Based on a conversation I had today, I wanted to jot some things down that were told to me when I started in the lifestyle and helped me (I think) be a little bit less of the idiot I could have been. These are things that helped me, however, may not be applicable for everyone. These are not in any particular order. I may come back and reorder them later. And forgive the typos.
Edited to add — Responding on a couple of comments/requests, feel free to repost or link back here. Thank you for finding it interesting and worthy of such.
1. You will fuck up
New Dominants WILL make mistakes. It’s a fact of life. To be fair, experienced Dominants will make mistakes. Intermediate Dominants will make mistakes. If you are a Dominant or think you want to be a Dominant, you will make a mistake.
Accept it and move on.
The only thing that makes a mistake worse is not learning from them. Use them as opportunities to grow and learn. Talk to people about them. Figure out what went wrong then incorporate that and try not to do it again.
If you act like everything you do is perfect and without flaw, then you are an idiot and whoever plays or submits to you will also be an idiot. Because none of us are perfect. But what we can do is try to learn from the mistake and improve our skills.
2. Beating someone does not make you a Dominant.
Any idiot can be taught how to use a flogger, cane, crop, do rope, punch, kick, etc. The list goes on. Simply because you have become adept at kicking someone’s ass is not the mark of a Dominant. At best, it makes you a Top. For the record, there is nothing wrong with being a Top. But not every Top is a Dominant. For many people, they are completely different terms.
There is much more to being a Dominant than simply engaging in play. Do not confuse with what happens in a scene as an overall relationship role.
3. Ask questions
Ask as many questions as you can of who you can. For every pompous jackass out there who thinks they are too good to help out a new person, there are several more who are more than willing to assist new Dominants. You can learn something from almost everyone, even if it is what not to do or what you don’t want to do. The more questions you ask of individuals the more informed you will become. And don’t limit yourself to just Dominants. There are submissives and slaves out there with a wealth of experience and knowledge who you can draw from as well. Their knowledge is just as valid as a Dominants, so talk to them.
4. Be realistic about who and what you are
If you give yourself a title such as Sir or Master or Mistress and you have only been in the scene a few months, prepare to be mocked and laughed at. Seriously. It’s not cool. Now, of course, you are free to refer to yourself in any way you see fit. Likewise, people are free to respond in a way that THEY see fit. If you are 26, 36 or 56 years old and have one been involved for 3 months, perhaps calling yourself MasterTony isn’t the best idea. And expecting people to refer to you as such probably isn’t going to fly.
Understand that there are people who go years before attaching a monicker to themselves or before the community gives them that title. Respect that. Don’t make a mockery of their time and energy simply because you thought it would be cool to add Master or Mistress to your name. Especially if you aren’t one yet (emphasis on yet — because who knows, it very well could happen).
5. Just because you saw someone do it, doesn’t mean you can
So you went to a private play party or went to a demo and saw someone do something really cool and interesting. The person doing it made it look so easy that you are sure, with your vast intelligence, that you can do it as well, right?
The reason they made it look easy is because probably they’ve been doing it for a while. They’ve had a bunch of practice and have studied it. They didn’t just decide that one day they would punch someone in the crotch without looking into all of the things that go into that punch.
So when you see something cool that you want to try, refer to item #3. Ask the person questions, provided their scene is over or maybe at the conclusion of the demo. If they are giving a demonstration, then they are there to answer questions, so ask them and make sure you figure out how to do that cool thing before you try it.
6. Real Dominants eat pussy. Real Dominants suck cock.
The notion that Dominants don’t or shouldn’t perform oral sex is one of the most ridiculous ideas that has been around. As if the mere act of putting your mouth on someone’s genitals denotes Dominance or submission. Dominants can take it up the ass too. It doesn’t matter. Sexual acts do not define a Dominant. The mind does.
7. Not all women are submissive. Not all men are Dominant.
If you believe that, I’d like to introduce you to a few people who will bear personal testimony to that. Do not default to the notion that scene orientation is defined by gender. It’s not and your time in this lifestyle, especially if you interact with the public scene, will be a lot easier if you accept and incorporate that fact into your psyche.
8. Honor someone’s relationship dynamic
Many people have many different dynamics and protocols in this lifestyle. When in doubt, revert to Item #3. But when made aware of them, do not dismiss them simply because you think they are silly. In reality, they may be. But if you are or want to interact with individuals who have a certain dynamic/protocol, there are only two options. Either honor it to associate with them or don’t deal with them at all. Since that is what they have decided for themselves, your opinion will have little or no impact, so complaining or whining about it will do nothing. One day you may develop dynamics or protocols that others may find strange. Think how you would want to be treated in that situation and then behave accordingly. It’s funny how there are those who will ask to touch someone’s toys but think they can treat someone’s partner however they want. A bit weird.
9. Not all slaves are submissives. Some Dominants do bottom.
There may come the time when you run into a really, REALLY sadistic person. Every now and then, you will find out that said person may actually be a slave. There are some slaves who put the most sadistic Dominants to shame. Trust me on this one. But don’t judge.
You also may see or read an account of a Dominant who likes getting flogged or caned. Don’t be surprised. And don’t judge.
You may discover that you may enjoy the feel of a flogger or a cane. If that is what you like, go for it. It will NOT diminish you, except in the eyes of the petty people.
For some people, things can be more fluid then one is lead to believe. A Dominant can get the crap beat out of them and still remain a Dominant. It’s not always the play that matters. It’s the mindset. There are times when some things are just physical. It’s the way the scene works at time.
10. Dominant =/= Sadist
Not every Dominant is a Sadist. Not every Dominant enjoys causing a great deal of pain. Not every Dominant wants people in a pile of subbie goo.
11. Don’t measure yourself by someone else
You have to develop your own style. You have to what makes you tick and why. Don’t do things just because someone else is doing them or it seems cool or because the hot little potential sub is really begging for it. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. People are best at what truly inspires them not because of what is cool and hip. While, like high school, there is peer pressure in the BDSM scene/lifestyle, you have the choice as to whether or not you follow it, or follow your own path.
12. Keep an open mind
There are things as a new person that you do not like that in 2 or 3 or 10 years you will totally be into. Be sure to try out and learn about different things. You never know what turns you off today will totally rock your socks tomorrow. So keep an open eye and an open mind. It will work to your benefit in the long run.
13. Question yourself
A Dominant who doesn’t question themselves isn’t much of a Dominant. One of the tricks to being a good Dominant (if you are interested in such a thing) is looking and re-examining your actions as a Dominant. Figure out what you did and why you did it. The answers will not always come easy and they may not always be pleasant. But self-awareness and introspection are two crucial tools in a Dominants play box. Use them and use them often.
14. You can’t learn everything over the internet.
The Internet will NOT teach you how to be a good Dominant. It will barely teach you how to be a good Top. The Internet is filled with tons of really good information. It’s filled with a bunch of stupid shit too. You cannot teach yourself everything. This is a common misconception. Because, how can you teach yourself something you don’t know? Seek out others who are experienced and if you are so inclined, find a mentor. If you don’t want to find a mentor, establish your own “tribe” (i.e., group of friends). Use them as a sounding board and an advice corner. Get information from as many different people as you can, then make it your own. Do not rely on sites like FetLife for your information. There is a lot more to this stuff than will ever appear on Fet.
15. Be honest about your experience
If you’ve been involved in BDSM for 10 years, but 9 of those years have been online, be honest about that. Don’t lie about parties, clubs, dungeons, or events. Be honest about your experience, or lack thereof. You will gain more respect from others that way and it will also accelerate your ability to learn. It will also potentially draw the more experienced to you if you don’t pretend that you know everything already. One thing about the lifestyle is usually, a honest and experienced person, Dom or sub, can smell bullshit a mile away.
16. Try to figure out what type of Dominant you want to be and work towards that
As mentioned previously, there are many types of Dominants. What type you will be will be up to you. But when you find a style that fits, run with it. Endeavor to be the best you can be by learning as much as you can about that particular style, infusing your own style along with it. And don’t be afraid to switch gears when its not working for you. After all, this is your journey and your path. You are responsible for it.
17. Switches are not confused.
This is an old adage. Switches are no more confused than bisexuals are. If you can accept the notion of a bisexual person, you can accept the notion of a switch. You may not understand, you may not get it or you may not be comfortable with the notion of a switch. Who cares? If you’re not a switch, then it doesn’t mean anything. But switches are a part of our community and their role should be respected just as much as you want yours respected.
18. Never trust a big butt and a smile (or tits or cock)
Since the dawn of civilization, a pretty or handsome face has been the downfall of many people. Don’t be one of them. Sure it’s easy to find someone so physically attractive that that is all you see. But remember, people are more than their physical appearance. Just because you like big tits or a big cock does not mean that should be the primary motivating factor. If you want a relationship, then go for that — and hope that the person you are in a relationship actually does have the big tits or cock of your dreams.
19. Not everyone has to submit to you
You are not everyone’s Dominant. Not everyone has to call you Sir or Ma’am or bow down and kiss your ring (or boots). That type of deference comes with experience and proving yourself. Just because you see yourself as a Dominant, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Treat submissives in a manner that shows basic respect and consideration. Don’t allow yourself to get Domlier-than-thou and think you can run rough shod over someone else. Others have a choice and they have the right to exercise that choice. You cannot make a decision for someone else that you are not in a relationship with.
20. Never stop learning
No matter how much you learn, or how many people you talk to or how many classes or demos you attend, you will never stop being able to learn something. There are many nuances and subtleties to this lifestyle that take a lifetime to master and incorporate. Everything cannot be learned in a few months or years. Always be open to learning something new. Always be open to the fact that someone can teach you something new. The more you learn, the better you will be. Even if you have been involved for 30 years, there will still be something for you to learn and grow from.