On Being a Dominant (part 3)

I know, I know. You’re all wondering what happened to me writing about BDSM stuff here. Well, buckle in, kiddies. Here we go.

There are misconceptions about how a Dominant looks after his submissive. Among them is that some females seem to think they are to be treated like princesses if they submit. But that is not how it works.

Dominants will do a little pampering now and again for their submissives. But D/s is not about the submissive getting a Dominant wrapped around her finger. That is topping from the bottom, and, in my opinion, not a healthy relationship. (Your mileage may vary.) I know many people say the submissive is in control of the D/s relationship, but I do not agree. Yes, if a safe word is being used, then when the submissive uses the safe word the Dominant has to stop. But is that the same as being in control of the relationship? I think it is not.

If you just play D/s games in the bedroom, then maybe the submissive is in control. But that is not, I think, a D/s relationship. That would be a vanilla relationship with some kinky sex on the side. And if that is all you want, there is nothing wrong with that.

In a 24/7 Dominance/submission relationship, however, one of the responsibilities of the Dominant is to train the submissive. A Dominant cannot train a submissive if the submissive is in control. Fair warning: I am going to use an analogy now that will annoy liberal feminist types. Some people do not understand how to train. I know a fellow who works at training dogs to be assistants for people with PTSD, autism, disabilities and the like. He told the story of being at the veterinarian’s office one time and talking to a woman who complained she could not keep her dog from jumping into people’s laps. Sure enough, her dog jumped into her lap, and as soon as it happened, the woman scratched the dog’s head and made with the goo-goo dog talk (like when people say to dogs, “you’re a good boy, yes you are, oh yes you are”) even though she was telling the dog it was bad. Of course she could not train the dog to stop jumping in people’s laps. She was rewarding the dog for its behavior. She was letting the dog determine when the dog got attention. The dog was in control. So the dog could not be trained to do what the owner wanted it to do. The owner had been trained to do what the dog wanted. If the submissive is in control, then the Dominant is not. Which means the Dominant will be dominant in name only. And he will be trained to do what the submissive—who is now the Dominant—wants him to do.

That is why I say in a healthy D/s relationship the submissive is not in control.

But a human submissive is not a dog! Yes, I know. The principle, however, remains. But the Dominant has to respect the submissive’s limits! Yes, of course. Respecting her limits, however, does not mean allowing her to control the relationship.

In comments about previous posts, Scot, a.k.a. the Dom Next Door, suggested my comments about being Dominant and about D/s relationships were describing a marriage. Maybe. But not a vanilla marriage. A lot of what I have said about D/s relationships is actually good advice for relationships in general. But here is were a 24/7 Dominant starts to separate the D/s relationship from the vanilla (or even the vanilla relationship with a little kink on the side). The Dominant is not sharing responsibility for leadership in the relationship with the submissive. The Dominant is the leader, the commander, the one in charge.

For many submissives, the need to submit is an undeniable desire. They do not just want it. They crave it. Some have described it as a fire in the belly of the submissive that is subdued only when dominated.

I cannot speak for all Dominants, but for me being Dominant is not a deep longing or desire. It simply is. When other people leave things undefined and disorganized, I will step in to do something about it. I stay out of politics at my church (every church has politics, but that is a discussion for another day) because I know, I will try to take over. I am not trying to be an arrogant ass. I do not think I know better than everyone else. It is simply my way. Not that I am even a great leader of people. I am not. And I do not have some burning desire to lead people. I am simply a Dominant. It is my nature.

Which means, I am one all the time. Contrary to what you may have heard, a Dominant is not only Dominant when he has a submissive. Maybe some are. I don’t know. The point being, this is not a hobby or a game to me. I can hide it, but I cannot turn it off.

As I think through how to explain this, I suppose that, in a sense, being a Dominant could be considered a desire. I desire to have a submissive. If I were in a vanilla relationship (and there have been a couple) I would want to be the Dominant still. Not because being a Dominant is a great need, but rather because to deny my nature becomes quite frustrating to me. If I repress it too much, it becomes unhealthy mentally and emotionally. Which actually explains a lot of things from before I understood the concept of being a Dominant.

So what does this have to do with training a submissive? This post is not really about training a submissive. This post is about why, in my opinion, the Dominant is the one in charge of a D/s relationship.

Am I saying a Dominant never submits? No. We submit to rules and laws and authority all the time. We stop at red traffic lights. We don’t jump ahead in the check out line at the store. We do not, if we are smart, mouth off to police.

Am I saying a Dominant never lets his submissive help him? No. If you are a Dominant, and you are ill, by all means, let your submissive take care of you. If you are a Dominant, and your submissive is an accountant (for example), then let her keep track of the money.

When I say the Dominant is the one in charge, I am not saying the Dominant never needs help or that the submissive becomes a puppet. There is still give and take in a D/s relationship. Part of being a Dominant is still to serve the submissive. The Dominant serves by taking care of the submissive, and also by teaching her and training her and by being the one in charge. Remember, the submissive needs to submit. By teaching her and training her and being the Dominant, the Dominant is addressing that need in the submissive.

The Dominant and the submissive give to each other. And when the Dominant is in charge, his dominance is something he gives to the submissive. When the submissive in in charge, this is something she takes from the Dominant. And, in my opinion, if a submissive tries to take control of the relationship, she should be punished for it.

1240+ words already. Apparently I like to hear myself type.

Your turn to talk. Am I right? Am I wrong? You respond, and I decide. Or something like that.

34 Responses to “On Being a Dominant (part 3)”

  1. For me, someone with submissive tendencies, though I don’t want to be 24/7, the only control a sub has is choosing to whom we submit, choosing to trust our Dom and then give them our submission. It’s what we want, the whole point of submitting. Once we make that choice? It’s out of our hands unless we safeword. If I threaten to withdraw my submission every time my Dom tells me what he wants and I get slightly uncomfortable, then I’m not truly submitting. What’s the point in that?

    • If you threaten to withdraw your submission every time that is rattling your saber. A simple “Go ahead. Do it. Withdraw” would be my reply. Call your bluff.

      If you do, you were never my bottom or really submissive at all. Thats fine. Saves us both a lot of time, frustration, etc.

      If you don’t, we have established a proper protocol without ever doing a single thing or possibly even a single word from them.

      Now we can can continue in the dynamic.

      I also completely disagree with two of your comments:

      Submission is NOT given. It is OFFERED. Big difference. You present your Dominant with a gift, an offer. It is up to them to seize it.

      And you do have one more facet of control – the safe word. Plain and simple within a proper, respectful, mutually agreeable D/s dynamic it is the ultimate power WITHIN the relationship. The Dominant has no counter to it….period. It must be respected at all times by both parties.

      And Doms have safe words as well, or at least should.

      • You make a good point, but I don’t think you’re really disagreeing with me. I said pretty much what you just said, but perhaps in words you would have chosen differently. You said submission is offered as a gift. I said ‘give submission’. Gifts are given, and I agree with you it’s also up to the recipient to accept it. Which is where the exchange happens.

        Also, I think you misunderstood my statements about withdrawing submission. I was agreeing with Xajow about that being a top from the bottom, and wholly pointless to the entire exchange. I haven’t threatened any such thing to my Dom. It’s disrespectful and counter to the entire relationship. We negotiated our limits, and as such, I have no need to consider such an unconsionable breaking of protocol. If something crosses my limit, I safeword, we stop, and discuss the situation. But even knowing the safe word is there, I would never ever use it to ‘get out’ of something my Dom wants unless I genuinely need everything to stop.

        I think we have the same idea here. Perhaps I wasn’t that clear in my first comment just how I see this topping from the bottom business described in the post.

  2. First, thank you for the reference and link to my humble blog. I enjoy our banter. We disagree on a number of issues, but I do benefit from the discussion.

    Sadly, a few Dominant run blogs do not adhere to your rules of etiquette. I’ve had Comments not posted in replies, or had comments replied to with more emotion than logic and tact. So I appreciate the opportunity.

    I’ll use an political analogy to address two issues I noticed (the ubiquitous safe word and your views on what is and is not a true D/s relationship):

    North Korea and the like. They have nuclear capabilities. So in our nation’s dealing with these is it a true 24/7 D/s dynamic? Do we call all the shots and control them, or do we choose when to discipline them? Are you going to respect that red button they have, or just ignore it?

    The same can be said about a Man and a woman, or a Woman and a man, in a D/s relationship. One is obviously Dominant, the other submissive. But does that relationship have to exist in every aspect of life to truly be so? Or can it exist within chosen parameters of when to exert absolute control and when not to? And when doing so, remember the red button…

    Is control = choice? Think carefully about that.

    • Thank you for the kind words. So far, you’ve done nothing to cause me to object to allowing your comments. I certainly do not mind the criticism you have offered, and the conversations have been valuable.

      The relationship between the U.S and North Korea is, in my opinion, nothing like a D/s relationship. So I do not believe your analogy holds up. Also, what in a D/s relationship are you comparing to the nuclear option? The safeword? Leaving the relationship? How does either establish the submissive as the one in control of a D/s relationship?

      Can a couple have a D/s relationship and not have dominance exerted all the time? Yes. I am not saying people cannot have a healthy relationship if they keep D/s in the bedroom. I am not saying a D/s couple has to flaunt their D/s nature all the time. Some people do not overtly show their D/s out in the world. I get that. I am also not saying a Dominant has to always tell the submissive what to do. I am not conflating Dominance/submission with Master/slave.

      What I am saying is that there is a difference between doing some D/s kink in the bedroom and living in a D/s relationship. There is a difference between having a red, ornamental sconce on the wall and having a red room. There is a difference between going camping and living in the woods. There is a difference between occasional casual sex and living in a committed relationship. There is a difference between having a little D/s in a relationship and having a D/s relationship.

      • My socio-political analogy was in reference to the relationship between the two. If you look at the two nations, who is the Dominant one? But yet we, half a century later, stand at a demarcation line in deference to them. And yes the safe word = nuclear capabilities.

        You make excellent analogies. But you still, from my view, choose your battles. The red room – obviously the hue is chosen by the Dominant. So are the woods, the investment of emotion in the relationship, etc. But is it the choice who controls the hue and the scenery, or the acceptance of it?

        So again I ask, does choice = control?

        In other words, if I as Leigh’s dominant make a choice, am I controlling the situation at hand?

        • That depends on the choice you make. Do you choose to do what Leigh wants? Do you choose to train her? Do you choose to reward bad behavior? Do you choose to punish bad behavior?

          You seem to be arguing the submissive is in control by accepting the Dominant acting dominant. Why is the Dominant not in control by accepting the submissive’s submission? Yes, the submissive has a safeword. Yes, the submissive can walk away. The Dominant too can stop things when the need arises. The Dominant too can end the relationship. So how is the submissive the one in control of the relationship?

          • Are you saying that a Dominant should not listen to the the wants of your submissive when making choices? Perhaps they have a need for a certain stimulus, or desire a certain scene. Would you, as their Top, acquiesce to this/these?

            If one says yes, is that not topping from the bottom. If one says no, you are ignoring their needs.

          • Am I saying a Dominant should not listen to the wants of the submissive? No.

            Would I, as Dom, provide a sub with needed stimulus or allow for a certain desired scene? That would depend on the situation.

            If I did do so, would that be me allowing topping from the bottom? Not unless you are suggesting that the entire D/s relationship revolves around catering to the needs and desires of the submissive. You seem to be implying that the submissive considering and serving the needs and desires of the Dominant is not part of the situation, and that the submissive is in control because she deigns to follow rules or commands as suits her whims. What you keep talking about seems to be a relationship wherein the “Dominant” is trained to meet the needs and desires of the “submissive”. That is indeed topping from the bottom and does in fact leave the submissive in control. It would make the “submissive” into the Dominant, and the “Dominant” into the submissive.

            It is not, however, the kind of D/s relationship I am talking about. And this leads me back to what I said before. You seem to be arguing the submissive is in control by accepting the Dominant acting dominant. Why is the Dominant not in control by accepting the submissive’s submission?

            Let me put this another way. Should the Dominant beg for permission to be the “Dominant” or should the submissive beg to be allowed to submit?

  3. Neither should beg for the permission to be themselves within the dynamic. That would suggest indifference on either’s behalf to the other. A submissive asking permission to submit is like a double negative. To cite your earlier reference, it would be like red asking to be seen as red.

    In that I may have missed it, did you answer if control = choice? If not, a yes or a no would be most appreciated and why.

    • “Neither should beg for the permission to be themselves within the dynamic.” Fair point, but that is not what I meant. I am not asking if the Dominant should ask to be a Dominant or if the submissive should ask to be a submissive. What I am asking is this: Should the Dominant beg the submissive for permission to be that specific submissive’s Dominant, or should the submissive beg the Dominant to be the submissive to that specific Dominant?

      “In that I may have missed it, did you answer if control = choice?” I did. To be more specific: You said, “In other words, if I as Leigh’s dominant make a choice, am I controlling the situation at hand?” And I replied, “That depends on the choice you make.” Are you choosing control? Or are you letting her determine the parameters of your choices? Are you choosing to control her or just choosing to give her what she wants? Are you choosing to train her, or are you choosing to be trained by her?

      • Neither should beg the either to fulfill that role. They should ask. You don’t just start being that way with/to another person.

        Allow me to rephrase the question completely removed and separate from all of what preceded it:

        Does choice = control? Yes or No?

        • “Neither should beg the either to fulfill that role. They should ask. You don’t just start being that way with/to another person.”
          I am being unclear, and for that I apologize. I do know better. Okay, the two people have met, dated, role played, enjoyed each other’s company for a time, and now the time has come for commitment to a long term relationship. Does the Dominant say to the submissive, “Please let me be your Dominant”? Or does the submissive say, “Please, let me be your submissive”?

          “Allow me to rephrase the question completely removed and separate from all of what preceded it: Does choice = control? Yes or No?”
          The question is an oversimplification. Does whose choice equal control over whom? Does the individual’s choice equal control over self? One could argue yes, but that still seems like a simplification. Does the submissive’s choice equal control over the Dominant? No, unless the Dominant allows otherwise.

          • Your first question is a chicken or the egg one, IMHO. Does it matter who asks Who or Who asks who first? Example – I still view the BDSM & D/s dynamic as a marriage. If you look at all the aspects of such (ritual, worship, vows, even a contract as a license) the two are extremely similar.

            So, that said, is it that important which one actually proposed?

            If you are insulating that if the dynamic begins with the Dominant asking the submissive first and therefore beginning in the submissive from the get go, I would say that’s a pretty foolish and stubborn view.

            Of course we can split hairs. I referred to ask, you referred to beg. They are most certainly different. This can segue into ask vs tell very easily as far as the relationship.

            Your reading too much into the question. Its not overly simplified. All of us make 1000s of choices every day. Take off the D/s BDSM blinders.

            When you choose, are you exerting control?

            LOL…you do realize your choosing to not answer this is controlling the conversation! Like Geddy Lee said “If you choose not to decide you still have a made a choice.”

            Which, if true, actually gives me my answer….

          • “Does it matter who asks Who or Who asks who first?”
            Yes, I think it does. In part because it to goes back to the question I’ve asked a couple of times without answer. You seem to be arguing the submissive is in control by accepting the Dominant acting dominant. Why is the Dominant not in control by accepting the submissive’s submission?

            “you do realize your choosing to not answer this is controlling the conversation!”
            But I did answer.

            I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. The Dominant makes choices. The submissive makes choices. You ask, does choice equal control? Do you mean to say no one is in control? Both are in control? Control is shared 50/50? Your question seems intended to lead into something, so just say whatever that something is.

          • I feel this one has gone on long enough. I am very surprised that you find a question as simple as “Does control = choice” so confounding that you, post after post, ignore my request for a Yes or No answer. In short, your replies are classic politico double speak. You refuse to commit to a Yes or No, yet spea volumes about the issue without committing to a Yes or a No.

            I appreciated the discourse. I’m sure we’ll have more.


          • The “you refuse to commit to a Yes or No” is a little hollow considering that you, apparently, have decided you are not going to answer my questions.

            Frankly, I do not really care if you like my answer or not.

            Neither am I ashamed for not being boxed in by your oversimplification.

            And I did not find your question confounding. I found it lacking.

            Anyway, thank you for the discussion. I look forward to more.

  4. thedreamingsub Says:

    “Some have described it as a fire in the belly of the submissive that is subdued only when dominated.” What a beautiful metaphor.

    I think you make a good point here. Dominance can and does exist separately from submission, but submission cannot exist without the act of domination to bring it into being. I think subs can feel submissive, but not submission itself, without the external catalyst.

    When subs feel that intense craving, that hunger–it is the empty space, they are feeling so deeply, where submission yearns to exist. Domination does bring a sense of peace and balance to a sub, for as long as the residue from it can remain on them. It’s like fairy dust–short lived.

    • Dominance and submission within a one-on-one relationship are different than how they are expressed in general in society. I think it has much to do with the level of control within the relationship.

    • shapeofagirl Says:

      (I just want to say, thedreamingsub, totally unrelated to the discussion at hand… I’ve been reading your blog and I can’t tear my eyes away from the screen. You words are fascinating to me. I appreciate you sharing your journey.)

  5. shapeofagirl Says:

    It’s very simple. The Dominant has control in a D/s relationship, because the sub GIVES IT to him. If the sub did not have that undeniable desire to be dominated, there would be no relationship. But once she has surrendered, the power is His, which is exactly the way she wants it. You all talk about “catering to the desires of the sub” and whether that is the Dom giving up control… don’t we exist in relationships in order to please the other person? I think that is a paramount part of a sub’s nature. She exists within a D/s relationship in order to please her Dom. That’s part of the thrill. She yearns to please Him, and when she does she is validated within the relationship. Likewise, doesn’t the Dom yearn to please his sub? Not in a pandering way, but He knows that His domination of her is what she desires most, so when he does fulfill this very simple desire, she’s not topping from the bottom, she has a loving and caring Dom who dominates her because it’s what she wants the most. Does that make sense?

    • Yes, what you are saying makes sense. I have said before that the Dominant serves the submissive. But there is a difference between catering to the desires of the submissive and giving the submissive what she needs. And frankly, I think we exist in relationships to please ourselves. We want what we get from a relationship, or we would not be in it. The submissive finds her pleasure in pleasing her Dominant, the rewards of obedient service and the structure of rules the Dominant provides. The Dominant finds pleasure in controlling the submissive, the benefit of being obediently served and (of course) in being pleased by the submissive.

      And I would argue that a Dominant has control not because the sub gives it to him, or because he takes it, but because they both agree he has it. Whether that agreement is explicit or implicit, there is voluntary agreement that the Dominant is in charge. You say if the sub did not have the desire to be dominated there would be no relationship. But if the Dominant has no desire to control that sub, there would also be no relationship.

      • shapeofagirl Says:

        You’re absolutely right. Relationships in general are so complex and have so many different levels for so many different people that I think trying to simplify into generalizations doesn’t really do the depth of D/s justice. My first experience with a Dom was very much give and take, and I agree with you about how the Dom has power because they both agree He has it, but I think that’s pretty much the same as what I said, we just phrased it differently because I come from the sub side of the discussion and you come from the Dom side.

        • Possibly that explains the difference in phrasing. I do not know. I have seen a lot of talk from Doms about how the sub is always in control, how the sub chooses her Dom, allows someone to be her Dom, et cetera, all as if somehow the Dominant is a passive entity, waiting to be given the privilege of being chosen by a sub. I do not agree with that sort of thinking. The Dom is not someone who exists to serve the desire for submission and the fetishes of the submissive. I think the Dominant is an active participant, and I think the Dominant should choose whether or not he will take up the responsibility to be the Dom for a submissive.

          I feel there is a sort of guilt behind the “subs are always in control” thinking. We have been taught for so long that dominating a woman is bad and mean and evil that this notion that the sub is in control appeases the guilt of some Doms. It is okay that we’re Dominant, because really the sub is in control. We’re not really doing anything wrong, because the sub is in control. I have one word for that. Poppycock!

          If you are a Dominant, own it. Be dominant. Don’t let feminist thinking undermine a beautiful thing.

          Anyway, shapeofagirl, I am not trying to denigrate your comments. I think you are probably correct that we agree on this more than we disagree. And I always, always, always welcome different perspectives here, particularly the perspectives of subs. The more I learn about how they think, the better.

          • shapeofagirl Says:

            I’m pretty sure we agree on most things. Although because I’ve been in a vanilla relationship for the last 4 years, I wouldn’t consider myself any kind of expert on these things at all. So please take my perspective with a grain of salt as it were, I’m rather rusty.

          • No worries. We are all still trying to figure this out.

  6. […] On Being a Dominant (part 3) (liberateone.wordpress.com) […]

  7. “For many submissives, the need to submit is an undeniable desire. They do not just want it. They crave it. Some have described it as a fire in the belly of the submissive that is subdued only when dominated.”

    I have found that the “fire in the belly” occurs when being dominated – I.E. when with a dominant who brings my submissive nature to the fore.

    The need to please, to surrender, to simply be HIS in all ways. To go further than she thought possible, and then go further still.

    That all-encompassing feeling of being owned…. She may fight along the way (or perhaps struggle is a better word), but that fire is there… constantly. She is in a constant “state” if you will…. He has her in his “grasp.” That’s when the craving turns into something else altogether… it takes on a life of it’s own, and is extremely powerful (and yes, frightening in it’s intensity/in her need). It’s transformational.

    Wow… again, good to back… lol


    • Actually, re-reading your paragraph, it’s possible that you were saying the same thing, I’ve just misread it.

  8. Lollipopgirl Says:

    Hello, I am new to this but also have explored myself, the lifestyle, and have come into acceptance that I am a true submissive. I don’t want to kiss many frogs before I find my dominant man which brings me to my question about methods a true dom will use on his sub during training. I thought I found him, he was perfect in every way, spent much time getting to know me and all of a sudden, nothing. Is this common practice for a dom to use withdrawal as a method to train his sub and if so, what do I do because I’m going crazy without his direction already, I feel so lost and all that calms me down is his direction, what is this training me to do? Realize that I can’t be without him because that’s exactly how I feel! Please help.

    • Withdrawal of attention is generally not a way of training a submissive. Sometimes Dominants have a hard time dealing with their own mistakes and/or not being as in control as they would like to be. And often dominant men will withdraw as a means of protecting themselves. Is it the smart thing or the right thing to do? No, it is not. But it happens. Sometimes you just have to be patient. Which is not the most helpful advice, I know. But sometimes, that is all there is to do.

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