What Kind of Dominant Am I in Bed?

While I was active on the site, one of the most common questions I was asked by fellow kinky OkCupid-dwellers was what kind of dominant I am. The truth is that I’m still figuring that out about myself. Although I’ve always had a mind-wiring that coincides perfectly with kink, I’m still fairly new to the world of BDSM. I’m also distant from much of its practice, though it’s one of my favorite topics to discuss with people — both platonically and sexually. 

Do I play rough?

My understanding is that kink includes two kinds of play, which needn’t necessarily be mutually exclusive. The first is physical play, which is about causing your partner to experience physical sensations (whips and chains are optional additions). The second is mental play, like teasing and humiliation, which causes your partner to experience pre-negotiated emotional states.

I’m a mental dominant, not a physical dominant. I want my partners to willfully submit themselves to me, not to “make” me fight for their defeat. If I physically restrain my partners, it’s for our mutual emotional thrill and minor physical titillation, not to keep them from actually escaping. (Don’t break my handcuffs and anklecuffs, boys.)

I like to joke with a dominant-switch friend that her physical kink annihilates men from the outside in, while mine works from the inside out. I say “joke” because neither of us would ever want to actually hurt partners beyond anything to which our partners enthusiastically consented.

So, physically, no, I’m not rough, but mental roughness is subjective and would depend on my partner’s preferences and experiences. That would also depend on whether or not we’re equating mental roughness with cruelty.

Alright, how do I feel about cruel domination?

I am not a mean dominant, nor do I currently have an interest in becoming one. I plan to have an ironclad emotional hold on any of my submissives, but I’m a gentler, loving dominant. In bed, I am calm and methodical. Structured, graduated teasing is my art.

My goal is to have my partner uncomfortably squirming for as long as possible, but I have no interest in being genuinely mean. I want to relish my partner’s emotional discomfort, but once we end our scene, I will soothe and comfort him back to (at least) a neutral emotional state. I would never want to cause any lasting harm, just mutually pleasurable emotional lows for our momentary sexual satisfaction.

Insulting a partner’s personhood, rather than his behavior, would be difficult for me. For example, I would derive no sexual pleasure out of telling my partner he is worthless (common degradation amongst many masochists), and I would not allow him to talk about himself that way, either, because that insults us both. After all, I would never waste my energy on a “worthless” person. I believe that everyone has potential to contribute something to the world, even if they haven’t figured out how to channel it.

For me to get sexually mean, I would have to dislike my partner, and I have no interest in hooking up with someone whose company I don’t enjoy. That would also feel like bullying to me, which would be far more emotionally triggering than I could tolerate while maintaining sexual arousal.

Additionally, I have no desire to experience unpleasant emotions in a sexual setting. I’m sure that I could learn the role of a mean dominant, but it would feel superficial because I wouldn’t inject my true self into the performance.

If I was in a committed romantic relationship with someone who needed meanness in bed, I would consider allowing him to obtain that stimulation from another person because that’s not a role which currently interests me. However, I would also consider requiring that I be present during their sessions so that the experience could feel like something he and I were still sharing, even with a third person.

Am I looking for a 24/7 dynamic?

Based on my minimal experience, I’m not sure yet. I want the relationship to feel equal overall, with part of that equality stemming from my partner’s choice to surrender his power to me. I am also strongly aroused by the potential for secrecy of our expression of kink. I would want for our relationship to appear completely vanilla in non-kinky settings (i.e. everyday public), like a sexy inside joke between the two of us. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to subtly practice our dominance and submission covertly, such that vanilla folks would not recognize our game. However, I am not sure yet if I want the responsibility of micromanaging my partner non-stop for all hours of the say. We shall see!

…and I do want a kinky partner, right?

As a life partner, most likely. I want the extreme emotional bonding that comes with the trust of a kinky relationship, but that’s not to say that I will only date fellow kinksters from here forward. That was my intention after my last romantic relationship, but I’ve been having a great time lately with a fellow who is not kinky at all and would not prefer playing a submissive role. I’m a hypocrite on that front, but I’m having fun, so who cares?

Naturally, I expect my interests to grow as my experience does, so I’m hoping this reflection will serve as a snapshot into my mental state upon which I can further expand in the coming years.

But, enough about me; what kind of partner are you, and what have you learned about your sexual self thus far?


10 thoughts on “What Kind of Dominant Am I in Bed?

  1. Just. Love. This.

    “I am also strongly aroused by the potential for secrecy of our expression of kink. I would want for our relationship to appear completely vanilla in non-kinky settings (i.e. everyday public), like a sexy inside joke between the two of us. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to subtly practice our dominance and submission covertly, such that vanilla folks would not recognize our game.”


  2. Very interesting read… I’ve gotta be the exact opposite in every way. I’m the kind of person that likes being on the receiving end of dominance, like being nude in front of my clothed partner, or especially when she compares me to her *bigger* ex’s or she remarks about someone’s larger endowment she’s seen on TV, in person etc.


    1. Thanks for reading! You sound like your preferences overlap with those of my preferred partners. As someone who’d rather be naked all the time, I’m amused that other people in our culture tend to treat nudity as a vulnerability when in the presence of others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is it hypocrisy that I feel vulnerable even as somebody that models nude? I think that the vulnerability of being naked is what makes it so powerful in art. It can be different when a lover is concerned, though, because there’s a sexual connection associated with your nakedness that’s not there when you’re naked in a locker room or in an artistic setting.

        Personally, I think that it’s sexy when a person is comfortable with their own nudity that they are confident without their clothes on.


        1. Excellent point; the emotions that can accompany nudity in the context of a sexually intimate relationship are different (and often more salient and meaningful) than the emotions inspired by nudity in other contexts.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Early on into my fetish shoe selling and curiosity toward dominance in general, I turned to Twitter and Tumblr to study how some of the dommes spoke to their subs and followers to help me learn the expected script. The most prevalent pattern I noticed was that the majority of the women focused on encouraging their followers to worship them because they, the worshippers, were worthless pigs who should be extremely grateful for the dommes’ attention, no matter how slight. In contrast, one domme caught my attention because her focus was on having followers worship her because she was just that great and worth worshipping, not because they were worthless. She took a kinder, teasing approach, which I respected and could relate to, as opposed to the women whose public interactions with their followers were primarily spewing insults, like eroticized bullying. I respect that some dommes enjoy degrading their subs if that’s the experience they both are seeking; that just isn’t the experience that I seek. Does that make more sense? I love teasing, but I’m not looking to actually make my partners feel bad about themselves, just momentarily uncomfortable. I want to control them by getting to know every little thing which makes them tick (what annoys them, what makes them insecure, etc.), not with blanket insults. It’s relative per partner and per interaction.


What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s