Reader Q&A: New Domme wonders: Experienced sub or no?

This was such a great question it gets its very own post (also I rambled on way too long…).

Dear Ferns,

Your kinda like my idol (:
Im a beginner and I was thinking about when I am ready to pursue a relationship with a submissive should I choose someone who is new too? I feel like my potential partner should be able to grow with me.

*smile* That’s such a lovely compliment, thank you! I will have to do my best to live up to idol-worthiness!

I do understand why you ask that question. I think there are valid reasons to go either way.

With experienced submissives, it can be a little intimidating if you are new. I mean if he’s ‘been there, done that’ you might worry about what you have to offer, or you might compare yourself to his last dominant, or have feelings of insecurity (all are perfectly understandable reactions).

With inexperienced submissives, there is always the risk that you will invest and then he will decide he didn’t want it after all (a lot of experienced dominants won’t touch newbies because they have been burnt by this too many times, but if you are new and it happens, I’ve no doubt your first thought would be ‘I’m crap at this, that’s why he left’).

But in the end, *especially* if you are looking for a romantic relationship, I’d suggest you forget about ‘new or not’ and concentrate on ‘like him a lot or not’.

Personally I don’t think experience is relevant (unless experienced-guy is an arsehole who tries to use his experience to bamboozle and manipulate you, though all things being equal that’s really not a lot worse than inexperienced-arsehole-guy who tries to use his inexperience to undermine your confidence by pretending he didn’t know what he was doing. In short: arseholes be arseholes!).

My first real D/s relationship was with a boy who was more experienced than me. He taught me a lot (both in technical skills and in the relationship) and I loved being able to learn things in a safe environment with someone I trusted. We DID grow together because as a couple, *we* were new and exploring each other and how this particular entity that was our relationship would work. Even though I was new, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted my relationship to look like and as an experienced submissive, he knew that it would work better if he let me take the reigns.

I think the *idea* of dominating someone with more experience can be intimidating, but if you really like each other and you both WANT this relationship, having someone who knows himself as a submissive and who has navigated a D/s relationship before can be a godsend. His experience is a tool that you can use, and if he’s a good fit for you, he will learn very quickly how to offer up his knowledge and experience in a way that works for you. And that can be completely wonderful. Think of it like any other skill he has that he puts at your disposal for you to use as you see fit.

TL;DR: If you find someone you really like, don’t use experience as a deal breaker.

Best of luck finding him!



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  1. Thank you so much, Ferns. I can completely understand why people like the idea of new subs, but it hasn’t helped with the just-divorced used-car feeling that comes with my cultural background. It actually made me hesitate about how much I should try to learn and play now that I’m free to.

    I’ve been trying to tell myself that since I’ve learnt so much from good doms in the past, a future partner will value whatever I manage to learn now. But it’s hard to listen to the voice of reason. It’s a lot easier to hear it from a dom. :)

    1. I’m glad it helped some *smile*.

      For me personal chemistry and a genuine desire to be in this relationship with me will ALWAYS trump experience or no.

      I guess it’s not so odd that dominants never have to worry that experience makes them somehow undesirable. Unfair, that!


  2. Hey Ferns,

    This is a very serendipitous topic to come up from my point of view. Though in my case, I’m the experienced sub, with a new partner who I’ve introduced to the submissive side of myself as I felt I owed it to her to be perfectly honest up front. Met her through a vanilla dating site and all that, and yeah… so far so good.

    I’d never thought of it from the point of view of that maybe she’s comparing herself to the last Domme I had until now, and I wonder if she is concerned about it. A question to ask the next time I see her, and hopefully put her mind at ease :)

    She is definitely keen to explore and learn more (she didn’t run away when I broached the subject at least!), she’s asked me to find some stuff for her to read. Need to find her some good sites to look at, or even stories to read to maybe start her imagination a bit – spot the point where you can shamelessly plug your book! :)

    Anyway, just wanted to say, great topic!

    — the half heard

    1. Thanks.

      I think the challenge you are facing is somewhat different if your partner is vanilla, but yes, it might be even more intimidating then, absolutely. Especially if you ever do ‘My last Domme…’ statements: don’t EVER do that! *laugh* I mean, I’m not a newbie, but if someone did that with me, I’d be telling them to STFU.

      “Need to find her some good sites to look at, or even stories to read to maybe start her imagination a bit – spot the point where you can shamelessly plug your book! :)”

      – shamelessly plugs book :P

      Uniquely Rika is quite a good one for newbies (see my book list for a synopsis of that one and others).


  3. Experience … is sorta meaningless at the end of the day.

    Lack or lots of … doesn’t mean a lick of anything to me, personally.

    At the end of the day, you’re two people making unique things, and in that respect, both of you are rather unexperienced. Grin.

    1. “At the end of the day, you’re two people making unique things, and in that respect, both of you are rather unexperienced. Grin.”

      *smile* Exactly.


      1. Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what it is. It simply becomes a form of energy play, and that’s what’s crucial at the end of the day.

        Crushing sweetnees and feeding off energy, and awesomeness.

  4. Wonderful question. Amazing post. Full of great nuanced advice. Thanks Ferns.

    “Personally I don’t think experience is relevant.” (Ferns)

    “Making unique things.” (simplyjake)


    Profound insights there.

  5. I’m so glad I read your post because you gave me a different way of looking at men who advertise themselves as “experienced submissive”. I’d been wary of that phrase. It had never occurred to me that “experienced” could mean “I’m sure this is what I want and am not likely to try you out as an walk on the wild side and find out that it’s not what I had fantasised about, byebye”. In other words I hadn’t realised that it could be helpful. I’d been hearing it as “I’m experienced and I’m going to use that to tell you you’re not doing dominance right”.

    Now that I think of it, my wariness mostly comes from my first response to my first ad looking for a sub. The responder told me he was a “submissive with ten years of experience” and launched right in to telling me that I hadn’t done my ad right and he would give me pointers on where and how to look. He included a series of questions I was required to answer to get his sage advice, and when I responded politely without answering his questions he lectured me about that, saying “i would love to chat with you on all of this which is involved but it does take some openness and willingness to do so”. Note that I was not an inexperienced dom and my ad had said nothing about looking for advice from some stranger who didn’t even bother to ask me if I wanted advice before launching in. How incredibly condescending.

    Among the things Mr Patronising wanted was for me to give a list of kinks I was interested in. I had said directly that I didn’t want to post a list of boxes to tick and why. It would seem this was unacceptable. Mr Patronising wanted to be able to tick boxes before exchanging words with me! How dare i deprive him of this right!

    Incidentally, that ad cost me nothing aside from my time and brought a wonderful man into my life, far and away my favourite person I’ve met from the advertising I’ve done. That ad was a huge win.

    1. Ugh, I’m sorry you struck such an arsehole!

      I DO think that some ‘experienced’ submissives do exactly what you said that guy did, and they will often prey on newbie Dommes because they want to build-a-Domme to their specifications. They give ‘experience’ a bad name.

      I’m glad I gave you another viewpoint on it and even more glad that your ad worked and you met someone wonderful!


      1. Build-a-domme! What a perfect description of the Pygmalion submissive! And you mentioned men like this preying on newbie dommes, which fits this guy perfectly: he didn’t have any reason from my ad to think I was a newbie (and in fact I wasn’t), but he treated me like one.

        Tangentially, since I don’t play with women I don’t know whether women do this as well, or if manipulative female subs tend to use different tactics.

  6. I really love your response to this question. I know for me, even though I feel bad that I am kind of this way, but with me being new I find being with a new inexperienced Dominant a little intimidating. It makes me feel insecure and a little frightened if I am honest. I won’t use it as a deal breaker, but I do have a hard time being new myself engaging with someone who also has no experience. Guess I am the opposite of most.


    1. I think subs wanting experienced dominants is relatively common (which is good for the likes of me :)). No need to feel bad about it: you’re completely entitled to your preferences.


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