This is for new dominants. Secrets. Shhhh… no telling.
So you’re a new dominant and you’ve met a submissive someone who you really like and click with and you’re heading into your very first ever play session. You’re probably scared shitless (it’s okay, I won’t tell). Nerves are normal: taking something that has lived in your head as a fantasy out into the real world with an honest-to-god real submissive partner is scary as hell. Trying to hang onto a ‘dominant headspace’, all confident and sure of yourself, can be really hard when the voice in your head is all fear and doubt.
This post is for you: It’s the information I wish I’d had when I was a baby Domme and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I really wanted someone to just ‘tell me how to do it right’ and what I got instead was ‘you’re the dominant, you get to do what you want’ which was rage making and not at all useful.
Firstly, if you’re doing private play do all the talk to get to know each other (at least) well enough that you both feel safe. Negotiate limits and safewords and make sure you’re both on the same page. None of this happens in a vacuum. There is plenty of information out there about safety (yours and theirs): I’m not going to cover it here. I’m going to assume you’ve done all that already (you have, right?!). I’m more about wanting to give tips for planning and for the play itself in this post.
So here goes:
1. Use a BDSM checklist and pick activities that are favourites for both of you
Both of you fill in a BDSM checklist* separately if you haven’t already (best to grab one that is editable, check what it has on it, and add any specific things that you like that you want to get their take on: many checklists skew M/f, so if you like cock rings or ball stretching or cross dressing, make sure they are on the list).
*The link downloads a zip file containing an editable version of the checklist I use.
Review their checklist and take note of the type of things that you both like even if they’re not the focus of play. By that I mean things like nudity, wearing cuffs, kneeling, slave positions, kissing, nipple torture, arse play etc. You can use that information even if you aren’t specifically making the play about that. For example, if nipple torture is something that’s on both of your ‘yes please’ list then you know that it’s okay to give them a pinch if you are teasing, even if that’s not your focus this time.
Choose no more than 3 or 4 specific BDSM activities from the checklist as your focus. Pick activities that you both marked as your absolute favourites and choose only things that you actually know how to do and will feel confident and safe doing. They’re the main blocks of your play: You will plan your time together around these things.
2. Write a little erotic story for yourself that includes those things
This is where you visualise how you see the play going using those things. You’ve probably done this in your head plenty of times, but this time it has to be realistic and detailed (how do you start, what do you want them to wear, what is the mood like, how do you talk to them, what do you want from them, how do you ask for those things, how do you move from one activity to the next, how will you check in with them, how do you finish the session etc). If your story is not super hot-awesome-fun for you, start again. It should make you excited.
The story will have things in it that you didn’t list in the previous step because once you play it out in your head, you will think of things you want to do that you didn’t consider. Double check that everything in your story is on the ‘okay’ list. While the 3-4 focussed activities should be on both of your ‘absolute favourites’ list, not everything has to be on it. So if, say, crawling is listed as ‘yeah, that’s okay’ for them, then as long as the play isn’t all about crawling, include it if you want.
3. Make a playlist based on the story
From the little story make a list of things you want to do in the order you want to do them. This is not a script, but you can take the list into the playroom with you: it will act as a prompt if you need it. You may not need it, and you certainly don’t have to stick to it, but it’s a nice little backup if you get flustered.
Tease your submissive with things that are on the playlist: This both builds anticipation and also acts as a check that they are excited about those things.
If you have ANY doubt about their enthusiasm, actually give them a list of possible activities (NOT your actual playlist because that maps out how you want the play to go) and literally get them to say an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ to everything on it: less subtle, but works great to dispel doubts that you’re on the right track, and having consent up-front can ease your mind (it doesn’t nullify in-play change-of-mind, but you can go in without second guessing).
4. Fake it ’til you make it.
If you don’t feel confident, act it. In the lead up and during play behave in a way that supports that feeling. I don’t mean be some blustery-bluster chest beating cliche or pretend that you are all-knowing and all-powerful: that’s just lying.
I mean find your voice and your stride and practice projecting them even if you are a little tremulous inside.
Dress in a way that makes you feel sexy and powerful, make your environment to your liking, give your submissive some instructions on what to wear for you or on what to do beforehand (doesn’t have to be anything huge, just asserting yourself), do some self talk that affirms your own amazingness, revel in the fact that someone likes and trusts you enough to do this with you, believe your submissive when they give you ‘that’ look, when they say ‘those’ words: They already know you’re all that, you just have to believe it yourself, or at least, act as if you do until you realise it’s true.
5. Prepare yourself and your environment
Get everything ready and have it to hand so you don’t have to go searching for ‘stuff’ once you get started. Planning on restraining them? How? Put ropes around the bed, attach the clips already, so all you have to do is clip the cuffs in. Planning on teasing? Have lube ready. Put out the blindfold if you’re using one. Need wipes? A towel? Some custard? Have all of that within handy reach.
To stress this, I’m saying it again: Wear something that makes you feel ‘raawwwrrrr’ level of awesome. Doesn’t matter what it is. You want to go full uber-domly domdom? Do that. You want to wear sweat pants and a t-shirt? Great. Nude is your thing? Go for it.
6. Have a starting and ending ritual
Signal the start cleanly. One idea is to have them kneel in a position that is hot for you, and maybe have them affirm their submission to you by repeating some mantra, or inspect their body, comment on how pretty they are, give them hints of what you are going to have them do, whatever works for you. You don’t have to put on a stern voice or be anyone other than yourself. Do what feels right, sexy, hot to you. They will feed off that.
At the end, it can be useful to have a ritual that signals that you are done. Perhaps a reverse of the starting ritual. Take the opportunity to segue into whatever aftercare you have agreed on, perhaps have them kneel, take off cuffs, gently touch and comment on marks if there are any, some literal petting, telling them what a good boy/girl/pet they were for you, how well they did, how proud you are of them etc.
7. Use a blindfold
A blindfold is both hot and disorientating for them, and a confidence boost for you. If you are nervous, it hides those nerves very well and it’s nice to know that if you do get flustered they won’t see you faffing about or checking the playlist or fumbling with things while you figure out what to do next.
8. Take things slow
It builds tension and it allows you to build up your confidence. And don’t be afraid of silence or stillness, even if it’s because you’re not sure what to do next. As far as your submissive is concerned, it’s your choice to be silent or still, and usually that makes them really nervous wondering what you are up to, which is just hot.
9. Check in with your submissive often
As well as paying attention to their reactions, checking in with them ensures that you are both having a good time. I mean, sometimes you ARE sure because it’s bleeding obvious, and it’s easy. But until you know your partner and their reactions really well, better to check in too much than not enough. It doesn’t have to be mood-killing:
“You doing okay there, baby?”
“Do you want some more?”
“Tell me where you’re at: scale of 1-10.” [obviously work out the scale beforehand: pleasure, pain, etc]
“Tell me how many more you want/can take.”
“If you want more, beg me for it…”
I want to note here that most submissives want to please their dominant, so pay attention not just to what they say, but how they say it. Ask them several times if you want more of a chance to gauge what they mean, “Are you sure? Really sure? Then ask me for it” or something similar. A reluctant ‘yes I want some more’ is a no. Err on the side of caution, always. You can talk about it afterwards and re-calibrate for next time if you misread it.
And if something isn’t working, stop doing it
Sometimes things just… don’t work. Doesn’t matter how experienced you are, the first time you play with someone, you just don’t know how they’re going to react to things. You can try and change it up a little bit to see if you can make it work, but if it’s starting to sap your confidence because it doesn’t feel great, don’t keep trying to beat a dead horse: move on. Your playlist can be helpful here.
10. Keep it short
Don’t try and create some huge performance out of it. When you get experienced and comfortable with yourself and with them, you may have play sessions that last for hours and hours, and that’s great. But for the first one, plan to keep it short so that you don’t feel like you’re under any pressure.
Let them know up-front that you are only giving them a taster, feeling them out. Better to end on an ‘aw, too soon’ high than have it peter out because you ran out of steam or ideas. Best outcome: It leaves you both (really really) wanting more.
Here’s an example of what first play might look like for me if I did the above (reader’s digest version, not ‘ooh, hot erotica!’ version).
BDSM Checklist items:
- Context (all things that are good with him that I might use): Nudity, body inspection, collar/cuffs/leash, blindfold, kneeling, crawling, kissing, biting, nipple play, face sitting.
- Activities (the focus of play): Being restrained, tease & denial, flogging.
Prep: Put ropes on the bed with clips. Put cuffs, collar, leash, blindfold, lube, flogger, crop on the table. Maybe some other things also for misdirection. Wear lacy lingerie under pretty summer dress, favourite heels.
Playlist (what I would take in as crib notes in case I needed them):
- Strip, hands behind head, body inspection
- Kneeling, cuffs, collar on
- Crawling on leash to bedroom, wait in the corner
- Attached face-up to the bed, crawl all over him, teasing, biting
- Kissing, offering body parts to his mouth for kisses
- Nipple play, check-in for intensity
- Facesit tease, but no
- Release clips, re-attach face down
- Flogger, light to heavier, check-ins
- Tell him to lift his arse, teasing
- Let him feel my pussy
- Decide if he gets to come (unlikely for first play) and/or if he gets to make me come (even less likely)
- Release clips
- Wind down: petting, whispering, kissing, cuddling
- Have him kneel, take off collar, cuffs, pour out all the sweetness
Phew. I hope that’s helpful, gives you some ideas, a starting point at least.
And of course all of this is just my opinion, none of it is mandatory or sanctioned by some ‘Domly Board of How To Do Things’. It’s a springboard, and if you find any of it useful, that’s great.
In the end, do what feels right for you and your partner, make it hot and intense and awesome.
And most of all, have fun with it.
If any of my readers want to contribute other ideas for new dominants, please do. I know a lot of experienced folks read my blog: the more input the better.
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