Cultivating Dominance

By: Sean Lind

While you are acting as yourself, the scene you build is that of you holding utter, ultimate, control. It’s about using them as a toy to please you. The scene puts you above the sub in all aspects, physically and emotionally. However, if you make the scenes and choices purely about you, your desires as a Dom, then you are walking a dangerous road to failure.

Most people balk at the idea of hitting, slapping, choking, ragdolling their partner for fear of hurting them. If this is you, congratulate yourself. Causing pain, fear, anxiety, and distress to someone you love goes against everything you should hold dear. And this is the way it should always be, for the reality. It’s your job as a Dominant, and a partner to protect and encourage your sub.

But when it comes to the scene, the rules of reality no longer apply. When a sub asks, or begs, you to hurt them, or choke them, or pull their hair, then the best choice you can make, for your sub, is to give them what they desire in that scene. The line you have to walk is giving them enough punishment to sate, without causing any serious, lasting harm.

Where this line is drawn will be different for every person, in every relationship. Many people don’t want to be bruised or marked in any way. Some want nothing more than to feel sore for weeks to come. It’s up to you to make sure you are following the two rules of sadism in BDSM:

  1. No matter what your sub thinks, or says, they want, it’s your job to know when to say no. If your sub asks you to punch them in the face and leave them with a black eye (this is an extreme example), chances are your sub is caught up in the moment, and giving in to this request would negatively affect their life (and possibly yours) in the days to follow. It’s never okay to cause lasting future harm for current gratification.
  2. The second rule is to understand the line between kinky sex play and domestic abuse. If you slap your partner because nothing you could do would turn them on more in the moment, then you are making a great choice. If you hit your partner because you’re upset, and are blowing off steam, that is abuse, pure and simple.

Despite being the Dom and being in control, you never get to give in to your own emotions, and act purely on your own desires. Playing with a sub is not about you, it’s about them. It’s about giving your sub what they need, and having the strength to take it as far as you need, and no farther.

What you need to understand is that the human body is incredibly resilient. With just a few pointers, it’s easy to avoid ever going too far hurting someone, without having to wimp out, and not give your sub the punishment they crave:

  • Start low and slow, and ramp up. If you don’t know how aggressive you need to be, start low and slowly increase the intensity until you reach the desired level.
  • Choose your spots carefully. The fleshy part of the ass can take an incredible amount of punishment, but skin over bone can not. You should never be hitting someone on the spine, the back of the head, the eyes. You should never be using a solid, hard, toy on ribs. The goal is to punish them, not to destroy them.
  • It’s better, and safer, to increase duration rather than intensity. If you want to spank your sub until they cry, you don’t need to start swinging as hard as you can. Instead you can just find a good solid slap, and continue until the pain grows unbearable. The more you spank the same spot, the more it’s going to hurt. By the end you can be swinging softer than you were in the middle, but causing twice as much agony.
  • You want to be smooth. When you’re pulling hair, you’re grabbing it near the base, and applying smooth constant pressure. Healthy hair can support the entire weight of a human body, but any jerking or twisting can have terrible results. Smooth and constant.
  • Never use any toys on the face. Be careful with slapping the face as well, it’s very easy to miss, hitting cheekbones, jaws, or eyes. In addition a face-slap has far more of an emotional reaction than you may expect. Sometimes it will be negative, others positive.

Finally, you want to embrace the glory of safe words. The standard safe words are ‘yellow’ and ‘red’.

Yellow: This means your sub is reaching the end of their rope, no longer enjoying this particular sensation, and doesn’t want it to continue.

When you get a yellow, it’s your job to understand exactly why they safe-worded, and then move on with the scene. Always choose something contrasting to move to. If you’re beating on your sub’s ass and they say yellow, start giving them pleasure instead. Reward your subs for saying yellow, if they feel they need to say it, then it’s important you hear it.

Red: This is the vanilla equivalent of ‘No’ ‘Stop’ and ‘Don’t’. A scene ends on red, always.

Chances are, if you’re being a responsible Dom, you will never hear red spoken. But there are situations where it will happen, especially if your sub suffers from anxiety or panic attacks. If you get a red, the only thing left to do is have an honest discussion, and provide the amount of comfort your sub needs. You should never continue a scene after hearing red, and you should probably never consider starting again that same night. Take red very seriously.

If you use these safewords, you can relax knowing they’re your safety net. If your sub asks you to spank them, and once you start they start to cry and say “no, it hurts, no more, stop” the reality says it’s time to stop, you’ve gone too far. But the scene is different, for many subs this is the sexiest part, being forced to take it after it stops being fun, being spanked past the point of tears and sobs.

If you trust your sub, and are confident they know and will use a safeword if they need it, then saying “no more, stop, it hurts” is part of the scene. If your sub actually needs you to stop, they will say ‘yellow.’ This means what you are doing is correct, you’re hurting them as much as they need to be hurt at this time.

As with anything in BDSM, everything you have read here is contingent on an extremely large amount of trust and communication with your partner. If your sub wants to use a safeword, but doesn’t out of fear, that’s a very big problem. If you don’t have complete trust between the two of you, you should not be pushing any limits in BDSM, in any way.

The final note is this: in many parts of the world, everything I have just talked about in this post is technically illegal.

It doesn’t matter if your sub asks for it. It doesn’t matter if you fill out a contract, explicitly stating exactly what they want from you. In North America, for example, physically attacking another human is illegal. There is no form of consent which can usurp a law.

Let me be perfectly clear: it is absolutely possible for a sub to ask you to beat them, enjoy every second of it, thank you when you are done, and then go to the police and charge you with criminal assault.

For this reason you need to be careful to never play with anyone you don’t fully trust. This is one reason we stress vetting so much. While BDSM is morally and ethically justifiable and downright beautiful when done correctly, laws are often times not on our side.

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