8 red flags Doms should watch out for with Subs

Author: KatKristall
Kinky Life | Recommendations

Warning signs. We know them from packaging, in road traffic or from chemistry lessons. Nowadays, however, we also encounter these in our relationships. In BDSM we speak of so-called red flags. Most often they refer to certain behaviors that generally indicate manipulative or selfish intentions, ignorance of principles, or simply ignorance.

When these warning signs are mentioned in the BDSM scene, the tips that come with them are usually intended to warn submissives, subs, of dangerous behavior by Doms.

Dumbdoms, posers and miscreants are common characters that you come across. It sounds as if there is no “danger” to the dominant party, as the individual with power. But not all submissive creatures are lovely angels waiting for the perfect Dom.

Danger from below?

Because submissives, bottoms, bunnies or even serfs can be sneaky, as doms and riggers with well-known profiles repeatedly report. Their inboxes collect messages ranging from aggressive requests for submission to the imposition of fantasies and demands of dominance to kink-shaming and insults.

Disrespectful behavior, which usually also refers to current partners, subs, models, bunnies or slaves, by talking about them in a derogatory manner and blaspheming them. Others only pretend to play a certain role, refuse to do so, constantly change their minds, and actually can’t or don’t want to get involved. The most common of these behaviors are presented below.

1. Begging and demanding

“Tell me what to do, Daddy!”, “I’m yours Mistress, use me!” or “Beat me until I can’t walk anymore. I want to endure anything for you!”

Often enough these sentences bring great joy and goosebumps. But demanding something like this is not always appropriate. Someone who throws themselves at your feet without having had a consensus conversation or knowing your preferences obviously has no idea what to expect or what their boundaries are. Although there are events that are designed specifically for this purpose, such wishes are not valid outside of these.

But even in an already existing relationship, constantly demanding things without checking things out first is a bad habit. If the sub is constantly demanding and begging, the dominant part feels under pressure and not taken seriously. On a day when you don’t feel like playing, constantly demanding a type of game or the desired intensity can be uncomfortable and overwhelming. Kneeling, whining and begging may seem objectively submissive at first, but one thing is definitely not: submissive.

The following applies in both situations: If it has not been discussed beforehand what, when and whether you would like to have an experience together, begging and demanding speaks for a self-focused and unreflective counterpart. Because each person should treat both their own needs and the needs of the other person with the same value. Begging speaks of insecurity and desperation and therefore not exactly a healthy relationship. At the latest when the person actually sulks after the rejection, all warning lights should flash!

2. Making excuses for not meeting goals

BDSM is not a sport, but goals are the appropriate word. Goals can be something that you want to achieve together or for yourself, or they can mark a state in which a new level of intensity is ushered in.

We all have different milestones we need to reach in order to achieve confidence. Some subs want to spend some time in an established relationship, getting familiar with equipment, or developing habits before doing something new. For example, many people have inhibitions before wearing a collar for the first time, addressing someone by title, or feeling ready for new practices.

Especially at the beginning of a play relationship, the dominant part has to be guided by the needs and limits of the sub, so that the tact and intensity are often more coordinated with the submissive side, as this often plays the “supporting” role.

However, if the sub continually comes up with new reasons for not acknowledging the Dom’s needs, this can become a burden. Open communication is incredibly important here. Even or especially when it comes to unwillingness, nervousness or concerns. It’s completely okay not to want something or to change your mind. What’s not OK is stalling Dom with empty promises, constantly making him or her jump through new hoops to earn his or her needs. This can even be seen as abusive.

3. Permanent denial

Of course, this is not about fundamentally contradicting or communicating limits. It’s more about showing absolute refusal, despite previous detailed discussions including approval and setting boundaries and goals. Of course, every participant is allowed to change their own opinion if the situation turns out differently than expected. There are even some brats who have adopted exactly this as their established tactic. But if everything is canceled after approval without communicating a reason, this can deeply unsettle the dominant party.

Again: Fears, nervousness, insecurity, concerns or perhaps just an inappropriate mood are normal and should be addressed. But narrowly refusing to do anything can permanently damage communication and trust. At this moment it is often advisable to end a session or conversation or use the safeword to show the scope of this behavior.

4. Have no limits

Many online profiles say “no limits” or “no taboos”. You probably want to appear more attractive to Doms with such information and suggest openness, flexibility and unlimited possibilities. One of the most obvious red flags in subs.

Because “having no boundaries” often means that the person has not yet dealt with their needs. Sometimes this also indicates a person with low self-preservation instincts. But naivety can go terribly wrong, especially at this point.

Because what is considered a limit is highly subjective and depends on individual experience and imagination. For some it is a swear word, a slap in the face or a suspension. For others, it means shaving your hair, taking off your cell phone and locking your sub in a cage for a week.

Especially if you are new to the BDSM scene, the confusion of terms, fetishes, practices and toys poses enough risk that you can quickly get lost. “Taboo-free” subs are therefore well advised to get information from our ABC or to reflect on their own boundaries with the help of a list of inclinations, such as from Bad Girl.

5. Ignore information

A popular phenomenon on online dating platforms. In the world of the Internet, we are often initially a collection of titles that we have given ourselves and feed into multiple choice software. Nevertheless, even the most explicit profile texts are often overlooked and Doms are reduced to their role.

There are countless messages and requests in Doms’ inboxes that do not match their needs as communicated in their profile. No matter how well-intentioned a message is, ignoring a clear statement does not speak well for the sender. If you don’t show attention or respect before writing your cover letter, you won’t change your behavior in real life. Definitely a red flag for subs.

“Not looking” or “Looking exclusively for house slaves”

Despite such a clear request, offering yourself to someone who is in a committed relationship and is not looking for another one is not only disrespectful to the person, but also to the partner or partners. Especially when you want to appear even more interesting or special, and even take the step of criticizing your partner, you don’t automatically turn into the desirable sub but rather into a disrespectful asshole.

But it can also happen in a session: There are subs who assume that Dom will respond to a fantasy or type of game if you simply confront him or her about it while playing. So they bring equipment with them, express their fantasies in inappropriate situations, aggressively request it or then beg for it. They hand themselves over without prior agreement, wait tied up, plugged in or secretly put on clothes that they like. This puts you back in the unpleasant situation of being rejected and rejected.

6. Give everything away

This problem occurs in the best BDSM relationships. After you have found the right top, the sub hands over the hat and also takes the coat, sweater and trousers with him. But absolute self-sacrifice without agreement right at the beginning is a red flag for subs.

Being dominant means taking responsibility, making decisions and being in charge, but it doesn’t mean making all the decisions and completely ruining the sub’s life.

Of course, in established D/s relationships there are certainly power imbalances through which everyday decisions are completely transferred to the Dom. In this case we speak of Total Power Exchange, or TPE for short. A scenario for which it is definitely too early in the getting to know you phase and which is practiced less and less these days.

Because such a 24/7 relationship must grow through reciprocity: you have responsibility towards yourself and your partner, you take care of each other and you are there for each other. This applies to everyone involved.

However, when communication and opinions are turned off, anything can happen. For example, important decisions can be made differently than intended or fall by the wayside. Even as a Dom you can and should expect something in return and cooperation.

If someone demands from the outset that the Dom take complete responsibility for financial, physical and emotional matters, that is definitely a red flag. Because a sub who sits back as soon as a Dom has been found and says: “It’s your decision from now on” carelessly puts his or her life into the hands of another person. However, most relationships require that you make fundamental decisions yourself.

7. Half the truth

Injuries, inconveniences, limitations: Sometimes a sub keeps these things quiet for fear of seeming too complicated or because he or she doesn’t think it’s important. But whether physical or psychological: old and current injuries and limitations are very important to communicate.

A current status should be determined before each session. This applies to rental cars, as well as to Subs and Doms. You can simply sit in front of each other, make physical contact and ask how the sub is feeling today. Encourages him or her to communicate headaches, tension, stiffness, perhaps even certain feelings. If you have the feeling that something is being kept from you, make it clear that surrender and letting go are not possible if the only thing you are thinking about all the time is aching molars or tearing muscles. Communicating feelings also strengthens the understanding of the partner’s body.

8. And the head has to play along too

The mental state is just as important as the body. Being trapped in your own thoughts poses just as many dangers as a broken toe. A wrong push or seemingly small movement can cause great pain.

Mental illness or stress per se are not red flags for subs. But keeping quiet about them or lying about them is.

Because there are words or gestures that can trigger bad memories, panic, fear or old traumas. This is called a “trigger”. These need to be clarified beforehand. Some people lose the ability to speak or need something specific when they panic. A blanket, tea, water, her peace or her cell phone. These things should also be clarified beforehand. Because psychological conditions are often difficult to explain or describe comprehensively, Dom must be sensitive and attentive. But it doesn’t work without the cooperation of the sub.

Depression, trauma disorders, panic tendencies, ADHD, ADD or autism are no longer taboo topics these days. However, these can be triggered by certain BDSM practices. It is therefore important to pay particular attention to subs with self-harming behavior, borderlines or burnout. Some subs who are predisposed use impact play or punishment as a form of self-harm or self-flagellation.

Instead of an act of intimacy and power dynamics, it turns into an act of violence against oneself, and the Dom becomes a means to an end. While these cases are more the exception, they must be mentioned here as a possibility.

Therefore, as always: Be attentive and honest with one another. Don’t keep anything secret and if in doubt, break off a session. Communicate again, build further dialogue and try to clarify your concerns.


Some of these things we do unconsciously or out of ignorance. Submissive people often have the need to please, endure or appear as attractive as possible. But these are not permanent or healthy solutions. Neither for yourself nor for the other person.

Have you had similar experiences? Or do you know any other red flags that you should pay attention to with subs? What does the “danger from below” look like to you? Let us know using the contact form.

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