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Male Dominance (Maledom)

Updated: SEPTEMBER 28, 2021
Reviewed by Jen Mallia
on September 28, 2021

Male dominance is a BDSM relationship or scene in which a male-identifying partner is the one in the Dominant position. Sometimes shortened the maledom, the Dominant male can use both physical and psychological techniques to assert control and power over their submissive, within the agreed-upon boundaries of their relationship. This type of power dynamics exchange is negotiated between the Dominant and submissive, and is consensual and revocable.

Male dominance can occur in any relationship structure where there is at least one male-identifying partner, and it is not limited by sexuality. Male dominants are often referred to as dom, master, owner, boss or top. In male dominance scenes, the Dom is the partner who dictates and guides the different types of fully consensual play. Male dominance can be used in any kind of BDSM scene, including:

  • Bondage.
  • Impact play.
  • Age play.
  • Collaring.
  • Humiliation.
  • Punishment.
  • Edging.
  • Orgasm torture and denial.
  • Training.
  • Watersports.
  • Role play.

These scenes can involve purely physical acts that the maledom performs on the submissive — or directs the submissive to perform — or they can involve psychological direction and manipulation. Some male dominants incorporate both aspects to create a well-rounded scene. As with other aspects of BDSM, male dominance scenes may or may not involve sexual touch or intercourse. For many in dominance scenes, gratification comes from the different BDSM acts performed.

Female dominance is sometimes connected to and involved in sex work, but male dominance is much less represented in sex work. However, male dominance is more frequently associated with ongoing, intimate relationships. For some people, male dominance is only used in sexual and intimate scenarios, but for others male dominance can be included in 24/7 BDSM relationships. Maledom has emerged as a popular search term in pornography, though it has not reached the same level as femdom.

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More About Male Dominance (Maledom)

Male dominance is a bit of a paradox. The term is not used anywhere near as frequently as female dominance is. Femdom is a very popular term in both porn and sex work. However, male dominance is overwhelmingly depicted in all types of media because it is a reflection of patriarchal societies where men are viewed as dominant over women. If a person who had been only subjected to pop culture depictions were asked to describe a BDSM scene involving a Dominant and a submissive, it isn't hard to imagine the response would be that a male-identifying person is the Dominant and a female-identifying person is the submissive. This mirrors pervasive subtle and overt messaging of overarching male dominance in society that remains problematic.

In looking at male dominance in a strictly BDSM-related view, male dominance is a bit misunderstood. Far too often, in books and films such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “365,” male dominants are depicted as abusive, without empathy and entirely self-interested. These are not accurate reflections of the power exchange that goes into a successful dominant/submissive connection. Yes, the acts mirror unpleasant situations to an outsider. However, in a balanced and caring D/s relationship, male dominance is a role that has specific expectations and duties to be fulfilled to ensure the submissive’s safety and happiness and consent is revisited and reaffirmed often.

On the surface, male dominance might look like someone getting dressed up in leather who barks or snarls orders at a submissive purely for his own gratification. In fact, male dominance has no set demeanor or fashion style. Male dominance can be loud and aggressive or it can be calm and quiet. It can be power suits and leather or it can be bathrobes and Bermuda shorts. What male dominance does not vary in is the obligation of the male dominant to fulfil the submissive’s desires of serving their master. Dominance is also a role to please another person.

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