Below is a blog entry from user Maestro4Delight on Fetlife.
Thank you to Lord_High_Bubba for allowing me to use his material as the basis for this.
Granted, not every Good sub has all these traits. Further, there may be certain subs that are excellent, but do not necessarily practice ALL these traits.
What you as a newcomer are seeking is to find a pattern of behavior that you can feel Safe about, Sane while doing it, and that you feel comfortable Consenting to. This SSC is found throughout the BDSM culture. There is another acronym, RACK, which stands for RISK AWARE CONSENSUAL KNOWLEDGE. RACK refers to a more advanced level of play between partners.
Remember that submission is earned, not gifted. Much ado is made of the so called gift of submission. I would submit there is an equally important gift of dominance. Of course, as always, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV)
Traits and Characteristics
She is not pushy, and is ready to spend the time to get to know you. Even her first message indicates she has read your profile and is genuinely aware of you as a person.
She is relaxed and informal, and stresses that she does not expect more formal treatment unless, and until, you have both agreed to take the communication and the relationship to a higher level.
She uses a respectful tone. Her self-confidence allows her to have an adult conversation without insulting you or trying to make you feel guilty in any way while you two are getting to know one another. She is willing to have several conversations with a low-key, non stressful approach that makes you feel comfortable getting to know him better.
She does not establish any sort of time limit for the relationship to escalate, while at the same time indicating she is ready to progress at your pace. She respects your limits and discusses them openly with you.
She will allow you to maintain control of the relationship and avoid, to the extent necessary, the tendency of some subs to try to control the relationship by “topping from the bottom.” This behavior from the sub is often confusing or harmful to the D/s M/s relationship.
She will utilize a provided vehicle whereby the formal structure of the D/s relationship can be temporarily set aside, so that meaningful conversation between adult partners can take place, without prejudice to either side.
She understands that some limits are oriented to the giving side, while others may involve receiving. She is willing to share her own limits with you in an equally frank discussion. While recognizing that sexual activity may be involved in scenes between partners, she also recognizes that scenes may not necessarily end in intercourse. She can have a relationship that does not involve overt sexual activity, if that has been negotiated.
She does not view social contact, such as a Munch or a discussion group, to be a recruitment site, but rather a social gathering of like minded individuals.
She respects that you may have had previous partners within the lifestyle, which have helped you to get where you are in the experience curve.
She respects that you may be recovering from a harmful past experience and wants to help you have a genuinely positive one this time. She respects that just because you gave a collar to another does not guarantee he will want you to wear his collar.
She understands that monogamy is the statistical majority for relationships, and accepts your choice, whether it is monogamy or another type of relationship.
She is honest in explaining her existing relationships, if any exist, so that you can make an informed choice whether to pursue a relationship with her.
She is very willing to frankly discuss her experience, and the lack of it, in any area. She never stops learning and knows she cannot ever know it all. She seeks new sources of knowledge for the different techniques and perspectives they may offer.
She willingly admits her mistakes and learns from them, giving due attention to what went wrong, what should have been done differently, and what lessons can be learned from the experience.
She does not play while under the undue influence of alcohol or other substances.
She is willing to share his knowledge and experience with others while respecting their quest for knowledge. She is accepting of newness in others that seek to learn.
She seeks the respect and trust of others by her example, not by her words.