Being an INTJ I love theory. I would prefer to spend an entire day reading about the psychology of arousal than the latest fiction thriller on the bestsellers list.
I remember as a young child of about nine sitting in the basement of my local bookshop and pawing over the biology books. The reproductive anatomy fascinated me. At that age I didn’t really ‘get’ it, but something has always drawn me to sex.
What turns us on as humans? Why are we attracted to certain individuals and not others? How can I become a better lover?
The more I read, the more I understood three things:
- What makes a man attractive to a woman is not the same as what makes a woman attractive to a man.
- Good sex is about communication (verbal and non-verbal)
- The more you can know yourself, and can be introspective and self-aware, the better your sex life will become
- Great sex is cerebral. You must address the psychological aspects of sex as well as the practical. Most learn only the practical techniques and wonder why their partner isn’t wanting to jump into bed with them at any given opportunity.
The life of a dominant
As a dominant, you have an even greater responsibility than in a traditional vanilla relationship, because your submissive is more reliant on you.
Great communication is even more important.
Knowing how to navigate the murky waters of consent is essential.
Knowing how to discuss wants and needs with your partner as well as being able to listen to theirs in a non-judgemental way free from shame and guilt is critical.
Being able to interpret the non-verbal clues you are seeing during sex will give you an almost mystical ability to predict what she wants next and how to satisfy her better.
Added to that you need to have your own shit together. To be healthy, happy, have a purpose in life, and goals which you want to achieve. You need to understand how your actions in a relationship are the result of your upbringing, and recognise when you are repeating harmful patterns over and over again.
That’s a lot, right!
This isn’t stuff which is taught in schools, which is part of the reason this website exists.
Books for dominants
Below I’ve put together the books which have helped me over the years address some of the issues above. It’s by no means a definitive list, but highly recommended reading.
If you read the books below and apply the information in them, I guarantee you’ll see an improvement in your relationships and sex life.
These really are fantastic books.
None of the books below are specifically written for those in dom sub relationships. Some of them aren’t even about sex or relationships at all.
But as you read them, you’ll see how all the knowledge within each intertwines with the other, forming a patchwork of techniques to help you become a better person, more confident, more empathetic and understanding, more assertive, and ultimately a better person to hang out with.
You then apply those new found skills to your D/s relationship, sex and dating, and BOOM! You’ll notice a HUGE difference.
Under each recommendation I’ll provide a brief description as to what I got out of the book and why I rate it.
Summary for those in a rush
- The Definitive Book of Body Language
- No More Mr. Nice Guy
- Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
- Come As You Are
- Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment
1. The Definitive Book of Body Language
The Definitive Book of Body Language: How to read others’ attitudes by their gestures is an international bestseller for good reason. The book walks through all aspects of reading body language. It groups examples by body part (e.g. face, hands) allowing you to fine tune your ability to read someone.
The contents of the book might seem a bit obvious to some. “Oh, he’s folded his arms so that means he’s defensive or cross? Whoop-dee-doo”. And some of the book is obvious. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need reminding of it from time to time. There are also nuggets of wisdom spread throughout the book which aren’t so obvious. Learning just one of these is worth the price of the book alone.
Here’s a couple of things I love knowing:
- People are slightly on guard when sitting with their backs to an open door. Therefore, if you are negotiating, ensure you sit yourself at the table facing the door and have them with their back to it. It’ll give you an edge.
- In a group of people standing and chatting, look down at everybody’s feet. More often than not people tend to point their feet towards the person they view as the leader or most attractive in the group. If you’re trying to figure out who fancies you at a party, this is a neat little trick. It’s also useful for checking how people view your status within a group.
Knowing how to read body language is also useful when you are monitoring your partner during a BDSM scene. If she’s in subspace she may not be able to use the safeword, or if she’s feeling uncomfortable she may not tell you.
The other benefit of this book is that it’ll show you how to be more dominant. Let’s say your girlfriend enjoys a D/s dynamic but you’ve never really considered yourself confident or assertive, and have no idea where to begin. How you hold your body, how you turn your head, how you speak – these are all things you can change in order to give you the appearence of being more dominant and confident.
And guess what, at first you’ll just be faking it. It’ll feel odd walking a different way to normal, or standing differently. But the more you do it, the more it will become part of who you are. And before long you WILL be the most confident person in a social situation.
2. No More Mr. Nice Guy
I hate to break it to you, but if you’re constantly moaning about how ‘nice guys finish last’, and feel anger towards women because they keep overlooking you and going for jerks instead, then you’re the one who needs to work on yourself, not them.
Believe me, I’ve been there.
No More Mr Nice Guy: A Proven Plan for Getting What You Want in Love, Sex, and Life is highly recommended reading if your in this situation.
The main premise of the book is that you are repressing your true masculinity, because you’ve been brought up in a way that frowned upon asking for things directly for fear of being seen as a burden, or punished for it. As a result you’ve developed this ‘nice guy persona’ who doesn’t ask for what he wants directly, instead attempting to get it by manipulation. And if you don’t get it you become resentful of the other person.
Let me give you a concrete example. You love getting blowjobs, but your partner never gives you them. Instead of asking her to give you a blowjob when you are next in bed, you give her oral sex until she orgasms multiple times, thinking that if you do she will reciprocate. When she doesn’t (because you haven’t explicitly told her you want a blowjob) you become resentful, thinking to yourself “this is so unfair! I gave her an hour or oral sex and she didn’t give me a blowjob at all! I’m the victim here”.
In reality, you were trying to manipulate your partner. You weren’t giving her oral sex because you wanted to for its own sake, you were doing it because you wanted something in exchange.
At the extreme end of the scale it’s the same damaging mentality which causes men to become angry when a woman doesn’t sleep with them on a first date simply because they showed up with a bunch of flowers.
Not being able to ask for what you want is damaging for yourself and your partner. And you’re never going to be a good dom if you have no ideas how to ask someone for what you want or to set healthy boundaries.
If any of the above resonated with you, I beg you, for the sake of making the world a better place, PLEASE go buy the book and read it from cover to cover.
You won’t change overnight, but it will help you get out of the ‘nice guy denial phase’, recognising your own harmful behaviour, setting you on the path to put it right.
3. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
Nonviolent Communication — A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships is a book about how to communicate in a healthy way with everyone, from your partner to friends, to work colleagues.
Their definition of violent communication is acting in a way which causes harm to others. This can include judging others, bullying, having a racial bias, blaming, finger-pointing, discriminating, speaking without listening, criticizing others or ourselves, name-calling, reacting when angry, using political rhetoric, and being defensive. (It’s not about beating people up or physically harming them).
Everyone communicates violently in some form or another. It’s part of being human. The question is – how close to 0% of your communication can you make your violent communication, and instead interact with people in a way which does not cause harm.
The book provides tools and strategies to understand: how your choice of words affects how people react to you; how to life a life full of courage, passion and authenticity; and most importantly for a D/s relationship, how to ask for what we want, as well as being able to listen to others even if we disagree with them.
If everyone communicated in this way the world would be a better place, no doubt.
Personally I’ve found the techniques described most useful when discussing kinks and sex. If you are unable to listen to your partner share their fantasies or kinks without it stiring up judgmental thoughts, disdain, disgust, shame, guilt or jealously, or you don’t know how to put into words what you want from a D/s dynamic for fear of being laughed at, shamed, or fear how your partner will react, the techniques will help.
It’s also useful to practice the techniques when discussing your sex menu with a partner.
4. Come As You Are
Why am I recommending you, a male dominant, read a book for women about female orgasm?
Because I believe it’s important you understand the struggles that some women have in achieving orgasms and/or pleasure in general from sex. As a male dominant you should aim to be empathetic towards your submissive, spend time in her shoes, understand what makes her tick.
This book will help you do that.
It doesn’t cover kink in particular but does highlight the double standards between how society views women having sex and men having sex, as well as all the psychological blockers to sexual gratification which occur because of it.
My main takeaways from the book are that environmental and mental stressors are the main reason women have in achieving orgasm. For example, they might be incredibly turned on (the author uses the analogy of the accelerator in a car being pressed full down) but still unable to fully enjoy their sexual experience because ‘the brakes’ are being applied, pulling in the opposite direction to the force of the accelerator.
This is incredibly useful information to know, and why your masterful oral or finger technique might work sometimes but not others. If you approach sex as a man thinking women operate in the same way, you’ll never be a masterful lover. It’s why online forums are full of women struggling with sex, and many don’t orgasm during sex.
As a gentle (romantic) dom, I take pride in giving orgasms, and in pains me when I am unable to pleasure my sub. For that reason I take the time to understand what ‘brakes’ might be holding her back, and work with her to overcome these. I’m no expert by any means – but sometimes all it takes is some non-judgemental listening, removing stressors from the environment, and putting her at ease before sex even begins for progress to be made.
Gentlemen – do NOT neglect the emotional and psychological side of sex. It is far more important that the physical side (read about techniques for being more dominant in the bedroom here). Understand it and you’ll move from making her go ‘meh’ to ‘OH MY GOD’.
5. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment
The final book in the list is about attachment theory. Attachment theory buckets everyone into one of three relationship styles, which are dictated by how we were raised as children.
You can have a secure, avoidant, or anxious attachment style. The secure people make up 50% of the population. These are the people who always seem to be in healthy relationships.
The avoidants view love and commitment as work and a burden. They self-sabotage themselves by unconsciously picking partners who aren’t suitable for them, knowing it will fall apart further down the line, thus not having to deal with the emotional burden of a relationship. They blame others for their lack of success in relationships and point the finger at their partner when things don’t work out (“she wasn’t good enough for me”).
The anxious attachment style is the opposite of the avoidant. They fall into relationships fast, but like the avoidant, also choose the wrong partners,. They choose unavailable people who will treat them badly and ultimately leave, thereby proving the deep seated unconscious belief that you are not worthy of a relationship (“I wasn’t good enough for her”). The anxious types blame themselves for the failures in a relationship, and are constantly trying to ‘not mess up’ and ‘do everything for their partner’.
Anxious and avoidant people make up 50% of the population, and tend to be the people who are single (because secure people stay together). The problem is that anxious and avoidant types attract each other like magnets, because both provide something the other wants.
I often wonder if many D/s relationships are due to a Avoidant pairing up with an Anxious. In my past relationships I’ve definitely seen this. As an avoidant I tend to attract Anxious types as the sexual chemistry is insane. The anxious type is a people pleaser (which a submissive is naturally) and the avoidant type is robust, stoic and non-committal (the stereo typical image of a dom).
However, being Avoidant or Anxious is not where you want to be. You want to be Secure or you’ll be caught in an endless loop of failed relationships.
And that’s where this book comes in.
It helps you identify your attachment style, and how to move into a more Secure attachment style. I’ve found the tips very useful. It’s helped me identify when my Avoidant style is acting up (‘trying to run away’) even though nothing is wrong, but also made me more aware of who I choose to date.
If you find yourself with any of the challenges I’ve described above, then get this book.
Summary or books for dominants
There you have it. Five books I recommend all dominants read.
I also recommend subnissives have a read too. All of the principles the books contain will be equally applicable to you, except No More Mr. Nice Guy. That book will be useful in helping you understand why your man acts in certain ways though, and may be useful.
Great D/s dynamics aren’t just about the physical act of sex – it’s also about understanding your own and the psychology of others. Aim for continuous self-improvement. Identify your weaknesses and seek to grow.
Your dom sub relationship (and all areas of your life) will thank you for it.