Some unusual questions haunted my mind last Saturday about dominant and submissive relationships. I decided to pursue my chain of thoughts. One of the questions involved thinking if two dominants could ever be in a relationship with each other? Or what would it be like if they did? Also, are we talking about someone’s dominant nature or the fact that they like to hold a whip while engaging in sexual relationships? And how submissive is the submissive?
There are obviously a lot of questions that might topple out of someone’s head if one allows them to think about things too long. Last Saturday, for instance, I also wondered how do we know who’s the Dominant and who’s the Submissive? And, once we figured out who’s who, how much control does a dominant have over a submissive?
There are, of course, differences between being submissive in bed and being submissive in the real world. Similarly, your dominant might ask you to kneel and lick him while you’re down on your knees but can they expect the same treatment outside the bedroom in the real world? No, they can’t.
It’s so hard to look at someone and know for a fact if they favor kinks you can only imagine in your wildest dreams. That’s why this article exists… So that you can know more about the kinks that are absolutely fascinating at times of their own accord and the people who enjoy them!
The Dominant, The Submissive And BDSM
For a very long time, people have been misunderstanding the dominant and submissive roles as the central feature of BDSM only. BDSM stands for Bondage Discipline Sado-Masochism. Though there’s also a discrepancy regarding whether the D in BDSM stands for Dominant-Submissive. There are just so many unexplored areas here!
BDSM definitely constitutes plays where a dominant and a submissive are involved. But dominant and submissive plays are only an offshoot of BDSM. Between many plays – be it age play or breath play or cuckolding – there is a dominant and a submissive. But for exploring the roles that a dominant or a submissive might have, you don’t necessarily need to be interested in any additional fetish.
There are things that you could do as a dominant and a submissive without involving any other kink as well. But before I go on talking about other things and sound extremely technical, first let me break down the basics for you.
Who is referred to as a dominant?
The dominant, also called the Dom, is the partner who is more in control. They decide the dynamics of the relationship they have with their partner or partners – what to do when to do it or at times, even how to do something is decided or dictated by the dominant to the submissive.
There’s obviously a powerplay in action here and the bar is tilted towards the dominant member of the relationship. Dominants usually like to take charge and be in the “superior” position. They like to be obeyed.
This is the scenario inside the bedroom. Out in the real world, it’s not expected of a submissive to obey their Dom. Most couples engage in light dominant-submissive plays even outside the bedroom but usually, it’s limited.
Every couple has its own dynamic and it’s up to you to decide how much you’re into your role as a dominant or a submissive. You could be a soft, calm person but scream passionately while your partner is in a room with you, doing things to you that you most absolutely love. Communication is the only key that unlocks a heart’s desire.
What is a submissive like?
Submissives, or the subs, are rather the subordinates. Their position behooves them to listen to what the dominant commands them to do. And it’s not like they’re forced into this position, they like to listen to their Dom.
Subs can be curious beings if you think about it. It’s not like they have no control over their own lives. A Dom might be someone who is very energetic or active outside the bedroom – a total extrovert – but a sub isn’t necessarily passive. Subs have their lives as well.
They work, study, go to parties and give speeches if necessary, but inside the four walls, they surrender themself to their Doms. It’s almost like they don’t want to decide or control anything as long as they are in the presence of their Doms.
Some people are submissive in nature generally, they can opt to be submissive behind closed doors as well. But the extent of this dominant-submissive play must always be decided by discussing the terms with your partner.
Who is a dominatrix?
A dominatrix is a female Dom – but wait that’s not just it, she gets paid to do things to you. Where a dominatrix is concerned, money is involved. This is where the twisted roles of society come in.
Usually, when we see a couple, we automatically assume the man to be dominant – although this isn’t always the case. But because this is generally assumed to be true even men at times balk before expressing their desire to be dominated.
A dominatrix is someone men can hire to dominate them. In a relationship, when a woman is dominant – and keep in mind, I mean sexually dominant and not behaviourally – she is simply the Dom. But when a man pays a woman to make him a submissive to her, she is referred to as the dominatrix.
A dominatrix, just like any other dominant or submissive, can be extremely different in her nature outside the arena of the BDSM dominant-submissive play. But when she’s the dominatrix, you listen to what she has to say…or she’ll make you.
Who do we call a switch?
A switch is someone who switches between being a dominant and a submissive. Being a Dominant, you have to take control of the situation – and you’ll like to. You’ll love it when someone sits or stands as per your wish. You could ask your sub to do anything at all, albeit appropriate and discussed before, and they will do it.
Being a submissive on the other hand, you’ll be relatively free of any kind of responsibility. You know your Dom will make sure if you please then, you’re taken care of. You’ll be coddled and loved as a pet…and this can be addictive.
So, some people choose to switch between a sub and a dom and they’re called a switch. As a switch, regardless of how or who you are in the world out there, in the bedroom, they get to decide and be whoever they’re in the mood for. Also, if not the mood, an advantage of being a switch is you get to switch after reading the room.
Two dominants or two submissives might find themselves at a crossroad on what to do…but if you’re a switch, you can pick your role accordingly and have fun!
The History Behind It
The history of BDSM is intricately connected with the history of dominants and submissives. However, BDSM covers a larger spectrum of sexual activities. When Rihanna was singing about S&M she didn’t talk about any specific sexual play, she talked simply about BDSM with just a dominant and a submissive. She talked about chains and whips…and now we have moved even further ahead from that.
Where this practice stands today, it has had to overcome many taboos to get there – earlier, BDSM meant inflicting pain only. People misunderstood it in many ways. And it was also limited to just the idea of getting pleasure out of pain. The new ideas of consent, safety, and acceptance of fetishes have encouraged many Doms and Subs to come ahead.
This practice of having a submissive or being a Dom goes as far back as ancient times. It is mentioned in the Indian Sanskrit text Kama Sutra as well. Rulers from as far back as the 18th century also indulged in sado-masochism. This sexually sadistic torture was to show dominance towards their subjects and bend them to their wills.
Ancient BDSM evolved into modern practices and with it came some rules and safety considerations. Initially, being a Dominant meant having total control over the submissive. And this domination was often both consensual and non-consensual.
The sadomasochism still remains in BDSM but with safe words safe gestures and open conversations, it has become much more approachable. And we have also become much more accepting of dominants and submissives or any other BDSM participants.
Has being a dominant or a submissive always been sexual?
You know how I mentioned above that being a dominant or a submissive isn’t necessarily engaging in any plays? Well, there are different BDSM plays – breath play, cock, and ball torture and the likes – and in these there’s usually a dominant partner reigning over the submissive partner in bed, sexually. But you can be a dominant or a submissive without experiencing any sexual fetish as well.
You could just simply surrender yourself and let the dominant decide at the heat of the moment what is to be done. Dominant-Submissive is just being a certain kind of persona – the different kinds of plays are just personal preferences. Some Doms don’t even have to touch the subs to make them obey their wishes. The wishes don’t have to sexual at all.
You could be a Dom and treat a sub like someone you reign over, in every aspect but in bed. Of course, it has to be consensual. Or you could be a sub and be pleased to fulfill your Dom’s wishes – may those wishes be sexual or not. Kneeling, kissing the feet, giving massages or at times even just sitting at a position you’ve been told to sit in is an example of dominant-submissive behavior.
Safety, Consent And Other Guidelines
The one thing that you most absolutely can’t do is practice being a Dom or a Sub without having some ground rules first. I know people who find this whole business extremely exciting and jump into it without being prepared. This can only lead to trauma – you might as well choose a safe word but you won’t know when to use it and end up hurting yourself if you don’t set some rules first.
The top guideline to practice BDSM would be to decide what you’re okay with. If you’re not into being a sexual BDSM participant, decide what interests you. Find out what your nature is – do you like to listen to your partner when they ask certain things of you? Or are you the one who likes to dictate what’s going to happen?
With a long-term partner, it’s relatively easier to determine whether you’re a dom or a sub. This is because you already engage with them and know not only your nature around them but also vice versa. If you’re not with a long-term partner, simply explore your choices and wishes. Or you can always opt to be a switch!
After accepting who will be the dominant and who is the submissive, decide on a safe word. It’s important to keep safety in mind – that’s why you never ignore the safe word. Be it sexual practices or otherwise, if you think it’s bordering too close to home or is going too far, use the word. Non-sexual practices might include tying someone up as well, if it starts to hurt more than the amount which is pleasurable, say it with safe words and gestures.
Remember that consent is important.
Consent is what separates sexual sadism from coercive sexual sadism disorder. It’s important you trust your partner and pick them wisely. Look for the red flags and listen to your gut if something seems off about them. BDSM is serious business and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Abusive partners and self-hating subs are to be avoided. They need therapy, not you. If anything, it’s wise to draw up a contract. Listen to Mr. Christian Grey, if not me, and follow his example.