The first time you submit to someone - in real life or online - it’s intoxicating. Between the dopamine and endorphins your brain releases, any sexual pleasure you experience, and the fulfillment of all your kinky fantasies, that “this feels right” moment can be addictive. Unfortunately, like other cravings we have, you can also overlook red flags and problems in a relationship to keep getting your fix.

In BDSM, this danger is commonly known as sub frenzy. It means you’re so excited and frantic to submit that all common sense flies out the window. You could end up doing things you wouldn’t otherwise do. Here are 5 things submissives do that can keep them in relationships that are unhealthy - or even unsafe.

You Stay With the a Liar

When your partner lies to you, trust is impossible to build. You never know where you stand with them or what’s true. Contrary to a common kinky myth, Dominant partners don’t get to do “whatever they want,” including lying. Just as in any other relationship, ignoring half-truths, full lies, and manipulative behavior leads to bad places. It’s impossible to fully consent when you’re not sure your partner is telling the truth. You can and should expect honesty from your partner, and you should give it in return. No, not all Dominant partners are liars. Yes, you can leave this one and find someone who’s honest and truthful.

Your Partner Does and Says Things That Make You Feel Bad

Is there a type of kink that thrives on humiliation and saying or doing things to a partner that, from the outside, sound mean? Yes - humiliation fetish is a real thing. That’s not this. Beware the partner who thinks that making you feel bad is a part of submission or that they’re a better Dominant for being cruel. If you both consent to that kind of play, have a good time and get each other off. However, outside of consensual play, saying or doing demeaning things hurts your mental and emotional health and is, at best, borderline abusive. In many instances it is completely abusive. Most D/s relationships thrive on building each other up and helping each other be your best selves.

You Ignore Red Flags and Bad Behavior

Many people who are new to kink will ignore behavior in a kinky partner that they’d never tolerate in a vanilla relationship. They tell themselves that BDSM is different, rougher and harsher, so “this is how it is.” No, it’s not. Ignoring your wishes, violating trust, not communicating, or believing your consent doesn’t matter - these are just a few major red flags of an abusive relationship, not a healthy BDSM relationship. Staying in this relationship doesn’t make you more submissive or your partner more Dominant. It can cause real, long-lasting harm to you.

You Ignore Your Instincts

As a kinky person in kinky spaces, I talk to plenty of submissives. Invariably, as we discuss bad relationships or questionable behavior, they say, “It didn’t feel right, but I thought that’s how D/s relationships worked.” Your intuition is almost never wrong. It’s the little voice in your heart, gut, or head (depending on your views about intuition) that screams, “Danger! Get out now!” or when things are good, “Yes! This feels right!” All relationships, vanilla or kinky, are supposed to make you feel good on some level. When something doesn’t feel right, listen to that little voice. It knows what it’s talking about.

You Believe You’ll Never Get to Submit Again If You Leave

Blame this false narrative on a few reasons: the perceived or real scarcity of kinky partners, the lies a bad partner tells you, or your own self-esteem and confidence. Maybe it’s all of these combined. Too many submissives (and others) stay in bad relationships because they believe they’ll be alone forever if they leave. When you’ve waited “forever” to submit to a partner, walking away can feel like you’re giving up on your kinky dream. In reality, even if you’re single for a while, you’re saying, “I deserve more, and I’m worth more.” And you are.

The Dominant of your dreams likely won’t fall into your lap. You may find yourself attracted to someone who seems like they don’t have a kinky bone in their body - only to find out they’re the freakiest, kinkiest person you’ve ever met. It’s possible to meet someone in the vanilla world who never thought about BDSM until you mention it. Or you may go to your local munch and fall into instant submissive lust with a Dominant. There’s no way to predict when and how you may meet your perfect partner. But one thing is absolutely certain: staying in a toxic, abusive, or bad relationship means you never will.