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When people hear me say I am a Dom they are either intrigued or horrified.
Those who are horrified I avoid. They are too close-minded to take the time to understand.
They have preconceived notions about what being a dominant man means, and whilst it may be possible to convince them I’m not an abuser of women, I don’t want to waste my energy.
It’s those who are curious that excite me.
I see it as a fresh opportunity to help someone discover the world of BDSM (you can see all my guides on Dom/sub here). I’m not there to lecture or persuade or preach (although sometimes I do slip into that mode occasionally because I’m incredibly passionate about the topic), simply to act as a kinky guide for a few brief moments.
I’m there to understand what they know, what they’ve experienced, and what’s got them thinking about it.
I love nothing more than speaking with a woman who has just discovered the scene or has recently discovered she is turned on by something which society says is wrong.
She may have the tiniest seedlings of ideas of she wants to try, or raging fantasies she MUST try, but she doesn’t quite know where to begin.
Questioning my motives
The first question I generally get is what does being a male Dom mean?
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My answer is usually a rambling one.
Organising my thoughts on the fly when I speak on such a nuanced topic as the Dom sub dynamic doesn’t come naturally to me. My vocabulary feels limited, the words don’t come out in order, and the thoughts I have swirling around in my head just don’t seem to organise themselves into neatly, ribbon-tied bundles of clarity.
So I thought I’d switch to another medium – writing.
I’d try and put words on paper (or screen) that sum up what being a dominant means to me, and how this is reflected in the Dom sub relationships (both long and short) I’ve enjoyed over the last few years.
This is a personal account. It isn’t meant to be a guide or an instruction manual on how to do things.
It’s a collection of thoughts that will hopefully give you a sense of my modus operandi, and may help you decide if you want to find a Dom of your own, or be a Dom.
How not to be a Dom
I do not get along with loud, arrogant, self-centred or overly controlling men.
I find men difficult to relate to at the best on times, not being into football or sport or drinking myself. And their lack of willingness to discuss anything more than superficial topics doesn’t appeal.
The stereotypical alpha male is something I find both intimidating and dislikable.
(They do say you subconsciously want for yourself the traits you find irritating in others, and I do relate to this. I would like to be more assertive, but it doesn’t need to come with the brashness or lack of regard for others that these men often have.)
When people hear the word dominant, they think of the man who is powerful, high status, successful, controlling, domineering, assertive, a perfectionist, who exudes confidence, wants things done their way, and lacks empathy and warmth.
They probably score highly on all three of the dark triad tendencies; narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism.
Subs (and a lot of women who don’t identify with the BDSM world) are typically drawn to men with these characteristics naturally.
It harks back to our lizard brain programming and desire to survive and pass on our DNA.
He may not be a reliable man, but he gets shit done (even if that means treading over people on the way to the top), will protect her should a fight break out, and can make a life or death decision in an emergency to ensure she lives to have beautiful babies and pass on her genetic material.
It’s alluring partly due to our brain’s hardwiring, and partly because she can relax knowing that with him, what you see if what you get. No (or few) games.
Is this what I mean when I use the word Dom?
SOME of those traits ARE useful, don’t get me wrong.
Yes, I need to be assertive (Edit: in my style of dominance).
Yes, I need to be confident and command respect. (Edit: in my style of dominance).
How can I give commands to my sub if I don’t know what I want, or can’t make decision?
Will she respect and listen to me if I speak my mind in a timid and shaking voice, deep down not believing she will do what I ask her?
So you do need some of the harder, masculine traits. To be a little bit controlling, able to manage people, and I suspect to be more the type of personality who is a ‘thinker’ rather than a ‘feeler’. To have logic and reason, not emotion, as your primary drivers to stay cool or unflustered when dealing with difficult life situations (for example not letting anger or frustration cloud your judgement when making an important decision).
(Edit: When I originally wrote this article, I believed that in order to be a dom you have to have the qualities I outline in the paragraph above. I now accept this doesn’t have to be the case, and I am looking at things through the lens of my style of dominance when I write. So, if you read the above paragraph and didn’t relate, don’t worry! You are free to create what ever style of dynamic you wish)
(As a side note, I am very interested in personality tests such as Myers Briggs, and wonder if Dom types have a particular set of personality types and subs another. Take the test in the link and let me know your results in the comments, including if you are a Dom or sub).
But having the qualities I listed above ALONE don’t make you a good Dom because you would be too ‘self’ focused.
And that’s what people I speak to think being a Dom is all about. Having whatever you want, whenever you want, and making your sub do your bidding all the time.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Being a Dom is absolutely NOT about forcing someone to do things they don’t want to do.
(Edit: As mentioned above, this statement was written whilst I was looking through the lens of my dynamic. In hindsight, I retract the above statement. As long as it has been agreed to upfront whilst both sober, then it is perfectly valid for a D/s dynamic to involve a dom forcing his sub to do something they don’t want to do. My main concern was to highlight the difference between consensual activities and those where one party has not agreed).
(I’m leaving aside consensual non-consent (CNC) and bratty subs who take pleasure in being ‘forced’ to do things they don’t want to do because really they do want to do them because consent has been agreed. It’s a role play and therefore a moot point).
If you are Doming this way, you will likely attract submissive women who are co-dependent, and your way of operating will only serve to make this condition worse. (Read Attached and The Human Magnet Syndrome for more info on narcissist/co-dependent relationships).
To prevent this, you need to add softer personality traits to your arsenal.
What being a Dom means to me
A good Dom:
- Is empathetic.
- Respects his submissive.
- Knows his duty of care to his submissive.
- Is partly (not solely) responsible for her physical and mental wellbeing, and takes care to ensure he isn’t acting in ways which harm her.
- Doesn’t take advantage of her eagerness to please or generosity in offering service to him.
- Engages with her in a way that ensures both he and she are getting something out of the dynamic.
- Uses his position of power to help her grow.
My version of being a male Dom mixes the softer, feminine traits with the stereotypical masculine traits to create a persona which is commanding yet caring, assertive yet respectful, powerful yet kind.
How does this manifest itself in my Dom sub relationships?
It is incredibly important to me to know the inner workings of the person I am playing with. I just have that type of personality.
- I want to know their fears, their desires, their darkest fantasies.
- I want to know what they thought about the last time they masturbated.
- I want to know the best and worst sexual experiences they’ve had.
- I want to know what erotica they’ve read that turned them on.
- I want to know when I do something that turns them on or turns them off.
So I can create a Dom sub dynamic that works for me AND for them.
I can see what kinks we have and don’t have in common. I understand their hard and soft limits. I know what they want to try and what I want to try – do our preferences align?
You put all your kinks out there, they do the same, and you go through them together and decide what sort of Dom sub relationship (DDLG, Master/Slave, dominant sex only, etc.) suits you both, and allows you to practise those kinks responsibly.
As a Dom, you have to be willing to listen. You have to be patient. You have to be non-judgmental.
The fake Doms who exude alpha male confidence in public and fancy themselves as a Dom often don’t understand this. They aren’t willing to sit down and listen to you. They just want to force their agenda on you, fuck, and leave.
The qualities of being a good listener, being warm, genuine, empathetic, and authentic are NOT what you typically think of when you hear the word dominant.
But they are essential. More so than the ‘alpha’ traits listed earlier.
The word ‘Dominant’ is misleading
The phrase ‘being a Dominant’ is a bit of a reduction.
You aren’t JUST dominant.
You have a complete cocktail of masculine and feminine traits integrated into your personality which you sway between depending on what the situation calls for.
During a scene, I expose the masculine traits.
During aftercare I expose the more feminine traits.
When talking through needs, wants and desires with a submissive I expose more feminine energy to help them feel at ease and open to discussing sensitive subjects, or things which can generate feelings of guilt and shame.
If you try and Dom them during these discussions you’ll quickly find you don’t learn anything, and they won’t open up to you at all for fear of judgement.
It’s not all fun and games
Being a Dom is 80% hard work. (Okay, I made this statistic up. But it’s still hard work).
Most of the time I’m ensuring my submissive is having her needs met, is happy, discussing ways to improve our Dom/sub relationship.
Only 20% of the time (probably less actually) am I really in the ‘hardcore Dom’ persona. Spanking her, command her to do things, training her on how to be a good submissive, or having dominant sex with her.
Are you willing to put in the work?
Don’t use BDSM as an excuse for abuse
I feel as though some f men tell women they are a ‘Dom’ to excuse their misogynistic and rude behaviour.
I’ve heard countless stories from women who go on a date with a guy, go back to his house, at which point he bends her over and fucks her, cums, then sends her on her way.
He doesn’t put in any effort to pleasure her at all, and there’s not an ounce of aftercare. He simply wants to get himself off.
The woman is deposited back onto the street, an object which has been used and discarded.
Now, don’t get me wrong – treating a sub as a fuck toy is hot.
And the above is perfectly acceptable if that’s what both people are into and have agreed to.
But if you haven’t agreed, or are feeling as though something in the dynamic is quite right, it’s time to speak up.
Being a Dom is difficult to sum up
I hope you now see why I struggle when someone asks me ‘what do you mean you’re a Dom?’
It’s a complex answer, full of nuance, and my interpretation is mine alone.
For me, what I love about being a dom is:
- The juxtaposition of masculine and feminine energy. It’s a sense of responsibility to the human being you are interacting with, and the desire to not only keep them safe from mental harm but to also help them experience growth.
- Leaving someone better off than I found them.
Men – strive to be the best Dom you can be. Read, learn, better yourself. Don’t believe all the stories you hear of the popular narrative that a Dom has to be an aggressive, controlling asshole (which, by the way, is why the BDSM community don’t like talking about 50 Shades of Grey).
You can be a soft-spoken Dom who loves cuddles and still call yourself a Dom.
Craft your own Dom sub relationship.
Be respectful of the other person you are playing with.
Do this and the world will be a slightly better place for us all.