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D/s: Help me be a good dominant
January 11, 2008 3:47 PM   Subscribe

D/s: Help me be a good dominant.

I only recently discovered this part of myself (never knew how far I leaned in this direction until I met someone who's probably just as submissive). So far I think I've done well going by instincts and imagination - she is very turned on, and I'm enjoying myself. But we're still learning about ourselves, and while I'd like very much to lead, I confess I don't really know that much.

Can you give me any tips, advice, wisdom from experience? Recommendations for books and websites to learn from? And, a few questions I have right now:

1) Does being dominant mean you can no longer really show significant weakness or vulnerability to your submissive partner?
2) How do you know if you're a "natural dominant" or if you're just running high on ego from having someone give herself completely to you?
3) Can you give me any ideas as to more games we can play: ways I can tease her, use her, deny her, get her to follow orders, turn her on, push her boundaries (safely)? I love to use my imagination and creativity, and I have been - but would certainly love more ideas to play with.

I'm sure I have more questions, but that's the specific ones I can think of right now. Any help much appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
As for the first one, this really depends on whether or not you're planning on transitioning into this being a lifestyle, or if you're keeping it around your sex life. Of course dominant people have weaknesses. You don't have to make this a 24/7 thing, you know, at least, not the way you might be thinking. Some of the submissives I know prefer subtler forms of their partners being in control - one of them always pays when they go shopping/dining, for example.

The second point is just...if it's ego, it'll slip. If it's more natural to you, then it will be present in the more subtle ways more easily. It won't just be a bedroom thing. It'll be present in how you conduct yourself all the time. Proportionately, much fewer people are strong dominant; more are dominant as needed.

As for books and so on...
about halfway down this page:
The Topping/Bottoming books might be good for both of you. I also really like Screw the Roses, but that's my bias because Molly Devon's a sweetheart.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 4:16 PM on January 11, 2008


Complicated subject!

1) Does being dominant mean you can no longer really show significant weakness or vulnerability to your submissive partner?

It depends how you play it, but to my eyes, no. A good Dom is secure in themselves and their position, and as such doesn't encumber themselves with pretending to be superhuman; if anything being able to show weakness to your partner highlights your control, and being willing to show it highlights your love.

That's not to say that absorbing and fluidly moving past your mistakes, and those of your partner, isn't a significant part of it. In other words, a good Dom goes with the flow as well as directing it.

2) How do you know if you're a "natural dominant" or if you're just running high on ego from having someone give herself completely to you?

A D/s relationship thrives on, as much as I hate this word, "synergy". Her submission fuels your dominance and vice-versa. The fact that you respond to it that way defines you as dominant, I'd say (or at least as someone with a dominant aspect). The only way to find out whether it's 'natural', i.e. an important and long-lasting part of your sexuality, is to explore it and see if you maintain interest. :)

3) Can you give me any ideas as to more games we can play: ways I can tease her, use her, deny her, get her to follow orders, turn her on, push her boundaries (safely)? I love to use my imagination and creativity, and I have been - but would certainly love more ideas to play with.

Read stories on the internet (or watch porn) and pick up any ideas you like, try them out and run with the ones that work. If you seem to be in a rut, I think the best way to shake it up is for the submissive to try moving around on the scale between totally obedient, and feisty/resistant; and/or for the Dom to go either more forceful or more guiding and receptive. Either that, or choose a 'gimick' at random, like a blindfold, or gag, or toys, or a new rule or roleplaying idea.

Good luck, and have fun!
posted by Drexen at 4:23 PM on January 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would really recommend Sweetness Follows for fun, sexy, imaginative ideas. Chelle and Mike are just the sweetest couple.

And no, you don't have to be perfect and not show any weakness! If she is naturally submissive, she will likely want to comfort you and dote over you when you are feeling vulnerable, just as you, having a bit of a dominant side to you, will want to shelter and protect her. I wish you much joy of each other. ; )
posted by misha at 4:57 PM on January 11, 2008


You'll find that you probably won't want to practice D/s in all of your sexual experiences, [at least at first] and that's fine too. Remember that, even as sexy as the lifestyle can be, sometimes it's just as nice to cuddle up and just make "sweet, sweet love". Don't feel backed into a corner- that you have to be in the roles every time you have sex. Just because something turns you on doesn't mean you ALWAYS have to do it.
Also, safewords are good. Make sure she's comfortable using her safewords- ask her a few time even when she's really turned on to practice saying them. That way it'll be easier to use them when she really needs to. Nothing hurts a scene like truly hurt feelings.
And cuddling afterwards is always a good idea.

But, more than anything- Have fun! ;)
posted by shesaysgo at 5:53 PM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also- for the fun stuff-
-try 'commanding' her to dominate you. you're still technically the dominant, since you're telling her what to do, but some interesting things can come out of it.
-everyday objects can always be perverted. try blindfolding her and trying something new [ice, belts, chocolate sauce...]
-read BDSM erotica. a bit more interesting than porn, but that's just my opinion.
-if you have any ideas of "oh, ___ would be sexy but i don't know if i'd ever do it..." talk to her about them and see if she'd be willing to try them out. you'd be surprised what nutball things can be sexy [we won't get into that].

Don't try and be absolutely perfect at it the first time, or the second time, or the 5007th time. Accidently tying yourself up, pronouncing "bitch" wrong, and other goofy things can make the whole thing a lot more fun. And that's the point, isn't it?
posted by shesaysgo at 6:21 PM on January 11, 2008


Good sex, kinked or not, requires good communication.

So of course being dominant doesn't require you to become a stone statue! As for fears of being on an ego trip, as long as you're keeping it SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual), a mutually enjoyed ego trip is fine.

One bit of advice I do have is to be careful about accepting someone’s wholehearted submission without a heck of a lot of negotiation. A dog is a heck of a lot of responsibility, and they just need to be fed, loved, walked and taken to obedience classes. Training a fellow human being, who has hopes, fears, dreams, private desires and ambitions, on top of the stuff embarking on a non-human caretaking relationship may also involve, can be exhausting.

Being a good Dom/me means you’re accepting responsibility for someone else. Set limits and boundaries, and decide what it is acceptable for your sub to ask for you and what you can sanely ask your sub. For example even if she’s passionate about that head shaving and tattooing herself, that’s a no-no for dabbling, as is anything else that could do lasting harm or get either of you in trouble. Similarly, you are entitled to alone time, to being less than perfect and being able to admit that, and all the things normal to a vanilla relationship.

If you’re just playing around with D/s, and your relationship with the sub is often on equal terms, symbols to communicate a role shift can help. For example, by day you sub can be free and independent, but when you offer her your collar and she puts it on, you play happy kinky games and she calls you Master. Setting a boundary this way allows you to discuss with her as equals how to make you both happy in the off times. Once you’ve played out a kinked scene, don’t forget to discuss what worked and didn’t work for you.

If you just want to play games, mock abductions (with dayglow orange toy water pistols), brief training sessions and competitions, (ie making her walk about in nothing but heels, with a stack of books on her head), and so on, can keep you both happily entertained. You can also play at hunting her with a paintball gun if you have suitable safe woodland and protective gear, and get a ‘How To’ bondage book and use her as your practice dummy.

If you’re also looking after her as a sub, providing structure and instruction becomes important. Picking mundane skills for her to improve on and setting her up to practice them regularly can be an act of erotic love. For example, a regular work out schedule, a healthy eating plan (no sweets for you, young lady!), getting her to learn a creative skill like painting or playing a musical instrument, are all guilt free ways of playing with control.

A little introspection about what sort of top you want to be, from regal lord and master, to cruel but fair leather daddy, and what sort of sub she wants to be, will help you work together better. If she wants to be ‘punished fuck pig’ and you want an elegant lady you may have a long term conflict of interests, and similarly if she wants to give all to you, and you just want a sometimes play toy, you don’t want to feel guilted into something that makes you both miserable.
posted by Phalene at 9:44 PM on January 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


As you read and explore the many facets of BDSM, remember that nothing is "better" than something else. It's not better to be a slave than a submissive. Playing with knives and fire doesn't make you a better dominant. Be honest with yourself about you want and what you are capable of. And remember that the end of the day, you are a human being. If you fuck up, say you're sorry. It doesn't make you less of Dom. Your submissive will respect your authority even more if you confess and apologize when you do it wrong. Seriously.
posted by clh at 12:50 AM on January 12, 2008


1) Does being dominant mean you can no longer really show significant weakness or vulnerability to your submissive partner?

Of course not. And lots of people have "regular" relationships in which they don't feel able to show weakness or vulnerability, either. This is a question that is about your relationship, not about D/s.

2) How do you know if you're a "natural dominant" or if you're just running high on ego from having someone give herself completely to you?

I'm not sure that this matters, as long as you are having fun. You will figure out the answer to this as time goes by -- if this relationship ends and you are trying to figure out if a new person is compatible, or if the dynamics of this relationship change. Everyone has lots of aspects of their personality, of which dominance/submission is just one small part. Right now both of you are focused on exploring that aspect, but there are lots of other things you will want to explore as time goes by, and the d/s may become just part of the "background" of the everyday life of your relationship, or it may stay as a major focus, who knows?

3) Can you give me any ideas as to more games we can play: ways I can tease her, use her, deny her, get her to follow orders, turn her on, push her boundaries (safely)? I love to use my imagination and creativity, and I have been - but would certainly love more ideas to play with.

If you are going to be using ropes, get hold of some books, or do some careful googling. Screwing up this can have some bad, bad consequences. Keep a rescue knife (blunt tip, serrated blade sample link) or a serious pair of EMT scissors next to the bed so you can cut her loose in seconds, rather than fumbling with knots with your lube-covered fingers in the dark.

My sense is that there are two main directions people go with this. The paraphernalia route is all about the stuff -- ropes, butt plugs, whips, chains, hooded costumes, whatever floats your boat. The other route is less focused on the objects as signifiers of d/s, and more about behavior and control; more pervasive and less performative, you could say. (These are hardly mutually exclusive, but I think if you look at a bunch of fiction, blogs, and other descriptions of d/s, you will see how such relationships can be articulated very differently.)

Which you are interested in will determine what you find fun to play with. If you go the implement route, know that lots and lots of kitchen and garage items are perfectly suited to d/s play. Wooden spoons, bamboo poles, and extra-soft paint brushes can be found in most houses, and can all be used to great effect, for example. If you are doing a lot of bondage, there are big differences in how vulnerable she will feel if tied up in different positions, or if also blindfolded, or if tied up legs open or legs closed. And many, many people really like having some sort of "secret" marker of this that is worn in public (eg a collar that looks like a necklace, or hidden piercings, or whatever).

You may also want to explore the boundaries of consent at some point. On the one hand, a good relationship is at heart one that is (as described above) safe and consenting. But how that consent is determined and used can be really different in different cases. Some people need to bracket anything that plays with consent into sharply-defined "fantasy" or "role play" categories; other people enjoy those boundaries spilling over into the general sexual part of their relationship. What works for you, none of us can know.

Whatever you do, make sure it is red-hot for her first and foremost. Having someone give of themselves as a submissive is awesome and sexy and (as you noted) good for the ego. But it is also not easy -- there is a reciprocity that is demanded, and central within that is that it becomes in large part your responsibility that things are good for her. Particularly if you are using gags, or are playing with the boundaries of consent (where a "no" might not be a real no), you have to be tuned into her mind and her body in a very intense way, and getting it wrong is not a good thing.
posted by Forktine at 8:22 AM on January 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


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