If you realize that you are a sexual Dominant, but really haven’t “practiced” being a Dominant, then I am sure you have a lot of questions / concerns on how to be an effective one. Being a good Dom is more than just “being in control”. If it were that simple, everyone could be a Dominant. To be a “good” Dominant, there are certain things you need to practice and lots of things you need to know.
The media (Television, movies, books, porn) have given a bad rap to Dominants. Porn, especially, skews the true nature and purpose of a Dominant, oftentimes depicting them as angry, mean, vengeful, hurtful and just plain disrespectful to their submissives. Male Doms are often seen as abusing women, tying them tightly, beating them and just plain out disrespecting them. Female Dommes are seen as uber sexy, leather-boot-wearing, making a submissive crawl around and clean toilets. While there can be certain elements of things in a Dom/sub dynamic, depending on the pairing, ultimately these things are untrue and often lead to giant misconceptions.
No matter HOW you choose to enact your Dom / sub style, there are certain aspects that will make you a good Dominant in the eyes of those who know exactly what makes this so.
DON’T ABUSE THE GIFT OF SUBMISSION: The very first rule of being a Dominant is that you need to realize and fully embrace that submission is a gift! Another person is pretty much surrendering their free will and body to you in order to provide pleasure to you. Having a submissive does not mean a “mindless, weak servant”. It is a person who has chosen to trust you in ways and manners that most of society would NEVER allow. Submission to a Dominant is a tremendous show of faith. To abuse that just for fun or to “see what you could make him/her do” is simply wrong on all levels. You have to honor and respect that gift of submission and that person who is giving you that gift.
RESPECT THE LIMITS: When you enter into a Dom / sub relationship there HAS to be a discussion of the limits that the submissive has. This means there are certain activities that she /he does NOT want to participate in. Hard limits represent those things that CAN NOT be engaged in unless the parameters change. For example, a hard limit may be “no breath play”(i.e. asphyxiation).
As a Dominant, you are to realize that the submissive has said NO to this activity. You are not to abuse that NO by engaging in this activity. It does not matter if you are in the heat of the moment or they consented DURING play. If it is a hard limit, you respect that until you have another conversation OUTSIDE of play. In order to gain trust and be a good Dominant, you need to always respect the limits.
RESPECT THE SAFE WORD: ALL Dom / sub pairings NEED to have a safe word. A safe word is a word or phrase outside of “normal” language that signifies when play should STOP immediately. This word is a safeguard for the submissive to be able to be released from anything that is making them uncomfortable, scared or causing pain which is unwanted. A good Dominant needs to ALWAYS respect the safe word! To ignore it, pretend you did not hear it, or in any other way not abide by the fact that the safe word was said is to cause a rift in trust and to abuse the gift of submission.
GIVE PRAISE: One of the hallmarks of submission is the need for praise and affirmation that what they are doing is pleasing to the Dominant. [s]ubmissives receive their greatest pleasure from pleasuring their Dominants. When they get the praise that they are pleasing their Dominant, it is like little pieces of joy. Knowing that pleasure is being exchanged is also very important – so non-verbal praise is important too. This could be a stroking of hair during oral sex, a moan or a grunt, or any signification that the submissive is doing well at what she / he is trying to achieve – i.e. giving pleasure.
PUNISH FAIRLY: In some Dom / sub relationships, punishment is part of the play. Punishment can be playful and flirty, or a real part of the dynamic. Whatever your “punishment” style, always remember to punish fairly. [s]ubmissives are not for abusing, beating or otherwise taking out aggressions on. If you need to punish your submissive, do so fairly without the intent of doing any real damage. Now, in some Sadomasochistic relationships, pain and punishment take on a whole, new level of intensity. For these purposes, let’s assume we are NOT talking about pain play, but simply punishment. There should have been a discussion regarding punishment. If there are any hard limits regarding that (i.e. no caning) then they need to be respected.
GIVE APPROPRIATE AFTERCARE: Aftercare is a term which applies to what happens AFTER play. Many times Dom / sub play is a more rigorous, emotional or taxing type of play. It can involve bondage, uncomfortable positions, longer sessions and simply be more demanding on the submissive. There is also this state of “subzone” which happens to many seasoned submissives which means they slip into a sort of state of euphoria and when the play ends, there is a sort of crash. They can feel very vulnerable, tired, sore, confused even.
Providing appropriate aftercare is VERY important. A good Dominant will praise the submissive, pamper them with lots of cuddling, maybe a bath or a shower. They will allow them to come back to a regular headspace where they feel like they are even and balanced. Simply ending play and rolling over and going to sleep is NOT being a good Dominant. That can leave the submissive feeling used and, yes, abused.
GIVE CARE AND LOVE: Any person who does not care about their partner’s pleasure during sex could NOT be a Dominant. This is why the perception in books and movies is so askew. You may not be “in love” with your submissive, but you should definitely care about them as a human, a person and a lover. This means to be aware of signs of displeasure or pain, even if they have not alerted you to it. As you get to know your submissive, you will better figure out their threshold for certain activities. Until that point it is your duty as the Dominant to care about their experience as well as your own.