What Does Being A Dominant Partner Mean In BDSM?
There’s often confusion about the role of being a dominant in a relationship, and especially a BDSM relationship. If you’re confused about the responsibilities of being a dominant in BDSM lifestyle, then you need to read this. When you’re looking at a chastity lifestyle, or considering involving a chastity device into your bedroom – then the dominant is the one with the keys to the device. Commonly referred to as the keyholder in a chastity relationship. The confusion lies within the sense of power – many people do not like the idea of a “dominant” because they have either an unrealistic expectation of what it is to be a dominant, or they have a negative view of a dominant in the sense that they feel that a dominant controls all aspects of another person’s life. This is often incorrect, and this article serves to explore the idea of what is a dominant, the responsibilities of a dominant, and what being a dominant entails. There are responsibilities that the dominant will have and then there are the responsibilities of being a submissive as well.
DEFINITIONS IN BDSM RELATIONSHIPS
Firstly, I’m going to separate the idea of a relationship and a scene. A relationship is two people in a mutual relationship of affection and love, where a scene could either refer to a play session with the relationships partner or involve a second (or third) person outside the relationship for play purposes. BDSM relationships might be committed and monogamous relationships between two individuals, or the relationship might be open to involving another person. This is often beneficial because a partner may not feel comfortable enacting a scene that the other wants, and so to fulfil the fantasy they might compromise and bring in a willing participant. So let’s sound that out a little more – because whilst a top and a dominants roles may intersect, they are not always the same. A top is the actor or partner within a scene who applies to the bottom partner(s) techniques that may encompass a sexual, sensual or psychological activity such as; flogging, bondage, servitude or humiliation. The dominant is the one who is in control of the scene, or the relationship. For example, a dominant might get their partner to become a top and to perform certain activities on them such as pussy pumping, or Cock and ball play, or on a third person. The dominant in this case is the director, the top is the one performing the task and the bottom is the person that it is being applied to. As you can see, it can become quite complex, quite quickly.
In a BDSM relationship the dominant, or top, is the partner within the relationship or a scene who takes the active role. The active role might be the person who is controlling the bottom or submissive in the scene, or simply the one who is the most alpha. It is important to note that a Dom may be a top, or they may not be – this is most apt within female Dominants, and same sex partners.
Changing Responsibilities Of A Master/Dominant
A second, important thing to note, is that the responsibilities of a dominant might change over time, or between relationships. Being in a BDSM relationship means different things to different people, and despite being into the same type of play, they might approach that play vastly differently. A dominant’s influence may be transitory or permanent; they may only retain control during sexual situations, they may extend complete control over an individual’s life and be responsible for their day-to-day decisions, or there might be some variant in between. A dominant who exercises control over a person’s life is often referred to as a master or mistress – age doesn’t matter here, mature gay men could be the submissive, or a young seemingly good girl who seems innocent and might appear as though she needs reads a good girl guide might be the dominant. In all intents and purposes the woman might seem sweet and innocent in life, but be completely and utterly dominant in the bedroom.For that reason the responsibilities of a dominant might change between dominants. BDSM relationships are what you make of them, and they mean different things to individual relationships.
Now to the sense of power. If you’re watching hardcore gay sex films, or BDSM style films you might be under a different impression. However, many people believe that it is the dominant which has the most power in such a relationship. This is incorrect. The dominant is meant to protect and look out for their submissive, and to always ensure their safety. In this situation, unless it is a prior arranged activity where the submissive will ‘playfully’ resist, it is the submissive who has the most control. The submissive at any time can use a pre-arranged safe word to immediately stop the scene and the dominant must comply in order to ensure the safety of all participants. Hopefully that clarifies some of the responsibilities of being a dominant, and the terminology that is applied to BDSM relationships; now let’s some of the more common responsibilities of dominants. These responsibilities might be set up as rules within a relationship contract, or they might be considered an understanding. It’s dependant on the relationship between the participants. Keep in mind the following duties and responsibilities have been an accumulation of various contracts – and as such the wording might be found to be slightly formal. Don’t let this intimidate you – take from it what you need.
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A DOMINANT
1. It is important to be able to have trust. A sub’s submission is a gift and not something to be taken lightly, and abused. It is a dominants responsibility not to break, abuse, or violate that trust that a submissive has placed in a dominant. When decisions need to be made within the relationship or the scene, a dominant must keep both the submissive and themselves in mind, and not just themselves. This would equate to a selfish dominant that has no interest or care in the relationship with their submissive. A submissive needs to trust, if they do not trust they might not approach a certain activity or scene in mind. A submissive needs to have the ability to assure themselves that what they’re doing is in safe hands, and that if something goes wrong, their dominant will be there for them.
2. It is a responsibility of the dominant to help the submissive find their way. To recognise the sub’s needs and desires and to help facilitate that. It is not the responsibility of the dominant to force their own fantasies and desires onto the sub, unless they coincide with each other.
3. A dominant must always be in control. To lose control of their emotions and to take anger out on a sub is not a BDSM relationship, but it is abuse. If a dominant is not in control of their own emotions, then they cannot possibly be in control of another individual.
4. Communication is a key component to being a dominant. A dominant cannot read between the lines the desires of their submissive, and they must clearly work out their sub’s needs and desires. A dominant must also communicate back to the sub and clearly explain, define and set boundaries and rules that are appropriate to the scene, relationship, or situation.
5. Safety is paramount. It is a dominants responsibility to ensure that their submissive is safe. A dominant must be responsible for finding out ones true limits, and then sticking to those limits to ensure the safety of all.
All this might sound confusing. But let’s bring it back to a chastity relationship. You, or your partner might want to wear a chastity device. It’s not a simple matter of putting on the device and then forgetting about it. Expectations must be set. Questions such as; what do you want out of this, what do you expect my role to be, what do you expect your role to be, what will happen when expectations aren’t being met, do we need to set rules for chastity.
In all honesty, mistakes will be made when you first put on a chastity device. Expectations might be fine in theory, but are difficult to implement in practice. It is here that communication is essential. Communication will be the key to unlocking the expectations and ensuring satisfaction. That’s not just a role for the dominant, but also for the submissive. The responsibilities of a submissive in turn will create the expectations for the dominant with the responsibilities of the dominant in turn creating the expectations for the submissive.