Dear Lani: Detecting a sub

Welcome to this week’s Dear Lani, an advice column to answer all your kinky questions. Want to know how a guy gets fitted for a chastity cage? Want to know what gag reflex training looks like? We’ve got your answers, or at least advice…okay, opinion.

Q: How do you go about figuring out if someone is a sub, especially when you first meet them?

A: Subs, like dominants, come in all shapes, sizes, colour and of course, styles. And of course, like dominants, there are varying degrees of submission so it’s hard to pinpoint to one thing to spot and say “there, that’s a sub!”. That said, there are certain signs that help detect if someone has a submissive streak. Keep in mind, we are speaking to broad strokes of generalization here so take this for what’s it worth.


The first place I look for signs of submissiveness is in their eyes. After all, eyes are windows to a person’s soul. A couple of things I look for include:

  • Inability to keep meet and hold my gaze
  • Lowering their gaze often 
  • Fidgeting a lot

Any combination of those can be a sign for me that there’s something to explore there. 

However, there’s also a difference between shyness and submissiveness (not that one can’t be both at the same time). The next step for me would be to ask direct questions. If I see that they blush, try to hide and give short answers, then to me, that’s more of a shyness. However, if I see they are thinking and not hiding, then that indicates to me that it’s their submissiveness that is the cause of their body language.

The body expresses submissiveness in other ways, just like how it often gives away much inner thought. For example, crossed arms can indicate a person is closed off. By the same token, I mentioned previously that submissives tend to fidget. Often they point their feet and angle their body towards who they are interested in. 

And then there are other behaviors that are also telltale signs for those whose submissiveness runs beyond the bedroom. For instance, a natural submissive will ask permission often or default to more commanding presences in certain contexts, especially in social settings. They will also seek to subtly fall back to a support role, deferring decisions to others in the group. 

One example of this was when I went to visit a friend at work. At that time, one of his coworkers was just starting to express some interest in the lifestyle but he was already fairly obvious in a few ways. As soon as I arrived, he brought me a chair to sit in. Now that alone could simply be interpreted as being polite. However, he also continued to hover for further instructions and to observe if anything else was needed. Those, to me, are all behaviors of someone who has a submissive streak.

That said, at the end of the day, you never know until you talk to someone. Like everything else in relationships, dating and the lifestyle, communication is the key and until a conversation has been had, you never can be quite sure what a person is into. 

Got a question?

Join the The Muse’s Touch Facebook group to submit your questions and join in on the discussion. Every Tuesday, we’ll be picking one question to answer for the following Monday.

Disclaimer: We are expressing personal opinions and views. These opinions or views are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed physician or mental health professional.

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