Can a beginner dominate an experienced sub?
September 27, 2014 1:07 PM   Subscribe

I recently started dating a woman who opened up about her interest/experience in D/s, and wants me to D. I'm in WAY over my head. Halp. [Some NSFW details within]

Me: Male, early 40's. Fairly vanilla sexual experience. Maybe 25 or so partners, several long term relationships, nothing too kinky.

Her: Female, late-30's. Has had multiple masters, enjoys and has experience with what I think most anyone would consider pretty extreme kinks. Her boundaries appear to be as wide as they get. I mean EXTREME. Is eager to have me partake.

Me: Definitely curious about D/s, and a bit of very very light D in the past has been fun. But I'm a classic "giver" in the bedroom. What satisfies me most is a satisfied woman. What happens when my woman is most satisfied by fulfillment of whatever dark desires I may have. What if I'm not sure I have dark desires. Moreover, even if there's an inner dom hiding somewhere inside me, is it possible to bridge the gap between an utter noob master and an experienced sub?

I'm open to hearing that this isn't a winnable situation, or any other advice you may have on making this work. You only live once after all (or not).
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
But I'm a classic "giver" in the bedroom. What satisfies me most is a satisfied woman.

This is the number one thing that will help you! Being dominant is not about 'using' or 'taking from' your partner- it's about giving them what they want.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:21 PM on September 27, 2014 [14 favorites]


It should be fine on your end, although it might be somewhat disappointing for her.

IDK. It's sort of an awkward dynamic to deal with. The fantasy for a lot of submissives is, in fact, that you're totally having your way with them OMG!!! and when it's clear that you're actually just sort of doing what you think they want you to do...total boner killer. So, oddly, open and honest communication may tend to make some of the fantasy mindset more difficult for her.

That said, I'd take a huge step back from her expectations, whatever you think they are, and figure out what you want. Not what makes you "satisfied" in some general emotional sense, but what specifically makes you the most aroused or the most turned on. What do you think about when you masturbate, for example? What outward indicators of "satisfaction" help get you off? What physical sensations? What language? What visuals from her?

Once you know that, you can reframe even "generous" stuff as dominant.

You like hearing that she's having a good time -----> You're going to make her moan

You like for her to orgasm before you----->She doesn't get to make you come until she's had an orgasm like a good [term of submissive endearment/humiliation]

Etc.

I could really go on and on. Pretty much anything can be reframed as a dominance thing. Even, like, making someone dinner. Just think of it as you getting what you want when you want it, and what you want just happens to be her pleasure.

Another important thing to realize is that the submissive is not the only person who gets to have boundaries. If you're not into something, it's 100% okay not to do it. Even better than okay, because if she gets the sense that you're not into something and are doing it because you feel obligated, it's going to be a turnoff.

Finally, your D/s relationship / kink relationship will be yours. They're all unique and they really mold to the individual people involved. So don't feel like you have to be one specific way or do everything she's tried. You might find yourselves enjoying a relatively narrow range of activities compared to her activities with other partners, and being very happy with that.

Good luck, have fun, stay safe!
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:48 PM on September 27, 2014 [9 favorites]


Also, the thing is, if she's mature and healthy, she will realize that it's actually pretty fucked to be with someone who doesn't care about you/your boundaries/what you want. In my experience, many, many submissives have to do a similar balancing act between wanting a sort of selfish fantasy dominant, but at the same time wanting to have a romantic relationship with someone who cares about them and their satisfaction.

People solve this particular conundrum in all kinds of ways, including but not limited to non-monogamy. So you're definitely not the only person to have this problem and there are all kinds of workarounds.

Thinking about it more, this is why more detailed role-based play/sex works for some people. Just being "them" but dominant is sort of uncomfortable, whereas playacting an authority figure makes it feel a lot more normal to be really self-centered and demanding.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:55 PM on September 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


The google search term you want is "service top."

It might clear some things up for you.
posted by tulip-socks at 2:08 PM on September 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


I've heard it said that topping is the ultimate act of submission. I'm not a top, or even that experienced a kinkster, so I will leave it to others to explain how that works.

In the past, I've done things that I felt neutrally about for someone who felt positively about them. They seemed to enjoy themselves, and I didn't really mind, even though the thing they wanted didn't really provoke any response from me at all. Perhaps thinking about where the two of you will meet in the middle - she wants X in a big way, and you're only prepared to give her a minor form of X - will give you some ideas of where your boundaries lie. Don't ever do something that either of you feel negatively about, and you might even not do something that one or the other of you feels neutrally about. It's OK to only do things that you both feel positive about.

You could try something like, she is given the task of finding out if you have any dark desires. She has to use her experience and knowledge to figure out what pushes your buttons. She has to try to figure out what it is that you feel positive about. Maybe she has to come up with a fantasy scenario involving a specific thing, that you then try out to see if it works. Part of her service could be teaching you the ropes.

Or, maybe try adding 10% more to the light D/s stuff you've tried in the past. If you know what has worked for you, maybe see if a little bit more spice makes the food tastier or ruins the dish. I was once introduced to something I had previously considered a negative, in a safe environment by someone I trusted, with the knowledge that safewords would be respected. And my attitudes towards that thing changed pretty quickly. You may find the same happens to you. Also, have a read of this thread, especially the second comment, and see if it resonates with you at all.

I can't find the particular post right now (it's on tumblr, somewhere), but I recall a dominant talking about how an act like cunnilingus can be both submissive and dominant. You can perform it because it is demanded of you, or you can perform it in such a way that you torment the other person as punishment for misbehaving, for example.
posted by Solomon at 2:14 PM on September 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


your local scene might have classes for the safety part (and play parties for the getting used to it part). i personally have had a difficult time with men who are eager to please and not hiding any sort of inner dom. i think it's a lot easier to play sub than to play dom. my particular submissive bent is that i want the right kind of selfish top. if she's looking for a service top (as tulip-socks mentions) you could probably have some fun together. in my experience that's just topping from the bottom which for me is absolutely no fun.
posted by nadawi at 2:18 PM on September 27, 2014


From personal experience, as someone that started out not so long ago it t was easier to start out for me by thinking of my partner more in the terms of a pet than a sub. I suppose it is mostly just rearranging your mental framework but thinking of the submissive as a pet you get to spoil, but one that like any good house pet, needs to be trained & disciplined to behave, seemed to help.

Also distancing yourself slightly worked for me. When we switch around my more assertive bedroom personality get's referred to in the third person as her/she, I find it makes me a lot less self conscious

You'll find seeing the other person enjoying themselves really helps you get into it as well, so while say paddling someone isn't my fetish, seeing just how much (oh so very much) my partner likes it . . .now that turns me on.

Remember you get to say No/use a safe word too. Both sides of the equation can have limits & that is perfectly fine, and limits can change, just because you or your partner liked something yesterday doesn't mean you HAVE to do it today or visa versa.

Also maybe do a some reading up because the thing a lot of people miss, is if your partner is into really intense things, aftercare may be just as much a part of what you do for them as anything kinky. It can also be a time you will feel so amazingly close to your partner and totally worth putting time into understanding as well.
posted by wwax at 3:26 PM on September 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is more aimed at someone in your girlfriend's situation, but:
so you want your vanilla-ish partner to dom you: AKA caring for your beginner dom


Also - the distinction between bottom and sub and slave might matter here. You mention "Master" - was she a full-blown slave in those relationships? ("Master/slave" is a common pairing/phrase.) My close friend is very, very immersed in the kink scene. When we were talking about topping/dominating, he brushed off service topping as totally unattractive to him, almost to the extent of saying it wasn't a real thing. It turns out that's because he's more of a slave than just a sub or bottom - he and his current partner have a 24-7 relationship and a contract which says his partner owns him. Of course someone service topping or just getting off on him getting off wouldn't be attractive to him - he craves someone else being totally, completely in control. But not everyone works that way.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:39 PM on September 27, 2014


[This is an answer from an anonymous commenter.]
I was in your girlfriend's position in my last relationship. My ex-boyfriend was newly divorced from his high school sweetheart. When I told him about, say, going to a dungeon party, I think it intimidated him. He felt like, wow, she's done all these things and I'll never be enough for her. Ironically, he was the best lover I've ever had and our sex was vanilla-ish. I'm not saying your girlfriend feels the same way, just that no, it's not an automatic dealbreaker that you're at different experience levels re: kink.

Communication is crucial. It helps to talk about sex in neutral spaces -- a cafe, or even the living room, but not the bedroom. Echoing the young rope-rider, you are absolutely allowed to have likes and dislikes, and she needs to know what they are. My ex was absolutely unwilling to call me names, pull my hair, or spank me. We never did any of those things. But he would tease me until I begged him to let me come, or refuse to let me give him a blow job -- because I really wanted to do that, but he was in control.

If talking openly is difficult, a BDSM checklist might help. You can fill it out together or separately, then compare results. There's one here. Also, my ex found a website called The Dominant Guide that he liked reading.

Lastly, not all power exchange is explicitly sexual. If your girlfriend is open to a dom/sub dynamic outside the bedroom, you can order her to perform small acts of service. To me, making my top a cup of coffee that's exactly to his liking is erotic, because I've learned what pleases him. My ex got a vicarious thrill from the coffee; knowing that it turned me on turned him on.

Good on you for asking instead of shutting down and judging her. Have fun, be safe, have more fun!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 PM on September 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Clarisse Thorn is well worth a read.
posted by adamvasco at 11:51 AM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also keep in mind that topping is a lot of work; tops need aftercare, too. There's a lot of cuddling going on with my sweetie after we have sex because that brings us both back to an equal, loving, safe, cozy place. YMMV. Just have fun. As someone says up thread, it's a libido killer if you feel forced to do something you're not into just to make your partner happy. It won't, it will backfire on you.

I've read that some novice tops start by having their subs-to-be model topping. Dunno if that would work for you but it's one approach.


Finally, in my experience each partner can influence each other over time so that things you thought you might not be into become exciting and things she thought weren't that hot can be super hot. Read up, experiment, have fun sexy vanilla times, too, and you'll have a blast. Don't stress. Enjoy!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:00 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


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