Femdom Problems: Being a Dominatrix VS Getting What You Want

I browse reddit when I’m bored, and this comment thread came up on /r/relationships from a user (reluctantmistress) with a pretty classic problem that happens more often than I’d like in femdom: the guy who can only understand his own needs, so a loving and indulgent woman who actually enjoys it gets overwhelmed with service topping to fit into his ideal dominatrix.

I met my boyfriend, Pat, when we were both in college. We were originally FWB, then realized that we wanted more. We started seeing each other seriously, and have lived together pretty happily for 3 years.

We are best friends. We can talk about anything with each other, and we have helped eachother through a lot of tough times. After we had been dating for a while, Pat confessed to me that he has always had a lot of kinky fetishes, and wanted to explore them. I agreed, because it seemed exciting and he was so happy about it. As we started exploring this stuff, I realized that I loved it too.

The thing is, though, that I really just like regular sex. Pat is very submissive, and even though I enjoy being dominant, it tires me out and doesn’t recharge me or give me as much pleasure as just regular, plain, PIV while gazing into each others’ eyes.

We have been doing 24/7 chastity for a while now (working up, making sure the cage fit, and being safe, obviously!) and it is so hard to be “Miss” during every intimate moment. Even if I unlock Pat, there still has to be a kink element, because if we go from kink to vanilla and vice versa, he gets depressed. We’ve also been getting more and more into RAK (risky types of kink) like scat, watersports, and cuckholding.

Things came to a turning point for me when I visited a bull and had sex with him. It was ok, nothing to write home about, but I just loved the fact that we were just having sex. I didn’t have to worry about picking nipples or saying the wrong dirty thing or whatever. I could just lose myself in the moment and be myself. I liked having this need met, but I want Pat to be the one to meet it. I guess I am just naturally monogamous.

We’ve talked about this for a long time, and have tried a lot of things. We’ve tried having different weeks or days where we’re kinky. It just made us both unsatisfied. I’m confused because I constantly feel like I am service topping – if things don’t follow a certain order or prescription, he gets depressed and shuts the scene down, which makes me feel like a failure and then wonder why I’m even doing this because it makes neither of us happy. Even if he isn’t in chastity, he is looking at porn on his phone. He admitted to me that when we have vanilla sex that he is imagining kinky stuff happening. That really broke me.

I don’t want to give up kink forever. I have my own kinks that I like, but when I try to intiate and I mess up the scene stops. I use kink to get Pat to do things like the dishes, or running with me, and he enjoys it, has even told me he prefers it to me nagging, but I just want him to do things without me putting on a show. I just want to top him my way, which sometimes means I’m in my pajamas. I don’t want to have to put on my sexy boots and use my sexy voice whenever I want him to pay attention to me.

I’m so sorry that this has turned into a rant. Anyway, any advice would be nice. We’re also involved in the local BDSM community, and gone to a lot of classes and workshops, and they have really helped our relationship but they haven’t addressed the big problem. I can’t really talk to any of our kinky friends because I’m ashamed of how I feel. People sometimes sh*t on vanilla people for being boring. I don’t want to be boring, I just want to be happy.

I’ve also talked with my therapist about this but she isn’t very knowledgeable about alternative lifestyles. I’m looking for a kink – friendly therapist or counsellor but I have no idea where to start.

tl;dr: My SO and I love eachother but our different sexual appetites are causing us to be unhappy. We want to fix this. What do we do?

See “Pat” find a loving, willing femdom. See Pat drive his relationship into the ground by treating her like a fetish dispensing machine. Pat, your girl is a super winner. I get that you have your fetishes, but you’re going to need to find a work around because right now you are trying to totally dominate that woman you call “Miss” harder than you’re even asking her to do to you. You need to stop that.

Poor OP. She’s even into it, but you’re wearing her down with this constant demanding. I mean really, now you demand kinky treats to do your house chores and just asking is “nagging”? Are you fucking kidding me? How is it that submission is your favourite thing ever, but anything that actually gives your Miss her way turns you into a sulky baby? Look, Pat, she will probably swear you are a great boyfriend and she’s probably right, but you are overwhelming her with your approach.

Think of it this way: I like sadism. I could torture a pretty man all day long. But there are limits of how to express things- I can’t torture someone 24/7 because that’s not safe or sensible or would probably lead to good emotional outcomes. RelectantMistress isn’t actually very relucuctant – she’s the very model of GGG (good, giving, game). However this is hitting against the thing other writers like Giles observed, the difference between letting someone have power and asking them to play out your dominatrix fantasy.

Okay, first it’s adult conversation time. Do you value your relationship? Good. You need to get your ass in gear and talk about that with her. I don’t know how she got the impression sex that wasn’t your fetish was boring, but mission number one is to take the focus off you and your locked cock and onto her- not because your fetishes are wrong, but because she matters too and her fetishes and interests are just as important as yours.

You, Pat are now going through the hardest orgasm denial of your life, the one where your cock absolutely belongs to her and not to you. No more porn and fantasy for now. You need to put as much effort into channelling your sexuality to please her as she’s been putting to please you. You love this woman, you know her intimately and you should have an idea what she likes.

I imagine that she’s put a lot of work into letting you know she finds your sexuality sexy, and that’s very comforting. However she’s set a good example about what love means, it’s time to reciprocate. True, how you perceive sex is filtered through your kinks, but you can at least make the effort- if she wants missionary sex without props and calling anything but her name, you can at least stretch to being her adoring fucktoy. Take some time to rediscover who she is. Practice that coo-ing romantic connection of sticky eyes, like when you first fell in love.

But on top of that, I want to talk about the house chores only being tolerable if dictated by Miss issue and the sulking if you don’t get kink. It’s really nice that she’s found a way to make boring adult responsibilities fun for you, but she shouldn’t have to nag you in the first place. Calling being reminded of something that needs doing, that you were failing to do ‘nagging’ is saying that neither her wants nor the task are relevant. Similarly, try to have a bit of quid-pro-quo empathy, imagine if every time you wanted kink she got depressed and moped and needed reassurance? I bet you’d feel pretty stifled. Being Miss is a fun thing for both of you, but the way you are subbing is turning this into a chore for her, not a joy.

Don’t blow it, Pat, give Miss what she actually wants, rather than what you feel like a dominant should want. Or she’ll eventually pull away to protect herself, after a great deal of crying and feeling sad and guilty and unloved, and you won’t have a Miss anymore.

I posted this here because I think this is relevant for all of us, and points to the fundamental problem in femdom as delivered by popular culture- we are rated at how well our kink pleases men, not by how it pleases us. This doesn’t make our partners bad people, but it is a common trap we can fall into. Femdom will never work as a major menu item unless her desires are part of the package and you cannot expect to get a lover who is all into your kinks how you like them only.

Femdom Stuff to Make Him Do While You Figure Things Out

So, you want to not just be a dominant, but do dominant things with a partner…

Maybe he’s the sub who opened your door and now you want to keep the momentum by making things about your initiative now. Or maybe you don’t follow the stereotypical script and you’re not learning how to get your kink on to please a subby hubby- maybe what you’re looking for is the best way to introduce kink to a new guy or a vanilla boyfriend. Maybe you’re single and dreaming of  a someday submissive. Maybe you’re not even sure about any of this and it’s all an experiment.

Regardless of your goals, here’s some femdom stuff to make him do to help get you rolling.

Rule #1

If you’re not both having fun, something’s gone horribly, terribly wrong. Always refer back to this rule if its not working and figure out why the fun is gone. Note that as the sub he can be having fun in the abstract over reaching way.  (e.g. ‘Miss, this is ouchy!’ but later ‘OMG Miss that was sooo hot!’).

The Voice and Aura of Command.

Shoulders square, back straight, talk from deeper in your chest. Meet his gaze and hold it- make him be the one to look away. If he refuses to do it on his own, tell him to look away. Inversely if he has trouble looking at you, make him do so. It may feel like a cheap trick, but hey, putting someone a little socially off balance is great for making you the boss. Your posture helps carry the authority you are trying to embody.

Dominants don’t need special outfits, but it is not uncommon to use certain clothes or symbols to help you both get into the mood, particularly if this is an occasional dynamic and your partner and you normally have a more egalitarian dynamic going on. Of course, looking back to Rule #1, if the idea of a special outfit makes you feel weird or even bored, think about what you feel most comfortable in. Whether that’s your interview get up or your birthday suit (fuzzy slippers remain popular with real life doms all around the world), the main thing is that you need to feel like you can be in charge and command attention that way.

Orgasm Control, Tease and Denial.

A lot of people of all kink orientations only want to do this in the bedroom and there’s not a thing wrong with that. Orgasm control is a safe fun thing to play with- by making use of his genitals, either coming or not, or teasing himself (or you teasing him) you get control of a part of his life that’s very personal and intimate, but also is unlikely to effect his job, family life, etc…

This can be a bridge that takes your kink outside the bedroom, for example putting him on a schedule to come or making him text you every time he has a naughty thought.  This puts you in the drivers seat, while many people find that the sensation of being disempowered from their own bodies makes them feel a powerful connection to their dominant.

Meanwhile, being able to sexually tease can make you feel powerful. Keep in mind that contrary to stereotypes, not all men are a barrel of horny- if he’s not particularly responsive it is not a failure in you as a dominant- refer back to Rule #1 and see what works best for you.

Hurting People… Gently.

Sadomasochistic play can be controversial, because outside of kink and combat sports, no nice person wants to hurt other people. On the other hand, rough sex is as old as recorded history. We all understand that sexy can be exhilarating, marking and vigorous. S&M is really an extension of that, and can be as hard or as light as you like.

Butts are a popular target area because they are both fairly well padded against injury and packed with good nerve endings. The trick here is to start small and work your way up. You are also more likely to get results if your partner is already aroused- this tends to cause what would otherwise painful to translate into sexual stimulation. On the other hand, face slapping can be particularly tempting, but while a little stinging pat is harmless, keep in mind that human skulls are not designed to be shaken about. Punch drunk submissives are NOT a good thing.

To make your spanking or hitting session last longer, start very light, almost patting on bare skin or through clothes. Humans are weird, whacks that made him whimper the safeword in your first moments may be happily accepted or even shrugged off as he relaxes into you getting your way. Kinky people call the lighter hits a “warm up”, and this is pretty much what you’re doing.

The vulnerability of letting someone else hurt you is also a powerful source of submissive feelings for many people, even those who are not sexual masochists. It can also make you feel a strong emotional connection to your victim, both because of the enjoyment of the sense of power over them or because people find vulnerability cute.

Wooden spoons, clothes pins, his belt, and pretty much anything that appeals to your imagination and you have lying around the house can be perverted. Not sure about getting too mean or want to switch up your sensation menu? Try the humble ice cube. Held in the mouth, run over the body or even, if you’re feeling naughty, inserted (smooth ice only please!), small amounts of cold are a relatively safe source of sensation that everyone has access to.

Do not play pain games while stoned, high or drunk. We warned you.

A Little Bondage.

You don’t need to tie people up to be a femdom, but restricting people’s movement is a great way to make someone feel helpless. There’s a few basic things to remember, starting with safety. Rope, ties or handcuffs can cut off circulation and you mustn’t leave a bound person unattended. Scared now? Don’t be!

When you have someone tied up, just remember to periodically check their extremities for changes in temperature or colour, and you’ll be good to go. That being said, thinner bondage material is more likely to be pinchy, so if your rope is narrow, wrapping it several times prevents the pressure of the binding from concentrating on one spot. You may also want to invest in blunt tipped emergency scissors as the level up to bondage safety.

Still not sure about knots or cuffs? How about some Bondage Tape? It sticks to itself  but not to anything else. It’s usually about $10 a roll at a sex shop- and is available non-kinkily as “vet wrap”.

Robe ties and bed posts are good. Ignore Cosmo’s horrifying idea to use your bra (in fact ignore pretty much all their advice in this department). Got a cheap pair of unlined metal play handcuffs? Put socks on your victim’s hands for instant bondage mitts with wrist protection. And one last thing- regarding suspending people- don’t hang people by their wrists with regular rope loop or cuffs, as wrists don’t work that way. Bondage enthusiasts either use special wrap ties or cuffs with extra support to prevent damaging their victims.

Bossing People For Fun.

Finding femdom stuff to make him do is often about flexing your power in a way that makes you feel good. Its not about being hijacked into highly specific service activities because they are popular in porn- for example if you’re a domestic goddess you don’t need to give up the kitchen just because you like to be the boss (although you can leave him all the dishes to wash after your latest baking spree, heeheehee).

If you and your partner are new to you taking charge, this can feel surprisingly daunting. The trick here is that to support you, when you give a command from a dom position, he has to to make a best effort to comply and you need to make your instructions feasible. So start small- a 30 point slave contract might start hot, but you’ll both get less burned out with one or two rules. Here’s some examples of rules you might try:

For a couple that’s bedroom only: “You are not allowed to wear clothing when you submit to me. I expect you do go into the bedroom, take your clothes off and wait for me, kneeling on the bed with your back to the door and your eyes closed until I am ready.”

For a couple trying a dynamic beyond the bedroom: “When we are alone together, you will call me (Miss/Mistress/Ma’am/My Lady/Beautiful).”

For a portable dynamic: “You will send me a sexy idea every day, by text, when you get home from work.”

For a service dynamic: “I expect flowers in a vase on my bureau, refreshed regularly. I will not find any wilted blossoms or… [some sort of kinky punishment]”

One of the things you should probably make a distinction about is instructions you absolutely must have followed to feel okay and instructions you are comfortable with having broken. Some subs are miserable getting punished for failures, while others find they can only enjoy sadomasochistic play in the context of “deserving” it. Incidentally, the jargon for some person taking charge and the other person deferring is power exchange.

Fetishes and You.

The term fetish and kink are commonly used interchangeably, but in common speech, a fetish refers to the miscellaneous extras that one of you either finds sexy or thinks that they might enjoy. this might be outfits, textures, body parts, etc…

The trick here is to remember that these are tools for your mutual benefit, but should not supercede you- for example, lets say your gentleman has a thing for white satin panties. If you always have to wear these panties to get what you want, you can very quickly find yourself frustrated to be stuck playing to his script. A lot of kink newbies get caught here.

Because of this, if he wants to support your dominance, he has to work with you to accept that the panties or other fetish object or behaviour don’t make the dominant, the dominant chooses the panties and brings their dominance to whatever they do. Be confident to break his script- you can indulge him if you want to, but feeling dominant puts things on your terms.

On the other hand, maybe you are the one with the fetish- maybe you feel extra dominant when you make a man crawl on all fours and act like your pet, or flex his shoulders. By all means, indulge yourself.

Closing Notes

Keep in mind that kink is a broad, big buffet, so your partner’s attitude towards things is going to be unique- as will yours! The dynamic you build together will not be a carbon copy of any other person’s dynamic- and if something isn’t working, don’t get discouraged. Just change your approach until you find what makes you happy.

Post Script!

A nice part about the evolving nature of a blog post is you can update it as more information becomes available.

I sincerely recognize the newbie femdom consider the work by Sharyn Ferns as another great way of jumping off from fantasy into doing. Kindle link.

Reader Letter: Embracing Femdom As A Beginner

So this question popped up in my fetlife feed, and with the original author’s permission I reprinted.

So, I have a lot if issues. I’m new to all this and really need a mentor in general. [To keep things short] I’m going to try my best to narrow things down and hopefully find some help that way. For one, I’m kind of shy. I like to get to know people before I’m comfortable enough to act “dommy” around them. And then I also like to take other people’s feelings and abilities into consideration. I guess you could call me a soft domme? But then all of that just causes issues for me, like people expect me to be a super dominatrix bitch right away, or they expect me to make all the rules and boss them around. What do I do with all this? How do I get over this shyness so people will actually take me seriously and not call me a fake all the bloody time? Then, if someone actually gets past that, I’m not sure what to do with them. They usually suggest that I give them tasks or whatever, but it’s always sexual, and I’m not interested in sex all that much. What I really like is the aspect of control. Anyway, in short, I don’t want my D/s relationships to revolve around sex. So what I can do? And what are some tasks that I can give them to do that aren’t as sexual? 19FDomme

Hi, 19FDomme!

Figuring out how to get what you want is a challenge at any age. Being a dom, especially a female one, means dealing with a whole bunch of expectations and stereotypes that may stand in your way. As you’ve probably already noticed, there’s a lot of expectations put on us to be “in role” from day 1 and develop some sort of persona rather than simply relaxing and being yourself. Part of finding satisfaction as a Dom is getting past what others want for you and discovering what you want. When it comes to diagnosing your problem, I want you to think about this sentence. You wrote: What I really like is the aspect of control. 

This is very reasonable and a huge part of dominance as a personal identity- it’s no wonder people trying to use you as a fetish dispensing machine are boring and frustrating you! A key part of dominance is the near addictive draw to that sensation of power. It might be benevolent and nurturing, or it might be sadistic, but it can also be one of the most challenging parts of getting your needs met.

The first thing to remember is that submissives are not interchangeable, so things not working out with one sub does not mean you are a bad dom or not a dom. Building a D/s dynamic is about finding someone you work well with, and no one relationship is a perfect copy of anyone else. This can feel frustrating, because you are probably bombarded with attention and loads of guys are promising they really want to submit, but most of them are just asking you to fill their fetish needs. Even if they are ready, eager and willing to try to make you happy, at this point, no knowing you, all they can offer is suggestions based on what they want and what porn tells them you want. This can make the whole thing seem not for you.

Unfortunately, beyond the problem of getting to know people well enough to actually serve them, rather than the abstract idea of a dom, inexperienced subs will also forget that doms are people too and may act pouty if they don’t get the fantasy they were expecting. Because of this, you may feel like you have to put on an aggressive, unapproachable persona with everyone you meet in order for possible play partners to take you seriously. Actually, you can consider not doing that your idiot filter- the ones who expect you to be Mistress WhippyBitch straight off the bat really don’t care who is dominating them- and have demonstrated they don’t want to take the time to get to know you.

Dominance is intimate, and it’s vulnerable. It involves being capable of being selfish, and admitting that you want things badly enough to have someone do it for you. Meanwhile, wanting to care about your sub’s needs and feelings doesn’t make you a weak dom, it makes you not a raving pyschopath. Pornography (and the marketing copy of professionals) gives the impression that dominants are unyielding bullies with zero empathy and a constant presence. It can be natural to be very shy about your dominance if you feel like you have to overcome that public perception! Any sub that calls you ‘fake’ for being who you are instead of their fantasy is not worth your time. That’s because being a dom is not about what their kinks mean to them, it’s about what your desires mean to you.

For most people, BDSM is sexual. I don’t know, in your case, whether for you it’s a psychological power trip, or you’re just not particularly promiscuous with your favours. Be that as it may, it’s okay to want to do things your way because it’s your sexuality/personality and that’s going to be constant even when you are single. While professionals excel at packaging femdom into a one size fits all approach, finding something that works for you is about finding your own kinks. You said get the most satisfaction from a sense of being in control- so if you want to build on that you need to develop what sort of control you want. Power can be about giving people things, or about denying them.

Here’s some very basic advice in that line:

1) Take the time to educate yourself about what is and isn’t okay regarding limits and safety advice. That way you will feel secure knowing how to keep your sub protected while being able to call out nonesense when you encounter it.

2) Confidence is born from being able to feel in control of yourself. I already talked about recognizing time wasters and learning to banish them. You should also decide what your standards are and commit yourself to being willing to cut people off who disappoint you – with reasonable expectations, subs being idiots to you will no longer feel like you failed and you’ll save your energy for the ones who are worth it. You can also know that you are going to be extremely desireable to your potential partner – good subs are worth their weight in gold to a dominant, but you don’t have to put up with “eh, close enough!”.

3) All that fetish stuff- the tying people up, etc… is about creating a feeling. You should only do it if it helps create the feeling you want to experience in you as well as in your partner. If it isn’t your kink and it doesn’t make you happy, you are not less dominant for saying no.

4) Do the leg work in your courtships because it lets you control for interactions more so than if you just sit in a chair waiting for subs to petition you. This may sound all awkward and weird, but start with a few positive comments and the mere fact that you made the effort will get them standing up to attention. On the other hand, don’t let people mistake passivity for submission- it’s okay for subs to get fulfillment out of your planning and aggression, but they should never make you feel like some sort of under paid manager and entertainer.

5) There is no such thing as a free lunch, so make sure that subs trying to ‘serve’ you are clearly understanding and expressing what they get out of it. A common route for wasting time is the service-for-fetish bargain a lot of people are offering. Service can be many things, but it’s supposed to be a tangible gesture of a sensation of subjugation or worship, not a work exchange.

6) Don’t express yourself sexually or socially the way you think dominants are supposed to want it- own what you want. If your personality is mousey and soft, don’t let other people force you to speak louder to be more dominant- make them stop and listen to your whisper.

7) Lastly, watch out for the hype- once one’s confidence is built up, it’s easy to buy into the idea the idea that dominance puts you above inputs from subs. Outside of a pre-agreed upon dynamic they are your equals and even then, don’t let yourself miss out on all the valuable guidance and feedback your partners have to offer.

9 Reasons to Block and Delete a Sub Sending You a Message

letter2Female dominants get messages, partnered or unpartnered, searching or trying to hide. In honour of the recent batch of crazy letters and threats, I’ve created a quick guide for new femdoms for signs you should save yourself the trouble and delete the message now. If any of these nine behaviors have come up in the guy’s efforts to talk to me, I’ve never found any good was going to come out of the interaction.

1) Tries to rapidly escalate or control the conversation medium. If you’re on a dating site, they try to push for an in person meeting immediately. If you’re online, they try to get you to give them more contact information right away or keep pushing to switch to another medium, eg going from email to chat, or guessing at your geographic location (such as “did I see you on X street?”)

Why this is bad: Taking the time to feel comfortable is important when you’re getting to know new people, among many things because it lets you figure out who they are on your own terms. Someone who pushes you this way doesn’t care about this and may even want you to disregard something about them you would pick up on if you took your time.

2) Instantly appears enamored of you and/or tries to force a D/s dynamic right away. They greet you with loud and hyperbolic praises, more so than simply a polite, respectful compliment or two – or they start trying to sub to you right off the bat. Alternatively, within a handful of messages you are, according to them, the best person they have ever met.

Why this is bad: An actual attachment to someone takes knowing them – anything else is fantasy they’ve created in their heads. The problem with being put on a pedestal this way is that if you do anything to topple off your perch, you are put at risk for them not being able to handle reality.

3) Only seems to know about femdom from porn. They have a particular, rigid understanding of roles and relationships and seem startled when anything deviates from their script. For example, they don’t seem to know negotiated limits are a thing or think dominants and subs are a special class of people under different rules than everyone else.

Why this is bad: If we were a few decades ago, the lack of material available would make this attitude slightly more forgivable. These days, the sheer wealth of knowledge presented to the newly self identified as kinked means that anyone with an internet connection can find scads of teaching resources. Therefore it shows a disproportionate willingness to let what they want to be true be the case, and more to the point, they’ve absolved responsibility for themselves.

4) Instant or whirlwind courtship commitment. From the word go they are already sure you are the one. They will relocate, marry you, whatever. Their heart is, according to them, true, and belongs only to you. This is probably combined with #2 – in their eyes you are the best and most beautiful and they want your collar NOW.

Why this is bad: Once again, this person is chasing a feeling more than trying to have a meaningful, nuanced relationship. This also tends to be a pattern in people with personality disorders- super epic passion followed by a crash when they stop being able to sustain things.

5) Claims they “read all your profile” or writing, but can’t answer simple questions about it, or takes and approach counter to what you’ve written about yourself and your preferences. You say you want a poly relationship and they talk about monogamy. You say you are a down to earth tomboy and they talk about how feminine you are. You say you hate being called titles and they open with ‘Mistress’.

Why this is bad: Being forced into being a fantasy prop is a perennial problem for femdoms, and also this sort of nonsense is proof of the person’s willingness to lie to you from the start, instead of saying “I liked what I read so far”.

6) You have a really bad feeling about this. Something feels off, but you can’t put your finger on it and you feel bad about not giving them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are just awkward or have a socialization disorder?

Why this is bad: Trust your gut. Women, in particular, are taught to disregard symptoms of dislike and make nice and forgive. Protect yourself. Even if you feel like a meanie – adults with social problems aren’t automatically allowed to put you at risk by trying to be open minded and most actually awkward people are balls of blushing apologies, not the type of people who make you feel itchy under your skin.

7) They have nothing nice to say about other people. All the other femdoms were findoms or fakes. They were crazy or ugly. You’re different of course! Not like their bitch ex- or their wife who’s a prude, their abusive parents or shitty boss.

Why this is bad: Everyone knows some bad people in their life, but if all the people they know are horrible by their description it’s statistically more probable they are the problem. and cross them and you will be just another fake who hurt them, according to what they tell the next woman.

8) They start telling you what to do, or expressing really strong preferences about other people or you. Maybe it’s phrased as introducing themselves, but they want to make sure you know that they like a particular thing, for example they start worrying about you getting fat or thin, they make appearance based suggestions or offer unsolicited critiques.

Why this is bad: This person is a controlling jerk who thinks they are just being honest. they won’t care about you except such that they can cram you into the shape they wish you were.

9) They want to talk about what gets them or you off in detail right away. You get asked to describe scenarios, share your fantasies, or they just won’t STFU about co-eds in ballet flats or busty trans leatherwomen.

Why this is bad: Wanker! This person is going to try to use you to titillate them. If their fantasy talk is all you want, good, but don’t expect things to get better or to focus on anything other than immediate gratification.

With this sort of winnowing in mind, consider it a chance to save your valuable time for only the worthwhile people. And remember, you don’t owe anyone a chance more than you deserve to feel safe.

What did I miss? What are your favourite signs that things just not going to go well?

8 Things You Could Be Doing To Help Find A Femdom

Did you try checking behind the curtain?One of the first questions people ask after realizing that they have submissive fantasies is how they can find a femdom. The standard advice, which nobody can escape, is that you’ve got to meet a lot of people until something clicks.

On the other hand, if you’ve been looking for a while and nothing’s working, here’s 8 basic tips for increasing the chance of meeting your match as well as what to do now to help make it work better when you do find her. Because there’s no sense in self sabotage or ineffective effort.

Can’t find a femdom? Are you doing these eight things?

  1. Participate in your local and/or online BDSM community. Thanks to the magic of the internet, even if you live in a tiny country with a small, conservative population, chances are there are at least an online community in your area devoted to kink. The reason why you should do this is because at the very least you won’t feel completely by yourself, and when you do find the femdom of your dreams, you will sound more sane and knowledgeable. BDSM is a very simple thing that a lot of people make overly complicated, and hearing from other kinksters will also give you more of a sense of what’s out there- as well as what to avoid.
  2. Talk to all the people, not just the dominants. If you use kinky communities to just try to talk to only what seems to be femdoms, you are not only missing out on some interesting people, but you are missing out on the hidden pool of kinksters, tops, switches and so on. Even just making friends, it also helps because even if you don’t meet someone directly, other people may introduce you to them based on “X seems cool!”. Meanwhile, if you only try to date openly kinked, you exclude all the women with the potential to rock your submissive socks who don’t currently have the vocabulary to describe what you both like. All these people you are ignoring by only pursuing obvious dominant  women *might* actually be into what you are looking for, and treating it like a numbers game and trying to enjoy the socializing for its own sake will make you calmer than if you hold out for Miss Perfect Domina Pants and ignore Suzy Switch, Katy Kinkster and Vanessa Not As Vanilla As She Seems.
  3. Define what you are looking for in a D/s relationship beyond generic labels. Do not rely on simply looking for someone who identifies as a dominant or expect everyone to know what you mean as far as kinks, when you call yourself a submissive. One of the biggest problems people deal with when looking for a femdom is that they tend to think of the role as being universal- with every relationship looking like the ones they imagine in their head. When you do find a femdom, you should not make the mistake of assuming just because someone is dominant they want to do everything you want. Similarly, it’s a lot easier to get some casual experience with various things like impact play if you don’t just tell people “I wanna be a sub” but you focus on things like “I want to know if I enjoy spanking for real as much as I imagine I do.”
  4. Make your online profiles about you. When you’re writing profiles or otherwise have a chance to present yourself as a potential sub, think in terms of the text on the back of a book. A good blurb tells you what the book is about. It does not tell you about the sort of customer the publisher wishes would buy the book. It doesn’t tell you the scenario they envisage you reading the book in. Similarly if you simply describe the sort of dom you want to meet or just focus on sexy suggestions that gives potential doms nothing to work with. Meanwhile your main profile photo is the cover on a book- stolen porn is like a generic stock art cover that gives the reader little information.
  5. Don’t wait to meet a femdom to start exploring. A lot of newly self identified subs think the first step is finding a dom to show them the literal ropes. Even if your very important celebrity-political-childcare-job keeps you from active BDSM scene participation, you should take the time to learn more about kink safety. It’ll also help you to know what to ask for and what to expect- and don’t forget that not all dominants are super experienced- many doms benefit from a partner who lets them practice and are nervous about being asked to be super experts.
  6. Take the time to work on yourself as a person. Plenty of guides to new subs tell you to meet minimal grooming standards and so forth, but you probably don’t need to be told to shower or wear pants. However, beyond the basics, when you finally do find a femdom, you’ll be able to build a relationship with a more solid foundation if you take the time to look after yourself first. Whether tamping down those pesky anxieties that plague all of us, or loving yourself enough to invest in achieving your other goals, you’ll be a much happier person, which will make you more inherently attractive to others. Come on, you deserve it. Even if all you want to be is property, you’re valuable property.
  7. Focus on people who are compatible with your entire life, not just your kinks. A lot of people forget that the bedroom is only one part of an entire relationship- even if you have sex every day that’s only about one hour out of 24 and you still need to have something to talk about beyond BDSM and how hot she is. You can afford and deserve to be picky, and generally you’ll be a lot happier with someone you connect with than someone who is your perfect kink match on paper.
  8. Work on smaller goals, not bigger goals. A huge mistake a lot of sub guys make is going from fantasy to trying to end up own, collared and buried in intense commitment. While you shouldn’t message random women looking for a flogging on demand, going in the opposite direction and seeking immediate extreme commitment is like being the stereotypical crazy person who tells you the names of the kids you will have on your first date. Look for having short term fun with people who deserve your respect- you are auditioning partners as much as they are auditioning you.

When Kink Limits Change & More Caretaking Challenges

I encountered a really tough problem recently on reddit:

My sub’s ingratitude is destroying our relationship. I took him under my wing. When I met him, he was another college drop-out with no body to speak of. Thanks to my guidance, he now has a good job, goes to gym regularly and looks his best.

Now life’s going well, suddenly I’m too controlling? He wants to challenge my rules? Rules we both agreed on BTW.

He was always shy about his fantasies. I kept at him until he opened up. He didn’t know how to apply them. As usual, I took over. I taught him how to service me. I tied him up and played with him until he was a quivering pile of ecstasy. I taught him all about the prostate and gave him the best orgasms possible. And he loved every minute.

So how does he repay me? He starts safe-wording nearly every time we play. He suddenly wants to renegotiate scenes. He says he doesn’t like some of the stuff we do. He says used to go along with it because he was scared of disappointing me. That’s crap. He loved it – he wouldn’t get off if he didn’t.

Why is he testing me like this? And how do I remind this boy exactly which of us is in charge?

lictenstein

“Why won’t he submit the way he used to?”

Ouch, that’s one sad femdom! This one resonated with me, because it’s close to a bunch of problems I had to tackle. I don’t think the problem is precisely ingratitude, but nevertheless, it’s a nasty situation to find yourself in as a dom.

Reddit mostly attacked her attitude as not taking her sub’s limits seriously enough, but it’s really hard to deal with someone whose kink limits evolve within a relationship or someone who is not consistently on board with what you want. It’s also very frustrating as a dominant, to have the urge for control stifled by someone being more interested in their fetishes and the parameters they want them expressed under, than in supporting your sense of control, while trying to balance that with your own need to meet and respect whatever limits a person asks for.

And it can be hard when you a have an expectation to push through and reach someone and do the hard work of making judgement calls for both of you, and then sometimes they need you to do that and sometimes they don’t. However…

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15 Things I Wish I’d Known as a New Femdom

alicescanWhile I’ve always had an inclination in the direction of kinky, even before my sexuality was much of a coherent thing, for much of my life I didn’t really know how to describe what I wanted and I certainly didn’t always know how to get what I wanted. Finding out the word was “dominant” was a total light bulb moment, but after all the exploration I’ve done, there’s still a few things I wish came in the welcome package for every new femdom.

1) You are only 50% of the end product in any D/s dynamic. What you are building together, with your partner, is a feeling. This is about as tricky as say, building a sense of love or deep trust, and it’s not going to work with any random sub or switch anymore than any heterosexual man or women are automatically perfect for each other just because they’re both straight. The corollary of this is that just because he first sub identifying people you meet are not attractive to you does not mean you aren’t a dom.

2) Chuck all your assumptions on how you should act and how the other person should act out the window and actually talk about how you want things to look like together. Assumptions are like not reading the map when you embark on unknown territory. Otherwise if you’re a sadist and they’re not it could get ouchy (sorry, sorry!), or they can spend all their time sulking because they thought all doms do their particular favourite fetishes and it hasn’t occurred to you to try it.

3) Put both your fetishes into a big pot and stir them together. Dominants are not fetish fulfilment agents, but subs are not robots. Your D/s identity is only the opening line in a discussion that leads to you both getting what you want and fetishes are the extras that help you achieve that. The dynamic that works is the one that takes into account that you both have needs.

4) You may need to push a bit against people being annoying or unhelpful to get started. (Sorry, it’s probably the patriarchy.) One of the biggest things that discourages female dominants is the first time we try to assert ourselves, a partner decides to say no or make it extra difficult (particularly if said dominant is a switch), or they approached you with their desire like it was a big awful, complicated favour that has to follow the sub’s script. It is okay to say “I need you to work with me” or require things to be made simple for you. You don’t have the right to dom someone against their wishes, and everyone deserves limits, but anyone who really wants to support you should be open minded and at least ready to humour you.

5) It is not who you are, it’s what you want. You can be the most whip skilled, knot wizard girl scout with the most assertive demeanor ever, or you can be a shy and doe eyed creature who hurts yourself when spanking someone else. You can be a professional hostage negotiator, or cry when you have to ask for a raise. You can look like a fetish pinup or a soccer mom. Whatever your personality is like, what makes you dominant is the desire to dominate, and that’s also whether it is limited to your significant other once a month after church, or done all the time with a forty person harem carrying you about on a sedan chair.

6) You have to be selfish about not compromising on your core desires. This one is a toughy because nobody sets out to be intentionally selfish- but because everyone is fussy and has their own things, it’s easy to be accommodating. This ranges from putting up with partners who arbitrarily get bored with D/s, to changing up everything so you do only the things the sub finds hot on their schedule, through to dating vanilla because being alone sucks. If you do this, something will always feel a little askew and temptation to what you really want may make you resentful.

7) There is no such thing as a non-dominant sex act. You can do oral. You can be penetrated. You can cross dress, you can be tied up, beaten and made to cry in public. See #1, for the root of this and also #5- but more to the point there may also be power for you by playing with your own vulnerability and it is not a feeling of control to let custom or the judgments of other dictate what you may do. You will feel better having the sex you like rather than the sex you think you should like.

8) Your sub may come with their own baggage related to their orientation. Particularly male subs, who get very short shrift and have to deal with feeling less than masculine or unsexy. This means a lot of people who think they need to apologize for wanting you. It also means a learning curve if you two try a fetish like cuckolding, where they discover that you really are more into them than the alternatives, regardless of the flavour of your bedroom talk.

9) The porn sucks, forget the porn. The porn will make you angry or sad. Fuck the porn. Porn that works for you will probably be a cobbled together collection of broken or hacked together bits and pieces. However half the people on the sub/switch side are also making do with the best they can get. So if you find someone who really gets what you’re looking for, tell them they’re awesome, because it’s probably a lonely labour of love for them.

10) Not all people of the submissive persuasion know how to make themselves feel the way they want to feel. This one is also a tough-y, in that you will end up meeting people who either found the feeling accidentally in a past relationship, or during solo self exploration, who will then expect you to be able to bring that feeling out of them. It is not a measure of your worth as a person if you can’t make someone feel submissive.

11) Someone being submissive to you in a way that makes you feel powerful is magical, but can feel really scary too.  I’m not the first person to notice that the desire to dominate can feel incredibly vulnerable, but once again, touching on #1, being dominant means needing someone else to do their half of things. When you get used to saying “meh” about people meeting your needs, it can be a feeling of frightening dependence to learn there is more for you out there from a few rare people.

12) You can only be someone’s fantasy for a short while, but you can be someone’s reality indefinitely. Professional doms make money living up to people’s fantasies in short duration, and specialize in making it as close to perfect as possible to maximize their profit. However in an actual relationship, if there is no room for you to be human it is going to eventually crumble under the weight of improbable expectations. A dynamic may take maintenance, but you shouldn’t need to be constantly plugging gaps and bailing the boat to keep someone’s attention and respect.

13) Looking after people can feel powerful, but it’s not a substitute for dominance. As a female identifying person, caretaking is one of the few non-controversial routes you are allowed to gain and exert power- but watch out for letting it turn into you being used. Do not tie yourself to dysfunctional people to feel powerful and strong by comparison- they will either get better and fuck up your little plan, or stay bad and fail to be there for you when you need them.

14) Don’t even think of going semi-pro, and don’t tolerate being treated like the budget option. Either become a full on professional dominant and charge what they are worth, or stick to doing it for love- becoming a grey area pro is not going to help or make you happy and people trying to ‘tribute’ you can’t imagine you enjoying things for their own sake. Sex Worker is a job, and the rates they charge are also to screen out the guys who are not worth their time, as well as to deal with the headache of people with a “me first” attitude. Only play with people who are serious about you as a person, either out of respect and affection. And more to the point, becoming a grey area pro-dom is confusing if you ever plan on an actual relationship- and those “budget” clients will not see a cheaper rate as a warning not to push for more than you feel like giving.

15) The people who help you figure this out will come from all sorts of different places. They will be the sub boyfriend who is better at knots than you because he’s been tying himself up for years. They will be the snarky older woman whose blog finally makes you realize you can have fun with this, or that your secret fantasies have a name and people really live that way. They will be your mom accidentally pointing out that the reason why you’re not happy in your relationship is the lack of power, or even the high school boys who insisted on carrying your books. They will be the Disney villainess you were supposed to be scared of, and the person who is asking your for help that forces you to actually examine how things work. and you’re always going to be learning- there is no being done with that until you’re dead.

33 Things Every Submissive Man Should Know

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    1) We are people too, and all the vanilla courtesies still apply. For you as well as me.

2) Don’t fawn all over us; you will sound like a tool. Don’t call us “Mistress“, “Goddess” or “Lady” unless we tell you to. Don’t try to act like our sub without our consent- anymore than you’d act like a woman’s boyfriend without her say so. We shouldn’t try to pull rank on you either, just ‘cuz. Don’t put up with that shit.

3) That hand kissing thing doesn’t make you a subservient old school gentleman, it makes you a show boater.

4) Your fetishes, needs and desires matter. They are not, however, my problem until I choose to make them my problem by getting into a relationship with you or choosing to address them when we play, and probably anything we do will be a mutually complimentary fusion of both our desires- don’t stand for a relationship where your needs aren’t being met- it doesn’t make you a True Submissive, it makes you a martyr.

5) Getting flogged, spanked, dressed in lingerie, or pretty much all your fetishes are intimate acts, even if they don’t involve your penis. They are therefore as intimate and personal as asking for sex. Govern yourself accordingly.

6) For the love of all that is holy, stop offering me acts of service unless they are your fetish, or I specifically say I want them, and even more so, stop trying to trade acts of service for acts of kink. A house cleaner makes way less per hour than a pro-dom.

7) Not all female dominants are professionals. Not all women are comfortable with you buying them stuff. In fact, if you want to buy them stuff, you still shouldn’t lead with your wallet because we will think you think your money has power over us.

8) Your submissive desires do not define you. They are part of who you are, but not the entirety of who you are, and a dom’s long term interest in you will probably have a lot more to do with the whole person than you being a sub. Also the type of submissive you are is informed by the rest of your personality.

9) Women who demand tribute to talk to you or to prove your seriousness are scammers or naive. Professionals who stay in the business will be trading a real service for money, and will be as explicit and up front about what they do to the extent that the local laws governing solicitation let them. Women who ask for money to dom you are professionals, regardless of skill or sanity.

10) You are no more or less valuable or worthy as a person because you are a male submissive. You are not doomed to only getting your kinks met if you hire a professional. You are not unattractive to all women, even the doms.

11) We probably like looking good and being fantastic as much as the next person, but we can’t sustain a conversation based on how awesome we are. It’s either trying to force a worship dynamic on us, we will perceive it as you discussing your turn ons, or typical human modesty will cause us to blush and deny. Use compliments like pepper with new people- sparingly applied where suited.

12) On the flip side, working on being more hot can’t really hurt your chances, particularly if you want a ‘hot’ dominant woman. Make sure your hair is groomed and flattering, your clothes fit and you otherwise take advantage of the best tools available to your regardless of your subculture memberships. Humans are shallow.

 13) Do not underestimate the ability of supposedly vanilla women to surprise you- not all doms hide out in BDSM environments. But, likewise don’t mash a square peg into a round hole. Your ability to convince a woman is related to your ability to make it seem sexy and inviting, and not like a chore she’s doing for you.

14) When you do hook up, don’t deliberately disobey and do a shitty job of things because you think that’s the only way to get beaten/punished. Make a clear distinction with your dom regarding your needs- if she really cared about what she told you to do she will not want to reward you with your fetish when you fail to do it.

15) You may not meet your true love at a munch, but you probably will meet other kinky people on the same page as you. I can’t promise that you will make friends because you might be shy and socially incompetent, but I can promise if you want a relationship you will have to talk to people somewhere. At least all the people attending should be soem sort of kinky.

16) Not all doms are sadomasochists. Not all doms don’t know not all subs are not sadomasochists. Try to talk about stuff- you don’t have to be pushy to say that you don’t know if you will enjoy being spanked or not.

17) If you tell us that you need 300 levels of secrecy because of your Very Public Job, and you’re not a minor celebrity or living in a small conservative town of gossips, we are going to think you are married. Likewise, ‘discreet‘ is code word for ‘cheater‘.

18) Your wife might not understand you, but we know even if you are awesome, at best you’re going to break our heart  when you try to shield us from some other thing you think we can’t handle, just like her.

19) Safewords are so you can say “no!” and have her ignore it. Ignoring a safeword, on the other hand, is bad news. Discuss in advance what it means to you and do not assume. Hell, never, ever assume.

20) If you act like every female dominant you meet is the last lifeboat off the Titanic or your only chance at a relationship, we are going to run away, because it will make you behave like a nut job. And you will get taken advantage of because you are desperate.

21) If you expect every female dominant to come fully equip with gear, whip skill and a private dungeon, you will be sad. If you expect them to look better than the normal range of attractiveness you will also be sad. If you try to buy us all the accoutrements to turn us into your idealized dom, you will probably also be sad and we will be grumpy because you think we are some sort of fetish paper doll and now our spare bedroom is full of your shit.

22) Courtship overtures that start with a positive comparison of us compared with all other doms, such as that we are prettier, saner, smarter, etc… do not go as well as you think they will. Keep in mind that it is all too easy to project your ideals onto strangers and it’s going to be very awkward if you praise her for something that is not the case.

23) We can’t despise you if we want you to be our sub. We can pretend. We can say all sorts of mean things. But only an emotional masochist will get into a relationship with someone who really makes their skin crawl or really is unsatisfying company.

24) Your penis size is less important than you seem to think. Don’t get me wrong, some of us care- and a lot of us will wanna see, but later and well photographed.

25) This isn’t grindr, so you can’t seduce women with a lousy picture of your anus. Similarly an online persona laced with overtly sexual pictures and stolen porn will make you look only down to fuck.

26) Don’t tell us how our gender or ethnicity makes us naturally dominant. Also, vanilla tip, praising our looks based on ethnicity is going to get frowns. Especially if you get it wrong.

27) Don’t tell us certain sex acts aren’t ‘dominant’ or worry about how subs aren’t supposed to want certain things. You don’t have to be into penetration, but that’s not because you are a sub, but because that’s your preference. Also, accept that satisfying your partner as a sub may mean doing what she wants, not what you wish she wanted. If she wants her tits slapped during sex, she wants her tits slapped. Likewise if you still like blowjobs, you still like blowjobs.

28) On the flip side, pegging, cross dressing, etc… are not inherently submissive. ‘Serve’ is not synonymous with ‘kinky sex act’. Not all doms will do or want to do your fetish. Unfortunately porn files things in clusters, but those clusters don’t always reflect real life. If you just want it up the butt, you don’t need to call a woman ‘Mistress’.

29) You are allowed to have limits. It is not your dom’s job to ‘push’ or ‘expand’ your limits unless you both think that idea of that is sexy. Porn sites like kink.com use that as a cheap trick to make their sex seem more intense and scary.

30) Switches are not inferior dominants or lousy subs. Not all switches are on/off style either- so their desires may be more of a dimmer than a radio button.

31) Don’t trash talk other subs or try to pull rank based on how you are “alpha” or “a true submissive”. Doms don’t like it when you tell us what we want, and you don’t know what we want until you get to know us. Your ranking system is merely self labelling.

32) Target sanely. All your service sub studying in giving manicures and tending to high heels will baffle a gender queer dom women who just wants a nice service sub to help her/them with carpentry projects. Prep is not bad, but there’s no magic bullet and what you did to prepare for us will inform us of who you think we are.

33) Dominant women can be insecure, sad, clueless, make mistakes, need snuggles, love you, have terrible taste in media, get horribly infected ingrown toenails, have body image issues, question their sexuality and self esteem and at the end of the day are just as lost, clueless and fumbling around as you.

(There you go, 33 heteronormative things for F/m minded submissive hopefuls to improve their chance of happiness. – Oh goodness, this list has gotten popular!)

The Big Mistake Even Good Submissive Men Make When Looking For A Femdom

Male subs, stop asking for the relationship you don’t actually want with a dominant woman.

This pertains to you, the guy who is thoughtfully and carefully filling out a profile to put his best foot forward on the internet, or sending out your messages nervously and respectfully as you can, to try to convince what you see as a rare, nice femdom woman that she should be into you, or at least not knee jerk delete your greeting. This is talking to the guy who tells people, as reassuringly as he can, that he is “very submissive” and will do anything to make them happy while trying hard not to rule anything out by being specific. Or the guy who helpfully fills out that he’ll do house chores, chauffeur her around, anything really, as long as she will just deign to accept him or even talk to him. Or the person who petitions women like he should be apologizing for wasting the carbon than makes up his body mass.

Not all of you sub guys should actually be doing this. It’s actually hurting your chances at making a human connection.

Yes, it’s not a good idea to lead with a barrage of demands, and nobody likes a laundry list of fetishes in their inbox or a partner who has how you’ll act all mapped out. But, if you’re at all a long time reader of this blog, you probably aren’t dealing with the level of selfishness or stupid, which leads you to message women with “wanna meet at my hotel while I’m in town for business and spank me and fuck my ass?!”. 

I’m talking about the fact that a lot of sub guys prepare themselves to please an internalized idea of what a femdom is. In most people’s minds, that’s a very client-and-pro styled relationship, where the assumption is that the woman is not willing and eager in her own right. It’s, at the very least, a hyper exaggeration of the idea that nice girls really don’t wanna and need to be bribed and cajoled into it. I’ve rattled that cage often enough this should be old hat right now, that a lot of us dominan women love it for its own sake. However, what isn’t being said, but needs to be said is this-

A lot of you guys aren’t actually into either being unpaid domestic workers or Mr. Everybody’s Servile Cur and you are still selling yourself that way because you think that’s the Right Thing to Do. For every silly boob who writes me calling me “Mistress Goddess Lady Divine” because he wants it to be true, there’s a not so silly bloke who thinks I simply delete anyone who doesn’t address me like I was some sort of fantasy nobility and thinks it’s a protocol thing he has to go through because otherwise he’s not a Good Submissive (TM). And it’s past time we stopped demanding every guy with a submissive fantasy act like a simpering sycophant or an emotional masochist before the relationship even gets off the ground. Afterwards? That’s up to you- but before? This trend is not helping.

Real life example time:

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Reader Letter: Second Thoughts After Pushing A Limit

We have our second ever reader letter! SecondThoughts is brave enough to share their experience with exploring limits and what can go wrong.

Hi Miss Pearl,
First off, long time lurker, first time poster. Me and my play partner, are both newish to BDSM. We were discussing for something trying to push one of my limits. but when came to try it I started having second thoughts. For a number of reasons, I didn’t say anything and while everything turned out fine, it still left me feeling uncomfortable that I hadn’t said anything.

 

To get to the question. Is there anyway you recommend, for telling your dom that you may be having second thoughts or that you need more time to be mentally ready. Without completely breaking the mood or pulling out your safeword? I know honesty is the best policy, just wanted to get the opinion of a more seasoned person. Thank you for reading,
SecondThoughts

 

Hi SecondThoughts!

It’s always a challenge when you’re on the fence about something- especially with the pressure to expand limits and boundaries (kink.com is particularly guilty of this one, trying to get extra oomph from declarations like ‘limits are mostly mental’). But your limits are part of your ability to consent. People who are incapably of saying no can’t say yes.

For those of you who are completely new to kink, a limit is a “nope, no way, can’t do it” act or behaviour. It can range from the sensible (no children, pretty much everyone’s default limit) to the highly specific (no face slapping!). Some people further break down limits into hard limits and soft limits. The former means something that will never, ever happen and the latter means that the person might be open to doing it, in a long term, supportive situation where they feel safe.

Limits exist for lots of reasons. Maybe you have a medical problem that makes it impractical to do a particular thing like prolonged bondage, an allergy or a phobia. Maybe something is particularly sensitive. Sometimes it’s something the person just isn’t comfortable with, no complicated explanation needed. Some people enjoy the idea of playing “without limits” or feel that their limits interfere with their ability to submit. There’s a word or someone who is literally down for being murdered, and that’s not romantic and trusting. In practice the ‘no limits’ crew get away with it basically by relying on the dom to have the limits. Playing with the fear ‘what if s/he goes too far?!” is not my thing, although a lot harder to do in F/m anyway- especially if you are emotionally healthy with each other.

Less talked about, but just as valid, are a dom’s limits. My hard limits are kids, pets, permanent harm and things that could give you e-coli. Amputations and breaking laws are both things I have zero interest in doing or dealing with. I also have a bunch of things that I might do, but are decidedly edge play for me- for example decorative, lasting body mods. At this juncture I won’t have anyone branded/inked even if they ask nicely, but maybe with the right person who was already demonstrably into personal adornment and to whom I knew it was a long, healthy relationship, I might. I won’t take a single tail to someone either, but I might if I knew I wouldn’t put their or my eye out in the process.

From the context, SecondThoughts was trying to explore a soft limit and discovered that, during and after trying it out this clearly wasn’t something that worked for them. So, what to do? There’s a lot of pressure there on the sub- nobody likes feeling like you’re wishy washy, and even if your dom is very easy going, if you’re into obedience it can be emotionally hard for you to cry off mid-scene.

Sometimes things just don’t work out right in the moment and it’s not anyone failing, just not the right thing for that second. Many people use a multi-step safeword system for this reason. That’s the stoplight system red for ‘stop right now!’ and yellow or amber for ‘caution!’. You can discuss with your dom how best they want you to communicate when you’re just not feeling it. No reasonable dom wants to do genuine trauma to their partner so, while I usually don’t speak in ‘shoulds’, your dom should be understanding about this situation.

Psychologically speaking though,  it can also be easy to have pride in your ability to endure, so it can feel like you are failing when you admit that something is a bit much for you.  Things like pain thresholds can feel extremely competitive for people- with the perpetual war between “heavy” players and “soft” players. The counterpoint to feeling like what the dom says has to go regardless of your recovery after is that dominants are not telepathic.

On of humanity’s greatest strengths is our knack for communication- it extends from being able to function  between fundamentally different people who speak different languages, to being able to empathize outside of your species and guess what a dog is feeling or when a plant needs extra attention. However- even if you are hardcore into people as property, if you want to own someone, if your sub is a person that means one of the biggest gifts they can give you is their perspective.

Some of the tricks people use include asking the sub to keep a shared journal, or making a post-scene discussion part of aftercare. In an ideal world everyone would just be able to talk about stuff, but remember that there’s no shame in developing special rituals to make it easier to discuss things.

Now if you want a little more reading on the mechanics and function of safewords, I also recommend this post from Clarisse Thorn, who talks about Safewords and Check-Ins.

Just remember, accidents happen. It’s not just avoiding mistakes that is important, but how you handle things after something does go wrong.