Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Red Flags in BDSM

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submissivefeminist: In order to maintain a healthy relationship, especially within the BDSM community, we need to be aware of signs of unhealthy behaviour. Of course, these red flags can appear in any kind of relationship—but it’s extra important when you’re in a relationship with a power-dynamic or a heightened risk of injury. Submissives, especially, often find themselves in unhealthy dynamics with no idea how to spot the problems. Dominants, too, are able to experience this. For this reason, I’ve developed an outline of some of the most common red flags I hear from followers and some resources to help you deal with them.

The following are common things a partner might be doing if you’re in an unhealthy relationship:

Insists you do not need a safeword.

While some people prefer to play without a safeword, I will always speak against this practice. Safewords are crucial to a healthy D/s because without them, there is no way to revoke consent and that means you or your partner may not want to continue, but has no way of communicating this.

If your partner insists that you not use a safeword, you need to be firm in saying that will not be the case. I would take extreme caution with playing with someone who has suggested this, as it shows a lack of responsibility for you or your partner’s safety and mental health. Safewords should always be required of everyone in order to play safely. If you don’t want to use them, don’t use them—but always have them in place.

Claims to have no hard or soft limits.

This one is more common with submissives, but Dominants do it, as well. Claiming one has no limits shows a) a lack of experience and/or b) dishonesty. Though some people have more limits than others, everyone has limits. If your partner is insisting they have no limits, ask about something you consider extreme and see if they would agree to it. Communicate the importance of having limits so that everyone is aware of boundaries. No one should go into a scene blind of where the boundaries are.

Pressures you into playing in ways that violate your personal limits.

If you have established limits and your partner wants you to push them, there are two ways to go about this.

1) You express a desire to want to get past a certain limit and your partner discusses ways they can help you with this in a safe and controlled manner as to help you explore your sexuality.

2) Your partner hounds you to do something outside your limits and you feel really uncomfortable about this.

If your situation sounds like #2, you need to either have a strict conversation with your partner about limits or you need to leave the relationship.

A healthy dynamic does not involve true force of any kind. Remember that everything within a D/s is consensual and if your partner is pushing you to do something you don’t consent to, this is unhealthy. Technically, it is abuse or sexual assault. Don’t tolerate this behaviour, and seek help if you need it.

Plays when they are angry or upset.

This is another sign of an abusive relationship. A good partner will not play when they are angry or upset. This can lead to safety concerns, emotional problems, and abuse.

Dominants who are angry and wish to punish their submissives need to take time to think about an appropriate punishment instead of lashing out. Physical violence is never a way to solve underlying problems. The submissive should know why they are being punished, agree that it is fair, and feel forgiven after the punishment.

Submissives who play when they are upset are often covering up mental health problems. While healthy people can play after a bad day and feel much better—unhealthy folks will play to “hurt themselves,” so to speak, and will still feel badly after a scene. If this is the case, the submissive should seek counseling to work out their mental health problems instead of using D/s as a means to self-harm. Playing the sadist to an unstable masochist can end very, very badly. It is dangerous and shouldn’t ever be considered. Put your partner’s mental health above play at all times.

Insists that you address them as a specific title (Sir, Master, slut, fuck-toy) upon first meeting them.

This is a problem a lot of people face with potential partners. Fact of the matter is, you are no one’s slut or Master until you have formed a relationship of some kind with that person and you both agree to these titles. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to address them in a way you don’t like or be addressed in a disrespectful manner.

Does not provide aftercare.

Aftercare is absolutely crucial to a healthy D/s relationship, especially ones involving sadism and masochism. In fact, aftercare is often a defining difference between kink and abuse. Aftercare should be done automatically. If you are in need of aftercare and your partner doesn’t realize it—speak up! Both Dominants and submissive who need aftercare are entitled to it after a scene.

If your partner ignores your needs and does not provide aftercare, you need to leave the relationship. This is an abuse of power and shows a lack of responsibility. You should never leave a scene feeling badly. Aftercare is key to maintaining a healthy relationship. A guide to aftercare can be found here.

Does not respect your safeword.

Safewords, again, are required. If your partner ignores or refuses to respect your safeword, this is assault. The scene needs to end with your safeword, always. Anything past that is no different than continuing after a “no” for relationships without a specific safeword. This is a revoke of consent and anything further without explicit consent is assault.

Never, ever play with someone who doesn’t respect your needs to stop or pause the scene. This is dangerous and highly abusive.

Insists you stop using birth control or barriers during sex.

Some people like birth control restriction with their partner, and that’s fine for stable relationships with intent to care for any child resulting from that pregnancy. However, if you are not intending on getting pregnant and your partner insists you stop using birth control, this is a major red flag. This is abusive and highly dangerous.

Same goes for couples who cannot get pregnant and use barriers like condoms to prevent the spread of STDs. Never be forced into not using these methods. If one person in a relationship wants to use them, they will be used. No further questions.

Initiates play when you or your partner is intoxicated.

Couples can and will make their own decisions on this, and I am not here to tell you anything but the facts. Playing with an intoxicated person is assault. Even if you’re in a committed relationship. A person who is drunk or high cannot consent to sex legally in the US and you or your partner may end up with rape charges, even if the person says “yes.” Contracts and consent prior to intoxication do not hold up in court, either.

To be safe, always wait to play until the person is sober. For your safety and theirs, do not play with an intoxicated person.

Makes you feel guilty for using your safeword.

Never, ever feel guilty for needed to stop. It doesn’t matter if you need to stop because you were triggered or because your leg cramped—never let your partner tell you it’s not okay.

Any partner that makes you feel badly for safewording is a horrible person and doesn’t deserve your trust. It’s emotionally abusive to make someone feel bad for needing to stop play/sex. Don’t tolerate it—you have every right to decide if you need to stop.

Refuses to have conversations about consent/limits/desires.

Communication is so important. If your partner can’t communicate important things like limits, safewords, consent, or their desires, it’s going to be tricky. This is a red flag because it can lead to problems down the road. Relationships are difficult without proper communication—there simply isn’t a way around it. Insist on communicating these important topics or find a new partner who will.

Does not treat you as an equal or disrespects you out of scenes.

Unless you’ve discussed and agreed upon a 24/7 relationship, the scene ends with a safeword or natural progression. This means humiliation and painful physical contact stops there. Submissives who find themselves being put down by their partners out of scenes or at inappropriate times need to evaluate their relationship. Your self-worth will never depend on your partner and no one deserves to be with someone who makes them feel badly without their consent.

If any of the previous red flags apply to you or someone you love, please urge them to seek help. The following resources can be used in cases of sexual or physical violence:

National Sexual Assault Hotline (US): 1.800.656.HOPE

Domestic Violence Hotline (US): 1-800-799-SAFE

Rape Crisis Network (UK): 44 (0)141 331 4180

Sexual Assault Resources (International)

Aftercare, In Detail

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submissivefeminist: Aftercare is a really important aspect to BDSM. In fact, just like safewords, aftercare is a requirement for healthy relationships. In order to ensure a partner’s safety and well-being, aftercare should be performed after every scene.

Aftercare is a vague concept, basically referring to general support after a scene. The actual act of giving aftercare varies based on the partner, type of scene, and intensity of the scene.


Different partners require different kinds of aftercare. Don’t assume that since you have experience with one partner that you know how to care for another.

Talk to your partner(s) about their specific needs. Make sure to get as in-depth as possible. Some basic things you should know about your partner include triggers and what they typically like as a form of aftercare.

You should know your partner’s medical and psychological status. If your partner has diabetes, be sure to note that, as blood sugar levels can drop dramatically during pain-play. If your partner has a past injury that tends to flare up, establish what treatment should be done for it. In addition, if your partner has PTSD, you should be aware of how they are calmed in situations where they are triggered. Everyone responds differently, so ask these questions and take notes–literally, if need be!

Type of Scene:

The type of scene has a lot to do with what type of aftercare to perform. Mental scenes differ from physical scenes and have different kinds of aftercare.

For sessions involving pain-play, some form of medical aftercare might be required. This can include cleaning and bandaging any open wounds or applying a soothing lotion on a freshly-spanked bottom.

For sessions involving emotional play, aftercare usually consists of loving support. After a humiliation scene, try cuddling or telling your partner how much you love them and how much they mean to you. The point is to bring your partner back to reality, where they are an equally respected and loved.
In addition, combine your partner’s specific needs with the types of scenes. Talk to your partner(s) about these situations and what should be done. For example, a submissive who is a survivor of sexual assault may usually like to cuddle after a scene, but they might need space after a consensual non-consent scene. Discuss this with them before play.

Intensity of Scene:

I say aftercare is required, but you might find yourself feeling perfectly fine after a scene. This is fine. Both/all parties should still check in with each other in order to establish that everyone is okay. Often, one party will think the other is okay when they, in fact, are not. It is required that you get some form of confirmation from your partner before you leave them. This can cause physical or emotional harm to your partner and constitute as abuse if you ignore their needs. Think of checking in after as another form of consent.

Keep in mind that aftercare is not specific for submissives. Dominants sometimes need aftercare, too! It is not uncommon for a Dominant, especially a newer Dominant, to require aftercare. Sadism, especially, can trigger Dominants to experience bad thoughts about themselves after a scene. (They may feel like monsters–like they abused their submissive.) The submissive, in this case, should be just as attentive to their Dominant as their Dominant should be to them.

Aftercare doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the most common forms of aftercare are so simple that you might not even recognize them as a form of aftercare! Aftercare can include:

  • Cuddling.
  • Kissing.
  • Telling your partner you love them.
  • Thanking your partner for Dominating/submitting.
  • Talking about the scene and discussing any problems that occurred.
  • Getting your partner a drink or snack to calm them.
  • Giving your partner a relaxing massage.
The most important thing to do in order to give quality aftercare is discuss it before a scene. Understanding exactly what comforts your partner will make aftercare so much easier and will avoid any further discomfort.

So, talk to your partner about aftercare. Tell them you want to know how to be a good partner to them. Make a list of things they like to experience after a scene, if that helps. Be sure to have a plan of action before any problems arise after a scene. It can be terrifying to have a partner going through a panic attack after a scene and having no clue how to help. Avoid this by talking about aftercare before it’s necessary.

The Value of Taking Chances, and Becoming Wiser

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“When one jumps over the edge, one is bound to land somewhere.”


Life is a constant balance of risk and reward. The greatest rewards often require the greatest risks in order to pay off. I’ve been continually learning and refining this lesson ever since I was young; rarely if ever will you reap great rewards for low risk taken.

This is what this quote speaks of to me; it speaks of one who has reached an edge, a limit, a stopping point. Often times, when we reach edges and limits, we stop and look. We think, rethink, and second-guess. Many times - maybe most times - we end up taking a step back, or walking away. But when we should choose to jump over the edge - when we push the limit, attempt to break past the barrier, and reach further than some defined line - in that moment when we are metaphorically two feet in the air, we have the opportunity for greatest reward.

What goes up must come down; one is bound to land somewhere. That somewhere may not be where you expected to land. You may miss your mark completely. You may fall in the water; you may fall and tumble. You may have a bad memory of a previous jump over a previous edge that makes you never want to try again. But this is, truly, the essence of life: to fear, and fail, and jump again anyway.

The greatest risk, the greatest fear, the scariest jump that I have observed in my short years is the risk of being yourself. And this can mean any number of things in a number of scenarios. But in the end, it means not worrying about what other people will think or judge, that they’ll find you weird or damaged or lacking. That you’ll deviate from some established societal norm. We certainly know what that feels like in the BDSM community sometimes.

It never becomes easy, really. Repeated practice makes it come quicker, like a battle drill, like standing at the edge of a plane with a parachute on your back, but that moment of fear and panic as you stand at the edge never really goes away no matter how many times you jump.

And that’s what BDSM is to me - heightened risk, heightened reward. For what is risk but making yourself vulnerable to pain and loss? And it’s not just about pain; for some, there’s no pain involved at all. It’s about complete openness, honesty, and communication. Being really fully naked and vulnerable in a raw and real way.

And when we open ourselves to the greatest vulnerability, we leap to the opportunity for the greatest rewards.

Papa Tony:

I am big fan of taking chances, and then LEARNING from them.

Many folks crave a life that is a flat, horizontal  line.  Nothing changes.  The only person who REALLY lives a life like that is… a dead person.

Many folks are terrified of taking chances, because WHAT IF I FAIL?!??  Sure, that protects them from disaster, but it also cuts off the possibility that life can have big, beautiful peaks of triumphant growth and happiness.

If you keep learning from every experience, and taking more chances, you become WISER.  Then, you still have peaks and valleys in your experiences, but the trend is UPWARDS.  Like this:

So, over time, as we become wiser, the lows aren't AS low, and the highs just keep getting better.

Is Love Different in D/s Relationships Compared To Vanilla Ones?

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Is love different in D/s relationships compared to vanilla ones?


The quality of love never changes regardless of whether one is in a D/s or vanilla relationship. Love comes in many forms and is different in its every occurrence, but the quality of love - that which is immutable, that which remains steadfast and constant - is the same.

It was probably well over a decade ago that I heard these words, but they hit me with such force and rang so true that they have been burned into my mind ever since:

“Love can’t wait to give; lust can’t wait to get.”

I have constantly used this phrase as a gauge of my intentions ever since I heard them. They have never led me wrong, and they have prevented me from lying to myself many a time. And at its core, it remains the best explanation of love I have ever heard. Love can’t wait to give, lust can’t wait to get. By this standard of love, there is no difference between D/s and vanilla.

There are many other measures of love, of course. The famous verse from 1st Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind.” But do you know the rest of it as well? "It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.“ No difference there either.

I could go on with this forever so I’ll stop there, since you get the idea. The quality of love, that which endures, is no different in a D/s relationship as it is in a vanilla one.

That is not to say that a D/s relationship is no different from a vanilla one. I’ve written many times on my thoughts why this is not the case; the most recent example being my thoughts on an old DwP post:


((I saved these pearls of wisdom before DwP took down his blog for those of us who still desperately need his wisdom))

DwP Says:

“The Problems Started After I Moved In”

When talking to submissive women about their lives and relationships, the most frequent cause of sorrow and difficulty that gets mentioned is the transition from a non-live-in D&S relationship to a full-time live-in situation. Relationships that seemed to work beautifully when limited to cyberspace hot-chat rooms, email, and the telephone suddenly become rocky and confused when two kinky individuals start to live together in a more intense and demanding sort of partnership. There are a number of reasons why this happens with such frequency.

Cyberspace teaches you that dominating and submitting are easy and are almost always fun. All you need to do to be a very popular and admired cyber-dominant is to know what pat phrases to say at what times. Even I, a person without any dominant desires, could, by assuming a false on-line persona, easily have a huge stable of cyber-submissives swooning over me and vying for my attention, simply because I know the right words to say.

Submissives who have only recently discovered or decided to pursue their sexuality are, as a rule, so sexually and emotionally needy for control, any kind of control, that they fall right over if you assume a stern, forceful demeanor in their cyber-presence and issue the sorts of orders that you read about in S&M pornography.

Then, in public, if you repeat all the standard tenents accepted by the S&M Scene community as the highest wisdom (again, it’s very easy to learn what these are—you know, inanities like “safe, sane, and consensual” and “the best tops started out as bottoms”—and then rattle them off like a parrot) you’ll get a rep as a wise, respected and (cough cough) “loving” dominant, a paragon of the Scene.
It’s incredibly easy to dominate someone from a distance.

It’s so easy, in fact, that many men who are not genuinely dominant have discovered that if they put on this “act,” they can have as many no-strings-attached cyber-slaves as they like. The problem comes when such “dominants” begin, as they often do, to believe their own propaganda and start to consider themselves to be superdoms, even though they’ve never had any experience in controlling anyone in real life.

Such a superdork, er—excuse me—superdom, thinks that actually dominating someone in real life is identical to the virtually effortless fantasy play that he conducts on line or over the phone. So, considering himself to be eminently qualified, he orders some poor, lovestruck submissive to leave her home and to move in with him. And when both he and his gullible partner are forced to deal with the reality of dominance and submission, the disaster begins.

Actually to dominate someone who lives with you requires much, much more from you than the ability to create a sexy fantasy on a computer screen or to assume a stern tone or to issue commands over the phone or in email to an always compliant and willing part-time submissive who spends the majority of her largely independent life without you. Very few people actually have what it takes to be successful dominants, and real dominants are actually quite rare, as many more people have the desire to dominate someone sadomasochistically than have the ability to do it well.

To dominate someone full-time and in person requires a lot of very hard work on the dominant’s part; a successful dominant does this hard work because the rewards, for him, are worth it. It also requires information, even wisdom, about what both dominant and submissive must do to make this sort of relationship work that at present is unavailable in the fantasy-laden S&M Scene community and its written materials.

As an example, to dominate a deep and needy submissive successfully (in other words, in a way that ensures that both of you are happy and fulfilled)—even a highly motivated, sincere, and obedient submissive—requires an ability to cope with numerous emotional freakouts, resistances, and confusions in one’s submissive partner, especially during the first few live-in years of the relationship.

Even the deepest submissive has tremendous difficulties—at first—with learning to obey and to submit, because learning to be a good submissive is not a matter of personality or willpower (although these things help). It’s not a matter of being “submissive enough.”

It’s entirely a matter of training and experience. The most willing and compliant submissive isn’t born knowing instinctively how to serve or how to put her master’s needs first. In fact, she’s taught from childhood to be independent and willful. Overcoming a lifetime of cultural conditioning takes lots of time; and nothing in the easy fantasy play that people do on line or over the telephone prepares them for the difficulties of actual, real-life daily obedience.

The only way a submissive learns to be a good submissive is through extensive practice, through making mistakes and learning from them, through talking over what goes wrong with a knowledgeable and patient dominant, and through extensive and informed assistance from her dominant partner.

The early “hell” years of a live-in D&S relationship require, in every case that I have seen, extensive patience and emotional self-control from a dominant. Such patience and emotional self-control are signs of maturity, of an adult who’s actually “grown up” and who is truly capable of taking responsibility for someone else’s life.

When your submissive is screaming and raging at you for “forcing” her to get up early and make your morning coffee, calling you hurtful, inconsiderate, abusive, it’s awfully hard if you’ve had no actual successful experience as a dominant, or if you are emotionally immature, not to be affected by this, even hurt by it, and not to lash back at her. But “getting back” at a resistant or upset submissive who’s wounded you by your withdrawing from her physically or emotionally or through angry punishment or emotional rages of your own will simply ensure that your relationship quickly becomes conventional in terms of power.

Your submissive learns that you can’t control yourself, that you have no clue about how to deal with her passive-aggressive or manipulative attempts at resisting you, or that you are a coward who runs away from confrontation. In other words, she learns that, instead of being the great and wonderful dominant that you appeared to be on line, you’re really just an angry, scared, or wounded little child who is no more emotionally mature than she.

As will become evident to anyone who attempts a live-in power-exchange relationship for a significant length of time, D&S is, at times, hard, gruelingly hard work and requires a rare individual as a dominant: someone whose ability and actions actually match the claims he makes for him- or herself, and someone who considers the hard work worth it because of the things he gets out of the relationship.

There are some minimum attributes which any dominant needs in order to make a real power-exchange relationship work. These are qualities which every submissive person must look for in the dominant when they meet. Many self-proclaimed dominants say that they have these extraordinary qualities; just the claim alone means nothing. 

The dominant must be able to demonstrate, to show you, that he actually has these attributes. Learning whether your dominant meets these basic requirements takes time: submissives who rush into absolute or even partial live-in power-exchange relationships without taking the time to determine the quality of the person they are agreeing to submit to often pay dearly for it later.

Below are descriptions of some of the minimum qualifications which a dominant who hopes to be successful in a power-exchange relationship must have. It is not meant to be complete, just to provide you with some of the more important qualities to look for in a potential dominant partner:


If you can’t control yourself—your vices, your emotions, your tendency to act out—you cannot control another person. You are too weak and self-indulgent to control another. As mentioned above, all submissives, even the best, resist control at times. Dealing with that resistance in a way that encourages good behavior in the submissive and helps to train her to be a better submissive and a happier person means realizing from the start that your submissive’s actions, however you may dislike them, are not about you. 

They are, rather, about her problems with submitting. Learning not to respond narcissistically—i.e., with anger, personal affront, hurt, or defensiveness—when she behaves in a resisting or manipulative way, is part of self-control. Instead of overreacting, a self-controlled dominant will rationally and over time devise workable strategies based on his intimate knowledge of his submissive that discourage the behavior and attitudes he dislikes.

Stubborness and Emotional Resilience

People who only imagine that they are dominants and who are suddenly thrust into the position of having to control a real human being face-to-face, often ask a very revealing question: when faced with the initial difficulties of training a submissive and overcoming the onslaught of her confusion or resistance, a situation which requires so much self-control and maturity on their part, they often wonder what it is that the dominant gets out of the relationship besides hard work and grief. An actual dominant never wonders this in any serious sense. He knows what he wants to get out of a power-exchange relationship, and he makes sure, despite the difficulties, that he gets it.

A dominant must actually be dominant—must actually have a strong enough will to get his needs met, to insist that he get what he wants out of the relationship. In addition, to someone who is genuinely dominant, overcoming the submissive’s resistance in a way that enhances the relationship for both of them is something that, despite his dislike of the actual resistance, he relishes, as in the long run it enhances his control.


Owning someone for life is a very serious endeavor. When you control another person and can do anything to her that you want to, you have a great responsibility toward her. Some people shallowly liken a dominant’s responsibility to that of owning a pet, but it’s much more of a duty than that. In terms of the seriousness with which the dominant must take his charge, it’s more like having a child.

You control this person absolutely, and, assuming that your love your slave, you must make sure that the things that you do—or don’t do—are not harmful or damaging to your charge. You have to think first, and carefully, before you speak out in anger. You have to consider how each action you take or decision you make affects your submissive as well as yourself. Y

ou have to anticipate how your sub will react to certain things before you commit to them. You’re steering the ship. You’re the only one in charge. If you truly realize that, then you also know that when things screw up and don’t work out, it is not the fault of the person who is helpless before you and who must follow your orders; it is your responsibility, and yours alone.


A dominant has to be grown up enough to take the responsibility when things go wrong. A child in an adult’s body, on the other hand, blames every bad thing or misfortune that befalls him on others. Nothing is ever his responsibility. It’s always someone else who has screwed up. A mature person also has patience and a willingness to wait a long time, if necessary, for things to work out.

Some things in power-exchange take a very long time to achieve, and a dominant, especially, has to have the determination and fortitude to wait for these things without giving up or losing heart. A mature person is able to keep perspective: he doesn’t see every little blow up or emotional difficulty from his submissive as a sign that the relationship isn’t working or as some symptom of the fact that his submissive doesn’t love him.

A mature dominant also knows how to walk the very fine line between not letting his submissive partner’s emotional difficulties rule him on the one hand and becoming emotionally distant from the submissive on the other. A mature person tends to have a calm, even personality that isn’t rocked by every little incident that life throws at him.

A mature dominant can be looked up to by his submissive partner, leaned on, seen as a pillar of strength and support—at all times, not just when he finds it fun or easy to play that role. A mature dominant has a good understanding of human nature from having encountered its many forms and knows, in general, what works and what doesn’t work when dealing with a submissive. He doesn’t have to learn all of this by experimenting on you.


This may be the most important quality that a dominant must have. Someone who is completely dependent upon another person and who exists only to please that person has to know that her dominant is reliable and consistent—and especially that he is capable of keeping his word. A dominant isn’t trustworthy just because he says he is. 

He’s trustworthy when he proves to you, with consistent actions over a long period of time, that he does what he says he is going to do and when he says he will do it, that he tells you the truth and doesn’t deceive you, that you can come to him with your problems, whatever those problems may be, and rely on him to lend a sympathetic, loving ear and not to reject you just because those problems make him feel insecure, confused, or upset.

Experience and Knowledge

It helps immensely if a dominant knows what he is doing—knows which activities are safe and which put a submissive in danger physically or psychologically, understands how to get to know his submissive—to delve deeply into her personality so that he can better control her, knows how to keep her serving him happily and enthusiastically, and knows how actually to control someone. Most people who want to be dominants don’t have the slightest idea of how to do the any of this.

They may have had a little success at doing fantasy scenes on the computer, and they think this childish play, which anyone—even a submissive like myself—could learn to do convincingly with a couple of day’s practice makes them experienced and worldly dominants. Or they may learn from the terrible S&M advice and etiquette books on the market that there are “training methods” or formulae that work universally with all submissives (nothing is further from the truth).

Or they may have gone to a couple of play parties, seen the performances put on by individuals who are only slightly less ignorant than themselves (although these players will usually do everything within their power to convince you they are S&M experts) and concluded that really controlling someone closely resembles these staged and artificial scenes done mostly to impress an audience with how skilled or cool you are.

Learning how to control someone, how to overcome her resistances (every submissive who experiences real, permanent dominance resists), how to handle each new situation that comes up takes a great deal of knowledge or experience, and there’s an art to it as well. It’s complex, as each individual situation requires a different, non-canned or stereotyped response.

Most people in the Scene, most people who call themselves dominants and promote themselves as wise S&M gurus, know nothing about any of this. They’re fumbling around in the dark. A dominant either learns this kind of thing from many, many years in the school of hard knocks or from learning from another dominant who already has this knowledge.


It’s a sad fact that many people who call themselves dominants these days have absolutely no idea of what to do with a submissive once they are alone in the same room with one. As long as they can bluster and preen and pretend on line or at a distance or for a short period of time they do fine. But once they actually have a real person to deal with 24 hours a day, they quickly run out of ideas.

Most of these people have none of the essential qualities described above, and they don’t really want any of the difficulties or hassles that controlling someone always involves. They want to be dominant entirely for the ego boost, or because they believe that it’s an easy way to get girls to do what you want them to, or because it all sounds so much funner and easier than a conventional relationship. They are not control freaks. They are not truly dominant.

If they were, they’d accept the hassles and difficulties involved with control, as they’d relish that control so much that they would be willing to deal with any problems it brings. Most self-styled dominants, however, do not really want to control another’s life, they do not want to own a slave (although they often believe that they do until they find one), and when confronted with the realities of ownership, they run away, abandoning their responsibilities. 

The most common form of running away, of abdicating the dominant’s responsibility, is to blame all the relationship problems on the submissive, pretending that she is ultimately the responsible one.

Seven Responsibilities of the Dominant

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dominantacademy: Being a Dominant may start out as just fun, kinky play - but when becoming involved and entangled in most D/s dynamics, you take on certain responsibilities along with that role. Based on experience, reflections, and answers to a survey, these are the seven responsibilities of a Dominant:

A Dominant must:

1. Respect. There must be respect for the submissive - respect for their desires and wishes; respect for their nurturing and growth; respect for their consent, body, and safety. Dominance without respect becomes dangerous.

2. Protect. Taking on a submissive is a serious undertaking, and the Dominant becomes responsible for their protection and safekeeping. They must be kept protected from others and even from certain parts of themselves. Dominance without protection is powerless.

3. Direct. The Dominant must command, instruct, and guide on no uncertain terms. Directions must be clear, concise, realistic, and specific. This is the primary active role of the Dominant, to provide direction and guidance to the submissive. Dominance without direction is inadequate.

4. Inspire. It is not enough for a Dominant to simply give direction; they must inspire the submissive to obey the direction. In different dynamics, this will take different forms - submissives may be inspired by fear, pain, command presence, love, experience, or a number of other factors and qualities. Dominance without inspiration is contrived.

5. Correct. Once direction is given, the Dominant must follow through and correct any faults and shortcomings observed in the submissive’s obedience - with any discipline required to enforce the corrections. Dominance without correction is unproductive, or worse, counter-productive.

6. Nurture. Direction and correction should be given to grow and better a submissive, not just for the sake of it. A Dominant should challenge a submissive, expand their limits, and encourage their potential. Dominance without nurturing is tautological.

7. Learn. The Dominant must learn from experience, successes and mistakes, feedback from the submissive, and research. They should always be actively learning and seeking to expand their knowledge in order to better dominate and direct. Dominance without learning is irresponsible.

Qualities of the Dominant

A Dominant is:

1. Trustworthy. Trust is borne of actions, not words; it is built from a habitual indoctrination of respect, reliability, and consistency - and can easily be lost even after being cultivated for years. To be worthy of a submissive’s trust is the highest praise for a Dominant. A Dominant worthy of trust is a true Dominant.

2. Honest. Being honest, open, and forthcoming enables trust and safety for the submissive. A Dominant must cultivate openness and honesty, even in the most minute matters, which includes avoidance of truths. An honest Dominant is a benevolent Dominant.

3. Communicative. A Dominant must be communicative throughout all phases of the relationship, whether the dynamic stays in the bedroom or is 24/7. Communication is the active expression of honesty. A communicative Dominant is an attentive Dominant.

4. Disciplined. In order to enforce discipline, a Dominant must be strongly disciplined. This extends to all facets of life - emotional stability, resistance to vice, fiscal responsibility, health, work ethic, et cetera. Discipline lends the Dominant the maturity and resilience to nurture a submissive in the face of overwhelming challenges. A disciplined Dominant commands respect.

5. Knowledgeable. While it is perfectly natural for a novice Dominant to be lacking in some knowledge, a practicing Dominant must have a good base of knowledge and experience to draw upon, even if it is external experience. Without it, they pose significant risk to the submissive’s physical, mental, and emotional health. A knowledgeable Dominant is a confident Dominant.

6. Flexible. A Dominant understands that all submissives and dynamics are different and changing, and does not approach either one with a rigid mindset or uncompromising preconceived notions. Flexibility allows the Dominant to react quickly and appropriately to a variety of challenges, setbacks, and unexpected scenarios. A flexible Dominant is a wise Dominant.

7. Committed. Whatever the parameters of the D/s dynamic, the Dominant and the submissive necessarily form a relationship. A Dominant who is not invested in and committed to the submissive only considers them a curiosity or passing interest, and will not truly fulfill the Responsibilities of the Dominant. A committed Dominant is dedicated to the happiness and fulfillment of their submissive.

Principles of Good Dominance

There are a number of ways in which members of the BDSM community attempt to draw the line between acceptable or legitimate play and abusive or dangerous play. One of the most often quoted ones is “Safe, Sane, and Consensual (SSC)” [Wikipedia], with another popular one being “Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK)” [Wikipedia].

While these are great and valid approaches that cover the baseline requirements of BDSM, we would like to put forth our own principles with explanations to make explicit what we feel are the requirements for good Dominance: Consensual, Responsible, and Informed.

Consensual. The Dominant must ensure all play is consensual and remains consensual through the use of Active Consent, Limits, and Safewords. While these measures protect the submissive and ensure the integrity of consent throughout the activity, it is also necessary for the Dominant to monitor for warning signs in the submissive that may raise concern.
Active Consent is required for any BDSM activity. This means that the Dominant must obtain explicit consent prior to engaging in any activity, and that given consent must endure throughout the activity.

Limits must be established for both the Dominant and the submissive. These may include “soft limits” and “hard limits” of what each party is willing to do or not do.

Safewords must be clearly understood by the Dominant. If the submissive will be unable to speak or be heard clearly, it is imperative that clear non-verbal safewords be established.

Responsible. While the submissive is also an active and willing participant in the activities, the responsibility rests upon the Dominant to ensure Safety, Accountability, and Aftercare.

Safety is the first priority. The Dominant be thoroughly researched in the activity to guarantee safety, and take precautions to not only avoid injury but also be able to respond and treat should they occur.
Accountability lies with the Dominant. By taking the active and leading role in the dynamic, the Dominant accepts unlimited accountability for all consequences and outcomes.

Aftercare must be given following a scene or activity. It is the Dominant’s duty to ensure the submissive is stable and taken care of even after play ends.

Informed. It is incumbent upon the Dominant to keep informed, and also to ensure that the submissive is making fully informed decisions. Without it, the criteria for consent cannot be met. Open Communication, Knowledge, and Sobriety are key to this.

Open Communication is the cornerstone of a safe relationship and dynamic. The Dominant must take all steps required to maintain safe, open, and honest communication with the submissive.

Knowledge of the dynamic, activities, and risks must be a priority for the Dominant at all times, and they must ensure the submissive is also engaging in activities with full awareness and ability.

Sobriety from substances while engaging in play ensures that both parties can maintain informed and active consent, continue the scene safely, and communicate clearly.

As you can see, these principles very closely mirror those of SSC and RACK. They are not meant to replace or supplant these popular schools of thought, but are offered as further or more explicit exploration of the same principles with a specific focus on the role of the Dominant and the entailing responsibilities.

Kinky Survey Questions

Hundreds more articles like this can be found
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DominantAcademy: What I’d like is some answers to a quick survey - feel free to answer as many as you’d like, in as much detail as you’d like to give:


What do you wish you had known when you started out as a Dominant that you have learned along the way?
What was your most painful lesson?
What was your most valuable lesson?
If you could visit yourself as a starting Dominant, what one piece of advice would you give yourself?
What was your greatest failure or most significant shortcoming as a Dominant?
How do you expect to be addressed by Dominants and submissives outside of your dynamic?

Submissives (answer in general or about your Dominant in specific):

What was the hardest thing for you to adjust to in a Dominant?
What behaviors in a Dominant make it difficult for you to submit?
What do you look for in a Dominant?
What are dealbreakers in a Dominant for you?
What is the sole quality of a Dominant that is most important to you?
How do you address Dominants outside of your dynamic?

Both Dominants and submissives:
How do you define a healthy D/s dynamic?
What are the signs of an abusive D/s dynamic?
How has D/s impacted your relationship?

I would appreciate it if you would reblog these questions and share them with your BDSM circles so that I could collect a wide range of answers. Thanks!

Note from Papa Tony:

You are welcome to send feedback to me at askpapatony AT gmail DOT com - The original poster is long gone.

Taking Care of Your Boy

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sir-erik: In the fantasy filled world of Tumblr we often see images and share the idea that power exchange is a one way dynamic between Sir and boy. Or worse even, that power exchange is all about sex. Real power exchange is incredible complex and holistic in nature.

If you wish to be a Sir you must accept the responsibility to take care of your boy, physically and emotionally. To illustrate this I want to share a few of the things I did for Boy Rick (@hyper-pup) this past weekend:

Helped him study for an upcoming exam Friday and Sunday.

Made him breakfast Saturday before he went off to help his family.

Got him some Advil when he had a headache.

Let him take a nap when he was exhausted from studying.

Held him when he needed to be held.

And what did Boy Rick do in return? Quite a bit, but that’s not the point of this post. I took care of him when he needed to be taken care of. That is my responsibility as a Sir, and one I gladly accept for such a wonderful boy.


It isn’t all one-way. Even things which seem selfish superficially can be so important for a boy.

When my boy is stressed or worried, nothing calms and centers him like Master’s cock. Nothing. To an outsider it looks like he’s doing me a favour, but I’m creating a space where he can be himself and focus on a singular goal.


This is super important. Sometimes, as ukstudentalpha says, the boy needs to be centered and focussed on his MASTER’s cock or body, but a MASTER should also be able to take care of his boy emotionally in other ways. That might mean cuddling after an intense scene, or talking, or laughing, but always paying attention to the boy’s emotional needs. At the end of the day, all the responsible kinky guys I know here want to feel deeply connected with their partners. And that means that both guys’ needs count.


Perfectly put. Sometimes a good hug is all someone needs to feel better. Or a cup of tea. Or Master’s hands running through their hair. Or their boy’s head on their chest. Sometimes all we need is to sit down with someone and lay quietly, in eachother’s comfort. When it comes to kink, tender moments matter. The extremes of bondage, pain, chastity, financial domination, slavery, sexual service, domestic service… these are only powerful when placed in contrast with tenderness and laughter and friendship. Hot and cold. Light and dark.


This is a perfect example of the less mentioned side of side of D/s. Looking out for each other, caring deeply for one another.

It is often discussed what a sub, slave, fag ect should do for you, less often the responsibilities of a Dom. One of those responsibilities is giving structure to our subs. It’s part of what draws them to D/s in the first place, a clear purpose and focus in their day to day. I wont pretend that as Doms, we arent getting something out it, I have yet to meet the Dom who grumbles “God my boy sucks my dick TOO good” or “damn it, why is my fag so thoughtful?”. But it is the structure they crave. a place where they can let go, feel safe, be themselves, a place to center in a way they cant typically do outside of the environment we as Doms create for them.

So take care of your boys! Let them know you care!