The Dungeon Master’s Guide: Dominance
Lets go back to the dungeon and dig deeper into the kinks that are nearest and dearest to me. The D in BDSM should be self explanatory. Or is it? Contrary to popular belief, “dominant” is not just something to click on your FetLife profile in hopes of getting laid. According to Webster’s, it means “commanding, controlling or prevailing over all others.” I can live with that definition. It is, however, more than having a sex slave or playing Simon Says. In the context of a D/S power exchange, it puts the dominant in the role of conductor or high priestess. Sub-missives have many ways in which they might need to be prevailed over. Just dishing out a spanking is only part of the picture. Tying someone up might be an element, but a good Dom doesn’t need to use restraints – his word is the restraint. You might have noticed I am mainly using masculine pronouns here, because, well, I am a man and this is my experience. Pop culture has given us plenty of images of the dominatrix to work off of. Like any dance, someone has to lead. Even in vanilla sex this takes place on an unspoken level. BDSM is the act of making this power exchange with a focused intent. This can be done in many ways, and while I prefer using a heavier hand, most of the time it doesn’t have to be that way. There is the softer “sensual dominance” that’s only a few degrees left of vanilla sex, and while it might not be something I enjoy in my personal path, it can be a useful tool when approaching BDSM from a more therapeutic direction.
I’ll get around to spiritual bdsm and sex magick in another article to come, but intention is a tool from that area of “kink” that needs discussion here. In setting the stage, the dominant must be very focused and clear in their intent. This is why anyone serious about bdsm is free from being chemically altered in any way, the exception being if they are on prescribed psychiatric medication, in which case taking those is important to maintain clarity. “Wait – why are we talking about mental health? I was looking for something to fap to?” you say. If you are not in control of yourself, how can you take control of someone else? In a d/s relationship, the dominant might give the submissive clear-cut guidelines of how to take care of themselves leading up to the scene. If they don’t take care of themselves when ordering the submissive to do this, then it’s an empty gesture. Yet take a look around most dungeons and they are populated with those whose bodies show the signs of neglect. Dominance is about discipline of self and others. The modern practice is rooted in a military background which demands this.
I see working out as a part of the lifestyle. The self-discipline of going to the gym. The act and intent of making oneself stronger builds muscle to make one physically dominant. Like dominoes toppling to the next one, the threat of physical domination sparks the mind much like the parent-child dynamic. “This larger person is in control,” thinks the child. They are powerful, so they protect and care for me. Protection and care are two other responsibilities, and they come from the great power of dominance. Much like parenting, dominance is a service role in some respects. When we think of service, we think of supplicant service sub-missives waiting on you hand and foot. Service is not always a submissive role. The motto of law enforcement should be, “to protect and serve.” Cops aren’t going to bring you coffee or tie your shoes, but they should provide the structure of law and safety. When I work at kink conventions, I think of this as an act of service. I attend and do what I want rather than volunteering my time, but being veteran in the lifestyle I need to express my gratitude to the community by being of service and providing guidance and safety to those who attend. I’m not shining boots. I am in a dominant role running the dungeon to make sure everyone is being safe, sane and consensual. I know what this means, so I must pass this on. Dominance starts with self, then is something passed on. I see it rooted in strength and giving birth to an intimacy that might include violence, humiliation and degradation when called for and agreed upon. It is also being a teacher and guardian. Establishing trust and communication. All tools continue to make a better person over the years, and like someone in the military, provides a path of self discipline that I have the honor of enforcing.