The Kinky Man’s Guide To Exploring Dominance
DISCLAIMER: Gender and sexuaity is a spectrum. Kink is practiced by people at every point along that spectrum. This article will be speaking directly to people who identify as men and are attracted to people who identify as women, but that is not to imply that these are the only people who play with BDSM, nor is it to say that men are always Doms and women are always subs.
BDSM is having a moment in the zeitgeist. From the last aftershocks of Fifty Shades of Grey to The Weeknd’s new single that’s actually a pretty consent-forward narrative about being open to a new partner’s kinks, it seems that power play is everywhere. But what about the stuff that doesn’t make it into a music video?
Once all this kink frenzy makes its way onto the apps, the ins and outs of actually making a scene happen are not quite as obvious as just doing the stuff you might have seen in a movie or even in porn. Particularly if you are an aspiring male Dom seeking to play with female subs.
Doms come in all shapes and sizes and all gender expressions and orientations. But ask any sub who’s been on the apps trying to date men and they will agree that, as a group, people who identify as men can sometimes show up to the responsible kink party lacking many essential safety strategies and the general wherewithal to engage in responsible, risk-aware kink play. So for the sake of this article — men, you’re getting singled out. As a sub myself, I’m here to guide you through the softer side of making all your hardcore fantasies come true.
I. UNDERSTAND THE DATING POOL
I am a sub to a male Dom, and one thing He has said to me is that Doms are a lot like movie directors. When you’re on set shooting a movie, there’s only one director. So directors don’t often get to see how other directors work. Same with Doms. In a lot of cases, you won’t know what subs are experiencing out there with other Doms, but it’s important to be informed about their experience so you can be mindful about how you approach them.
Subs are a diverse group who are looking for a variety of experiences under the consensual power exchange umbrella. But for the most part, they want to experience a safe feeling of release and embodied pleasure through kink play. Some are just there for physical sensation play, while others might be after more psychological power play, while many others want a blend of all of the above. This is why negotiation is so crucial, because you can’t make any assumptions about what the word sub will mean to a given person, just as no one can assume what Dominance means to you.
The biggest issue subs or aspiring subs face in the dating pool is the prevalence of so-called “Fake Doms.” These are people who understand the idea of Dominance probably from porn or mainstream media, but haven’t done any research on how BDSM is actually practiced safely. They aren’t aware of how to negotiate a scene, how to properly use safe words, or about the necessity of doing aftercare. They just come at subs with all the talk, but none of the walk. And this is a big problem! Primarily for the subs, whose bodies and emotions can be in danger when the “Dom” doesn’t know what they’re doing, but also for those Doms who will find themselves out over their skis and prone to their own shame or hurt feelings resulting from a scene gone awry.
II. NEW DOES NOT EQUAL FAKE
But just because the Fake Doms are out there in droves, that doesn’t mean that you are one! Just because you are new, that doesn’t mean you’re fake. Fake Doms are defined by lying about their own experience, pushing subs’ limits, and generally disregarding safe practices. My followers share screenshots with me all the time of Fake Doms saying unsafe and unkind things over DM. This stuff ranges from “Safe words? We don’t need all that” to “with me, you’ll have no limits,” to “if you were a real sub, you would let me do anal on the first date.” It’s kind of appalling out there, so subs are often very fatigued by all the fuckery.
But if you have respect for your subs and the safe practices of risk-aware BDSM, you are already not a fake. So if you’re new, be clear about that with partners and let them make their own informed decisions. And if you’re dating women who date men, honesty can be such a relief that it’s basically an aphrodisiac. As long as you make it clear that you care, you’re golden.
III. CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE
Everyone has privilege of some kind. But when you are a male Dom playing with female subs, it’s important to interrogate where these desires come from for you and how they’re going to play out with a partner. Do you have respect and appreciation for your potential subs? Do you understand what makes them tick? Or are you acting out an unhealthy control fantasy on people who don’t have the gender privilege you carry in the world.
If you’ve made it this far in this article, I’m confident you’re one of the good ones, but it’s my duty to draw your attention to the tension in these kinds of Dom/sub dynamics. We can never fully leave the power dynamics of the real world behind, but being conscious of them and inviting them into your negotiations with subs will pave the way for safer play.
IV. ALWAYS BE A BEGINNER
The best Doms are always students of the world. And especially, paying patrons of woman- and queer-friendly, sex-positive education spaces. Seek out places to learn skills that cater to people who are different from you, so while you’re learning how to properly spank a bottom or how to tie a knot, you’re also absorbing the soft skills of understanding the lived experiences of others. These spaces also tend to be very consent-forward, so that tone is bound to give you ideas for your Dominance practice. And if you want to come into those spaces especially prepared, look into reading some books about BDSM first. This list is a great place to start:
- Kink: Stories, Garth Greenwell, R. O. Kwon
- Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness: Life, history and culture in the leather/BDSM/fetish community, Steve Lenius
- The New Bottoming Book, Janet W. Hardy, Dossie Easton
- The New Topping Book, Dossie Easton, Janet W. Hardy
- Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities, Mollena Williams, Lee Harrington
If you need further ideas, remember that Dominance has a legacy of being passed down via mentorship. Hire a pro-Domme to teach you hands-on skills! Think of it as private tutoring that will serve you for years to come. I know many subs whose Doms have trained with pro-Dommes and those subs have considered that training to be the highest pedigree a Dom can have. Having respect for the BDSM community is paramount, and if a Dom has done that work it’s the ultimate gold star.
V. DO THE INNER WORK
Once you have the skills and the safe practices under your belt, it’s important to consider what you bring to the table energetically. Do you understand how to hear a safe word and not feel judged by your sub’s limit? Have you considered where these desires come from for you, and how the power exchange between you and your sub might make you feel?
We are living at a very particular moment for mens’ sexuality. In the wake of #MeToo and all of the more nuanced conversations about consent that followed, having a drive towards Dominance may feel somewhat counterintuitive. But in reality, Dominance can give men a way of engaging with their sexualities consciously and non-toxically. Providing a partner with access to consensual release and vulnerability is a beautiful way for Doms to practice taking an active approach to what they want sexually, while knowing that they are doing it ethically and with care. It has always been my opinion that safe Dominance is the antidote to toxic masculinity, and the more men we can educate on it, the better. So just know, as long as you are committed to mitigating risk and treating your partners with respect, this is a very important road you’re on. And a ton of subs are cheering you on!
VI. APPROACH THOUGHTFULLY
So when you’re on Pure App swiping on potential subs, here are some questions you can ask that will give you an opportunity to show potential subs that you care about them and value safe kink play:
- How did you first know you were into BDSM?
- What kind of stuff are you into? What are some of your limits?
- What does aftercare look like for you?
- What kinds of feelings do you wish you could experience in a scene?
So in summation, Dominance can be a pathway for men to connect with partners in a considered, intentional way. If you pay attention to your potential partners’ limits, desires, and safety, you can also have fun with all the titillating taboos the BDSM world contains. In a world full of Fake Doms, we need more real ones. And if you follow the above steps you’re well on your way to the kink play of your dreams. And all us subs are cheering you on!
😎 By the way,
here are a few more things you might want to consider if you want to seduce a sub.