How to be dominant in the bedroom?
May 23, 2011 10:13 PM   Subscribe

How to be dominant in the bedroom? [NSFW]

I met a woman who is awesome, we get along very well, have a lot of shared interests, I really like her. She has let me know that in the bedroom she wants me to be dominant and that she needs that to feel truly fulfilled. She does not want ropes or to be restrained or anything like that, but she says she wants me to "take over" with regard to our sex life, and that she would be ecstatic if I decided when/where/how we have sex and then just initiated it. She said we would use a safe word and that she is turned on by rough sex. She wants me to, “take her and fuck her when I feel like it”.

Yeah, so, the thing is, I have been pretty vanilla before this relationship. Never used safe words. All new territory for me.

I am assertive in my personal and professional life, but no one would mistake me for “dominant”. And that is fine. I am comfortable with my identity and conception of self. I do not want to change and am not looking for some PUA/Seduction community garbage about how to be dominant. I do want to please this woman.

I know communication is key and we have talked, but she would also like me to figure a lot of this out on my own (I guess that goes with the whole being dominant thing).

So, AskMe, please let loose with the recommendations. Books, websites, prior questions on this topic. I know that the Fetlife Metafilter group is often mentioned but I am not sure if I am a candidate for the group; I think I might feel like a tourist because my issue is not really BDSM, I don’t think? Throwaway email is
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

This is pretty simple; just stop worrying about pleasing her or about her needs or feelings. That's what she wants, you to be primal.

You want your dick sucked, you tell her "suck my dick", and you push her head down. You want to fuck, you pull her clothes off, and tell her "Brace yourself, Bridget".

She'll want to be shoved around a bit too, and probably some humiliation, but basically it's just a matter of letting your id do the talking.
posted by orthogonality at 10:18 PM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

here is some good reading...a great place to start.
posted by virginia_clemm at 10:19 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

and, please ignore the post above me, her needs and feelings are not invalid as a sub, that is utter trash.
posted by virginia_clemm at 10:23 PM on May 23, 2011 [13 favorites]

Classics in the cannon:

SM 101 - Jay Wiseman
Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns - Phillip Miller
Different Loving - William & Gloria Brame

That was the go-to list as of seven years ago when I last seriously played BDSM games. It may need an update. Large portions of each of those titles are focused on techniques your partner is specifically not interested in, but each will give you a good grounding in the basics of dominance and submission, the psychology behind it and the approaches you can take. Some people embrace BDSM as a lifestyle but it is very possible to play this way only in the bedroom; that's 100% okay and doesn't really make you a tourist as you still require a good bootcamp in D/s kink.

Virgina_clemm's link seems pretty good from a quick look, too - here it is. I absolutely agree with her that orthogonality's suggestion is... lacking in nuance, to be charitable. Some couples roll that way but there many, many other ways to package up this range of experiences.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:32 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another book to look at (and cheap if you get it used): The New Topping Book. There's a similar book which is honestly just as useful: The New Bottoming Book. Obviously your partner knows more about this than you, but having a power exchange in a bedroom should involve cooperation and communication.

Also, talk with her- what does she mean by being dominated? Find out the sorts of things she enjoys, add your own suggestions, come up with fun scenarios, go nuts. This is about having fun, perhaps touching boundaries, but not going over them. (Also, getting her to describe in explicit detail exactly what she wants can be a form of foreplay.)
posted by Hactar at 10:41 PM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

How wonderful you are willing to stretch your own boundaries - I hope you find it fulfilling. Fetlife isn't just BDSM and people are generally respectful of each others kinks so I encourage you to at least look around. I just wanted to emphasise communication - there is no "one right" way to dominate; you have to negotiate that for yourselves. She sounds pretty comfortable stating her needs and able to assert herself if the play goes too far. Keep those lines of communication open. Good luck!
posted by saucysault at 10:51 PM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

As a kinkster, when I play with a new sub we spend a little time chatting. The questions I like to ask are 1) What turns you on 2) what are your boundaries 3) describe your ideal encounter: where does it happen, who is there, what happens, what is said to you, how do you feel?

People have very specific fantasies that they have been beating off to for years sometimes. There are so many details that come with "take me and fuck me when you like" it is impossible for you to get them all. The idea is to learn what they want and figure out how you can help.

You don't have to go from zero to Story of O right away. Take little day trips into kinkdom. When you are both in the mood play around a little. Go on an adventure together with your cloths off. And when you are done, see how you both feel.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:11 AM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm just like your girlfriend. I'm not into being restrained, etc., but I love it when a man takes control and "fucks me when he feels like it". No offense to the kinksters here, but I'm starting to think that this is very different than traditional BDSM. There are some things to be learned from BDSM (for all lovers, actually) about communication, boundaries, etc. But really, if your woman is like me, what she wants is to be *taken* not to start down a path towards leather trousers.

So push her around a bit. Tell her to suck your dick. Ask her if it's okay to slap her face. Bend her over and fuck her and pull her hair. Make her flash her panties at a restaurant. It will get very hot very quickly.

For inspiration, perhaps turn to porn that is a bit rough... not BDSM porn with nipple clamps and such, and not mean porn like Max Hardcore, but simple rough grabbing non-romantic type porn. (That is, most of it.)

I hope that helps!
posted by 3491again at 12:27 AM on May 24, 2011 [10 favorites]

I think the word "dominant" may be acting as a red herring, I don't think it's really about you being in control. It sounds like she likes it when you want her so badly that you can barely control yourself. She likes behaviour which communicates your immediate insatiable utterly overpowering lust for her. I'd think that controlling (or selfish) behaviour is less likely to hit that mark.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:27 AM on May 24, 2011 [22 favorites]

Give ortho a break! Im a sub and I would so jump his bones if he were near by.

1) the people from mefi on fetlife group is for you. We are part of mefi and answer any member's questions.

2) you can follow ortho's suggestion as a short hand but before hand you both need to have many frank discussions of desires and triggers and limits. Define a safe area of activity within which you can practice this form of assertiveness. and believe me she is being assertive too in her own way by asking for what she wants - kudos to her!

It's not 'not bdsm' if you arent using bits of kit - the d (domination) and s (submission) bits of the acronym are present. Don't think of bdsm as a cultural identifier - think of it as a knowledge base instead.

Feel free to memail or email anytime with queries. Good luck!
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:46 AM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

Forgetting the labels and defining whether this is kinky enough to fall within bdsm, or just d & m... I don't know where the lines fall there. I'll tell you what I like, and it may fall within your partner's preferences.

It's not gentle, it exposes your greater strength, you might grab her for a passionate kiss, swinging her back into a wall (not hard enough to bruise, but hard enough to indicate urgency and a sort of sexual desperation). Your hands in her hair force her to kiss you, you might pull a hair a little to assert yourself, but not in a girly fighting way, as a sign of control. You thrust against her, and don't wait to get permission to go to the next level, taking her clothes off (if it's a shirt that you know she doesn't love, tear it off), bite - not to mark the skin, but not gently, squeeze her breasts and buttocks, grind against her. Strip her naked before you disrobe, so she's left powerless. Decide how the sex will be, maybe lift her onto the counter, or force her onto the floor (and this depends on how well you know her sexuality) thrust your penis into her without checking to see if she's ready. If your 'foreplay' has been substantial and forceful and expressive of male desire, she will hopefully be dripping wet already. No gentle thrusts, and perhaps hold her hands over her head with your hands, so that she can't move away. If you have organised a safe word in advance, ignore her when she cries, "stop" or "no", it's part of the game for her.

There are some movie scenes which demonstrate this style quite well, maybe I should go looking for them.
posted by b33j at 1:01 AM on May 24, 2011 [7 favorites]

Not all aspects of these scenes are applicable, some times the guy is tender, sometimes the woman is participating.

Okay, the Notebook:
start from 1:33, ignore any dialogue
He's thrown her against the wall, he's incredibly hot for her, he's making all the decisions, he's showing his much greater physical (male) strength

Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman:
He forces her down, demands if she likes it

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
It seems walls are essential pieces of furniture in your sexual playroom
posted by b33j at 1:14 AM on May 24, 2011

echoing the sentiment to feel free to show up on fetlife, you don't have to be hardcore to be there, you aren't a tourist, it's cool!

Do things that make you feel more confident, start small and don't feel you have to be THE PERFECT DOMINANT PARTNER overnight. When you do something and she responds well, you'll feel more confident and possibly get ideas of your own. That she is assertive enough to ask, and that you are willing to try is an awesomely good starting out point!

Get her to write out a fantasy for you, and again, don't feel pressured to go crazy, but you can totally work up to it.

Most importantly, don't get too in your head or nervous about it. It's not serious business, and nerves won't help. When nervousness is letting me psych myself out, I try to pre-emptively appreciate the ridiculousness of being so nervous about sex with my partner, when the act itself is somewhat ridiculous...then when I "screw up" I can more easily take it in stride with good humor.
posted by nile_red at 2:15 AM on May 24, 2011

I'm the owner of the fetlife group; you're more than welcome. Some of us get off on tourists!

Seriously, though, we'd love to have you.

The New Topping book is great.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:20 AM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

I reckon you kink / BDSM folk are jumping onto the use of the term 'dominant' too quickly - some people just use it casually without having all these 'unusual and predefined connotations'.

I think the OP is just referring to a more casual use of the word. And that orthogonality is quite on the money.

She just doesan't want you to be so precious about it. and sometimes that you dont' worry about her orgasm so much. Let yourself be carried away in the moment.
posted by mary8nne at 3:23 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is a fun book of fiction about a couple negotiating this situation at the beginning of their relationship--he's a nice guy, she's figuring out what it is she needs. 'Start Me Up' by Victoria Dahl. It's true it's also a contemporary romance novel, but the author's smart and knows what she's doing. The couple are figuring it out together and there isn't BDSM, more like figuring out where that line of deeply emotional sexual intensity is while still feeling like yourself and having fun. It could be a good bedside read for you in addition to exploring what everyone above us talking about from an experienced perspective. I thought of that book immediately when I read your post.
posted by rumposinc at 4:10 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

You are totally a candidate for the MeFi group on fetlife. The qualifications are 1 be a mefite (or plausibly claim to be one) 2 have a fetlife account, and then join the group. In particular, you do NOT have to link the two identities. You can use a sock puppet account. There is no "you must be this kinky to ride this website" requirement on fetlife, either. I know people who are on fl who end up making me feel like a naive noob, and people on fl who are still trying to figure out if they want to do something about this curiosity they have about kink.

As to your actual issue, I wouldn't worry about safewords, unless she is going to want to say "no" and not mean it. "no", "slow down", and "what the hell do you think you're doing?" are fine safewords, particularly for someone with whom you already have a rapport and whose responses you're familiar with. You don't have to go from vanilla to hardcore leather perv all at once. There's no right or wrong way - no too-little or too-much - as long as everyone involved I'd having the fun they want and finding it emotionally healthy.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:31 AM on May 24, 2011

I recently wrote this for a friend who suggested he isn't 'kinky enough' for FL or our local scene; it may also be useful to you:
In any sort of identity-based community, there will always be those who say you aren't X enough to participate. The key is not to take them at face value, but realise that there are spectra involved in any identity, and the fact that you may not live up to the expectations of certain members does not mean you have to withdraw from the community; just because the big kids with the poles don't want to play with you doesn't mean there isn't room for you under the tent.
Come on down to FL. It's not all about the ropes and pain, and most of us only bite when asked....
posted by FlyingMonkey at 4:33 AM on May 24, 2011

There is also some great advice in this (hot!) old pull my hairthread that you may want to share with your friend to see if she is like the OP.
posted by saucysault at 5:57 AM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's not 'not bdsm' if you arent using bits of kit - the d (domination) and s (submission) bits of the acronym are present. Don't think of bdsm as a cultural identifier - think of it as a knowledge base instead.

I couldn't agree more. I like having dirty perverted sex. I have zero interest in most of the trappings and paraphernalia of bdsm -- ball gags, leather trousers, careful rules about how to say Master. For me, it works out pretty well, and I don't feel like there is any contradiction.

But mostly, treat it as a problem of creative borrowing (or is it "bricolage"?). Borrow from the serious kinksters (eg the importance of communication). Borrow from mainstream hollywood (eg the scenes linked by b33j). Borrow from literature (and you'll find that everything from cheesy fantasy and sci-fi to mainstream fiction will have characters and scenes that reflect your question). Read a couple of the gazillion blogs about dominance and submission, and again, look for details that resonate with your situation. And definitely do some searches here on AskMe -- this is a question that comes up again, and again, and again, and a lot of those threads have amazing answers and descriptions in them.

And reach out. If someone is consistently saying interesting things on this subject, send them an email. Come visit on FL (where this question is being discussed).
posted by Forktine at 5:58 AM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oh god, I can't leave this thread alone. I re-read orthos comment and while it may be true for some people, for me not caring about me needs I'd NOT sexy. I would describe at as more complete empathy - the Dom who knows exactly what my limits are and pushes right up to them while taking control and doing what needs to be done without asking "is this all right? Do you want me to. Do [this]?". It requires you to have confidence and the ability to act on very small non-verbal cues. It sounds like she would rather you not ask permission first but learn when you have gone a little too far. And cuddle. After a good hard session you need to cuddle.
posted by saucysault at 6:29 AM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

but she says she wants me to "take over" with regard to our sex life, and that she would be ecstatic if I decided when/where/how we have sex and then just initiated it.

Something you might want to clarify with her: Does she want it like that all the time? If so, is that ok with you, since this hasn't been your scene before? Because to me that sounds awfully boring and tedious, but different strokes, different folks etc.

Also, it doesn't sound like you're in control, she is in terms of starting up and defining the boundaries of this fetish. You're doing this just to please her and that's fine, but you also need to be pleasing yourself.

I mention this only because you say you're vanilla. You may try this and find you get into it. But you may not. You should be aware of the possibility of the latter and be attentive to your own needs and wants.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

I re-read orthos comment and while it may be true for some people, for me not caring about me needs I'd NOT sexy

To be clear: I didn't write don't care about her needs, I wrote (emphasis added) just stop worrying about pleasing her or about her needs or feelings".

What I'm trying to get across there, is that a woman who asks for what the OP's friend asked for, won't be be turned on by a sensitive new-age guy solicitously doing his earnest best to find her clit and g-spot to make sure she has a super-duper spiffy orgasm.

Or by a guy who appears not to know his own needs, or is unable to articulate them, either out of prudish embarrassment, or worse, because he's put the woman on a pedestal. In this case, the woman emphatically does not want to be on a pedestal. To the contrary, she wants him to pull her down from there.

The OP's friend has clearly indicated she wants to be taken, and the best way for a modern guy trained to be sensitive and new-age to do that, in my experience anyway, is to concentrate on very clearly articulating and (in this case) demanding that his needs be taken care of. This in turn, will fulfill her needs.
posted by orthogonality at 7:15 AM on May 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

Nthing the 'go primal' instinct - it runs contrary to everything we've been raised on. Just let go of conscious control and that warning in your brain that worries about every little step. Her pleasure is important - and she'll get that by you taking her in a very XXX-rated way. Go for it.
posted by chrisinseoul at 7:57 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I am not getting bdsm from your question - I completely agree with -harlequin- and b33j.

I am getting that it's kind of hot when you just grab her and start kissing her in that "want you right now" way - more the assertiveness and really wanting her in that primal way.
posted by mrs. taters at 8:55 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry to nitpick, but safe words are awesome. It's not just a BDSM/kinky thing, it's a great way to clearly communicate in the moment if something is or isn't working for you & your partner. That can only be a good thing.
posted by Space Kitty at 9:47 AM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Don't forget that sex is something you create between the two of you - even though this is something specific she wants, its not going to work if you feel like you are performing some script. There's still a lot to learn about your individual chemistries, her body, how her body and yours work together, how you connect emotionally (or not) during sex .... you have a lot of basics to cover before you get to the advanced stuff. I had a submissive lover once and no experience being dominant, and it all unfolded very naturally even though he was up front about his desires. It was about me learning how to enjoy being dominant just as much as about pleasing him. If you don't have this kind of mutuality, it won't be fun at all.
posted by mrs. sock at 1:23 PM on May 24, 2011

SpaceKitty: Oh, I'm a huge fan of communication. I just think that going with "designated safewords" (as opposed to plain old communication) is not always the best way to facilitate that communication, particularly for an experiment in existing relationship where there's already a track record of communication and an expectation of what "STOP THAT RIGHT NOW" or "KEEP DOING THAT RIGHT NOW" looks/sounds/feels like. "Uh... yellow" is not inherently better than "slower" for that communication. As I implied but didn't explicitly say, if you want to be able to ratchet things up a level and play around with saying "no" and not meaning it, then definitely set up a way to have that communication without ambiguity.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:29 PM on May 24, 2011

Everything else aside, make sure this is the kind of thing you want to do. Obviously the easiest way to find out is by trying it, just keep in mind that "I don't want to be dominant in the bedroom" is as valid a reason to not pursue a relationship as any of the traditional dealbreakers.
posted by davejay at 3:06 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your question nearly caused me to fall out of my chair! I actually thought for a moment that you might be someone I know! haha. This is me to a T. Although some of the answers you've received are totally off-putting and some of them are downright nasty. NOT all women who enjoy being dominated want to be told to "suck cock" or "get smacked." That's ridiculous! I love a man who knows how to "take me" or "take it" when he desires me, but I would smack him clear across the face and he'd never hear from me again if he treated me the way some of these idiots are suggesting you treat her.

I read and agree with someone's suggestion down the line of answers that you should ask her what an ideal sexual encounter would be. Women love to be consulted, especially when it pertains to what they want. Shocker! Just ask her what she likes, tell her you want to make her feel amazing, she'll be all about you.
posted by JeSuisLibre at 6:49 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

"Classics in the cannon"

Best typo ever. I hate classics too!
posted by squasher at 12:50 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

If your woman is like me, she has some kind-of specific things that turn her on. There are some ideas that are compelling, and others that are... bleh. She probably does know some of what she wants, but may not be really able or ready to express it fully.

So for now... experiment. She has said that she wants you to be dominant. Ortho caught some crap earlier for his first suggestion, but really, that is what she already suggested to you... that she wants you to follow your passion. And she probably really needs to see that you're getting turned on, and enjoying her however you want to enjoy her. Being with a partner who is allowing themselves to feel through their own body, tip of head to toenails, and who is focusing on the sensations they're feeling, heightening their own pleasure *through* you... that can be extraordinarily sexy. And nothing is more of a turn-off than figuring out that your partner is actually *not* enjoying themselves. Very, very un-sexy. So make sure that whatever you decide to try is actually enjoyable to you. Don't focus on your own pleasure exclusively, (stay tuned-in to her body), but let your own body guide you.

Here are a few ideas of places you could start:

-Try moving parts of her body. Normally I would say to start subtly, but she already told you she likes rough sex. So move her body where you want it. Move her head one way and hold it that way while you kiss her or just breathe in at the base of her neck. Go slowly so she has a chance to let it sink in that you are holding her a certain way. When she's gotten the hang of the "he's moving my body where he wants it", then move her body where you want it.

-Tell her (verbally or non-verbally) to be still. Then touch her, move her, or move your own body against her body in a way that feels good to *you*.

-Turn her on her side or face-down (but only if you want that).

-As soon as you're feeling the least bit sexy, tell her to take pieces of clothing off. Make sure she sees you enjoying her body. (She may want you to tell her to do things. She might not. She might just want you to *do* them, so also make sure you try it non-verbally and just: as soon as you're feeling the least bit sexy, pull her to you & start taking her clothes off.)

-Move her to an unexpected place (against a wall, in the kitchen, over a chair in the dining room, etc.)

-Spend some time building up in your own mind, get thinking sexy thoughts, feeling sexy, until you're really turned on, and then come into the room where she is and take her somewhat suddenly.

-Make her be below you, physically. Either lying down or on her knees. Push her shoulders down gently until she goes to the floor. Don't be afraid to push her to the floor, or push her onto the bed.

-If there's anything you've wanted to do with her (or to her) that you've been afraid to do, or just haven't done because you didn't think she would go for it, do it.

You & she can create something really special together. If she is also willing to spend the time to try & understand what you need, then you two are in a really good place. I will say: Don't forget your own needs in this. Pleasing her is good, but it shouldn't come at the expense of having the kind of sex that you, yourself enjoy. Speaking for myself, I am very, very (very) kinked in some ways. But I also enjoy tender, look-me-in-the-eyes sex. And I would also be seriously heartbroken if I thought my lover was not enjoying (or did not get enough of) the kind of sex that they needed, because they were trying so hard to please me.
posted by eleyna at 2:30 AM on March 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

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