An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Domination by sexsmurf
You come home one ordinary afternoon, and there is your girlfriend looking nervous. She has something she wants to talk to you about, and you’re thinking, “ok, if she crashed the car again I’m not going to get angry.” It’s not that though, it’s…sexual stuff. Now you’re really nervous; I mean hell, you’re not exactly John Holmes, but you get the job done, right? No no, it’s not like that, your sweet girl want to be Dominated.
She has, she explains, certain types of fantasies. Fantasies about not nice stuff, fantasies about dirty, naughty things. Things you joked about in high school. She wants to actually do those things! Do people actually do that stuff? What if you’re terrible at it? Do you need to buy a zipper mask? Oh god, this is why women shouldn’t be allowed to read or use the internet.
This is a pivotal moment, and unfortunately if someone has seen fit to give you this article you may have already blown it. She is reaching out with her most vulnerable secrets, and your only job at this moment is not to freak out. Guys don’t listen well period, but try your hardest to pay attention to the details, be supportive, ask questions, and don’t judge anything. If the conversation goes really well she might even want to get started on the play right away. Don’t do it! Tell her you need a little time to do some research, and if she’s a good girl you might let her play tomorrow. Congratulations, you’ve just committed your very first dominant act. Now grab a beer, head for the garage, and lets unpack this thing together.
If you don’t see a damn thing wrong with the consensual abuse of a willing partner, congratulations for not being a sheep. Skip this section. If on the other hand you feel a deep discomfort caused by a lifetime of exposure to puritanical moral values it’s time to set that straight right now. Society might say that playacting sexual violence is wrong, but you have to realize that this is the same society that is rife with actual domestic violence.
The same society that brought you climate change, depleted uranium weapons, new country, Top 40, microwave dinners, Jackass, the debt crisis, wood and petroleum food additives, and that stupid fucking singing plastic bass they sold for years at Walgreens.
The same society that tells us sex is bad and then makes a fortune selling us pornography.
Society can go fuck itself.
Those priests and politicians that wave their crooked fingers and preach morality are always the ones that get caught diddling little boys and soliciting homosexual prostitutes. Count on it.
Sexuality is a continuum. In the 1800’s some people had sex in full length gowns with a hole and slit cut in the front. If you wanted to try doggie style or oral sex you were a pervert. It’s the same way with sex today: doggie style and oral are now ordinary, and people who like rough sex and funny costumes are the new deviants. Think it will be that way in 50 years? Probably not.
The truth about what we do is that it’s nothing more than playing with our brains and our bodies so we can have way better sex. It’s also an arena where people can work through the natural power dynamics that arise in all human relationships in a healthy way.
BDSM is two different things that are often but not always mixed together: sensation play and power dynamics. If someone is getting spanked and they love the feeling of that, that’s sensation play. If they love the feeling of someone overpowering and disciplining them, that’s a power dynamic. BDSM play without power play is called sensation play. Sensation play combined with some element of power play, often where one person is designated as being in charge, is called topping and bottoming. Power play that extends beyond the sexual arena is usually called domination and submission (D/s). People crave sensation play because they like how it feels; people crave domination and submission because it fills a deep psychological need.
“Right, right,” you’re saying, “but when do we get to the part about what I’m actually supposed to do?”
Hold tight; we’re almost there, but first we need to talk about:
People generally suck at communication. We learn just enough to become functional members of society, but there is no real training in relationships and how to do them well. Over time people can fall into passive-aggressive, emotionally manipulative, self-protective behavior patterns. It doesn’t work that well, but it works well enough to keep Average Joe and Jane Vanilla living in the same apartment.
This is NOT the case with BDSM. The sexual intensity and deep intimacy of kink and D/s are extremely vulnerable emotional territory. Both dominants and submissives give themselves to their partner with absolute trust, and it’s both of your jobs to make sure that trust doesn’t get broken. You need to express your thoughts and feelings even if you don’t want to, and your partner needs to listen and be supportive, even if they don’t like what you are saying. The days of feeling hurt and not expressing yourself, or of reacting like a child when your partner shares something vulnerable are over. You MUST learn to communicate. If you don’t instill good habits early and practice them often your relationship will be filled with an intensity of conflict that will make you wish for the fights of the old days.
All right, now to the fun stuff. You know those frozen yogurt places with a dozen flavors and a zillion toppings? This is just like that. BDSM is a cup of yogurt, and you and your partner get to decide together what you want and don’t want in it. The process of this is called negotiation. First you decide what things you absolutely can’t stand. These are your limits. Then you decide what things you do want as a top. These are your desires. People generally make three big mistakes at this point: first, not wanting to try something they’ve never tasted; second, getting grumpy that your partner doesn’t want to try something you know you like; and third, convincing yourself that if you can’t have something you like you’ll never be happy.
Have you ever really enjoyed something and then not enjoyed it anymore? Or really didn’t like something that later you loved. That’s because our brains are constantly growing and changing. People are constantly wiring and unwiring their desires. This isn’t psychological, it’s neurological. People HATE to admit this so the best way to take advantage of it is to just relax and let the process work itself. Try those blue sprinkles on pumpkin ice cream, and when your partner doesn’t want the M&Ms you’re certain that life will be bleak without, just let it go for now. Your brains can’t rewire themselves if you keep telling telling them what they will and won’t like. Create an environment of patience, trust, and willingness, and you’ll be amazed at the results.
Now you’ve both agreed on what kind of yogurt you want and what you want on it, here comes the hard part, and the fun part. You’re the Dom, so you’ll be doing everything from here on out. In other words, getting the cup, layering the ingredients, and planning how to feed it to her in a way that will be exciting for both of you. Chocolate-vanilla swirl, sprinkles on the left, chocolate chips on the right, a hidden bite of licorice, another squirt of lemon, whipped cream, blueberries, a bunch of napkins, two spoons…. This is the part they don’t tell you about being a Dom. It’s kind of a lot of work. You realize that it’s not enough to be puffed up with the desire to have an awesome eating experience, you actually have to have a plan. This is called crafting a scene. Be creative; do your best. It’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.
You’ve left your shame at the door; you’ve communicated; you’ve negotiated. Before we get to playtime, we have one last thing to talk about: safety. This is a big issue because a lot of simple BDSM activities carry risks that aren’t necessarily apparent. You need to do your own research, but here are a few basic guidelines:
1) Have a safeword that the bottom can call if play gets too intense.
2) Never hit anywhere near the kidneys or eyes.
3) Never leave a restrained partner alone.
4) Always be mindful of what could happen if a restrained person trips or falls.
5) Immediately release any restraint that causes numbness or tingling.
6) If a person is gagged they need a clearly visible substitute for a safeword like a tennis ball or a red hanky they can drop.
Safe words should be clear and simple and should have two levels: slow down and stop. If you aren’t doing consensural non-consent play, there is no reason you can’t just say slow down and stop. “Yellow” and “red” are very common safe words. I would encourage you both to get comfortable with safe words. Calling your safe word is not a failure; it’s an essential part of BDSM communication. I rarely get a red in bed, but if I’m not hearing at least one yellow per session, I’m not giving her all I can, and I’m not learning my partner’s limits. I believe that pushing a sub to safe word on occasion helps them to get comfortable with the concept of communicating in the moment, which is a VERY good habit to have.
All right, it’s game time. Let’s bring it. You’ve already decided what you’re going to do, now let’s talk about how you’re going to do it.
Domination requires three things: confidence, control, and sensitivity.
Confidence is key. People read others’ body language on levels we’re not even conscious of, and when you are relaxed and self-assured that subliminally communicates to the submissive that you know what you’re doing, and that whatever you want to do is the right thing, and she should relax and go with the flow. It’s not something you can fake and thats why it’s hard for new Doms to get started. The best thing you can do for your confidence is to start slow, craft an easy scene, and try to do it really well. It’s ok to laugh and relax — you don’t need to be the serious Super-Dom. If you try to do intense play while you’re still new and nervous, you’re going to end up looking like an ass. It’s worth checking out books and fetish sites to get an idea of what other people do, but I can’t stress enough that your dominance is an expression of you and to be really good at it you’ll have to develop your own style.
Control. Submissives love to be controlled. It makes them feel safe and comfortable and allows them to let go and just go on a mental vacation. It almost doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you maintain a steady flow of control, telling them what to do, and physically controlling their body. This is much harder than it looks. It takes practice, which is why you should start with short simple scenes. For me, it’s like a dance, a push and pull of energy, sometimes moving quickly and suddenly like pulling a woman stumbling down a hallway with my belt wrapped around her neck, other times slow and intimate like having her stand in front of me frozen like a statue while I inspect every bit of her body while drinking a cup of tea. I can’t really give any specific advice because what happens is so dependent on the kinks and comfort level of the individual.
This brings us to sensitivity. While you should be creating a convincing illusion that you are using your submissive for your pleasure, the reality of the fact is that if you just plow forward like a bull in a vagina shop you’re going to be asked to leave. Sensitivity is learning to read your partner’s energy and redirect the scene if necessary. Maybe she needs it harder; maybe she needs you to back off; maybe she needs it different; maybe she needs to be told to “shut the fuck up bitch and suffer through it.” It’s a process of trial and error, and that’s why we have negotiations and safewords to define the outer parameters. The art of being a good dominant is learning to recognize from body language alone just where the edges are and then surfing the line just inside of safe words.
Confidence, control, and sensitivity are something you learn over time. At first you’ll lean heavily on your toys and scenes, but as you grow you’ll find that all those things were just props that helped you feel safe establishing a dominant energy connection.
So you just had your scene where you safely executed your negotiated activities with confidence, control, and sensitivity, and now playtime is over. According to the Holy Book Of BDSM, now is when you must provide aftercare, showering your submissive with cuddles, massage, warm baths, and chocolate. Well, maybe. What should happen after a scene is what you two want to have happen after a scene. I once dated a business woman who hated cuddling and insisted on coiling all of the ropes herself before excusing herself. Cuddles are common, but do what you guys want. It’s your bowl of yogurt, remember.
Communication, negotiation, safety, scene, aftercare. This is how most people would define the arc of a healthy BDSM experience, but I want to add one more critical ingredient: The next day check-in.
Now that you’ve both had a chance to sleep on whatever freaky things you did the night before. It’s time to get together and talk about what happened. What did you like, what did you not like, how did things make you feel, what would work better if you changed it a little. This process is important because it teaches subs to communicate, (which subs are generally bad at), and it teaches Doms to listen (which Doms are generally bad at), and it teaches both people to talk about sexuality frankly and openly (which everyone is generally bad at). It gives both parties a chance to reassure each other after an experience of intense mutual vulnerability. During these conversations, it’s essential that you don’t take a criticism as a personal attack, just as it’s your partners responsibility not to phrase it that way.
Remember, it’s also ok for you to have limits and desires of your own. You’re allowed to say that you didn’t like this or wanted more of this. And it’s her responsibility to listen, not attack you, and try hard to meet your needs. Women are taught by our fucked-up society from an early age to use their sexuality to gain emotional leverage over the men in their lives, and I think as men we have a deeply ingrained idea that their vaginas are some sort of magic box that we are lucky to be able to play with in the first place. It’s one way for women to gain power in a culture that disempowers them, and as understandable as that is, there is no place for this sort of manipulation in BDSM. If someone needs power they need to ask for it.
You should make sure from the beginning that you are in a relationship that respects the time, effort, thought, and vulnerability that goes into learning to be a good dominant — after all, this is about you, too. At the end of a check-in, you both should have worked through any residual feeling or discomforts to create a clean emotional slate so you can go into the next experience with with complete trust and vulnerability to each other.
The skills you’ll gain from going through the process of exploring BDSM sexuality will ripple outward into all areas of your life. You’ll learn to be vulnerable while still having boundaries. You’ll learn to communicate effectively. You’ll learn to recognize the existing power dynamics in your relationship and express that in a healthy way. You’ll learn to be honest with yourself and your partner about your real desires so you can finally stop jerking off to internet porn and start actually doing all those things in real life.
Be safe, and be nice to each other. Good luck.
Note: I wrote this for the vanilla boyfriend of a sub I trained who freaked out when she told him she was kinky, but is now trying hard to get on board. It’s long and I doubt I even came close to covering everything so I’m really hoping for your ideas in the comments so I can edit it and make it even better.