Supporting your dominant’s dominance

Sometimes submissives ask how they can help their dominant (especially their *new* dominant) become more comfortable in her dominance.

Come here, and I will let you in on a secret…

Ssshhhh…

Ready?

Here it is:

Submit!

Seriously. Do that.

I know it sounds as if I am being cute or something, but I’m not.

Do you want to know what I probably needed most from my submissive when I was finding my feet?

  • A safe space in which to assert myself.
  • To be certain that when I ask for something, he will comply.
  • To be confident that he is eager and willing to do it.
  • For him to demonstrate that he thinks that I am teh awesome for asking things of him.
  • To know that even if he *isn’t* eager, and doesn’t enjoy doing it that he is *still willing to do it for me anyway*.
  • To feel that he is made happy by giving me what I want, even when it’s difficult.
  • To have acknowledgement that my dominance is valuable to him.
  • For the exchange to feel like sweetness and affection.

Do you know what I probably need most from my submissive now that I have found my feet? STILL ALL OF THE ABOVE.

In short, I need him to submit to me in a way that works for me.

So do some work to learn what your dominant needs to feel from you in terms of your submission, and give her that.

See, I could have finished this post here, but THOUGHTS!

Back to the topic of vulnerability.

Remember my inner voice in this post? It took me a while to train that inner voice to not just go ‘Oh hell, he’s not going to do what I asked, I’ll just give up’ at the first hint of resistance, and then feel hurt and rejected over it. If that happened, I’d be reluctant to ask something similar of him again because I’d be scared that I would fail again (and that’s what it felt like: ‘failure’).

I know we all (okay, well, some of us) want to pretend that dominants are all domlydomdomdominant all over and all the time. But for all of that, you know what?

All a submissive has to do to break the D/s dynamic is say ‘no’ to things they don’t want to do, and keep saying it.

Seriously, that’s it. It’s really that easy.

Why?

Well firstly because when he says ‘no’, unless you have agreed otherwise, he is essentially withdrawing consent. But it’s more than that.

Simply put, for a D/s dynamic to work he has to submit, and saying ‘no, I don’t want to’ is not submitting.

If my submissive makes arbitrary choices about when he’s going to say ‘yes’ and when he’s going to say ‘no’, that’s not submission. That’s a vanilla relationship where he does what I want if he feels like it, and then doesn’t when it doesn’t suit him.

Some dominants are willing to spend time getting past some hesitance, reluctance, a half-hearted ‘no’, some bratty back-talk and if a submissive *needs* that to feel the dynamic, there is nothing at all wrong with it. Lots of people on both sides of the slash love having that push-pull in their dynamic.

But if your dominant is new, or is a little insecure, or is feeling vulnerable, then putting up resistance is a nightmare scenario that is likely to make her back down and just not bother trying any more (that is, she will withdraw her dominance). And that will hit her confidence hard: it’s really difficult to come back from that. The little voice in her head will have a field day telling her she’s a rubbish Domme, and probably selfish and bossy and petty and mean and NO-ONE WILL EVER LOVE HER!

It’s also a nightmare for someone who is getting to know you, and actually *isn’t sure what you are doing*. They are trying to divine the line between ‘being positively assertive’ and ‘being an unreasonable bitch’, and they are well aware that if they get it wrong, the whole situation can go bad very quickly. Goodness knows we are told enough times how much we have to care for our submissives (and fair enough too), and determining where that line is can often be difficult.

Personally, I’m willing to do some of that ‘pushing past resistance’, in fact, I’m happy to do it. I like the feeling where we are nudging up against each other to see how the land lies. My radar is pretty good now, and if I’m really not sure what is going on, I mostly don’t have a problem saying, “Look, your reluctance is making me feel bad, what’s going on?” But having said that, if his answer is some version of “I just don’t feel like it”, then we really DO have a problem that needs to be sorted out.

TL;DR: If you want to support your dominant’s dominance, then submit.

*sigh* Do I REALLY have to put a caveat here that there are legitimate reasons for saying ‘no’. Fine, there are. I’m not talking about those. Move on.

GD Star Rating
loading...

You may also like

70 Comments

  1. As a submissive to someone who found their dominant feet very tentatively, I can absolutely attest to the fact that the only way to instil confidence in ones dom, and to promote a feeling of invulnerability in her role as dom, is to absolutely submit without question, in any, and all situations. After a few weeks, or perhaps even months, you will reap the rewards of what must be the most fulfilling, and exciting of permanent relationships.

    1. *smile* I’m so glad that it has worked for you.

      I have a kind of knee-jerk reaction to “absolutely submit without question, in any, and all situations” because of all the ‘but buts…’ that logically follow, but if your dominant is a sensible, caring and empathetic person, I agree wholeheartedly.

      Ferns

    2. Yes. Exactly my experience too. There’s also this magic thought; “If you’re bored and uncomfortable, then that means she really is in charge”, which is quite a turn on…

  2. I’d sum this up by saying it’s not JUST about submission but also about empathy.

    As a sub, I don’t just sit back and submit. I think about HER and try to use a bit of imagination.

    – is X going to make her wet or would she rather Y?

    – looking back over our interactions, what has given her most pleasure?

    – What is going to make her feel secure?

    …and I make suggestions, or do things according to my answers to those question. Do I hear someone say topping from the bottom? A meaningless bafflegab phrase that actually gets in the way of a wonderful journey of mutual discovery.

    1. “I think about HER and try to use a bit of imagination.”

      Yep, I agree: A big part of this is *knowing* her.

      “…and I make suggestions, or do things according to my answers to those question.”

      I’m going to call out ‘making suggestions’ *even though I agree with it in the context you have presented*.

      I think too many submissive try to help in a ‘man-help’ kind of way. That is, they offer a bunch of suggestions that actually undermine her confidence and make her feel pressured because they are (inadvertently) saying ‘you are doin’ it wrong, here’s how you can be better’.

      Unless she has explicitly asked for that kind of input, the ‘why don’t you do…’ types of suggestions generally DO NOT HELP. At all.

      I’d contrast that with suggestions that come out of a really good understanding of her and her needs, or suggestions (offers) of *service* that bring that understanding into play.

      Ferns

  3. I’m not the type of submissive who can do whatever he’s told to do immediately and with enthusiasm all the time. There are still things that make me uncomfortable, that I have to struggle with, that I have an internal conflict about.

    In my only D/s relationship so far, there were times she wanted to do things that made me really wrestle over whether it was something I could do for her. I always wanted to obey her and make her happy, but some things are just too much for me. I couldn’t do sutures. I tried, I really did, but when I started feeling faint, that was a sign I needed it to stop.

    Here’s a snippet from a conversation we had about something she asked that made me very uncomfortable thinking about.

    Me: You and your mental images.
    Her: That sounds almost like a complaint. And I’m sure you don’t mind that I’m thinking about you, so it must be a reluctance to do this crazy thing I’ve asked of you …
    Me: “Complaint” is such a loaded word. And if I was dead-set against it, I already would have said, “no.” It’s just something that is uncomfortable for me. And I want to do the crazy things that you ask of me.
    Her: Uncomfortable is part of the point, my dear. I like that you want to do crazy things for me. And I will totally respect your ‘no’s, even moreso because I know you don’t say it unless you mean it.
    She told me that she liked when she saw that I was conflicted about something, because she liked seeing me resolve the conflict in favor of making her happy.

    1. I appreciate you sharing, thank you.

      This example falls squarely into the ‘legitimate reasons to say ‘no” bucket.

      Anything that pushes boundaries, nudges up against a limit, is scary and new etc requires discussion and negotiation and work and time to get there. I’m really not talking about those.

      I’m really referring to much more mundane examples of ‘doing what she wants’ when I say ‘just submit already!’.

      Ferns

      1. It wasn’t something that posed a risk of physical harm, or anything like that. It was just something that made me feel uncomfortable.

        I’m really not trying to brag, but I never had a problem with doing any of the mundane things she wanted me to do. Then again, she seldom told/asked me to do mundane things. She wasn’t very demanding, so when she did want something from me, it was kind of a treat, a chance to show her my submission.

  4. *sigh* Do I REALLY have to put a caveat here
    A great article only marred by this…..

    that there are legitimate reasons for saying ‘no’.

    There are ?

    Colour me amazed

    Coug

  5. Outside the legitimate reasons for saying no I honestly don’t understand why a submissive who truly does get their happiness from submission would want to say no. Even if I don’t really like what she wants me to do or wants from me or I don’t feel like it I still get happiness from it because *I am doing it for her.* In fact to me it is when I do something I really don’t like that she wants me to do that makes it even more special in my opinion.

    I wouldn’t want to resist her anymore than I would want her to take back her dominance over me. It would hurt me deeply both ways.

    “..we are told enough times how much we have to care for our submissives (and fair enough too),..”

    Yes but people fail to see that it is also the job of the submissive and is equally as important to care for the Dominant too.

    It would take a very serious reason for me to say no. On the other hand, maybe I am a double standard bitch, but with me being new and trying to find my footing as a submissive I am uncomfortable at the idea of being with a new Dominant.

    Respectfully,
    mysticlez

    1. I appreciate what you are saying and I think any dominant would be lucky to have someone with that really heartfelt approach.

      I think there is often something lost in translation between intent and reality that causes this. I don’t for one second think that the submissives who ask ‘how can I support my dominant’ are being anything other than sincere. But I DO think that they can misunderstand how important it is that they *demonstrate their willingness to submit*.

      If the dominant is struggling, a bit of brattiness or kidding around can easily hurt them or make them question thier dominance, even if the submissive fully intended to submit. And as I mentioned above, if their helpfulness manifests as ‘suggestions on how to do it’, that can be equally destructive.

      “Yes but people fail to see that it is also the job of the submissive and is equally as important to care for the Dominant too.”

      *smile* Yes, I think that can get lost at times.

      Ferns

  6. I swear this should be required reading for, well, everyone into D/s! All I can say is that I know exactly what it feels like to think I must be a rubbish dominant. Like I fail at dominance. I really like the idea of “withdrawing” dominance instead of failing. I will try to reframe my thoughts on this. But it’s going to be a long road. I am married to a guy who is trying to stretch himself to be the submissive I need. And I am thrilled that he has been willing to do this for me. (I try to stay focused on the positive) But he has a very long history of telling me “no.” He still says it as much as “yes.” I know he gets to “yes” as much as he can, but all the “no’s” still add up. And I feel like my idea of being a dominant is his idea of me being a demanding bitch… in a bad way! I have no belief that he enjoys submitting to me. I believe he enjoys some bottoming. But bottoming and submitting aren’t the same thing at all.

    1. I’m glad, and also kind of sorry that you can relate to the ‘rubbish dominant’ idea! Glad because I get it! Sorry because… ugh… sucks!

      I really like the idea of “withdrawing” dominance instead of failing. I will try to reframe my thoughts on this.

      I should write about this some more.

      As I said in the post: All a submissive has to do to break the dynamic is to say no, and keep saying it.

      But I DIDN’T say: All a dominant has to do to break the dynamic is to withdraw dominance, and keep doing it.

      For both sides, it’s incredibly easy.

      I think that withdrawing dominance is a perfectly legitimate response to his refusal to submit. Withdrawal, along with a conversation about how throwing my dominance into a void is not only not fun for me, it’s completely pointless, is a way to deal with a situation where he tries to put the responsibility on ME to maintain the dynamic. Uh… nup. If he wants me to dominate him, then he’d better well submit!

      I think the general consensus is that it’s up to the dominant to dominate and everything follows. That irks me. Each party has a part to play, and one doesn’t work without the other. So the aggravating idea that it’s not working because ‘you aren’t dominant enough’ makes me ranty because the obvious retort is ‘well, YOU AREN’T SUBMISSIVE ENOUGH!’

      It’s stupid and pointless.

      /rant

      “I am married to a guy who is trying to stretch himself to be the submissive I need. And I am thrilled that he has been willing to do this for me.”

      That’s so lovely that he is trying for you. It’s a really tough road (for both of you) if he is trying and it’s not really ‘him’.

      And you are right. Bottoming is not submitting.

      The fact that you are talking and trying is actually HUGE in the scheme of things.

      I do wish you both the very best of luck with it.

      Ferns

      1. Yes, it’s a tough road but we are muddling through! And I do find a certain amount of confidence in 1) knowing I’m certainly not alone in struggling with these issues and 2) realizing that it’s probably not that I’m a rubbish dom or a failure but that I’m just in a challenging situation and we’re both doing our best.

  7. Oh. I hate this post. I mean, I love it, but I hate it because it’s me. (But you already knew that, of course.)

    “But if your dominant is new, or is a little insecure, or is feeling vulnerable, then putting up resistance is a nightmare scenario that is likely to make her back down and just not bother trying any more (that is, she will withdraw her dominance). And that will hit her confidence hard: it’s really difficult to come back from that. The little voice in her head will have a field day telling her she’s a rubbish Domme, and probably selfish and bossy and petty and mean and NO-ONE WILL EVER LOVE HER!”

    Yes, that. Mostly all of that. However, instead of “no-one will ever love her,” mine is more a combination of “someone else will love me, better” and “this dominance stuff is too difficult… fuck it!”

    1. Thank you for hating my post: I know it means I hit the point pretty well.

      “mine is more a combination of “someone else will love me, better” and “this dominance stuff is too difficult… fuck it!””

      *laugh* Well, that’s better than my example, right?!

      Plus it’s also a MUCH better illustration of ‘Fuck you for making this so hard, I’m out!’

      Ferns

  8. ”To know that even if he *isn’t* eager, and doesn’t enjoy doing it that he is *still willing to do it for me anyway*”

    To me, this is one of the most important aspects of submission. It is easy to submit when you want to. It’s nothing to say “Yes Ma’am” and trot happily off to do whatever it is, when you enjoy it, and it fits well into your routine, but it is quite another when you don’t feel like it, or you’re tired, or it will put you out. That is when the quality of submission is put to the test.

    This is NOT to say that submission should be a life of grim martyrdom, it shouldn’t, but without the desire to consider the needs and desires of your Dominant first, submission is little more than an exercise in role playing.

    1. “To me, this is one of the most important aspects of submission. It is easy to submit when you want to… This is NOT to say that submission should be a life of grim martyrdom, it shouldn’t”

      I agree with all of this.

      I don’t want to sound like some old curmudgeon (but I totally will!), but I see a hell of a lot of BDSMers now who are VERY quick to say:

      “If your dominant wants you to do something you don’t want to do, then just say ‘no’. If they are a decent/real/true/not abusive dominant, they will understand and respect your decision…”

      That totally baffles me. It reduces submission to ‘only when I feel like it’ level.

      I posted an incredulous observation about this before. WTF?!

      Ferns

      1. Whenever I’ve seen those kinds of sentiments, I’ve taken them to mean on serious things. Then again, maybe I give too much benefit of the doubt.

        Personally, I want to say yes. The way I see it, if you’re submissive to someone and you’re going to say no to something, you’d better be able to explain why. And it had better be a real explanation, not a blow-off explanation.

        1. “Whenever I’ve seen those kinds of sentiments, I’ve taken them to mean on serious things.

          You’d think so, right? But I think the way D/s erodes is in little ways because no dominant *wants* to make a big deal out of the little things. It makes us feel petty and ridiculous.

          Goodness knows if my submissive resists some trivial thing, I will sometimes have an internal argument about “Ugh, can I really be bothered with this, maybe I should just let it go…”, and that’s how it starts.

          Ferns

  9. As an aside, it takes more than just being willing to submit sometimes. I know that when Tavi has a lot on her plate, my willingness to submit is not enough to incite her domspace.

    1. I’m not quite sure what you mean by ‘incite her domspace’, but I’m really not talking about flicking a switch when she is not in the mood to ‘be dominant’ (whatever that means).

      If your dominant has a lot on her plate, I am sure you are a supportive partner, offering to help if you can, lending an ear, maybe bringing her snacks or treats or foot massages or whatever you think will help.

      That’s less ‘supporting her dominance’ and more ‘supporting your partner who you care about’ (though for me, I think there is a link).

      What I’m really talking about in this post is supporting her (perhaps slightly tentative) dominance in general vs trying to ‘get her in the mood’ if she is not in a particularly dominant mindset.

      Ferns

    1. *smile* I know.

      People are complex. There are entire books written about every aspect of human interaction and relationships.

      I don’t think any of this is as simplistic as I pretend it is. Not ever.

      All I can do is look at what I observe or experience and talk about it. And maybe someone relates or finds it useful.

      Sometimes, it IS simple and people might just need to see it written down to go ‘Oh, FFS, of course!’

      And sometimes it’s not simple at all and people might go ‘Well, fine but here are a gazillion other scenarios that don’t fit your one dimensional view of the world’, and they’d be right.

      I can’t really touch the latter.

      Ferns

  10. Question: How much would open, honest communication have (hypothetically) helped your confidence if someone wasn’t submitting?

    Personally, I feel there’s a world of difference between not submitting without any explanation, and not submitting but saying, “Look, I had a shit day at work and now isn’t a good time, how about tomorrow” or “I’d love to submit to you but I had some bad guacamole for lunch and if you hit me with that I’m pretty sure I’m gonna spew.”

    I agree with all of the above, but submission is just not a 24/7 thing with me, and there are some times/scenarios where it doesn’t work for me. It seems like being open about the reasons helps with that.

    Then again, I make no pretense of being a good submissive. ;)

    1. “How much would open, honest communication have (hypothetically) helped your confidence if someone wasn’t submitting?”

      Open honest communication is always a good thing, but how ‘communication PLUS not submitting’ impacts the dominant varies depending on the people and the agreement.

      I expect my submissive to give me all of the information about his frame of mind or physical issues, then I would expect to make the decision whether to still have him do ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ is) or not.

      To your examples:

      ““Look, I had a shit day at work and now isn’t a good time, how about tomorrow””

      This? Completely unacceptable to me (both the sentiment and the way it’s expressed). This is ‘no, I don’t feel like it’.

      I want to be clear that when I am talking about submission here, I’m NOT talking about play.

      Let’s say it’s one of his agreed jobs as my submissive to make dinner, and he comes home and says that to me. Sooo… who makes dinner? Oh, okay, that would be me then. But what if *I* had a bad day too? Then what? Are we going to argue about who had a worse day? And what if he’s in a bad mood tomorrow also. Oh wait, the next night he’s really tired.

      If he gets to say “Not tonight, maybe tomorrow” because he doesn’t feel like it, then that’s not submission to me. The entire premise of the D/s agreement becomes null and void if he can pick and choose when he complies and when he doesn’t. It just doesn’t work.

      Ideally, if he comes home from a shit day, his submission is a comfort for him, it’s a relief, possibly relaxing, hopefully a pleasure. He gets to put all that aside and work on doing something that makes me happy. It should be a positive, lovely thing for him. And if it’s a pain in the arse this one time, he should suck it up.

      Having said that all badass-like, I’m a pretty sensitive person, and if I could see that he was really struggling (upset, angry, depressed etc), and it was a one-off thing, I would probably make taking care of him my priority.

      But if he raised it in the way you suggested, we’d be having a talk about how to bring these things to my attention!

      “I’d love to submit to you but I had some bad guacamole for lunch and if you hit me with that I’m pretty sure I’m gonna spew.””

      Well this is a different case because a) he’s unwell and b) it’s about play. That’s a no brainer and falls squarely into ‘legitimate reasons to say no’.

      “submission is just not a 24/7 thing with me, and there are some times/scenarios where it doesn’t work for me. It seems like being open about the reasons helps with that.”

      Absolutely being open about what is going on with you is a good idea. She *should* have all of the information, and how it works after that depends on what you have agreed.

      If you have a broad agreement of submission and your reasons are not about physical or emotional harm, then if she decides she wants you to do it anyway, I’d expect you to do it. And if you still say ‘no’ then well, I wrote about that elsewhere.

      I’d also expect that you’ve had the good sense to pick a dominant who loves and cares about you, who can read your moods and who takes your needs into consideration. None of this operates in a vacuum.

      “Then again, I make no pretense of being a good submissive. ;)”

      *laugh* ‘Good’ is in the eye of your dominant. Everyone else’s opinion is completely irrelevant.

      Ferns

      1. Makes sense. ;)

        And yeah, my dominant usually clarifies that I’m a good submissive for *her*. Otherwise, there has been talk of a warning label for the rest of the kink community.

        1. ” there has been talk of a warning label for the rest of the kink community.”

          I’ve always found putting or limb or two in plaster does that job a treat actually…..

          You’re all looking at me with THAT face again aren’t you?

          Coug

  11. So, awesome spot on post, is awesome and spot on. I’m guilty of the ‘I don’t wanna’. Time to work on that.

  12. I found your blog through Fetlife and found this post by wandering about. Thank you for this. I’m literally in the first months of a relationship with a lovely young man who has asked me to explore being his Domme and this covers a goodly number of things I just don’t understand right here at the beginning.

    One of the first things we ended up talking about is that he can only make jokes/sass/pretend disagree face to face where I can read his expressions and tone to know what he’s really saying because there is nothing to alert me properly to his meaning while texting. There is still no sarcasm font.

    1. You’re most welcome. I’m glad you found it useful.

      The text thing can be fraught that’s for s
      sure.

      Congratulations on your new relationship. I hope it works out well for you both.

      Ferns

  13. Pingback: e[Lust] #49
  14. Pingback: eLust 49 review

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.