Submission vs Obedience: Mo’s Internal Committee is no help at all.

“There’s a difference,” I mused, while furiously scanning kinky profiles to find a couple of dozen that meet the insane criteria for my Nefarious Corporate purposes  “…for me there IS a difference between being obedient and being submissive.”

 This gets the attention of Mo’s Internal Committee for a moment. Today we’ve had some shit rolling around that, in retrospect, really dug itself in yesterday but has been simmering for a couple of years.  I am not super adept at managing my emotionality on multiple fronts, so the past 6 months or so have been…challenging.

 “So, uh…what’s the difference?” the MIC finally begrudgingly responds.  Like starved squirrels on a pack of peanuts they’ve been worrying over the same shit for a while now, so a change of pace is a nice relief.

 “Unfortunately I have to dedicate a lot of bandwidth to external shit like…oh…work…so I don’t have much room to process this fuckball right now.” I reply to the MIC, wincing at the florid overwrought prose of a self-styled “Master_Sir_Mucketymuck” demanding the submission of every nubile slender single female reader of his profile.

 The MIC grumbles snippily “You can’t bloody well bring that shit up and then claim work-impunity here. Don’t fuck around with us. We’ve gotten you on the brink of tears TWICE today before 2:00 PM PDT, so it isn’t wise to be a fucking smartass.”

I back off, because yeah, we’ve been at it for hours now.

“Fair enough, Committee.

What I’m hitting my head against is this. 

I often am obedient. I do what I am supposed to do, follow the rules, smile and nod, but still try to maintain integrity.

And sometimes it is second nature.

And sometimes it is insufficiently contained, barely-restrained, sociopathic crazymaking energy.  

Obedience I can do. I click into it. Submission is another animal. No, not another animal…an animal and…a parasite? A symbiotic…no, no…wait…”

 MIC waits patiently as I fumble this one out. Kinda patiently.  My Id is idling now, feeling stabby and ready to go back to gnawing at the ragged feet of my self-esteem, hobbling under the weight of a metric fuckton of guilt and pride. But they, unlike, me, have All/None of the time in the world.  SO they wait.

 I take another breath.

 “What I think I’m trying to say is that Obedience is the part that I can do, even when it sucks, but I don’t have to like it.

Submission is the part I do even when I don’t like it, but it becomes something I DO enjoy…because the submitting feels right.”

 The MIC mutters, and Bubbles, of course, knows what I’m talking about. Being the part of me that is addictive, she knows all about doing what you don’t wanna do for the best and the worst reasons.

After a few minutes of confabulation, the MIC has an interim verdict.

 “You,”  they proclaim “are a hot mess. And you probably have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about.”

 “I don’t,” I reply “and that is why I’m writing this right now. I’m taking the 15 minutes I need to disgorge this cud and swallow it back to another stomach for continued ruminations….”

 The Committee waves the yellow flag

 “Your Analogies are fucking grossing us the fuck out. Please.  Just…just stop. Yellow.”

 I back off again…mostly because I have lots of work to do but also because the Office Whistler is making it impossible for me to think.

 “Oh and doofus, do not fucking post this on your blog,”  they add “because someone will sure as fuck, and rightfully so, advise you see someone about that MPD you have going untreated there.”

 I don’t listen, of course.

 But I do wonder, in the back of my mind, in a small cage with a smaller hamster, running running running…why it is so easy for me to be obedient but so hard for me to really deeply submit…

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  1. Lucius Scribbens on June 5, 2009 at 4:31 PM

    As a dyed-in-the-wool Dom I am always thinking of what it is that makes a sub want to be submissive so that I can understand what it is they are looking for from me, and I often see – and ponder – this idea of obedience vs. submissive because they are different, yet there is overlap in some ways.

    So this makes some sense, especially when I think about my wife’s reasons for craving submissiveness, yet how it differs for her from simply being obedient. Even within BDSM they are different, yet in some ways the same for her. In everyday life they are very different.

    • mollena on June 6, 2009 at 8:03 PM

      In the give-and-take of BDSM it is a weird thing when you realize that is is critical for the top / dominant to be aware of your methods and modality and that is is not only in your best interests but it is your RESPONSIBILITY for you to be able to articulate this. If being obedient is something that takes me toward submission, that is very different from obedience being the endpoint.

      I’m always curious as to whether or not this knowledge ALTERS the dominant’s behaviour, or merely informs it.



  2. Freakbear on June 5, 2009 at 4:39 PM

    Having had interactions with a few MPD individuals, I can say.. Ahhhh it is not a drawback, go with it….

    To the rest, I say there is a definite difference…. obedience IS what you do, and submission is more about who you are (in the right situations with the right people, yadda yadda yadda)

    Just because someone does what you tell them to does not mean that they are submitting to you. I obey various laws of the land, but I am not submitting to the Govt. If I am speeding, my only concern is getting caught, not feeling ashamed, or worried that the police officer will think less of me or..or..or… just give me a ticket and vrooooom….

    If you are a flogger slut, and a person that you have interactions with tells you to get on the cross so they can beat you, is that submission, maybe, but it could easily be just obedience… Now someone telling you to put on your bunny pjs and that you have to hop thru the dungeon singing little bunny foo foo while wearing nipple clamps, and you not saying a word and just getting dressed… that is submission… (I can say these things with some absoluteness to them as I kinda know you… the exact examples are not universal)


    • mollena on June 6, 2009 at 9:01 PM

      Hm…in the instance of the flogging thing, I think it is less obedience than someone getting their needs met…since tat scenario seems like an agreed-on sensation play scenario. The bunny suite situation is one what could have various outcomes depending on the INTENT of the scene, I think! :-)



  3. eboni on June 5, 2009 at 5:01 PM

    For me, obedience is really easy because there is nothing of myself given along with it. I can do what I’m told with no problem, but you can see all over my face that I’m thinking “fuck you!!!” But with submission, you are actually getting something of me with it. Like the last time I did a needle scene, the top decided he wanted to put a bunch of staples in my stomach too. He could feel the fight in my body and see the defiance on my face until about the 12th staple or so. At that point I realized he was going to put as many of those damn staples in me and there wasn’t any point in fighting it because I wanted to take every single staple and needle that he wanted to put in me. I was his at that moment. And that was a scary realization.

    • mollena on June 8, 2009 at 9:36 PM


      Hello there! :-D

      Yeah. Yep. Yes.

      I don’t go there often and the times I have I am never absolutely certain that the tops involved are truly aware of where I am in that moment.

      I think that is for the best. It isn’t always wise to let them know that you are quite THAT vulnerable, is it…?

      Or…is it. I rassle that question every time I play.

      Every time.

      Peace, and thank you for stopping by, Eboni! Lovely to run into ya “virtually!”



  4. Red on June 5, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    Is it perhaps that obedience is about allowing the control and submission is about giving oneself over to that control?

    Can there be submission without obedience?

    Does submission need to be tested the same way obedience does?

    There are moments with my Sir when I do things for him that I wouldn’t choose to do with a free will. Sometimes those actions are out of obedience, but other times they aren’t. Sometimes, I do things for him because I feel him wanting them. He doesn’t ask or direct me to do them, I don’t want to do them for my own gratification or reward, but I do them still. It’s in those moments that I feel the strongest distinction between obedience and submission.

    • mollena on June 8, 2009 at 9:40 PM

      OMFG….OK, Red….


      OK, OK, hows this:

      “Obedience is bowing to the letter of the law, and

      SUBMISSION is bowing to the SPIRIT of the law.”

      How’s that?



  5. lamesabassman on June 5, 2009 at 8:16 PM

    you need an exit gambit….. a weekend in Marin County….. or in Napa Valley….. unplug….. look inwards….. have a ball…. do the
    spa bit….. grab a limo and cruise Napa…. to get yourself ready
    for your next gambit……

    lamesabassman….. go 4 it….

    • mollena on June 7, 2009 at 12:38 PM

      You know it IS my birthday coming up soon…if I weren’t in the pinch-point of rehearsing this show, I’d be for damn sure doing just that!



  6. lamesabassman on June 5, 2009 at 9:10 PM

    you control da’ funk… and with it come great responsibility ….
    if you can hang then … do it…. if it makes you smile…. do it…

    for it’s your nuts in the cracker…. deal or no deal

    lamesabassman… 2 thine own self …. be true.

  7. Panthera Pardus on June 6, 2009 at 6:37 AM

    I’m with Eboni. Obedience is easy, it doesn’t really require any part of _you_. You have to have some internal reason to be obedient, and with me there’s a process involved. I’m obedient to my boss, but I’m in no way submissive to him. I do what he says, and the reason I do is that I want to keep my job.

    Submission to me is very different. That giving over of control is something I can only let myself do for small periods of time.

  8. DangerousLilly on June 8, 2009 at 5:01 PM

    As I said in Twitter, you’re really onto something here. For me it’s a wee tad different but “obedience” is the word I was looking for, and until I found it and knew the term, I couldn’t write about it. :)

  9. heartflare on June 8, 2009 at 7:12 PM

    Obedience is just action, taking stage direction. It generally requires nothing of you but time and effort. Submission requires an emotional investment.

    Obedience can be a sign of submission, but *actually* submitting is much harder, as it should be anytime the heart/soul is involved.

  10. Calleaghn on June 12, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    ‘kay, here goes…
    i’m basically a dominant person. in bed, in the conference room, in the classroom, in most aspects of my life. being the headstrong, independent, natural leader type that i am, i’m not too interested in submitting. i’e intentionally set up my life so that i don’t have to obey much. i do often obey strictures that i think (know) are bullshit because i don’t wanna deal with the consequences of disobedience. obeying the speed limit (mostly) is a good example of this.
    having said that…
    i am aware that there is a relatively small aspect of my dominant nature that comes out of old trauma and a need to control, control my own fear. i’ve done lots of work with this, but i’ve come to see that there might be value in submitting to the right person, at the right time, in the right circumstances as a possible means of breaking through a barrier in regards to this control/fear thing.
    i’ve met someone that actually inspires me to want to submit. for a prescribed period of time. this person is someone i’m very much involved with on a spiritual and emotional level. this person has become someone that i trust. i may find that i can’t be obedient, but i have a strong desire to submit. if only for a little while. whether i’m obedient or not is, in a sense, irrelevant; to put myself in this kind of scene at all demonstrates a huge amount of willingness to submit.
    so- basic difference between submission and obedience? yes. big difference between submission as an act and as a personal set-point towards relationships, etc. also yes.
    ciao~ ow, ow, OW!

  11. JAWolf on June 15, 2009 at 7:18 PM

    Let me apporah it in a lawyerly fashion, though someone else has likely already said it. Submission is the state of mind. Obedience is the action.

  12. Brandon "Hatter" Withey on July 30, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    Interestingly, what you’re experiencing is in no way MPD, and according to several views of Psychology, perfectly healthy. (Like you needed me to tell you that. ;) The MPD comment sounded purely tongue in cheek)

    It’s covered in a book called “Internal Family Systems Therapy” by a guy named Schwartz. I don’t fully agree with his interpretation of it, but it certainly makes sense, and it sounds like you’re using the ‘Parts Theory’ in full swing. ;)

    Love the site BTW, just stumbled onto it today, will be coming back for a long time to come.

    • mollena on July 30, 2009 at 4:06 PM


      Thanks for your comment! I will indeed check this out…I believe there are many ways to access one’s process, and I’m always casting about for new approach vectors.

      Whom or whatever brought you to my doorstep, praise be, and welcome! I hope to be perving here for a long time to come.



  13. The Perverted Negress on October 2, 2010 at 2:21 AM

    […] was rooting around on my blog and happened to find some posts that reminded me of how often and in what interesting ways I’ve pondered this question and it gave me […]