by Asher Bauer
This is a public service announcement for the BDSM and kink community. It is especially directed at anyone relatively new, and extra especially at anyone who ever bottoms. For the benefit of everyone’s mental health and safety, I would like to discuss the widespread phenomenon known as Creepy Dom.
Creepy Dom has many faces. He is almost always male, although I have encountered his rarer cousin, Creepy Domme, from time to time. Sometimes he seems only mildly annoying, at other times outright dangerous, but in general, he just gets scarier as you spend more time around him.
You all know this guy, or have at least heard of him. He’s the one who got banned from the local S&M club. He’s the asshole who just sent you a rude “Submit to me now” message on Bondage.com— even though you’re listed as a femdom. He’s the guy who seriously abused your friend under the guise of “D/s.” He might’ve even made the national news, but more likely, his victims have never reported him to the police.
Who am I to speak of Creepy Dom? Not an expert, by any means. I have, however, extensively observed this creature in all of its natural habitats, from internet message boards, to the dark corners of the local dungeon, to sleazy hotel rooms. My encounters with Creepy Dom have been many and varied, and started long before I was legally of age to enter the real life BDSM scene.
I found him first on the interwebs, preying on fourteen year old nymphets. Though I was young at the time (sixteen) I had a sense of responsibility for my community that not all of my fellow underaged kinksters shared, and I was concerned by what I saw going on. In an attempt to counteract the onslaught of Creepy Doms that plagued us wherever we attempted to gather in solidarity, I founded YouthKink, a small online forum that eventually drew about thirty members, specifically for those of us who were desperately kinky and too young to do anything about it. There, I and my co-moderators tried to disseminate information gleaned mostly from __SM 101__ and a few good websites.
The teens who frequented YouthKink were generally responsible sorts, determined not to do anything unsafe or illegal. But once in a while, we encountered this girl:
“my master says if ur a real slave u cant have ne limits!1111!!”
The poor thing was usually in an online or IRL relationship with a man old enough to be her father. This individual was her sole source of information on BDSM, and he fed her nothing but lies. My co-moderator and I would do our best to set her straight, sometimes with modest success. But all too often, the damage had been done.
When I entered the IRL BDSM scene on my 18th birthday, I was absurdly confident that my battles with Creepy Dom were over. The scene filters out all the bad guys, right? Everyone knows everyone, and so everyone knows if you’re an asshole. I was so wrong. In fact, I fell into the hands of not one, not two, but three creepy doms that very first week. Two of them manifested their creep-ness immediately, one of them by asking that I immediately move to LA and become his live-in slave (!). One of them, however, hid his true nature from me for a long time. I foolishly trusted him, and was foolishly devoted to him. He eventually ending up abusing and raping me. All that my “true submission” got me was a disease, a broken heart, and a slew of psychological issues that remain, as of this date, largely unresolved. A cautionary tale.
After this, I became a bit of a connoisseur of Creepy Doms. In a time when I craved and needed sexual pain, but scorned true human contact, it occurred to me that the best people to prey on are the predators. If you’re looking for trouble, Creepy Dom will always meet you halfway. One thing I discovered is that Creeps rarely pull anything really horrible on a first date, and better yet, you don’t have to feel guilty that there won’t be a second one. I learned how to spot ’em– or rather, I learned that they would spot me. It was sort of a symbiotic relationship– I got my needs met by allowing myself to be preyed upon in small doses.
I’m past that phase now, thank God. For several months, I lived virtually Creepy Dom Free, aside from the occasional, inevitable internet idiot. But just last night, alas, I had occasion to remember Creepy Dom, when we were approached by a prime specimen of the breed at Bondage A Go Go.
This… gentleman… began by intruding upon a scene in progress. He proceeded to speak only to Dylan and Clint, completely slighting me. He said he could get them into a private party at Mr. S. He asked us where we usually hang out, and when Clint said “The Citadel” he reacted with suppressed scorn. Before any of us fully knew what was happening, he had grabbed Dylan (who was already subspaced out) and forced him onto his knees, without so much as a ‘by your leave.’ “You can always tell if someone’s submissive by doing this,” he said, digging his finger into a pressure point on Dylan’s wrist. He pointed out the involuntary twitch of one of Dylan’s fingers, then reached for my arm to do the same to me.
“I didn’t give you permission to touch me,” I hissed.
He laughed, and said something to the effect that “she,” on the other hand, was not submissive.
“My name is Asher, I am not she, I’m a transman, and not letting you touch me has nothing to do with whether I’m submissive,” I informed him.
Finding no fertile ground in me, he focused his attention on Dylan. Clint sat by, not quite sure whether to interfere, but not willing, either, to leave Dylan alone with this person. To me, at the time, it looked like the two of them were both eating up all of this guy’s bullshit. I left in disgust to get some air, still shaking with endorphins from my rudely interrupted scene.
When I returned, Jackass was done with Dylan, who was sitting around looking spaced out and lost, but not in his usual happy way. Jackass was promising extravagant Mr. S goodies to everyone, and trying to get contact info. Before he left, he apologized, condescendingly, for touching me without permission. I pointed out that he had also walked into the middle of our scene. He smirked, and repeated, “I apologize for touching you without permission.”
The incident was full of red flags from start to finish. The guy was absolutely a text book case. He exhibited many traits which, come to think of it, I have seen in one form or another in all of my encounters with Creepy Dom. I am inspired to make a list of these traits, as sort of a field guide, using examples from my own experience. Here are some of the things to look out for.
The Anatomy Of Creepy Dom
A. He comes on too strong, too fast
Creepy Dom is not just looking for something for one night. He is an abuser, and he needs someone to control over a long period of time. He will therefore come on very strong and friendly right off the bat, try to obtain contact info, and attempt to establish a more-than-casual relationship quite quickly.
Take the man from BaGG last night, who I’ll call “Dave.” He tried to instill a sense of gratitude or even indebtedness towards him with his “private party invitation” and offers of “Mr. S gift cards.” Buying loyalty is a common Creepy Dom tactic.
Another guy, who I’ll refer to as “Mitch,” tried to turn a one night stand into a Dom/sub relationship by proclaiming that “he just knew this was the start of something really special.” A Creepy Domme, “Liza,” was talking about “our relationship” on the third date. Then there’s the “Jake” from L.A. that I mentioned earlier, who tried to get me to move away from family, friends, home and school after barely knowing me for a week.
Creepy Dom wants quick commitment. In order to get it from you, he will try to convince you that you’re really special, and you should feel privileged to have his attention. But if you’ve got a Creepy Dom pressing you for monogamy and/or submission, ask yourself why, if he’s everything he says he is, he doesn’t have someone on their knees before him already?
Creepy Dom is almost always alone. And there’s a very good reason for that.
B. He’s Consensuality Challenged
The laying on of hands without permission is a classic sign of a Creepy Dom. Almost every single Creepy Dom that I have encountered has done this. This is just one way in which one of his essential traits manifests: For all he may talk about being SSC (Safe, Sane and Consensual), he doesn’t care shit about it.
Creepy Dom may not negotiate, or not negotiate enough. He may even voice scorn for the practice of negotiation. He will do things without asking, or only ask after the fact. “Liza” demanded that I call her ‘mommy’ without first asking if it was all right. “Molly” asked that I address her as ‘big sister,’ similarly without preamble. Luckily for all concerned, I am not an incest survivor.
If you pursue a relationship with Creepy Dom, the consensuality issues will not go away. They will, in fact, continue, and increase exponentially in severity. A case in point is the man who repeatedly tricked or forced me into having unprotected sex, and later, slipped me a date rape drug.
C. He “Has Connections” and is “Experienced”
Creepy Dom is, in his mind, Uberdom. Regardless of his level of experience or involvement with the community, he will tell you that he is a highly skilled dominant and has lots of well-connected friends. “Name dropping” is common– he’ll make sure you know about all the organizations he’s involved with, and all the well-known players who are supposedly his buddies. He usually doesn’t know any of them quite as well as he wants you to believe.
I once inadvertently assisted a Creepy Dom in the middle of an attempted name drop. He was trying to say something about a “well known rope top– Jay Whatshisname.”
“Jay Wiseman?” I asked. “Wrote SM 1O1?”
“He wrote __SM 101__?” Creepy Dom gawked.
Later that evening, he mentioned, to a new acquaintance, his friendship with “Jay Wiseman, author of __SM 101__.”
Rule of thumb: If you need to say you’re a master, you probably aren’t a master. Be wary of any top who brags excessively about his “experience” and “scene cred.”
D. He “Essentializes” Dominance And Submission
Creepy Dom has a theory. He thinks dominance and submission are innate personality traits that manifest, not only in a scene, but in all walks of life. Dominance is a tao, to him. He may talk about “true dominance” or “true masters,” “true submission” and “true slaves.” He thinks he can spot people who are “naturally” submissive because of superficial traits. Shyness is a popular sign of “true” submission. So is indecisiveness. For another example, see ‘Dave’s’ pressure point test.
Some Creepy Doms have a strong New Age twist, and these tend to have the most amusing and infuriating theories of D/s of all. One guy, ‘Mitch,’ simply characterized dominance and submission as “masculine” and “feminine,” which is a rather Gorean way of looking at it. Another, one of the more unpleasant internet Creepy Doms I’ve encountered, assumed right off the bat that because I was “submissive” I must have been “abused in childhood.” (When I rejected him, he immediately wished me post traumatic flashbacks.)
Now, some truly decent people hold similar ideas about the innateness of dominance and submission, so this can get tricky. Don’t use this sign alone to spot a Creepy Dom. But most Creepy Doms will hold forth extensively on this topic, because it ties into my next point–
E. He Manipulates Your Desire To Be A Good Bottom
A Creepy Dom will try to draw you in with praise, saying he knew from the instant he saw you that you were a “true submissive.”
For example, ‘Dave’ flattered Dylan when he proclaimed the results of his little ‘pressure point’ test. Dylan was clearly submissive, and even his unconscious reflexes said so. This was a big pat on the back.
On the other hand, the moment I rejected ‘Dave,’ I was proclaimed to be “not submissive.” Obviously anyone who has the ability to draw boundaries does not have the “natural gift of submission.”
This is the main method of Creepy Dom. Obeying him is rewarded with praise, and especially with the affirmation that you are a “true submissive,” a “real slave.” On the other hand, limit setting is labeled “topping from the bottom” and leads him instantly to the conclusion that you are not, in fact, truly submissive.
Case in point: “Lily” was a Creepy Domme who found one of my friends on Craigslist. She took him to the now-closed Power Exchange, tied him to a chair, and left him there for an hour. While she was gone, another couple sat down close by and starting going at it. My friend was unable to move away, with the result that he got a stranger’s body fluids all over him. When Lily came back, he was on the verge of a breakdown. The next day, when he tried to tell her that what she did wasn’t OK, he was reprimanded and told not to “top from the bottom.”
The man who really hurt me badly talked about innate dominance and submission a lot. He convinced me, for a while, that because I was “naturally submissive” I “needed” a dominant to “mentor” me through life– and of course, he was just the man.
A related point– Creepy Doms generally know how to induce subspace quickly, and also know how to take advantage of it. Dylan was unable to refuse ‘Dave’ last night because he had literally been put into an altered state. “It was a weird subspace,” he said later. “It didn’t feel as happy as it [subspace] usually does.”
Hearing him say that brought back not-so-fond memories of how a “really deep subspace” can be turned almost seamlessly into Stockholm syndrome.
F. He’s Usually Doing Something Wrong
Of course, the most important sign of a Creepy Dom is that he’s actually saying or doing something fucked up. He usually shows his true colors pretty quickly, but he often does so in small, excusable ways. Make no mistake– these guys are often pretty charming, and seem so confident in their “experience” and “scene cred” that it can be hard to call it like you see it, even when what he’s doing is really wrong.
Try to step back and ask yourself if what he’s doing is really OK. Did he intrude on a scene in progress? Has he touched someone without permission? Is he breaking the club rules, or the rules of common courtesy? Does he use his toys clumsily or unsafely? Does he neglect barrier protection?
Most of the Creepy Doms I have encountered were, in fact, almost constantly guilty of discourtesy, stupidity and deceit. One guy pulled me aside to suck his cock in a corner at a party where sex was prohibited. Another man bragged about fucking a woman so roughly that the friction of the carpet tore bleeding wounds in her back. Another guy talked to me at length about his scorn for predatory dominants who pounce on the newbies the minute they come through the door, despite the fact that it was the night of my 18th birthday and he was about to ask me to play.
Usually there are obvious red flags present from the beginning. But we let them slide. We give these men and women the benefit of the doubt. We believe in their supposed “scene credentials” and take them at their word when they say they always play SSC.
What is so intoxicating, and also so dangerous, about Creepy Dom, is that he does not distinguish between the scene and reality. This is why he thinks that dominant people are dominant all the time, and submissive people are doormats. This is why he doesn’t negotiate or ask permission. This is why he has no regard for rules.
To him, it is not a game. He is not looking for a safe, sane and consensual relationship, with limits, safewords, and boundaries. He is a real control freak who wants to hurt you.
It can be really hot, at first, because let’s face it– none of us fantasize about negotiations and limits. We fantasize about some big rough brute coming up to us in the corner of a dark club and demanding exactly what he wants. And that’s pretty much what this guy does. He makes it all real, and that is the source of his charm. That is also why he will destroy you.
Around him, there’s no “off” time. Even when you aren’t technically in a scene, he takes control of the situation. Although he may not say he’s interested in 24/7, what he wants is complete power over you.
When all’s said and done, Creepy Dom is just a classic abuser dressed up in leather. And that, my friends, is a lot less sexy than it sounds.
About the Author
Asher Bauer is a 25yo trans male from Berkeley, California. He’s gay and queer and has been around the D/s scene since his 18th birthday. He’s also a rock musician, Wicked Grounds barista and film school grad.