What does it mean to you to be a Dom?
Well, let’s start with the fact that every prick with a dick is not a Dom.
I’ve been on both sides of the equation and I guess it gives me a sense of balance. I mean, that was one of the theories behind the “Old Guard” leather approach of you can only top once you’ve been a bottom for a while. It’s supposed to give you insight into both worlds. Being a switch does that for me.
You have to have attitude and confidence to be a Dom. But just because you have attitude and confidence doesn’t make you a Dom. Someone who possesses only the traits of attitude and confidence is likely only looking out for themselves. That is not what being a Dom is about. Instead a Dom must constantly be concerned about his partner and what’s happening physically/mentally to them. Some people also claim that Doms never make mistakes (or when they do they have enough confidence to make it seem intentional) and I don’t buy into that. A person who makes mistakes and never admits to them comes off to me as pretty weak and not self aware.
A Dom must constantly prove that they are worthy of the trust their sub places in them. That means I must constantly prove that I understand and respect my sub, Brandon. It means I must constantly prove I accept the responsibility for Brandon’s safety and pleasure. The more I prove that I am aware of my responsibility for him, the more control over our scenes he’s willing to cede over to me. He understands that if I gag him, blind fold him and tie him up that I won’t leave him alone or let him get hurt. It’s because I’ve already proven to him in lighter scenes that he can trust me.
Being a Dom is, at its core, about TRUST. It is about RESPONSIBILITY. It is about exchanging power by letting the sub say when things stop or whether they’ll even happen, in order to be rewarded by them putting their pleasure, and yours, in your hands. If all you want to do is order someone around – go be a drill sergeant (and actually, friends I know in the military would argue that if you don’t understand trust and responsibility for your troops you’d suck as a drill sergeant as well). A Dom should have enough self confidence to say, ‘I’m sorry, I screwed up, and I hurt you.” Admitting that you understand when you’ve messed up will allow your sub to trust you even more. It means you recognize when things get out of hand.
Being a Dom is also about follow-through. It’s like training anyone for anything, if punishment for an infraction is doled out randomly or inconsistently, it doesn’t work. Think about training a dog. If the dog pisses on the floor you don’t kick the shit out of them. All that teaches is fear. And if one day you just cuss and clean it up and the next day you shove their nose in it and the third day you scream and throw the paper at them…you have a confused dog. Same with a sub. If the game is Master/slave and I set a rule that when I, the Dom, come in the door I expect you, my sub, to greet me by kneeling with your hands behind your back and your eyes down. If I come in the door and you’re not in position…a reasonable reprimand should follow. If I go way overboard I lose respect and trust. If I ignore the infraction, then my sub knows they can “get one over” on me and I lose trust and respect. No matter what scene you’re into, there should always be boundaries and rules respected and followed through consistently.
Being a Dom is about giving consistent rewards and respect. If all you ever do is take, emotionally and physically, your sub has every right to walk away and call you an asshole. The deeper you go into a 24/7 relationship the greater the importance of acknowledging when your sub has done well at something or has pleased you becomes. The sub expects his Dom to take care of him, give him emotionally and physically what he needs. In turn the Dom expects that he will get respect, the sub will do as he is told, and emotionally the Dom and sub will have their needs fulfilled. But in order to get respect you have to give respect at an appropriate level. If you only punish and never reward, well that’s abuse.
I hope that answers your question Zoe.
Stay safe and sane.
What are your limits and boundaries?
Big one – No glove, no love. I’m not out there to chase bugs. Once I get into a committed relationship, when I have and receive trust, that rule can be renegotiated.
I’m not big into pain: giving or receiving. It’s both a Limit and a Boundary. Light pain play is fine, but do not snap thirty clothespins on my balls – I can’t tolerate that. It’s a limit. I also don’t get off in the head space of inflicting pain. I mean, Brandon likes to get his butt smacked sometimes, and because it’s not heavy S&M that’s within my Boundaries. But if what you like is heavy pain play, I’m probably not the person you want to scene with.
Capture play is one of my must haves. For quick and dirty fun, handcuffs or wrist binding is fine. If I’m Domming, its something I will insist on or I don’t play. Yes, I know, being tied up in intricate, sexy webs is about as fast moving as grass growing, but that’s my thing. I need it.
I could go on with my list, but we’re not going to play. Everyone needs to understand, however, that Limits and Boundaries define the CONSENSUAL part of Safe, Sane and Consensual.
Limits are physical.
Boundaries are psychological.
As someone on a discussion board put it: “Things that make me feel good = good. Things that make me feel bad = bad.” Those establish your limits and boundaries.
When you go into a BDSM scene or relationship you need to be able to define and articulate what you’re willing to do and have done to you…both mentally and physically.
You have to be willing to negotiate the mental boundaries of how you’re going to play. Are we doing humiliation – and is it verbal or physical? Some people can handle one or the other, some like both. Brandon likes to be called bitch and whore…I like to call him those things. Golden showers are okay between us, scat is not. But that might not work for you. Are you okay with the mindset of bondage? How much restraint are you willing to accept before panic sets in? I’ve scened with guys who freaked out if I used more than Velcro cuffs and others who would have let me tie crap around their throats (and generally breath play is OUT). Is what you really want puppy or pony play and is your partner able to wrap his head around leading you about on a leash and sticking a tail-plug up your ass? If you’re both into that great.
As far as limits go, how much pain can you tolerate? Do you have problems being handcuffed as opposed to tied up with rope? I, and Brandon, prefer rope. Handcuffing Brandon, however, is a turn on between us because of what he does. He’s a cop, it turns his profession around. With some people that pushes their physical limits because of allergies to say hemp. If you have a bad back or, like me, a bad shoulder that puts limits on certain physical activities I can participate in. Some people are okay with short term restraint – 20-30 minutes – others can push far longer (and let’s stay within the bounds of medical safety on that). There are those who can tolerate and want their ass to be blistered. Others don’t want marks.
You have to be willing to discuss what you’re willing to do and where you don’t want to go. Otherwise it’s like knowing how to turn on a car, put it in drive, but not know how to apply the brakes. Not every one plays at the same level. What’s a heavy kink for me may be the appetizer to the main course for someone else. And you’re boundaries and limits don’t have to be static. The more trust and background you establish with someone, the more you can renegotiate things. A long term BDSM relationship should have enough trust built into it that you can be dynamic. If things go beyond what you’re willing to tolerate, that’s when your safeword comes into play.
So Jack….how do you play?
Stay safe and sane.
Remember folks this is my opinion. Others may have differing views on the subject. I recommend doing a lot of research and talking to a lot of people before you start to play.
I also suggest you read Safer Kinky Sex.