How To Be a Dom: The Ultimate Guide

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Did you know studies show that over 65% of women fantasize about being submissive? It’s true. Women like dominant guys who know how to take control in the bedroom – there’s no doubt about it.

What does this tell us? It tells us that, if you want to satisfy your partner in bed, you need to learn how to dominate her. You need to learn to wear the pants, be more selfish, and act like the alpha you are.

In short, you need to learn how to be a Dom.

But being a true Dom isn’t as easy as Fifty Shades might have led you to believe. It’s not all about whips, chains, and barking orders at your partner. If you want to truly master the art of domination, there’s a lot to learn.

Fortunately, you’re in the right place to get started. Read on, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about being a Dom and how to train your sub to give you the pleasure you deserve.

What is a Dom?

Dom (dominant) is a term used in the BDSM community to refer to the dominant partner in a BDSM relationship. The Dom takes on the role of the superior and sexually ‘dominates’ the submissive partner.

Every BDSM relationship has both a Dominant and a submissive, and this is referred to as a D/s partnership. Dominants can be either male or female, but Dom is an exclusively male term. Female dominants are known as Dommes.

The foundation of being a Dom is about exercising control. You dictate what happens in (and sometimes outside of) the bedroom. You make the choices, give the orders, and dole out rewards or punishments when necessary (within the boundaries that you’ve agreed on with your sub).

The sub willingly gives up control because they enjoy being submissive. The key term here is willingly. The sub still has the ultimate control and gets to set his/her limits and boundaries beforehand – they have the final say about what you can/can’t do. As a Dom, it’s essential that you respect those boundaries.

You sometimes hear the terms’ Dominance’ and ‘S&M’ (Sadism & Masochism) used interchangeably. However, while these two kinks are similar, they’re not quite the same thing. The main difference is that Dominance is more psychological than physical.

S&M is about inflicting and taking pain for pleasure, whereas D/s is about power exchanges that don’t necessarily have to be physical. Some Doms might enjoy elements of S&M and like to inflict pain on a willing sub partner, but others might not.

Related: BDSM Ideas – An Illustrated Guide

A Dom typically sticks to the same role each time they play with their partner, but some Doms occasionally identify as a sub too. A Dom that likes to sometimes play the role of a sub is called a ‘switch.’

The Different ‘Levels’ of Dominance

There are many different types of Doms. Everyone has his/her own flavor of kink, and the same is true when it comes to dominance.

Dom sex often involves more extreme and rough sexual acts than vanilla sex, but just how far you’re willing to take things will differ from person to person. We call the boundaries we’re not willing to cross ‘hard limits,’ and different Doms have different hard limits.

The main thing that all Doms have in common is that they’re trying to evoke a sense of power and authority over their sub. That’s the basic idea, and that can be achieved through a whole lot of different elements.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be as extreme as tying someone up and flogging them. It might not even include any traditional elements of BDSM-style dominant play. Something as simple as pinning your partner’s wrists down during sex is still dominance, and words and facial expressions alone can be enough dominance for some partners.

The key is to understand what kind of Dom you are, consider your own hard limits, and make sure that those limits align with those of your sub. Once you know what level of dominance you’re happy with, it’ll be more straightforward to communicate that and find subs that are on the same page.

Understanding Scenes

Understanding the concept of scenes is crucial to learning how to be a Dom.

Many couples in D/s partnerships like to limit their fantasies to when they’re having sex. For example, your sub might like you to dominate her in bed but might take issue if you were to act the same way with her in public or around her work colleagues.

That’s why, in most cases, being a Dom is something you only do at certain times. You can think of it kind of like roleplaying. You’re an actor acting out power-based roles in pre-arranged scenes but, when the cameras are off, you cut the act and go back to your regular everyday life.

These scenes usually take place during sex, but some people like the D/s dynamic to continue in other parts of their relationship too. Scenes can involve any kind of sexual or non-sexual power exchange. For example, you might have your sub pour your drinks, serve your food, or give you a massage.

A particular scene can last as long as you agree on with your sub. It might be minutes, hours, or even days/weeks. For example, some D/s partners agree to maintain their power dynamics while on vacation to spice up their holiday. Their vacation is now one big D/s scene, where the Dom always takes the dominant role, and the sub always submits.

Always limit your role to the scenes you’ve agreed on. It’s not cool to start acting like a Dom during your everyday life at times when your partner isn’t comfortable with it.

The Golden Rule

Consent is the Golden Rule when it comes to being a Dom. That should go without saying, but it’s important to emphasize it here as D/s sex tends to involve more ‘blurred lines’ than vanilla sex.

Both partners need to consent to what is happening, have clear expectations, and be able to stop the action at any point. The Dom may have ‘control,’ but that control only exists within the consensual boundaries that you’ve agreed with your sub.

It’s crucial that you understand this and that you don’t take the whole ‘control’ thing too literally. One of the biggest misconceptions about Domming is that it involves him ‘forcing’ her to do whatever he wants – that’s NOT what it’s about.

Sure, you might want to roleplay a situation where he’s forcing her to do what he wants, but it’s still just that – a roleplay scene.


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In reality, the sub should never be ‘forced’ to do anything; it HAS to be consensual. The sub has control over what happens just as much as the Dom does.

Your job as Dom is to create a safe space where they can be vulnerable, to know their boundaries, and be creative within those boundaries. Any ‘forcing’ that happens is about creating an experience for the sub and nothing more.

The sub also has to be able to trust that you’ll respect those boundaries, and it takes time to build up that trust. I wouldn’t recommend trying to ‘dominate’ someone you haven’t already built up that trust with and definitely don’t assume that every woman will be into it.

How to Be a Dom

Now that you understand the basics, let’s get into the meat of this guide. Here are 11 essential tips on being a Dom:

1. Establish a Safe Word

Always establish a safe word before you begin any scene. This is generally a good idea with all kinds of BDSM sex.

The reason it’s especially important when it comes to dominance is that your sub’s role may involve them shouting ‘no’ and acting like they have no control when, in reality, they’re enjoying it. You need a way to know if at any point they really want to stop; when ‘no’ actually means ‘no.’

That’s where the safe word comes in. If the safe word is spoken, you stop.

Your safe word can be anything, but it should be something that is unlikely to be spoken accidentally during sex, like ‘cabbage’ or ‘pineapple.’

While we’re discussing safety tips, another essential precursor to sex when you’re using any kind of bondage equipment is to have safety scissors to hand, just in case anything goes wrong and you need to quickly remove it.

2. Set Out Expectations & Discuss Scenes

Communication is key when it comes to Dom/sub sex. Make sure you talk about what kind of power exchange you want to roleplay with your partner beforehand so that you’re both on the same page.

For example, will you be acting out ‘Master & Slave,’ ‘Kidnapper & Victim,’ ‘Doctor & Patient,’ or something else? If you’re not on the same page, it can lead to some awkward situations.

You should also discuss other aspects, like whether or not you’ll be using contraception, what kind of tools/toys you’ll be using, and how you’re going to make sure everything is as safe as possible.

A lot of Doms meet their sexual partners on kink sites. If this is the case, setting out expectations and discussing scenes is especially important as you, and your sub won’t have had a chance to build up that trust and mutual understanding just yet.

3. Know Your Partner’s Fantasies

Different subs have different fantasies and reasons for enjoying being dominated. If you want to really drive your sub wild in bed, you’ll need to understand what these fantasies are.

There are many different specific types of submissions, and every sub has his/her own tastes. Some of the most popular fantasies subs like to act out include:

  • Service-oriented submission – these kinds of subs enjoy playing the role of servant and pleasing their masters. They thrive off validation, enjoy rules, and like to make their Doms happy. Popular scenes for service subs include cooking and cleaning for their Doms.
  • Submissive Brats – a Brat sub is someone who enjoys being mischievous. They actively go against their Dom’s demands purposefully. They might enjoy the thrill of seeking punishment in this way or just get a kick out of playing with boundaries.
  • Forced submission (consensual) – these kinds of subs enjoy primal, brutish domination. They might enjoy having their Doms roughly ‘take them’ to prove their strength and dominance. However, make no mistake; this should still only ever be a roleplay and needs to be consensual.
  • Littles – this category of submission involves subs that enjoy age play. They tend to roleplay younger age behaviors and want their Doms to act as caregivers. They might enjoy giving their Dom the title ‘Daddy.’

If you know what kind of sub your partner is, it’ll be easier to suggest scenes that they’re likely to enjoy and better play your part.

4. Maintain Your Role Outside of the Bedroom

As we mentioned earlier, when explaining the concept of ‘scenes,’ Dom-sub relationships often extend outside of the bedroom.

If your sub is your long-term partner, learning how to be a Dom outside of the bedroom is especially important as it’ll help you to maintain that power dynamic over time and keep her interested.

However, it gets a little tricky.

There’s usually a dominant person in most relationships – even vanilla ones. For example, it’s common for one person to take more responsibility for finances or to be more socially outgoing. The difference is in D/s relationships; those roles tend to be much more pronounced and explicit.

You’ll need to talk to your partner about how you’re going to carry out those power roles in your everyday life and set out expectations. You can’t completely deprive your sub of agency or power, so you might have to ‘tone down’ the roles you usually play in the bedroom.

You’ll also need to think about caveats. For example, part of your arrangements might be for you, as the Dom, to control the finances, but what if you become ill? Is your sub allowed to pay the shared bills while you’re away?

Your partner still needs to feel secure in his/her everyday life, so there are going to be limits to how far you can take things.

5. Choose Your Preferred Terminology

Terminology is a big deal. Names and titles evoke power, so it’s important you think carefully about yours. The name you insist that your sub refers to you as will set expectations for the whole scene.

Different dominants have different preferences when it comes to terminology. Some dominant partners might insist on being addressed as ‘Sir’ or ‘Master’ or ‘Daddy.’

The title you choose is really all about personal preference. Some titles have very specific undertones and evoke certain power dynamics, and this should play a part in your considerations too.

For example, choosing the surname ‘Daddy’ creates a very particular type of roleplay in which you’re essentially setting out the expectation that your sub acts like a Little (see tip 3 again if that term is unfamiliar to you). Similarly, ‘Master’ might have racial supremacy undertones in certain situations, especially if you’re a different ethnicity to your partner.

If none of those titles make you feel comfortable, you can forgo any kind of honorific. Some Doms just like to be referred to by their names, or perhaps by Mr. [Surname]. That’s totally fine too – whatever floats your boat!

6. Learn the Ropes

Literally. Don’t try to use ropes, chains, or other bondage equipment until you learn how to do it safely.

Dom/sub sex often involves BDSM toys and gear as these kinds of tools can help to create the right kind of power dynamic. However, some of these toys are hardcore and potentially dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Ropes and other restraints, in particular, can be very dangerous as they can restrict your blood circulation if used incorrectly. Before you try and use any BDSM gear, do your research.

You might be able to find guidance and instructions on BDSM community websites, fetish fairs, or through kink workshops and demonstrations. If you know someone more experienced, you could also ask them for advice.

7. Use Rewards & Punishments

Doms need to exercise and enforce their control over their partner, and the way you do this is through the promise of a reward or the threat of punishment.

An example of a type of punishment might be:

  • Spanking
  • Flogging
  • Tying them up
  • Tweaking their nipples
  • Anal sex
  • Denying them something (like sexual pleasure)

Rewards might include:

  • Giving them sexual pleasure
  • Letting them use their favorite sex toy
  • Allowing them to perform a more intimate act of service
  • A smile
  • Verbal praise

Some Doms also like to restrict their sub’s sights/touch with BDSM gear and give them their senses back as a reward.

How you train your sub is up to you. Whether you rule through rewards or punishments comes down to what you and your sub prefer and the kind of power exchange you’re trying to act out.

8. Experiment With Impact Play

Impact play is another tool of domination that can help you to create a better experience for your submissive. A lot of subs enjoy the physical sensation of being spanked, flogged, lightly choked, slapped, or anything similar.

You can experiment with impact play if your sub is on board with the idea, but if it’s new to either of you, make sure you move slowly.

Don’t take things too far and get carried away. The psychological aspect of impact play is the most important part; any actual pain inflicted should be minimal. Serious pain is not a turn on for anyone.

Even if you both agree to try it, your sub could still change their mind. As such, be mindful of how your sub responds to any impact play and, if you think they might not be enjoying it, stop straight away.

9. Be Confident

Dominant guys are confident, calm, and collected.

Power and self-confidence and closely linked together. If you’re not confident, it’ll be much harder for you to give off that aura of strength, power, and control that’s central to the experience.

Don’t be nervous or insecure; be proud of your kinks and enjoy yourself. This is important both inside and outside of the bedroom. If you’ve decided to broach the topic of dominant sex with someone, don’t mumble something awkwardly under your breath, take a leaf out of Mr. Grey’s book, and openly declare ‘I’m a Dominant.’

Obviously, you shouldn’t go shouting about your kinks in the street to random strangers, but if the topic comes up in conversation, go ahead and share it. By bringing it up so openly, you’ll ooze confidence, intrigue, and appeal – three things that submissive women are looking for in their sexual partners.

10. Choose Dominant Positions

Obviously, when you’re trying to be dominant in bed, you need to choose a dominant position. Positions in which she’s on top (like Cowgirl or Reverse Cowgirl) aren’t usually suitable as they create the opposite kind of power dynamic that you’re aiming for.

Any position where you’re on top, and she can feel the full force of your weight and aggression is good. I personally enjoy the Prone Bone and Flat Doggy positions, but there are lots of even kinkier positions you might want to try.

Experiment with different dominant sex positions and find a couple that you and your sub enjoy. You can start by browsing our list of the top 30 Kinky Sex Positions and our guide to Sex From Behind to get some ideas.

11. Know You’re Not Really in Charge

Last but certainly not least, know you’re not really in charge.

This links back up to the Golden Rule, but I want to reiterate it here because it’s so important: the sub has the ultimate power.

Whatever power dynamics you’re acting out in bed, remember that you’re still just a co-author of that story. Be as aware of your sub as you are of yourself.

Being dominant is as much about self-control as it is about control of the scene. You need to make sure that you don’t get carried away and that you’re someone your partner can trust at all times. Stepping outside of the boundaries you’ve agreed on can instantly destroy that trust.

Essential BDSM Toys, Tools, and Props for Doms

If you’re serious about becoming a Dom, you might want to invest in some tools to help you better transform into your role, deliver rewards, and dish out punishments.

With that in mind, here are some essential BDSM toys, tools, and props that every Dom should have.

Important safety note: Make sure you know how to use all your toys properly and follow all applicable safety measures at all times. Ensure that you know how to remove all equipment safely and have the keys to any restraints you use close by at all times.

1. Blindfolds

Blindfold your submissive to ramp up the intensity. Depriving them of their sense of sight can be a useful punishment while also heightening their sexual anticipation and suspense.

2. Ball Gags

A ball gag is inserted into your sub’s mouth to silence them. It’s a great way to express your power over your partner and make them feel even more submissive.

3. Whips

Need to punish your submissive Brat? A whip will do the trick. The best whips are stylish, sexy, and look great in the bedroom. Even if you never use it, having a whip in the room can change the whole atmosphere.

4. Paddles

If a whip is a little too much for your tastes, try a paddle instead. A paddle has a wider surface area, so it’s less painful and usually a better impact play tool for beginners. It’s great for spanking.

5. Handcuffs

Handcuffs are a D/s staple. Use them to tie your submissive’s hands behind their back, or to the bed, or anywhere else you see fit. Having their hands out of action means they’re completely at your mercy, as it should be.

6. Restraint Systems

If you want to take it up a notch, consider using a restraint system.

An under-the-bed restraint system is a staple type of bondage gear that completely ties up all your sub’s limbs to help you to enact hardcore scenes. They’re not for the faint of heart and can be dangerous if used incorrectly, so check the product instructions and make sure you know how to use them.

7. Chokers

Chokers are a great, stylish signaling piece that you can have your sub wear in and out of the bedroom.

Why People Like Dom/sub Relationships

Now that you know how to be a dom, let’s talk about why millions of men and women around the world fantasize about Dom/sub sex. What is it that makes dominance and submission so appealing? Well…

He Gets to Be Selfish

One of the main reasons guys enjoy being Doms is that it lets them be more selfish in the bedroom. They get to dictate what happens, and a lot of guys find that power thrilling. To find out if you’re one of them, let’s try a little thought experiment.

Imagine sex was like this: you get to do exactly what you want, when you want, at all times. You tell your partner what you want them to do, or what you’re going to do to them, and they willingly oblige. You’re in total control and all-powerful. You get to use your partner exclusively for your own pleasure, and they worship you for it.

Sound good? If so, congratulations, you’ve just found your kink – you’re a Dom.

It’s Taboo

Good sex is all about pushing the boundaries. When we play the Dom, we enter a place where we have permission to behave in ways that we’re not allowed to usually behave due to societal norms.

BDSM play allows us to temporarily indulge all our naughtiest fantasies and break free of these limitations. The idea of doing something that is in some way wrong, morally or otherwise, is utterly thrilling.

Power Dynamics are Exciting

Power roles are an important component of eroticism. Sex is intrinsically linked with our ideas of power, and this link between power and sex is omnipresent in our culture.

In romance fiction, for example, there’s often a weak damsel-in-distress and a powerful, macho hero that sweeps her off her feet.

Power dynamics exist in regular vanilla sex too. There’s always a top and a bottom; a ‘less-powerful’ and a ‘more-powerful’ participant. With D/s sex, we just take those roles and dial them up so that the dominant partner is even more dominant, and the submissive partner is even more submissive.

The more we emphasize and exaggerate those power dynamics, the better the sex. People who enjoy D/s sex tend to experience power-triggered arousal more than the average person.

People Like to Be Desired

One of the biggest parts of the appeal of D/s sex to subs is how it makes them feel desired. A lot of women fantasize about being utterly desirable to their partners.

When we play the part of Dom, we act selfishly in bed and use the sub for our own pleasure. This makes your sub feel like you can’t keep your hands off them because you want them so much. That desire is something a lot of women find very hot.

It Appeals to Our Primal Urges

Dom/sub sex is animalistic. It isn’t polite, cultured, or politically-correct. It doesn’t have any of the hallmarks of modern, polite society. We’re going back to nature and acting on basic impulses and primal urges – and that makes for great sex.

It Lets Us Explore the Hidden Parts of Our Identities

It’s often the case that those who enjoy dominant or submissive roles in bed are quite the opposite in their everyday life.

For example, it’s often women who wield the most power and control in their working lives (CEOs, managers, businesswomen, policewomen, etc.) that crave submission in their sex lives. They want to feel a lack of control for once as it allows them to explore parts of their identities that are understimulated or ignored during their everyday life.

The same holds true for Doms. A Dom might feel out of control in their life due to a demanding job, an overbearing boss, and other pressures of everyday life. This might be why they thrive off of the opportunity to feel like they’re in control in bed.

It Provides Boundaries for the Sub

Many people enjoy giving up control to their Dom as they appreciate instructions and boundaries in bed. The Dom takes full responsibility for how good or bad the sex is – the sub’s only job is to do what the Dom tells them.

There’s a certain liberty that comes with completely giving up control like that. The sub doesn’t have to think about anything other than following instructions. They don’t have to worry about how good the sex is for their partner; they just have to do as they’re told. As such, they can fully let go of any anxiety or worry and lose themselves in the moment.

The Thrill of Fear, Degradation, and Pain

A lot of elements of Dom/sub sex are degrading, humiliating, offensive, and wrong – and that’s exactly what makes them so appealing. These same elements tend to be part of most kinks because humans seem to inexplicably associate these ‘negative’ emotions with hotter sex.

For whatever reason, pain and pleasure are inexplicably interlinked when it comes to sex, and D/s relationships give you the opportunity to experience both in abundance. You get to experience the euphoria and fear that comes packaged in with D/s sex, which is a huge part of the appeal.

Final Thoughts

That concludes our beginner’s guide on how to be a Dom. Hopefully, that covers everything you need to know. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Have fun and play safe!

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1 thought on “How To Be a Dom: The Ultimate Guide”

  1. My girlfriend told me yesterday that she’s a sub and she wants me to be her Dom. I literally had no idea what it was, but now I get it – thanks 😉

    Reply

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