How to Read a Boy

One of the biggest challenges for doms is figuring out what a particular boy is looking for. Subs are definitely not one-size-fits-all. Some guys like really aggressive doms who overwhelm them, while others like to be seduced into submission. Some like swaggering studs, while others are more attracted to a Dom’s mind. Some want to be respected and treasured, while others like to be humiliated and degraded. Some know exactly what they want in a dom, while others are just starting out and can’t really say what turns them on about being submissive. And unfortunately for us doms, that means that if we want to be successful in reeling a particular sub in, we need to learn how to read the boy and start making educated guesses about what he wants.

The easiest way to read a boy is obviously to read his online profile on one of the dating sites. Experienced boys will often lay out what they want. I find that if what the boy wants doesn’t really line up with what I want, there’s not much point in trying to get him to meet up, because they’re not likely to suddenly discover that they like something just because I want to do it. If a guy’s profile says he really doesn’t like verbal abuse or pain play, I just assume he’s not a good match and move on.

But if a guy approaches me online, that’s usually a sign that he’s interested in what I have to offer, or at least might be, even if his profile doesn’t suggest it. A lot of guys have dating profiles that don’t make any mention of kink. The problem with online interactions is that it’s just words–there’s no body language or intonation to give you clues to how he’s reacting (although he might throw in a few emoticons, which are sort of a substitute for intonation). And intonation and body language comprise a larger percentage of communication than the actual words do. So online chat is a very limited way to figure out what a boy actually wants.

The absolute best clue to whether he’s getting into a submissive headspace when you chat is how he addresses you. Most boys will, either consciously or unconsciously, start to call you Sir. If he calls you Sir right away, that’s a clear sign he wants to at least chat within a hierarchical framework. If he starts out without that word, and then suddenly starts using it, it’s almost always a sign that he’s starting to feel submissive to you. That doesn’t mean he wants you to take complete charge, but it’s sign he’s starting to submit. Some boys will signal a more serious desire to submit by calling you Master, but that might also be a sign that the sub is just a novice and thinks that’s how all subs address all doms, so in my experience it’s a much less reliable cue.

If you enjoy verbal abuse, it’s best to sound the boy out before getting abusive, because if you jump straight to insults, many boys will get offended (or scared) and just vanish. So typically, I chat with a boy for a while and then say something like “I’ll bet you like to be talked down to” or “you want me to put you in your place, don’t you?” If I get a positive response, I’ll test the waters further by calling the boy ‘fucker’ or another mild term like that. If he likes that, he’ll usually respond enthusiastically; often his response will have an exclamation point in it or a emoji of some sort indicating arousal, embarrassment, or worship. At that point, I know I can bring out the big guns, like ‘fag’ or ‘bitch’. On the other hand, a more neutral response to my query usually indicates that verbal abuse isn’t a big turn-on or he’s not feeling it at the moment. Insulting a boy who’s not feeling it is a fast way to end a conversation, so don’t jump right in.

The best clue that you’re getting into his head in a deep way is when he responds to some suggestion or insult with “Fuck!” That exclamation means you’ve hit one of his buttons HARD. He’s responding very intensely to whatever you said, feeling aroused or overwhelmed enough that he can’t come up with anything better to say. “Oh, God!” or “Oh no!” are lesser versions of that, but “Fuck!” is the magic one.

You might think that begging is a good sign, but in my experience it’s not a reliable clue to what he thinks. Some subs beg because they think that’s what’s expected of them. Some may beg purely because they enjoy the role-playing element of it or because they think you do. And some may beg just because it’s what they need to do to get whatever cookie they want. Once they get the cookie, they may well disappear from the chat. So although sometimes begging is a sincere clue to a sub’s headspace, it’s best not to rely on it.

If, during a chat, the boy keeps returning to a specific idea, even after you’ve tried to move the conversation away from that idea, it means that whatever that idea is, it’s the thing he wants. It probably means he’s looking for anyone who will do that particular thing to him and not that he’s specifically interested in you or serving you more generally. If the idea is something you really want, great! You may have found his magic button. But if it’s not something you’re into, it’s a sign that he’s not the right boy for you. If it’s something particularly odd or extreme, it often means he’s just playing out a verbal fantasy and has no intentions of actually meeting up. (I once talked with a guy who was obsessed with having ants put on his body. He brought it up repeatedly in the space of several minutes, even after I indicated I wasn’t interested in that. I politely ended the conversation at that point.)

If you’re interacting in person, reading a boy is usually much easier, because you get his body language and intonation to guide you. There are a number of things to look out for. Of course the most obvious clue is the tenting of his pants or the wet spot, but there are more subtle clues.

Many subs will be nervous around a dominant man. They may stutter, fidget, shift from leg to leg, look around a lot and so on. That usually means that they are a novice who is feeling scared because this is his first time meeting a dom in public. You’re well-advised to help put them at ease before you get aggressive with them. Even when they get past the worst of their nerves, they often adopt rather mousy body language–arms close to their sides, shoulders a bit hunched, lower voice, avoiding eye contact, and so on. A quietly-said “Yes, Sir”, especially if he hasn’t lowered his voice so far, is an excellent sign.

But more experienced subs or guys who are generally pretty confident don’t do that. They may have a more traditionally masculine or assertive body language. That doesn’t mean they aren’t submissive; it just means they need you to guide them into their submissive headspace. And the more turned on a sub gets, the more open his body language usually becomes. Early on, a sub may have his arms crossed protectively, but a relaxed, more interested sub is inclined to uncross them.

One good clue that I’ve found is eye contact. Early in a face-to-face meeting, I often start making aggressive eye contact, looking directly into his eyes and holding his gaze far longer than I would in a vanilla conversation. In submissive guys this often makes them look down at their hands or off to the side. Actually holding eye contact for a long time is a challenge, and most subs will instinctively back down, although more ‘bratty’ subs and subs who want to feel forced to submit may not do this. They may challenge you back, holding your gaze, adopting cocky body language, and so on.

Invading a boy’s personal space is another good test. It doesn’t have to be in his face. If I meet for coffee, I’ll often casually slide my feet over to his side of the table or even put them up on the rung of his chair. A guy who’s not feeling submissive will pull back from that, whereas a guy who’s getting submissive will usually allow it.

One of the best tests of a boy’s submissive state is to touch him. In public this can be tricky, because handshakes don’t work for this, and touching him elsewhere may be inappropriate in the setting. But when a sub is feeling comfortable about his submission, he will generally become very still when a dom touches him. His body language will quiet down and he will just wait to see what you want to do. He may let you pull him toward you or put an arm around his shoulder. These sorts of cues are usually a sign that he wants to be used, that he wants to let you take charge. If you get that sort of signal from him, there’s a very good chance he’ll fully submit.

Of course, you still need to get the boy’s active consent. None of these things give you permission to assume his consent. That’s what negotiation and safe words and the like are for. But learning how to read cues like these will make it more likely you can get his consent to serve you. If he’s not giving you these sorts of cues, it’s a sign that you’re probably not hitting his submissive buttons. Maybe that means you need to change your approach, or maybe it means you’re just not what he’s looking for.

So, fellow doms, what cues to you look for? Got any special tips on how to read a boy? Post them in the comments.

5 thoughts on “How to Read a Boy

  1. I’m not a Dom, but this is a great post. Thank you for sharing your invaluable advice because I’m one of those nervous subs who can easily be intimidated (sometimes terrified) at first but still with a strong desire/need to be dominated and controlled and owned. It’s just that I have social anxiety and can be quite shy at times. I appreciate your being pro-consent. Sadly, there are many dominant men who aren’t. Once again, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you found this helpful. Novice subs often have a lot of fears around their initial meet-ups. I have a couple posts on subs and fear that you might find useful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, I’ll check those out since I’m still new to this lifestyle (but not new to the attraction to/desire of it). It’ll also help me as a writer to shape my Dom characters more accurately or at least in a better way.


  2. 1) Silence. Silence that interrupts the flow of conversation can be telling. I can indicate a place where the sub/boy feels fear, apprehension, excitement, or desire which he has not previously addressed. 2) If, during the course of conversation and constant eye contact, he looks away, that also indicates something which he is internally grappling with. More so if his eyes are downcast. 3) The same probative question/s that are rephrased several times. he’s searching for clarity or reassurance. he might also be ‘testing.’ 4) For a keenly observant Top/Dom/Sir, fluctuations in his breath. How many times does he breathe deeply? Is he getting ‘breathy’ as he speaks? Does he pause to swallow before speaking? And so on. Great article, thanks.


    1. A very good set of insights. Breathing is a very good guide to arousal.


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