If the idea of being in control makes you both excited and a little anxious - you’re not alone. Many people have sexual fantasies about power, where they get aroused by dominance and submission (D/s). The dominant partner is in control according to the boundaries and rules that both Dom and sub have consented to. They may do sexual and/or non-sexual activities, like dressing up or roleplaying or rituals, to express and reinforce their power dynamic. As hot as erotic power exchange can be, it can be intimidating to move fantasies into reality. There’s technique, confidence, roleplay, equipment to consider... so where's a good place to start exploring erotic dominance? Let's go over some basics.
Is being dominant all about whips and chains?
Whether you like crops and chains or kisses and cuddles, the activity you choose isn’t necessarily dominant or submissive on by its own nature. Though the activity might excite you (get some kinky activity ideas here!)it's more about the dominant mood and intention behind the activity that gives it power. Kinky toys and costumes are great, but you can also engage dominance with just your presence, words, facial expressions, and touch. Discovering what your dominant side likes can take some self-reflection, research, and mindful exploration.
5 Ways to Explore Your Dominant Side
Write ‘dominant’ in the middle of your page. Close your eyes and visualize a dominant person - who are they? what are they wearing, how are they standing, how do they make you feel? Let your mind wander beyond the limits of what you know about dominance. Try not to judge yourself. Think about dominance in movies, at your job, in society - who holds power, who doesn’t, and what would power look like if you could rewrite it with this brainstorm.
Erotic writing is awesome because it engages your imagination. It also allows fantasy to go into areas that might be impossible, unpopular or too risky in real life - you can be that Dominant Leather-Lovin’ Seahorse you’ve always dreamed of! Reading BDSM sexy stories can help inspire ideas for ourselves and is a great way to mix up masturbation if your go-to is porn.
Self-pleasure is a great place to start exploring fantasies that we’re unsure about or feel unconfident about because masturbation is a time for us to be selfish. We aren’t worried about performance or another person’s desires, so you can take the time to feel all the sensations and maybe different ways your body responds as you introduce a new fantasy.
No need to rush home with a paddle and a pile of rope! Communication is a huge part of power exchange, and it begins with sharing the fantasy without expectations and being curious about how your partner responds. If it’s your partner’s idea for you to be dominant, ask them about what they want to experience as a submissive and to describe what they’d be turned on by with you as a dominant. Talk about scenes. Go slow, give your partner time to digest and enthusiastically invite them to share their honest reactions, which might include rejection or keeping it fantasy only.
No partner? No problem. There are lots of online communities where newbies and experienced people are swapping ideas, sharing techniques and commiserating about BDSM challenges. Or stretch your creativity and write your own BDSM erotica.
Take a class on temperature play, watch a video on dirty talk or learn about choking safely. Your choice of vessel for your dominant erotic energy might be bondage, leather and hosiery or it might be your regular clothes with a new energy. Some of us get more connected to our dom sides by gaining confidence through skill-building. Some of us get more confident the moment we lace up our latex boots. Start with where your interest first takes you, where you have gaps in knowledge or where you feel yourself geeking out, and approach it with curiosity. See what sexy skills you can get and what you can learn about yourself in the process.
It’s Kinky to Keep An Open Mind!
You might not find the right flavor of your dominance right away, you might not always be inspired with the submissive that you’re with, you might make mistakes and lose confidence and you might not be in the mood to be dominant tonight. All of this is ok, and part of the creative erotic journey is shedding shame and expectations, being more gentle with ourselves, tapping into the diversity of our desires and learning to communicate authentically. Aim for play, not perfection.
Luna Matatas is a Sex, Pleasure and Body Confidence Educator with over 10 years experience teaching sexual health and wellness workshops. She celebrates body confidence, self-adoration and building shame-free pleasure in our lives. Luna is a self-identified craft slut; she created Peg the Patriarchy as part of her line of sex-positive and feminist merch. You can easily find Luna making nipple pasties, talking about butt stuff or helping couples and singles through Pleasure Coaching.