What’s the Difference Between a Dominant and a Submissive?

June 25, 2020 11:09 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When you’re new to the BDSM community, some of the terms may be confusing. BDSM, which stands for “bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism,” is an umbrella term for kinks that tend to involve power games and other taboo forms of expression. Knowing whether you’re dominant or submissive in BDSM is the first step to exploring whether this type of sex play is right for you.

Dominant vs. submissive

BDSM often involves a power exchange, meaning one partner willingly gives up control to the other. This relationship is built on trust, so it’s important to understand what you’re asking for, negotiate boundaries and establish a “safe word” to stop proceedings if things go from dirty fun to uncomfortable or frightening.

A dominant partner is one who is in control of the “scene,” or particular fantasy that the couple is playing out. This could manifest in anything from restraining the submissive partner to merely giving them commands and expecting their obedience. The dominant partner enjoys having a willing (or consensually “unwilling”) partner.

A submissive partner paradoxically has even more control. They voluntarily give up temporary control to the dominant partner, but in a healthy BDSM relationship, the submissive partner’s safe word makes it possible for them to end all sexual interactions with a word. Many submissives cite this as the reason that giving up their power is exhilarating, not terrifying—with a trusted partner, they know they’re never in any danger of crossing hard limits.

Some people expect men to be natural dominants and women to be submissives, based on traditional societal roles. However, there is a significant amount of research within the scientific community—and anecdotal evidence from adult-related websites—that many men enjoy giving up their control in the bedroom, too. In other words, there’s no shame in whichever way you lean—many people switch between roles depending on mood and inclination.

Dominants, submissives and BDSM

If you’ve shied away from exploring your dominant or submissive side based on the assumption that you’ll have to cause or receive physical pain—the sadism and masochism portion of BDSM—don’t worry. There are myriad versions of BDSM relationships, and pain doesn’t have to be a feature unless you want it to be. While many people enjoy impact play (and beyond) as part of the lifestyle, you can enjoy the benefits of a BDSM power exchange without it.

If you’re new to exploring these desires, we suggest starting out simple—many couples like to experiment with restraints and commands at first, then move into more taboo practices as they discover what they enjoy. Above all, make sure you negotiate boundaries well before the two of you head into the bedroom (or the sex dungeon). Know what you’re willing to try and how you’ll call it off if it’s not as sexy as you expected.

With a little research, good boundaries and healthy communication, finding out whether you’re dominant or submissive in BDSM will be the best group project you’ve ever been a part of. To safely explore those desires away from home, call to book your stay at Monterey Stay and Play today.

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