as submissive as well, but I am not trying to figure out their motivations in this chronicle of mine, nor even those of women overall, as many women feel more aligned with dominant energy. I am exploring only my own motivations here.)
Out of curiosity, I type ‘submissive trigger’ and ‘evolution’ and ‘sex’ into a search engine and come up with a scientific paper that confirms my feeling. The paper, published in a journal on neuroendocrinology, is called “Evolutional background of dominance/submissivity in sex and bondage,” and it’s based on a study of over 300 adults. The abstract says:
We theorize that sexual arousal by dominance and submission may be connected to a reproduction strategy respecting a reached social dominance rank, while the preference for bondage may be derived from an opportunistic strategy when being unable to compete for hierarchic rank ... From the evolutionary biology point of view, these patterns of sadomasochistic sex appear as adaptive rather than as pathology.
This paper pleases me greatly. I interpret it as telling me I am not a deviant for my hunger for dominance, I am merely following a path laid down for me by evolution. The ease with which my Dominant can trigger my sexual submission is not a magic trick after all, but a biologic imperative. I happily do another internet search for more submissive triggers, wondering what else might work on me.
I find dominant odes to the triggers I already know. I also find recommendations of verbal triggers that are debasing. One Dominant writes:
Word phrases such as “You’re my slut”, “Who’s my whore?”, “Who owns this ass?”, and “Suck my cock, whore,” all have power sexual messages of ownership and control when said in the proper context... These are powerful psychological hot buttons, and sexual arousal triggers that can place a woman instantly into a slutty, submissive mindset. Knowing which phrases specifically arouse a submissive psychologically is key to push a sub to the next level of arousal during a session.
Hmm, I think. I can’t see myself responding with arousal to be called a whore or a slut or otherwise insulted for being sexual. Yes, I love Daddy’s dominant displays of strength, assertiveness, and power. All of that thrills me. But I also love his sweetness and care. The way he calls me his “precious jewel.” The way he tells me I’m a good girl. It is not only rough aggression that triggers my surrender, it is also the aching tenderness my Daddy shows me. There is something about the alternating rhythm between forceful control and gentle attention that makes everything else fall away, makes my mind still, peaceful, yielding.
I close the search window, no longer curious about other people’s triggers. I am much happier discovering them as they unfold for us. In these early days, we find that a new one makes itself known to us nearly every day. Even years later, we will occasionally stumble upon on new triggers, new turn-ons. And lo and behold, I will learn that being called a slut is a pretty awesome submissive trigger after all ...
Terra Bloom is a happy submissive and a former journalist turned screenwriter who is now focused on positive sexuality through bdsm advocacy. (And yes, Terra Bloom is a pseudonym).