This is a text written by Eloise (a sub in SL). Please send any comments, improvements, etc. to me who may make changes (with her say so). Thanks, San.
Just like there's nothing absolute for a Domme (see Tips for SL Dommes below), there's not really anything absolute for a sub either. There are, however, some general tips that I think are worth thinking about.
First, and probably the most important, is the adage that despite appearances the sub holds the power. This is true and not true at the same time. The sub holds the ultimate power, most particularly in Second Life. YOU can always stop what is being done to you. You can use safewords, you can (usually) teleport away, you can certainly quit. You can take all the toys that let the other person control you off. You have the power to stop the scene, stop the relationship if need be, and nothing can be done about that. However, within that limit, you have given up the power - that is a big part of being a sub. If you're in a sexual relationship and you've given up the right to control your orgasm, then however much your partner teases you, you shouldn't come until you are allowed to - that is part of your deal with your Domme.
Second, and often overlooked, you are in a relationship, and it is almost always an incredibly intimate one, even if it isn't sexual. It doesn't matter if that's long term or a one-off relationship. Being a submissive includes incredible amounts of revealing your inner feelings and workings to your partner. Consider a first night, whether an only night or the start of something long. In a vanilla relationship you might have to ask her to rub your clit the right way, or nibble your nipples but not bite or whatever it is. In a D/s relationship explaining the difference between being spanked, paddled and cropped to you, and the differences in tolerance you have to them is at least as typical, but the explanation is often very deeply rooted in your psyche, and a Domme is quite likely to ask why and expect an answer. In fact being a sub can be, and in my experience usually is, one of the most all-baring honest relationships to be in. Why does being spanked turn me on, but being paddled feel like punishment? "It's just not doing it for me" is not something you tell a vanilla partner unless you're breaking up with them. If your Domme decides to try something new with you, you will quite possibly have long conversations about which bits were good and which not so satisfying and why, so next time it's good for both of you. If you tell a lie to make them feel good, you've got to live with the consequences of it, at least while you live in a relationship with them. Being honest does not include, unless you want to, telling them where you live, what your RL name is, what your bank account number is and so on - you can honestly say "I'd rather not answer that" after all. Of course your relationship may develop into one where you share some or all of these details (my Mistress knows all except the last of these about me) but the emotional intimacy and honest is still very intense. Rape fantasies aren't that common in the lesbian community, but they are common among straight and bisexual women, although not universal. Can you imagine having to discuss with someone how you would like your rape fantasy to play out, and then afterwards discussing which bits were good, which were bad? Chances are, if you're an experienced sub in a long term relationship, you'll do things similar to that moderately often.
Third, there are different flavours of being a sub. One extreme would be a city-kajira, potentially available for any free person of her city to use at need. Another possible extreme would be a club slave. Possibly at the opposite end is the pampered single pet of a monogamous Mistress. But even within those wide categories there are differences, and they're down to you an me to a large extent. Are you into strict discipline? Are you into restrictive bondage? Are you into heavy pain? Humiliation? Exhibitionism? Service? Kinky sex? Multiple partners? Rape fantasies? There's a long, long list here that you will doubtless come across sometime. The list per se doesn't matter, although it can be interesting to run down it with a partner to see things you might be interested in trying, these are all activities that are lumped together under the general heading of BDSM. As a sub you're the one that sets the limits of consent - if you like kinky sex and exhibitionism but not pain at all that doesn't make you less of a sub, it makes you a different sub to someone that can only come whilst in tight bondage if being whipped whilst vibrators in pussy and arse work away at full speed. There are, by the way, equally varied kinks among Dommes, and if you're interested in a long term relationship finding a Domme with similar limits to you can be well worth the effort. I would suggest that someone who has very different limits and interests to you can be fun in the short term, but probably won't make a long term partner. Dommes do have their limits too: there are things that you might like that a Domme doesn't feel comfortable doing. They might do them for you occasionally, they might stretch to do them, but if they're too different to your limits there will be tensions in the relationship.
Fourth, you hear a lot of talk about safe, sane and consensual. Many subs assume once they've given consent that's it. But, it shouldn't be. Even though we've notionally and mostly given up power to our Domme, we sometimes nudge them. We might ask for more attention (we might regret the attention we get, but we still ask for it) or hint that we'd quite like to try, for example, some time as a pony girl sometime. We might even, in a conversation about these things, specifically state what it is we'd like to try. You can nudge your Domme towards things that aren't safe or sane at these times. Don't! It's you it's going to be done to remember!
Fifth, you will hear people tell you that being a sub in SL doesn't hurt. To some extent that is true. You can be whipped bloody in one scene and not even have a scar the next next. In real life you'd probably be in hospital for several days at least. Your domme would be in with the police. You can, if it's your thing, be killed and cooked in SL without being harmed. However, in a good scene you will be strongly engaged and some proportion of people find that they can induce what I'd have to call psychosomatic sensation after this. I do it with a good spanking - if the spanking is well described and set then I will have a sore, red bum for a day or two afterwards. Other sensations can come through too - after prolonged nipple torture I quite often have sensitive nipples too. Not as bad as if it's done in real life, but actually present and tender nevertheless. This doesn't happen for everyone, but if it does happen for you, then enjoy it, but remember it will probably limit what you can stand in SL! Even if you don't have that transfer of feeling, you might well find your emotions get incredibly wrapped up in your Second Life. In my time in Second Life I've cried about things far more often than I've cried about things in Real Life in the last 20 years. I've got more frustrated, felt more loved and everything else. This is relatively common. Second Life can engage people's emotions and for most of us that stay and play in SL it does this strongly. As you might have noticed from what I've written above, I'm a firm believer that BDSM also engages your emotions and your intimacy very strongly. This can make for a heady cocktail of emotions, and you can be emotionally hurt as well as emotionally supported in Second Life.
Sixth, at some point you will, if you're not already a RL BDSM person, almost certainly get curious about what it's like in RL. Gags will make your jaw ache after an hour or so, nipple clamps will hurt when you put them on, and more when you take them off. These are both things you can explore quickly, easily, cheaply and safely alone at home whilst it's being done to you in SL if you choose. Blindfolds are harder, unless you get voice-dommed. Suspension bondage and the like are even harder to come by and do to yourself, verging on the impossible, however easy they are in SL. If you're going to try to mimic some or all of your SL in RL, discuss it with your partner, at least the first time. Your partner will almost certainly find things that you do easily in SL you can't stand for that long IRL and they will need to know why. If you want to go beyond the minimum, you will either want to research self bondage (some consider this not safe and sane by the way), find a RL partner, or find your SL partner IRL too. Take the steps gently and slowly - even though your emotions might well be up for a lot of it, your body might not be. The average age of RL people with SL avatars is in the thirties or forties. You might be different, but I'm not as limber as I was at 18. I was never really as limber as my avatar! I have a bad back and knees, I'm physically incapable of kneel in tower or nadu poses for hours on end - much though I love kneeling in SL.
Finally, we need to talk about abuse. There's no doubt that there are abusive BDSM relationships out there, just like there are abusive vanilla ones. However, a domme making you doing things you don't like isn't necessarily abuse - indeed as my first Mistress impressed on me, if it's all just stuff the sub likes, it's not submission, it's kinky fun. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not D/s. That said, there has to be some consideration of you and your needs in there too. If everything that is done is done solely for the pleasure of the domme, with little or no thought for the sub, that's getting into abuse territory. In a one-nighter, that might happen anyway of course, but in a longer relationship, some of it should be stuff you like, probably even most of it. Some of the vanilla indicators of abuse might well be a turn on for you: I love being spanked, but spanking is technically assault and if I didn't want it, it would count as an indicator for abuse. Remember that, especially in RL, your Domme is risking you changing your mind and reporting her to the police for abuse, but also remember you don't have to take it. If you think you're being abused talk about it with your domme. If you're not allowed to talk about, ever then that might be a sign to get the hell out. If your partner continues to use in a way that feels like abuse, then you might well want to get out, especially if they don't explain it in a way that makes sense. Remember abuse in a BDSM relationship is more about ignoring limits, ignoring safewords and in a longer term relationship continuously ignoring the needs of the sub. A decent domme won't get you there - they may push limits, but not ignore them, they won't ignore safewords, they won't ignore your needs over time. Although I mentioned safe words right at the top, if you never use a safeword, the domme will assume what they are doing is acceptable. Pushing limits is something most subs want at some points in their relationship. A good domme will do that for you, sometimes at least, but will rely on you to use the safewords if it gets too much - unless they're psychic, they can't tell. If you don't use the safeword, it's very hard to say they're abusive, because they are perfectly within the rights you gave them to push until you say "enough" in the agreed way.
If you've got the kinks to be a sub anyway being a sub in SL can be an incredibly rewarding experience. If you don't, it won't be for you in SL or IRL. Whilst the physical components of being a sub are different in SL, the emotions of it are very much the same. Just as with everything else though, you will find you get out of it in proportion to what to you put in.