In response to this question from Dom with Pen.
I’m rather late, and with a rather long answer (I did submit a very brief version, but, yes, even that was rather late. So spank me.), but I find this question intriguing from both perspectives.
If by “why” one means “where does the drive come from,” I believe that it is innate. As a submissive, I think that I was born this way- this is part of who I am, rather than something that was triggered along the way. I remember having feelings that I later recognized as submissive back as long as I can remember.
Why this inherent drive exists is another question. The simplest explanation I can think of is that I am attracted to the idea of having a well-defined role in a relationship with rules and consequences for violating the nature of that role to help restore balance.
I find this explanation a little troublesome though, as I enjoy being independent and assertive as well. These skills are necessary in some situations (notably those occurring between the hours of 9 and 5), but it can be very lonely. When I submit, it creates a very deep sense of connection- a powerful reminder that I do not exist in a vacuum and have responsibilities to those around me, as they do for me.
I think this is where the desire for punishment comes in. The idea that someone would value their relationship with me enough to correct me when things go astray is a beautiful sign of love. It would likely be easier to find someone else- there are plenty of people out there- but having the courage to both call me out on an issue and then stick around to resolve it takes strength and commitment.