Being a loving Dominant (Dom) is something you master over time, after much practice, creativity, and self-development. This article will help guide you on your path by defining the role, as well as giving tips and examples of how to work with your sub.
First, what is BDSM?
BDSM stands for bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism.
These three pairings capture pretty much all dynamics in kink play. Within them, someone needs to lead, or give, while another needs to follow, or receive, which is usually based off of each person’s unique kinks. Some love to be assertive and controlling, whereas another loves to be led and enjoyed.
The leading assertive force would be the Dom, while the yielding, receiving force would be the sub.
When you really zoom in on who is being “Dominant” and “submissive” the lines between the two start to blur. In different ways, each person is serving the other, and each person has a different type of control. That is, if they’re doing things in a healthy way. In fact, you could even argue that, in many ways, the sub has more control than the Dom.
Is being a Dominant healthy?
Sure, some people want to be a Dominant in BDSM because of their unfaced or unintegrated shadow sides, and end up crossing lines. But people do that in literally everything. The healthiness or “rightness” isn’t in BDSM itself, but rather the hearts and minds of the people practicing it.
Like anything, the health, enjoyment and healing potential of BDSM depends on the intentions and personalities of the participants. If you’re not in touch with your boundaries and haven’t learned how to openly communicate, or you haven’t done the work to understand the power-hungry or aggressive parts of your mind, being a Dom will quickly make others feel unsafe and be unhealthy for everyone involved.
But if you’re self-aware, empowered, empathetic, and sensitive, you have the keys to a glorious kingdom of pleasure and self-exploration. You not only get to express yourself, but also provide amazing experiences for your sub.
BDSM can help you unlock parts of yourself that you might not be able to through any other means. You should never feel ashamed for wanting to explore it. Once you start demolishing the walls of societal sexual taboos in your mind, you will feel liberation and euphoria like never before.
What does being a ‘Loving Dominant’ mean?
Dominance itself means taking initiative, or control, and leading the way. It is asserting your will and being comfortable putting your needs and preferences ahead of other peoples.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t also care about other people’s needs. To proactively enquire about and meet the needs of others is also considered dominant leadership.
A dominant person gets power over others in two ways: they either take it, or it’s given to them. The former is unhealthy, while the latter is the healthy version of dominance we’re looking to explore.
In BDSM, Dominants exercise control over their subs by giving orders, implementing rules and structures, enforcing punishments, distributing rewards, and generally commanding the flow of the energy. They play within the boundaries of a container they’ve already established in dialogue with their sub, who consensually gives up power to them.
A ‘loving’ Dominant is self-aware, mindful, respectful, and giving. They are benevolent kings acting in service from trusting consent. They listen to their sub, receive feedback, and ensure their emotional safety.
They understand, in reality, the sub holds tons of power in the dynamic, and they’re completely comfortable with that. The Dom accepts their role as an active director within the mutual parameters set in the background.
Beyond the power dynamic, a loving Dominant also happily shoulders a great responsibility to nurture and take care of their sub, and reciprocate the mutual service of pleasure, always with the sub’s best interests in mind.
What being a ‘Dominant’ is NOT
A loving Dom is not a ruthless tyrant, but instead an acutely sensitive, big-hearted, confident, communicative lover.
If you’re the kind of person who just wants to be a Dom because you think you’ll be able to fuck her face whenever you want, and that’s the extent of the dynamic, then you’re not looking for healthy, respectful and balanced BDSM. That’s just you looking to use someone without guilt and be a ‘taker’ in a one-way street relationship.
You should want to serve your sub just as much as they serve you. Of course, it will be in different ways. Dom’s do not wield their assertiveness in blind and harmful ways, but rather in meticulously measured service to their sub.
They do not take the sub’s gift of trust lightly, or engage in recklessly selfish behaviour that disrespects and disregards their sub’s wellbeing. Instead, they are ultra-sensitive to their sub’s emotions and needs at all times. They regard their power as an honour and privilege.
Notes for new Dom’s
1. Be a bold leader
While it’s important to be sensitive to your sub, it’s just as important for you to be a strong leader, and firmly communicate your desires and rules. You can’t be shy with taking control, enforcing your will, and reprimanding. If you show weak leadership, the sub will act out or lose interest. You will be tested regularly.
2. Examine your motives
To wield your power wisely, and be an even better Dominant, you need to dive deep into your darker side and excavate any selfish hunger for power and control you might have buried within. This will prevent you from crossing lines and pursuing BDSM from an unhealthy place. Yes, it’s totally okay to have darker urges, but it’s not okay to let them blindly run you. When consciously explored and properly integrated, you reduce risks and harness even more healthy power to more confidently inhabit your role.
3. Map your own limits
You need to learn your own hard limits as to how far you’re willing to go for a sub, and never cross into territory that will have you feeling remorse (as far as you can predict it). Some subs may want bruises, blood, or tears, while that might make you deeply uncomfortable. The strength of a Dom is not measured by how far they’re willing to go, but how well they know themselves and how comfortably they stand firm in that.
4. Select your subs wisely
Be very cautious and selective with your subs. There are many people engaging in BDSM play who are not emotionally and mentally fit for it. Yes, the same goes for regular, vanilla relationships. But a Dom/sub relationship asks something unique of the people involved. Take time to get to know them. If they prove to be emotionally unstable, unclear on their boundaries, or unable to communicate, look for another partner. It’s not worth the risk. These are lessons you will learn (hopefully quickly) through experience.
5. Map your sub thoroughly
Ask tons of questions to deeply understand your sub’s preferences, limits, and arousal blueprint (what turns them on/off). This helps you in multiple ways. You’re able to more skillfully develop a program for them, while allowing yourself to be fully confident and free to act within defined boundaries for the relationship. You will also more skillfully serve your sub and walk the edge of their comfort zone. Above all, these conversations benefit your mutual trust and safety.
On the surface, it looks like the sub is serving the Dom in the dynamic. But really, the Dom is also serving the sub. This role is an honour and act of service. You are being given the privilege of taking someone to the edges of their sexual boundaries and allowing them to feel peak amounts of pleasure. Stepping into your dominant energy serves the sub’s yearning to be dominated.
6. Admit your mistakes
When you mess up (and you will – we’re all human), be forthcoming and honest. Seek to right wrongs when they arise, and repair any missteps with your sub. Exploring this dynamic is all about taking calculated risks and experimenting. Because of how sensitive power and sex can be, there will likely be some uncomfortable moments. Good Dominants powerfully own and accept responsibility. This builds trust and safety, which is essential to your Dom/sub relationship.
7. Pamper them post-play
As a Dominant you’re taking on more responsibility for your sub’s health than you understand. While rougher play and punishments may be consensual, they still take a toll on the sub’s nervous system. If they’re not regulating properly, this can lead to physical and mental health issues. Always ultimately nurture them and make them feel loved and safe.
Owning your sub
In any new Dom/sub relationship, there is always a ‘slave training’ phase while your sub gets used to learning how to please you. Be patient with them, and also persistent in firmly but lovingly communicating the rules and enforcing punishments. It takes time to build trust and familiarity.
As for when and where you play your parts, the Dom/sub dynamic can extend as far beyond the bedroom as you want. This can apply to anything from your daily communication to running the household, going on dates, restaurant experiences, etc. Check in with how much work you want to put in, and how often you’d like to do it, and decide from there. Make no mistake, this takes a lot of energy to keep up.
As a demonstration of ownership, it’s a common practice to collar your sub. But you can also claim them in other ways, with either a ring, necklace, bracelet, tattoo, etc.
Agree on when/where this should be worn. Collars are hot, but it might not work for your sub’s lifestyle and job, so it might not be realistic to expect them to wear it all the time. It could be best saved for being around the house, on dates, or at play parties. Choose a less conspicuous option if you want them to wear your mark at all times.
Have your sub call you by a chosen name. It can be “Daddy”, “Dom”, “Master”, “Conan The Barbarian”, or whatever you want. Have them address you by this title and refuse to respond unless they use it.
Expectations, Rewards & Punishments: Developing a Program
As a Dominant, you will need to set rules and expectations, as well as rewards and punishments. This program will be a combination of your personal preferences and what you learn about your sub through observation and communication over time.
Be very clear with your sub as to what you expect from them, whether it be sexually or otherwise. Set daily or weekly tasks, or standards for behaviour. How well they can serve you as a submissive is directly dependent on how clearly and firmly you can communicate your will as their Dominant.
Be very clear about what rewards and punishments await them if they fail/succeed in their tasks and follow through when necessary. There is a wide array of punishment styles you can choose from. Most Dom’s won’t want to go as far as making their sub eat out of a dog dish, or wash their mouth out with soap, but things like this do happen.
The more common (and comfortable) punishments are less about humiliation and more about sexual control. This could be things like spanking, bondage ‘time-outs’ (where the sub is tied up or has restricted mobility for a set amount of time), orgasm denial, or acts of service (house chores, etc).
Remember, this should mostly be about fun and play. Some people tend to focus too heavily on rules and punishments, and not enough on rewards and playfulness. Ensure the nature of the program you develop is something both you and your sub want to happily engage in.
A loving Dominant’s higher intention is to build their sub up as a person, not break them down.
Examples of things you can have your sub do sexually:
– Perform oral sex
– Lick and suck your body head to toe
– Have them do only what they’re told, or move when they’re told
– Make them ask for permission before having an orgasm
– Give them a daily/weekly checklist of sexual favours to perform
– Shave/wax their body
– Have them wear your chosen fetish gear
Examples of things you can have your sub do in your relationship:
– Clean your space naked/in costume
– Organize your bills or schedule
– Prepare meals
– Shoulder rubs after you’re finished work
– Read a specific book, or develop a specific skill
Examples of punishments for your sub:
– Deliver a set number of spanks
– Tie them up
– Have them wear a butt plug while running errands
– Put them in a cold shower
– Deny them orgasm/masturbation privileges for a specific amount of time
– Limit their speech/make them be silent for a specific amount of time
– Have them wear nipple clamps
Examples of rewards for your sub:
– Lavish them with verbal praise
– Let them use their favourite toy
– Tease them with oil and erotic massage
– Take them for a romantic dinner
– Plan a scene catered to their fetishes
– Buy them a new sex toy
– Give them extra days off of service
What constitutes as a “reward” and “punishment” will be different for each person. One sub might consider spanks or bondage extremely pleasurable, which effectively makes it a reward rather than a punishment. Tailor your program to suit your sub.
– Dive deep and understand your motives as a Dom
– Get crystal clear on your needs and rules
– Ask your sub plenty of questions to fully understand their arousal and preferences for rewards/punishments
– Do not be shy or wavering with your leadership. Make a consistent effort to be bold and in control
– Get creative and personalize your sub’s program
– Check in often and always look after your sub’s wellbeing
When you’re starting out as a Dominant, it’s common to feel a little unsure about yourself. We’re not used to exercising so much control over another person, and we’re taught it’s wrong and bad to do so.
If you ever need support, connect with other people in the BDSM community through local meet-ups, or respected online forums. This allows you to get support and ideas from outside the relationship with your sub, while maintaining a Dominant dynamic.
Be bold, be loving, and have fun!
Dedicated to your success,
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