Domineering vs Dominant

I am approaching my computer wearily today. I don’t know what to write about. My mind is a little foggy. The weekend was great and also a very hard one. I don’t want to talk about why, though eventually I’ll need to because what I’ve been working to help straighten out is important. I don’t have the energy to hash through all of the complicated and many faceted conversations surrounding what I’m processing to get to the meat and write about those subjects individually yet though. It’ll come. I have a lot to say. Yes it is related to #MeToo, and no, this time it wasn’t me, but #IWasThere.

So, hmmm… Where does this leave me with today’s blog? Honestly my brain feels a little burnt out talking about sex and how to keep sexuality a safe exploration. Then again, all the reasons why it’s important to keep this conversation going are fresh and heavy in my heart. I’ll talk about other matters which are related. Matters I’ve also been dealing with this very week:

Pointers for vetting a potential kinkster playmate. I found myself navigating this conversation a few days ago, and instead of successfully finding someone I felt would listen to me and build a great scene for the two of us to share, I found I had to turn down a person who was acting domineering, self serving, and rude. I don’t often get as far as meeting someone in my vetting process and then have to turn them down, but in this case it seemed the only realistic option — especially since I value my time and energy and had no interest in training this person in the art of decency to begin with.

Domineering or Dominant? This unfortunate and frequent must-ask question pops up a lot when someone is looking for a Dominant partner to play with. Bravado is a mask with which the ungrounded often cover themselves. However, domineering attitudes can not only belie an annoying person who you won’t really have a lot of fun playing with and who may not listen to your needs as articulately as you might wish, it may also indicate someone who is potentially unsafe to play with at all. Someone who is domineering is putting their own thoughts and ideas ahead of everyone else’s. By definition this is a problematic quality in a Dominant when considering the safety and boundaries of a submissive.

Some red flags:

  • When you tell someone something about yourself and they vehemently reject it rather than politely declining your offer and suggesting an alternative that might work for both of you:

Me: You can call me Sir… but I really don’t go for Ma’am or Miss

Them: You have a better chance of meeting Jesus. I will forgo the other two though

This may seem like a silly thing to pick up on, but it does indicate an unwillingness to respect my wishes, pronouns, and indications about how I like to be treated and viewed in general. It’s also needlessly insulting. Why would I want to spend time with someone who speaks to me like that? Why would I put my safety in the hands of someone this out of touch with respectful discourse?

  • Someone who refuses to discuss or negotiate a scene before playing with you (see following)
  • Someone who reframes your needs as “too much”, “unsexy”, or “not important”:

Me: What do you have in mind?

Them: Hang out, tie you up and spank you.

Me: I’m not sure I want to move that fast with you. We didn’t talk a lot about kink or your likes/dislikes or specific interests with me. I require clear negotiation if I’m going to bottom.

Them: I’m less of a talker and more of a doer. The more you talk and plan, the less spontaneity and excitement comes of the time. … this is supposed to be fun, free flowing and easy. Instead you’re asking to have everything detailed out and planned which kind of sucks the life out of all of it. I was interested in getting to know you better but there seem to be more roadblocks than exciting opportunities.

This person in minimizing my needs and putting pressure on me to change my mind and be “easier” for him to get to know. He’s basically bullying me to do things his way or feel as though what I am advocating for, in mind of my own safety and pleasure, is too much. What I need to feel safe around playing with another person, categorically, is not asking for too much. Let me impress that ideal clearly.

  • Someone who repeatedly reframes the conversation, controls the conversation, or changes the subject without answering your questions or commenting on any of your points (this happened repeatedly in our conversation)

I’m very happy to seek out another play partner, someone who wants me to feel comfortable and who accepts what I tell them about what I need to feel safe. Why would this unfold any other way? It’s really important for subs to advocate for themselves and be accommodated. The idea that “the sub is always the one actually in control” is an important tenet to be mindful of. The sub is the one who sets the pace for play, and stops everything if it isn’t going well. A Dominant should know and respect this first and foremost.

Why are all these little things important? They are important because they are important to one of the players — specifically the player who has the most to lose when it comes to the consequences of sceneing. They are important because there are a lot of people out there who aren’t off-putting and generally disrespectful. There are plenty of people who are game to try new things and who want to be respectful, safe, informed, and try things what will make both parties happy. There are plenty of people out there who are not rapists and abusers and are happy to go more than a modicum out of their way to prove to me they respect my feelings of safety over their “fun”. The person in my example is displaying the attitudes of someone who might not actually respect my body, emotions, mind, desires, limits, negotiations, and boundaries when I’m in a much more compromised or dangerous position. Why would I move forward with this person? Why would I let them tie me up? If I take the time to look, I’ll find partners to play with who don’t make me worry about my autonomy and safety. Saying “no” to this red flag covered playmate means that when I find the people who make me want to say “yes”, my yes is meaningfully given to a partner who will be a much more fun, safe, and rewarding Dominant.

Negotiations are all about communication, and yes, it is absolutely possible to just speak differently about things and still have the exact same values. However, everyone deserves respect. Everyone deserves to be questioned and to speak for themselves about what’s important to them. The moment someone assumes they know what is best for me and refrains from asking me about whether they are correct or check in about their intent, is the moment I am no longer safely in the hands of someone who is listening to me or considers my experience and therefore safety.

What we must do with one another first and foremost is listen. Listen to play partners and try to figure out why what they’re saying is important to them, as opposed to why it is or isn’t something you agree with. Know what your feelings on a subject are, and be able to separate them from someone else’s feelings. More often than not it’s completely reasonable to agree to disagree on certain subjects as long as you can decide how to functionally and respectfully handle the situation when it comes up.

Talk about your likes, dislikes, boundaries, interests, and needs before playing with someone for the first time. This is not just smart, it’s the MOST NORMAL THING people who engage in BDSM do. Pre-negotiation of a scene does the opposite of “sucking all the fun out”, it makes the scene more tailored to the desires of the people involved, meaning it will be more fun for everyone. It allows people to get into safer situations in a more well-informed way. It helps Dominants make sure they don’t make mistakes in play because of personal or really specific safety issues. More than once I’ve tailored a scene because I found out my partner had an injury, or really sensitive skin, or was less flexible than I previously thought, or was allergic to an ingredient in the lotion I was going to use. I’m HAPPY to make those adjustments because then I get to PLAY! All of these little considerations make my agenda as a Dominant more and more rewarding when it’s time to follow through. I get to have great consensual fun with a relaxed and trusting sub rather than rushing them to the hospital or dealing with trauma of some sort because something I didn’t realize would be a problem got triggered physically, emotionally, and/or mentally within our scene.

At the end of the day negotiations are a gift. Negotiations are vital to fun, and are groundbreaking in their ability to foster trust and generate a slow and steady path to successful scening. Negotiation is a sexy word. Don’t let anyone ever tell you your need to check in about their intentions for your body/heart/mind is overbearing, unsexy, or makes you less of a good, game, giving partner or submissive. Anyone who tells you your need to check in and establish respectful discourse on the subject of what will happen to your body is unimportant, is also someone who will not care when you “red out” of a scene or ask for a safety adjustment while you’re playing. They are telling you one thing by breezing past your preferences: “I am in this for me, and what I want is more important than what you want”. Not only is that the definition of an unsafe and potentially abusive partner, it is wrong, and it is NOT Dominant behavior. Dominants want their toys to be happy. Happy enough to come back and play with them again and again and again. Anyone that shortsighted about playing with you probably has something in mind for you that you don’t want in the first place. If they’re not willing to do work before your first scene, why would they ever start listening to you after you’ve already let them have your body in the first place?

Be safe out there. Say no when you feel nervous. Articulate what you need to feel more connected to the person you’re considering playing with. Don’t let anyone talk down to you or brush your requests aside. Don’t let anyone belittle your experience or ignore the things you are asking for. You deserve respect. You deserve fun.

What questions do you have for me, Dear Readers? Are there subjects in particular that interest you that I don’t speak about enough? Are there questions you have for me personally that I haven’t answered for you, or that you’d like updates on? Are there kinks you’d like me to try out and report on? Fill out the form on my Contact page, and I’ll get on it!

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

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