What do you think of when you hear the word Dominatrix? Do you imagine some lady in high-heels and a piercing glare? Maybe she has on leather boots that come up to her kneecaps, and is sitting on a throne with a whip in one hand, and a wineglass in the other. No matter what image you hold, it's probably pretty narrow. The truth is that a Dominatrix could be the unassuming bookworm at your local library, a Fortune 500 CEO, and any shade of awesome in between.

Of course, these assumptions about who can and cannot be a Dominatrix aren’t just something that’s found outside the scene. It’s often held within the scene, sometimes by prospective Dommes who are interested in the idea of dominating, but don’t feel like they can do it. Maybe you lack confidence. Maybe you prefer to sit back and watch things play out rather than be the first to speak up. Maybe you aren’t comfortable ordering someone else around, or (gasp!) you’re the one getting ordered around. No matter what you feel your shortcomings are, I’m here to help. Even if you’re shy, or lack confidence in your ability to be a Domme, that's OK. In fact, erring on the edge of caution is an excellent trait to have in a Domme. Here's a shy girl's guide to giving domination a go.

Practicing Domination in Day-to-Day Life

From what I’ve heard there are some people who can turn domination on and off like a switch, but from what I’ve seen, being a Dominatrix comes a lot easier when you’re practicing it in your day-to-day life. I know that initially, it may sound intimidating, but it’s all about baby steps. Even if it’s nerve wracking, try to do small things that will help you take command of a situation. For instance, (I’ve been guilty of this myself) if a person at Starbucks (or any other establishment) gets your order wrong, do you take the time to tell them to remake it or do you just leave? Some people who are shy, which sometimes includes speaking up for themselves, may do the latter. If this is hard for you, go ahead and ask for them to remake your order. Keep doing little things like this. Gradually increase these commanding situations in magnitude and you’ll begin feel more and more comfortable speaking up for yourself, and eventually taking command of a situation with a submissive. (Get more tips in So, You Wanna Be a Dominant?)

Use Observation to Your Advantage

Sometimes people who are shy (as well as people who are introverted) like to hang back and scan the room around them. They may be more inclined to check out the body language of people before they speak. If this is you, it’s time you recognize that this really is an amazing trait. If you’re a shy person who’s sensitive to the world around them, even if there’s social anxiety included in that, you can use that to your advantage in a scene.

It’s very important for a Domme to be completely tuned into the submissive that they’re with. If you do get carried away with social anxiety, I would suggest that you try to enter other people’s heads. If you can, try to imagine what it’ll be like to be in their shoes. Observe what they do and try to predict what they will do next. You can also use other long-term methods to clear your head such as meditation and yoga. These things will help you to eventually be able to perceive the different nuances in your submissive’s behavior. Knowing your sub is one of the most important aspects of dominating. You can only do this when you’re able to observe and predict behavior with a fair amount of accuracy.

Consider Becoming a Domme By Trying Submission First

I know this may seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out. I remember asking a Domme how a person could become a dominant. She told me that in old leather communities (different BDSM groups), it’s a common practice for people to become a Domme by first being a submissive. This struck me as odd, so I asked her to explain. She said that it was considered unheard of for a dominant to do anything to another person that they wouldn’t experience for themselves. For instance, if they wanted to flog a submissive, they would first experience a flogging from another dominant, or flog themselves.

Another option was to temporarily forgo domination entirely, and instead start off as a submissive for a set period of time. After this they would practice switching (alternating being a submissive and dominant) and eventually become a Dom(me). All this would be done under the guidance of a dominant who would then release you from their tutelage when they felt you were ready to dominate another person. Obviously, this requires a certain level of trust in the person you’re training under, but it’s an excellent place to begin your journey into domination. (Learn more in 5 Ways to Spot a Good Submissive.)

In short, whether you’re a whip wielding, “lick my stiletto” type of Domme, or the quiet, gently assertive Domme, you have a place here. Being a Domme isn’t one-dimensional; people aren’t one-dimensional. The role of a dominant can be filled by anyone. Even you! It’s about time you act like it don't you think?