How can I help my partner be more dominant?

This is adapted from my response to a question on Fetlife that I see a lot from submissives who have partners who are new and exploring their dominance:

“How can I help my partner be more dominant?”

These questions always seem to be accompanied by descriptions of what they’ve tried that essentially boil down to ‘I told her how to do (more of) my fetish to me’ and, unsurprisingly, that doesn’t work so well…

This is a longer version of my reply.

In case you missed it, I wrote a practical, actionable, step-by-step guide for new dominant women called ‘How To Make Your First BDSM Scene Amazing‘.

It’s not only a ‘how to’ for planning and running play (though it is definitely that), it also includes a bunch of information for new Dommes to help them tap into their power, to find their feet, to grow their confidence.

So that’s a resource for her IF she’s interested.

For you, yes, you, eager submissive with a newbie dominant: If you want her to ‘be more dominant’, then be more submissive. Seriously.

I’ve written about ‘how to support your dominant’s dominance‘ before because this question comes up a lot.

The biggest, most helpful thing a sub can do to support their keen newbie Domme is to be submissive in ways that please her, not ‘ways that please you’. Don’t second guess, don’t angle for more, don’t you dare even give a tiny hint of ‘not dominant enough’. None of that.

Look at yourself, and ask ‘am I being submissive enough’ (pro-tip if you’re finding yourself saying ‘she’s not doing it right’, the answer is probably ‘no, no you aren’t’).

So be submissive: Ask her how you can be more of what she wants, please her more, make her giddy with your beautiful submission. Welcome her dominance in whatever form it takes with an open heart and with gratitude. THIS is how you help her to find her feet and grow into whatever form her dominance takes.

When I say ‘be more submissive’, I don’t mean ‘be passive and quiet and don’t contribute’. I mean give her the space to do things her way, to take whatever information you give her and do what she wants with it, to use your expertise and knowledge when and how she wants, to feel your support in the ways she explores her dominance.

Of course talk to her, if you have more experience in something than her then share it, give her the benefit of your experience, but also give her fabulous resources (*cough*my books*cough*), point her to more information, find educational videos about things she’s expressed curiosity about, offer other sources of support and information.

Then give her space to figure shit out in her own way.

This versus angling for her to fulfil your fetishes in exactly the ways you like while pretending that you’re ‘helping her be more dominant’.

THIS is how you help her to find her feet and grow into whatever form her dominance takes.

And if that form, in the end, isn’t something that works for you as a couple, then you need to have another conversation. But give her the support and space to get there first.

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  1. I’m going to add a few more thoughts:

    First, submissive men who want their partners to be “more dominant” have probably been thinking about submission for a long time, maybe decades. But a newbie Dominant wife — this is all new to her. So to the point Ferns makes, give her space — lots of space. Give her time to wrap her head around the idea, especially if your relationship is longstanding. This is a big change and she needs time to process it.

    Second, I want to shout from the rooftops Ferns’s advice “to [let her] figure shit out in her own way”. Her dominance will NOT exactly match your fantasy; I guarantee that. So this is where the rubber meets the road: are you submissive? Do you want to submit to her? Or are you looking for an animated dominatrix doll. Hint: the more you push her down a specific path, the less dominant she’ll feel, and the less dominant she’ll behave. So choose wisely!

    Finally, understand that if you’ve introduced the concept of D/s into an established relationship her primary emotion may well be fear. You’ve flipped the script and she’s probably apprehensive about what it means. Will you end the relationship if she doesn’t knuckle under to your desires? Think this notion through, and be prepared to offer the reassurance you truthfully can.

  2. I did a bunch of soul searching and this echos what I found. My kinks are mine, not my partner’s. Asking her to “do things to me” that (at best) won’t turn her on or (worst) disgust her, would make me feel awful. Those things remain in “fantasy land.”

    If I ask about something and I’m rejected, it’s on me to work through that. I don’t keep asking. I’m not going to find the secret combination to the mythical Pandora’s Box of Kink(TM). I don’t keep explaining it. It’s done. If she changes her mind, she’ll bring it up.

    She leads. I follow. I take great pleasure in doing things she wants, things that make her happy, or things that turn her on. If she does something I like, I tell her. I encourage her. I don’t direct her. This isn’t a porno.

    Listen to Ferns. “Be more submissive.”

    1. I’m glad you found something that works for you and your partner: That’s wonderful :).

      I think there is also a big problem around ‘how to communicate what you want to a newbie dominant’, especially one to whom you have introduced D/s (like a vanilla partner).

      As Regina said, the ideas have probably been swimming around in the submissive’s head for years, and when they talk about it the words they use are ones they themselves are wholly familiar with, but which are terrifying and confusing to new dominants. “Slave”/”full control”/”humiliation”/”chastity”/”whips” etc etc. Even ‘submission’ is a scary word, and one google search away from ‘aw hell no’.

      It’s tricky stuff to navigate and I think many men don’t have the tools to do it well.

      So kudos to you for managing it :).


  3. This is wonderful advice. Thank you. In my own submissive journey, admittedly with a professional, I asked her first if it would be okay for us to not talk about my kinks. I assured her that I indeed had them, and found reassurance that many of the kinks I had were ones that she “catered to” but said to her that making D/s an exercise in kink fulfilment seemed like a waste of her time and mine. What I asked her for is for her to guide me wherever she saw fit (with a very small number of no-go zones) and that I would endeavour to follow her to the best of my abilities. The weirdest thing about the process has been that one of my red zones is one of the things that really turns her on, and what has been happening is that what was a red zone for me is now amber, and I can tell that one day soon it will be green…and for me, as crazy as it sounds, feels like progress. “Help me be the kind of submissive you can be proud of, tell me what you expect, and I will do my best to do it.” Her reply? “I need you to be open, always open, and to communicate. I can’t read your mind. But I want you to be willing to try whatever it is I suggest, until you find we get someplace where you can’t go any further, and then you let me know, and we’ll try something else.”

    To me, D/s is a journey that two people take together. The journey shaped very much by both parties, openly exploring the hidden byways of each other’s sexuality and psyches. Indeed, so little of it for me is sexual, at least overtly so, even if there is always that energy present.

    In life I ended up having to go down the pro-Domme path either because I was too afraid to go this way with a mainstream partner (this is what I really suspect–a personal failing when I was younger that I didn’t have the confidence to let go) or because getting any relationship to work is hard, let alone a D/s relationship, which has added internal and external dynamics in it.

    Your efforts to educate us all are much appreciated.

    1. You’re so welcome.

      Skilled pro-Dommes are wonderful for exploring these feelings and having these experiences safely and obviously much more easily (and by ‘easily’, I mean both practically and emotionally).

      Hopefully the things you are learning with her are giving you more confidence and self knowledge, and maybe lessons you can take into a personal relationship when you’re ready.


  4. “…most helpful thing a sub can do to support their keen new newbie domme is to be submissive in ways that please her…”

    I believe that would be a positive feed back loop. She tries something new, the results work for her, that encourages her.

  5. Perhaps other terms could be substituted. A slave is a “follower” and the Dominant is the “leader”. And the D/s dynamic could be described as a “Female Led Relationship”.

    A bit bland, perhaps, but might help initially.

  6. I guess I just don’t understand Femdom at all. At any point does it matter what the sub wants and needs? As a switch I don’t understand why a Dominant partner wouldn’t want to know what thier sub wants and how to make them feel feel the things they want to feel. When I have had a sub finding the secret buttons to press is part of the fun and I certainly never felt less dominant if they told me they needed something a different way. Why does Femdom work differently than M/f types of relationships?

    1. I feel like you missed the point of this post.

      At any point does it matter what the sub wants and needs?

      It’s not the case at all that women don’t want to know what their subs want and need. They do: They will ask, they will listen, because that’s BDSM 101.

      But that doesn’t answer the question ‘how can I help my partner be more dominant?’ which is what I’m addressing here.

      “Why does Femdom work differently than M/f types of relationships?

      Well in ‘caring bout what your submissive wants and needs’ and all of that, it doesn’t.

      But I’m going to answer this in a wider context: F/m works differently (and comes up against different problems from M/f) because (generalisations coming!) men have been socialised to advocate for themselves, their desires, their needs, and wants since forever, while women have been socialised to be pleasers, to be nice, to listen, to be accommodating. It takes very little effort to tweak that into D/s dynamics where she’s the caretaker and the nurturer and the giver and the emotional labourer and the service top and etc etc.

      The default for new dominant women coming out of those norms is often ‘man says what he wants, woman does it’, and while that will be fine for a while, it will make neither of them happy going forward because it’s not the D/s dynamic either of them wanted.

      Breaking out of that pattern often isn’t easy, and when it doesn’t go well, many submissive men will go straight to ‘tell her MORE of what she should be doing [to me]’ to try and fix it because they genuinely think it’s helpful.

      It’s not. It doesn’t work and will never work.

      TL:DR; The answer to the question ‘how can I help my partner to be more dominant’ isn’t ‘tell her MORE about your wants and needs’, and that’s why I don’t talk about it here.


  7. I’d suggest a couple of hits of meth and a 4 hour looped tape of MotorHead should set the scene well

  8. Regina wrote….

    “Her dominance will NOT exactly match your fantasy.”

    Yes, but her dominance will have the advantage of being authentic.

  9. Ms. Elle X has a couple YouTube videos that are related to this topic:

    “How To Empower A Newbie FemDom”

    “How To Inspire A Newbie Dominant”

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