Giving Your Partner Permission to be Dominant

There is a certain camp of people who will tell you that Dominance is an all-natural product (like organic milk), but I don’t believe that’s true. There might be certain underlying personality traits that make it easier or harder, but I think Dominance (as a role in D/s) is largely learned. There are some great resources out there (and one I can recommend is Anton Fulmen’s book The Heart of Dominance: A Guide to Practicing Consensual Dominance).

If you’re in a situation where your partner has expressed an interest in Dominance/submission, it’s something that the two of you want to explore together and you’re ready to take it further, where do you start?

I think… for me, personally… a good starting point is “permission”. We live in a world where the rules are complex and seem to always be changing, and we’re all trying to be good people and do the right thing.

If you admire somebody’s body, is that a compliment to them or is it sexist and objectifying? Is someone being “head of the household” going to reflect negatively amongst your friends as not being politically correct and a throwback to the 50s? Shouldn’t we be promoting equality and empowerment and good manners and respect and… blah blah blah.

Not saying that you can’t have all those things in a relationship AND have a D/s dynamic. I think you can.

But, in multiple tiny ways I think we have to keep evaluating and re-evaluating the moral codes of our upbringing and of society around us. Nice guys treat their partner THIS way. Modern guys know that in this day and age relationships should look like THIS. etc etc

So, I think permission is important. Permission to act in certain ways, or do certain things, that might rub against his idea of what a “good” partner would do. And that’s something you can help him with.

  • You can let him know that it’s OK to play with power and try out different things in the Dominant toolbox, and that actually the more he does that the happier you’ll probably be.
  • You can communicate clearly the type of relationship you want, listen to the type of relationship he wants, and share ideas for how to get there.
  • You can take the initiative in starting certain protocols.
  • You can do your best to keep the communication lines open and flowing.

The only way to grow is going to be together, so don’t ever feel like the D/s labels we give ourselves should hinder that.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Rich says:

    As a dominant, what drives me nuts is when submissives want to “test” the dominant before they’ve even gotten into roles. Some submissives have a checklist of criteria that must be met before the idea of submitting is even rational to them. This can include a “takes what he wants and doesn’t ask” attitude, while for others a “doesn’t expect me to submit right off the bat” attitude makes sense.

    In such situations, your choice is to err on one side or the other, with no way to win with both at the same time.

    1. MasterMarc says:

      Thanks Rich, I hear what you’re saying and I agree it’s definitely not one-size-fits-all. But, as a Dominant, would you want it to be? I think both parties are wise to probe for compatibility. Obviously you’re going to behave in a way that is natural to you, so would you want to “win” with someone who wants you to behave in a different way?

      On the other hand, I think a lot of the things we bring to our D/s are in some way a reflection of that one unique partnership. We might have some core things that make up our personality, but there’s a lot of flexibility on the fringes too. We can behave in WAY A or WAY B depending on what works well in the relationship, and we probably enjoy both ways equally, so the choices are really about the relationship dynamic. We try to give our partner what they want (without behaving unnaturally), and they try to give us what we want.

      So, I think if someone is not communicating their needs, and making judgements without giving you a chance to consider how you might fulfill them, it can definitely feel a bit like a no-win situation.

      1. Rich says:

        Yes, that’s the same conclusion I’ve come to. It’s completely unrealistic in all but the most extreme of situations to not do such probing. Still, it’s maddening to see a fair occurrence of submissives who have this sort of attitude. I value loyalty very highly and I would find it difficult to see someone as loyal who has secret, yet critical criteria for whom they’ll serve.

        1. MasterMarc says:

          I totally understand. I guess the positive way to view that is that if they can’t (or won’t) communicate at that stage then it probably doesn’t bode well for how they will communicate later, so if it doesn’t work out that might be for the best.

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