It seems like a dream come true - a dutiful slave (or two) at your beck and call, ready and willing to submit to your every sexual whim, no matter how raunchy. No, you aren’t weird - a little kinky, maybe, but not weird. In the BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, masochism) community, you would be referred to as a dominant. However, actually realizing this fantasy is often much more difficult than you can imagine. Not only does it require a true desire to be in control, but it also requires a number of other characteristics, some of which may surprise you.

So, do you have what it takes to be a dominant? Let’s find out, shall we? (Not ready for BDSM but still want to incorporate a little kink? Check out Why Bondage Can Be So Much Fun.)

Assertiveness

This is perhaps one of the most obvious qualities that every dominant needs to possess. In fact, assertiveness is an absolute must.

To be a good dominant, you need to know what you want and not be afraid to voice those desires to your submissives. Now's not the time to be polite, so forget what your mama taught you and nix the "please" and "thank you." Instead, issue concise commands to get your point across. In other words, assert yourself!

Self-Confidence

If you lack self-confidence, you won't cut it as a dominant - and you probably won't enjoy it either. Other dominants, and even submissives, can smell a lack of self-confidence from a mile away. To be a good dominant, you can't constantly be worried about how you look to others or wondering what your submissives are thinking about you.

That said, flexing your dominant muscles can do wonders to boost a flagging self esteem. If all you need is a little push, give this role a shot. As for the self confidence, there's only one thing you can do at first: fake it! Put yourself in the mindset that you are powerful, a sex god or goddess. Even if you're new to the whole dominant thing and have no clue what you're doing, faking it can go a long way toward helping you build true confidence.

Communication

Communication is important during any sexual encounter, but it's extremely important during a BDSM scene. Open communication between a dominant and submissive is vital. As a dominant, you should be comfortable expressing your sexual wants and needs. You should also encourage your submissives to talk to you about what they want from the experience.

Before any BDSM activity, or "scene," it's important to establish what roles everyone will play as well as well as any limitations participants may have. For example, you may be looking forward to a good caning. That's cool, just don't assume that your partner will be as receptive.

Also, always establish safewords before any scene. Traffic light colors - red, yellow and green - are widely considered to be universal safewords. Red obviously means "stop everything right now!" Yellow means "slow down" or "back off" but don't stop completely." Green, of course, means "bring it on!"

If you choose to use your own safewords, make sure that they are words or phrases that could not possibly be brought up during a scene. For instance, "stop" or "you're hurting me" are generally very bad safewords because they might be used as part of play, whereas "jellybean" and "itsy bitsy spider" will work, if that's what you're into.

Responsibility

Being a good dominant involves a great deal of responsibility. Not only are you responsible for pleasuring others, you're also often responsible for their physical safety and emotional well-being. In fact, safety should come first, even before your or your partner's desires. If something seems unsafe, it's often best to avoid it and move on, especially if you and your partner don't know each other well.

Respect

This may be a surprising attribute for a dominant, but it's one of the most important! You absolutely must have respect for both yourself and your submissives.

Sure, submissives may expect a degree of humiliation spewing from your mouth, but don't take that to mean you can dish out real abuse. You must still respect their limits and get to know what they find arousing before you go all out.

Self-Control

The perceived control that a dominant has over a submissive is nothing but myth. In reality, it is the submissive who has most of the power. Like respect, self-control is an absolute must for a dominant. Unfortunately, this can be one of the hardest things to learn, and it's especially hard to put into action during a scene. Dominants should be responsible for their submissives as well as their actions. If you lose your self control, you could lose your submissive.

Knowledge

Wanting to be a dominant is one thing. Understanding exactly what comes with such a powerful position is another. You can always add a little kink to your sexual repertoire, but BDSM takes it a little further. Be prepared to take the time to learn the ropes, so to speak, and educate yourself on the tools of the trade. Make sure that you take the time to learn how to safely use toys, bondage equipment, floggers and any other equipment. (Check out some kinky bondage toys from Adam & Eve here.)

Patience

Training your submissive and learning how to be a good dominant takes a great deal of time and patience. You won't become a dominant overnight, so be prepared to sink some time into honing your craft. Start by reading everything you can on the subject, or perhaps consider learning from someone in the BDSM community. Finally, remember that practice makes perfect!

And then, if BDSM is right for you, get out there and whip some tushies!

Additional Resources:

  • "BDSM: The Naked Truth" World-renowned Clinical Sexologist Dr. Charley Ferrer pulls back the leather curtain to reveal the truths about love, affection, and the respect shared by men and women who embrace the uniquely erotic lifestyle of dominance and submission.
  • "The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge" A bold and sexy collection of essays that run the gamut from expert how-to tutorials to provocative essays that delve into complex questions about desire, power, and pleasure.