Firstly, let me make a few disclaimers…
- I love submissives. I wish that far fewer people lived in shame about being submissive, and that there was less stigma attached to being a submissive, as I believe that this would clear up a lot of issues for people individually, and within the community as a whole too.
- Being a switch is a total non-issue as far as I’m concerned – so long as a switch is straightforward about being a switch… which is the exact same feeling I have about all identity groups within the community.
- I have no issue with people who role play as ‘dominant’ for some good, sexy fun – who are totally clear about it, and make no claim to be a lifestyle Dominant. Have fun and play safe, I say.
- What I do have a problem with is dishonesty, dangerousness and misrepresentation, (both intentional and unintentional), and the damage done to others by these three things.
- In no way am I implying that there is only “one way” to be a Dominant; Dominants are all individuals, and will always have their own individual styles.
Now – on to the article:
When I first joined the scene, and announced to those I met that I was both a Dominant and a Sadist, I was met with distrust, disbelief and a jury of my peers waiting for me to prove that I had the right to call myself that. I was grilled, tested, confronted, and watched with a VERY close eye. Was it fair? In an odd way – yes. Those other Tops who were being so judgmental, were doing their part to keep the community safe – by protecting those around them from inept Tops, predators, monsters and people who claimed to be Dominant, but really weren’t. These days, the community is much more focused on inclusion – and in many ways, that’s a wonderful thing, but there are drawbacks created in the trade. I can’t say for certain that the number of would-be “Dominants” has changed for better or for worse, and really – that doesn’t matter. What DOES matter, is protecting each other and ourselves – just as it mattered when I joined the community… And it is for that very same reason that I write this column, and today – specifically – this article.
One of the things that always steered me well as a Dominant, was talking with subs and listening to their stories – their history, their experiences (good AND bad), their hopes, their fears and – sadly – their horror stories too. Their tales of being treated badly always left me horrified, and I was always shocked as to how they ended up in such a situation. I would always wonder, “How could a submissive NOT know what a good Dominant looked like?” Well, it turned out that there were lots of reasons why – so here’s hoping we can make their quest for the right Dominant (for them) a little easier…
What does a good Dominant look like?
- Well, you won’t be able to tell a good dominant from a bad (or fake) one based on how they look – as that’s a matter of personal taste. Certainly, you will learn something about the person based on how they present themselves visually, but it’s not going to be much help in identifying whether or not someone is a Dominant or not.
- For my money, one of the ways to tell a good Dominant from someone who is posing as a Dominant, is benevolence.
- People who are genuinely a Dominant, are most likely going to have a soft spot for submissives. They will display love and respect for them as a group… not disdain, disgust or disinterest. they may have issues with individual submissives and perhaps have bad things to say about those individuals, but their attitude toward the group should be positive and eager to have one in their service.
- Someone who is comfortable with power, is typically not in a rush to PROVE that they are powerful. They are comfortable with being seen as human and can be incredible kind, caring and generous (though, again, these traits depend entirely on the personality of the individual). But that EASE with power is something to watch for… and also how comfortable they seem in their own skin.
- How happy are they? Do they laugh easily? These are also great ways to tell how much a person is being true to their real self, or if they’re behaving in a way that isn’t authentic.
- Honesty is the big one to look out for. Ask tough questions and see how they handle it. Do they get ruffled easily? Do they get defensive? Or do they handle it with relative ease? (NOTE: This does not mean that you should be rude or invasive. Even a good, genuine Dominant will dismiss you if you botch this, so proceed with caution if you’re going to try this test.)
- Self-control is probably the number one marker of a good, authentic Dominant. Yes, they want to control submissives – but CONTROL, in and of itself, is what’s important to them. This will be apparent in the standards that they hold themselves to, how they behave, speak and interact with others.
- Respect is key as well. Dominants want respect, and there is a sort of old-fashioned way about people who are genuinely Dominant. Manners, graciousness, decorum, dignity, respect given, earned and expected in return – these are hallmarks of the natural Dominant.
What to watch out for – signs that they are a poor Dominant, or perhaps a fake one:
- It’s all about them – literally. They act like the sub is a doormat to be used and abused with no regard for their feelings, happiness or well-being. In fantasy, this might sound hot to you, but in reality, it makes them a sociopath.
- They believe that the sub shouldn’t have needs – that them having needs means that they’re a “bad” sub/slave, etc. This is usually someone who’s looking for a free ride – either through financial gain, or through free services… or both. They take everything, give little to nothing, and you’re supposed to be grateful for being the one being used in this parasitic way.
- They lack self-control, but expect to control YOU. This can also be demonstrated through being a loose cannon, emotionally or by making a mess everywhere and making you always clean up after them. (This can happen in any area of life – it’s not just a matter of leaving a trail of clothing behind them, or leaving a mess in the kitchen).
- They run on the philosophy of ‘do as I say, not as I do’. A true leader never asks another to do that which they cannot (or will not) – and you’re looking for a LEADER when you’re looking for a Dominant.
- They’re bossy. In other words, they try to make EVERYONE be submissive to them… Or, to put it another way, they are perpetually trying to engage people in non-consensual D/s play. A lot of subs who are early in their journey, are caught up in the fantasy about bossiness. Problematic submissives don’t get past this fantasy, and neither do those posing as Dominants.
- They withhold emotional rewards – either intentionally, or because they don’t know what you need. Whether this is a malicious manipulation, or simply a result of someone who will never be able to meet your emotional needs as a submissive, really doesn’t matter. Over time, it will create a LOT of damage to a submissive, so the sooner you can remove yourself from this kind of subtle abuse, the better.
- They’re always starting pissing contests with other Dominants. This is a sure sign that you’re dealing with someone who isn’t being true to who they really are. This is someone who WANTS to be a Dominant, but they’re not. Alphas don’t start fights for power: they don’t need to.
- They demand everything without earning anything. They have a ridiculous sense of entitlement. They expect respect to be given to them without giving it to you, they expect you to trust them without proving that you can and they expect you to suddenly submit to their will – just because they want you to. These are NOT the signs of a Dominant… or certainly not a GOOD one, at any rate.
- They’re incompetent, incapable, unprepared,
- When you are developing an opinion about the person in question, these are examples of the traits that you need to watch out for as warning signs: bossy, selfish, bitchy, moody, cold, entitled, spoiled, self-centred, rude, disrespectful, lacking in self-control, immature, reckless, needy, parasitic, incapable, childish, weak, fragile, unprepared, always late, uninvolved, uncaring, irresponsible, unaccountable – and anything else that makes it nearly impossible for you to look up to them, follow them and respect them.
To any potential subs reading this: The most important thing in any D/s relationship is that both parties are happy. It may not make sense to anyone else – and it doesn’t have to – because it’s only a problem if you’re not happy. So many times, I have heard submissives tell me that they think they must be doing something wrong, that it must be their fault that it isn’t working – and that’s certainly something that must be examined. But if you’ve done everything that’s been asked of you, and you’re left feeling empty, confused, frustrated, sad, lonely, lost or hopeless – then there is something essentially wrong with the relationship. Sometimes it can mean that the Dominant is a poor one, or isn’t really one at all… and sometimes it means that you’re just not the right match for each other. Either way, you need to always make sure that you’re safe, healthy and happy as a person AND as a submissive. I sincerely hope that this information helps you do exactly that.