The primary responsibilities of a dominant are to assist with creating a consensual power dynamic during sex, and perhaps also outside the bedroom, in order to create an experience where his partner is able to relax into her submission and experience all the pleasure that comes with that.
This may be because she finds it sexually arousing to be overpowered, dominated, and so wanted by the dominant that he can’t help ravish her.
It may also be because she finds a sense of satisfaction and pride from the caretaking of others through acts of service.
It’s the dominants role to make her feel safe, protected, cared for, and relaxed. He must lead her, guide her, discipline her, whilst also being sensitive to her needs.
A good dominant’s role in a dom sub relationship is to nurture her naturally submissive instincts, allowing her to please you, but not in a way which exploits her or is emotionally abusive.
The responsibilities of a dominant are a delicate balance between giving and taking. Taking her body sexually and then giving aftercare. Giving her an orgasm but taking away her agency to have them without first asking permission.
Many new dominants on the BDSM scene believe that being a dom is all about sex, and forcing a submissive to do whatever you want her to do.
Due to the dominant’s position of power in the relationship, it would be very easy for him to do this. To make his submissive do something she is hesitant to do, and then punish her is she refuses.
This is a terrible way to dom, and absolutely not what being a dominant is all about.
So let’s look at what the roles and responsibilities of a dominant in a healthy relationship should be.
Roles and responsibilities of a dominant partner
A dominant partner in a dom sub relationship should hold himself to the highest standards, especially when he expects the same from his submissive.
Responsibility 1. He takes responsibility
First and foremost, he takes responsibility in life. He accepts who he is, and how he got to where he is. He acknowledges his strengths but also his weaknesses.
He accepts when things go wrong, and apologises when needed.
Responsibility 2: He is emotional resilient
He keeps cool, calm and collected.
When things go wrong in life, as they always do, he doesn’t lash out or blame those around him. He stays positive and driven to work things out, and strives to overcome obstacles and succeed in all aspects of his life.
Don’t mistake emotional resilience for never showing emotions. It is okay to do so. But he does so in a controlled manner, in a way which doesn’t harm others physically or emotionally.
Responsibility 3: He leads
He’s in charge. He leads from the front, in all areas of his life, and especially when interacting with his submissive. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t listen to her opinion or take her advice. He absolutely does, and grows as a person by doing so.
He leads without being a dictator. Rather, he uses his dominance to encourage, challenge, support and lightly push when he sees her submissive nature holding her back or stopping her achieving what she wants (just as he would expect her to push him if he was out of line, or needed assistance).
The best leaders are those who compromise, negotiation, and listen.
Responsibility 4: He commands respect
A dominant must earn the respect of his submissive. You cannot, and should not, attempt to Dom someone you’ve just met. She must trust, like and have chosen to respect you.
Being a submissive means you are choosing to put yourself in a potentially vulnerable position. A dominant must work to build a strong bond of mutual trust and respect as a foundation of the dom sub dynamic.
Responsibility 5: He communicates well
Dom sub relationships do not work without good communication. Period.
Being a good communicator means being able to listen, able to read your submissives non-verbal body language, be direct when needed, and speak with clarity, in a warm, friendly and empathetic manner.
You must also be willing to accept feedback, adapting your behaviour when necessary.
Responsibility 6: He sets the rules
Perhaps the most obvious role of the dominant. He sets the rules, laying out how he likes things done. Some dom sub dynamics remain in the bedroom, in which case the dominant would be the one ordering the submissive to adopt positions, and what she may and may not do.
If your dynamic extends beyond sex, then you might have other rules set, such as her being responsible for the household, or fetching you a drink when thirsty, or allowing you to order for her when at a restaurant, or sending her commands via text message.
Responsibility 7: He disciplines
Some submissives enjoy the feeling of being disciplined when they mess up, or will act brattily to force you into punishing them to re-inforce that you are the one in charge.
A show of power and strength is a turn on because it’s primal. She knows if you have the confidence and assertiveness with her, you’ll be able to deal with the threats from outside your relationship (fantasised or real).
This discipline can be a cheeky funishment (such as a light-hearted spank on the bum if your sub is making fun of you), all the way up to strict discipline and correction techniques you might find in a Master/slave relationship.
Responsibility 8: He ensures his submissive is cared for
Just because you submissive enjoys serving you or being the one with less power in the dynamic, that does not mean you treat her badly. In fact, you should be putting MORE effort in to ensuring she is okay.
Examples including giving good aftercare following a scene, helping her with difficult decisions in life, and generally being a good partner.
Responsibility 9: He ensures his submissives needs are being met
Once again, being a dominant does not mean it is all you, you, you. Part of your responsibilties as a dominant is to ensure you are both getting what you need out of the partnership.
This is why communication is so important. You need to be able to step out of the dom sub power dynamic in order to have important discussions. Forcing her to do things your way using aggressive behaviour with no regard for her safety is not what being a dom is all about.
Things that AREN’T responsibilities of a dominant
Reading all the above you may be left wondering if the submissive has any agency at all.
Don’t mistake a submissive for a pushover. You must remember that submissiveness, just like dominance, ebbs and flows depending upon who is being interacted with and in what situation.
As an example, in public, a woman might be a high flying lawyer, earning twice as much as her husband. She’s sociable, charming, outspoken and entertaining to be around. In that situation she lets her dominant traits shine.
Behind closed doors, she might enjoy her partner pulling her hair, tied up, treated roughly, made to bed for his cock inside her, and denied orgasms repeatedly. She has CHOSEN to become submissive in that moment because it serves her in some way.
It is not up to you as the dominant to dictate in which scenarios she submits. That is something you have to negotiate and agree upon with her. If she wants to only submit to you during sex, but you want a master slave dynamic, you must not force her. That is not your decision to make. You may state what you would like, but be willing to accept a no.
Take care also not to slip into a co-dependent relationship, where your submissive becomes completely reliant on you. This serves no-one long term.
It is not the role of a dominant to fix all the problems in a submissive’s life, just as it isn’t her role to fix all his.
It also isn’t the role of a dominant to ALWAYS be the one making the choices. Sometimes I want to relax, and don’t want to have to make decisions. I would then ask my partner for her advice, or to make a decision on my behalf.
In order words, it’s not in the responsibilities of a dominant to always be dominant. You may only choose to roleplay the dom sub relationship once a week on your Friday night sex night. That doesn’t make you any less of a dominant than someone who engages in a 24/7 style of dynamic.
It’s up to you both to carve your own niche out of the BDSM world. The roles and responsibilities serve as a starting point, but are by no means rigid or complete.
Make the relationship your own, as long as you are doing it in a safe, sane and consensual way.