Verbal play is an extremely important tool for doms. Many subs love to be talked down to, and many doms love doing it. There are a couple key reasons for this:
- Submission is in the mind. Good verbal play allows the dom to take charge of the boy’s brain and guide him into his submissive headspace.
- Being talked down to establishes the power dynamic.
- Taboo words like ‘bitch’ and ‘faggot’ are sexually charged, and saying them empowers the dom.
- Sex is to a large extent about imagination, and verbal play helps shape the imagination by guiding the sub to where the dom wants him/her to go.
- Effective verbal play can help a sub overlook small mistakes the dom makes.
- Being insulted, talked down to, and so on can be very humiliating, which some subs really enjoy.
- Verbal play can build anticipation for what’s coming next “If you don’t do this well enough, I’m going to spank you.”
- If you’re playing long-distance, good verbal skills are vital, because there’s no physical interaction at all.
So how do you learn to get good at verbal play? It’s basically practice. Build up a repertoire of things you can say, so that you can develop some variety. Get used to saying things like “Down on your knees, cunt!” and, if necessary, practice them until you can say them with a straight face and a tone of authority. When you’re done playing, ask for some feedback about what worked and what didn’t.
So there are a few key principles to work with in verbal play.
- Vary your language. Don’t keep saying ‘suck it, bitch’ or ‘that feels so damn good’. Few things can make a scene feel like bad porn faster than repetitive talk. Figure out as many variations as you can and alternate them. If your sub likes a particular term, use that one more frequently, but not constantly. You don’t want to exhaust its erotic power through over-use.
- Use verbal play to build anticipation. Tell the sub what’s coming next. If you want to spank the sub, you can threaten it as a punishment for failure, or promise it as a reward for good service, or just tell the sub it’s coming. Getting good at this will create the impression that you’ve planned out the scene (even if you’re just improvising).
- Verbal play can tell the sub how you want them to understand what’s happening. Most BDSM acts can have multiple interpretations. For example, pissing on the sub can be about enjoying the liberating physicality of the act (“It feels so damn good to take a piss!”), a statement of humiliation (“you’re so pathetic you’re gonna let me piss on you”), a statement of ownership and marking (‘You’re my pissed-on property”), a reward (“if you beg, I’ll reward you with my piss”) and so on. If you want pissing on the sub to be a humiliation or a reward, say so.
- You can dramatize your power by promising things and not giving them or changing your mind. “Ok, you can stop slapping your cock now….No, actually, I’ve changed my mind. Keep going.”
- Verbal play can tell the sub how you want him to act. If the sub knows you want to humiliate him, he’s more likely to play into that. And you can tell the sub what you want to see. “If you beg well enough, I’ll stop torturing your tits” and “Who’s my good pup?” or “Who’s daddy’s perfect little boy?” can signal the behavior you want.
- Learn the ‘magician’s force’. Stage magicians use this to guide the audience. If a magician wants you to choose the blue cup and you pick the red cup, he’ll say, “ok, that’s the one we’ll set aside.” It creates the illusion of choice while keeping the magician in charge. You can do similar tricks with a sub, in which you give the sub a choice while keeping the illusion of control. I often ask a boy something like “Would you like me to stop slapping your balls?” If he says ‘yes’, I’ll say “That’s too bad. I’m not ready to stop.” (But now I know that the boy might be approaching a limit.) If he says no, I’ll say “That’s good, because I’m not going to.” There are lot of games this can be applied to.
- Note that the previous two examples offer ways for the dom and the sub to communicate without breaking the feeling of the scene. Doms sometimes need to know what’s going on in the sub’s head or get feedback while still maintaining the illusion of the Outer Layer.
- Verbal play can focus the sub’s attention and plant thoughts and feelings in the sub’s head. When I’m torturing a boy, I’ll say “I’ll bet having your tit tortured like this really hurts. You don’t think you can take much more of that, do you?” If I’m stroking his cock I might say “God that feels good, doesn’t it? Your cock must be bursting. You’re probably hoping I’ll let you cum soon.” Things like that will focus the sub’s attention on the facet of the experience you’re trying to create. Being told the pain is getting unbearable can make it harder for the sub to manage the pain. And this can sometimes create the impression that the dom knows what the sub is thinking. The sub is having those thoughts and the dom seems to be vocalizing them, when in reality part of the reason the sub is having that thought is that the dom is encouraging the sub to think about it.
- You can also help your sub manage the experience through verbal play. “Deep breaths, boy. That will help you manage the pain” or “Ok, I’m going to untie you now. Relax, you’ll be free soon.” Although not exactly ‘play’, this sort of thing allows the dom to remain in charge by guiding the boy.
- Don’t forget to praise the sub. Unless the scene is all about humiliation, praise gives the sub encouragement and helps them feel a sense of pride. And if your scene is about humiliation, you can break the sub down and then build them back up by praising the submissive behavior you’re seeking. “You can take this spanking, boy. You’ve done it before.”
- Verbal mind games can be great fun. Blindfold the sub and then ask them to figure out what toy you’re using on them. Or talk to them in ways that make them nervous. “Hmm. I haven’t used THIS toy in a while. The last sub I used it on wouldn’t stop crying. I wonder if you’ll be able to handle it…”
- Remember that for a sub, an insult can be a term of endearment. There’s a world of difference between ‘down on your knees, faggot!’ and ‘let’s cuddle, faggot.’ A lot depends on your tone of voice. Both still establish/maintain the hierarchy, but do so in different ways.
A couple general points to remember about verbal play
- Insults can wound far more deeply than most toys. So be careful which ones you use. For example, if your sub is overweight, there’s a good chance they’re probably somewhat ashamed of their body already, and having their attention called to their weight will probably be humiliating in a bad way. So avoid insults like “fat pig” unless you’ve talked to the sub and know they’re ok with that. Similarly, racially-loaded terms can add excitement for a sub who’s of a different race from you, but they can also be very painful, since most racial minorities have experience hate speech at some point. Always find out what kind of danger zones a sub has before you venture into verbal abuse.
- Not all subs like humiliation and insults, so go cautiously until you know that the sub enjoys that sort of thing. Some boys can get very angry about verbal abuse because they view their submission as a gift to be respected or because they have a history of being bullied or abused. Again, find this out before you try to go there. Tailor your verbal play to the sub you’re with.
- Don’t joke about ignoring safe words, especially if you’ve never played with a particular boy before. The sub needs to know you’re going to respect the safe word (unless you two are advanced enough that you’ve decided to drop safe words–a practice that is definitely not for new players). “No” can mean “yes”, but “red” has to mean “stop”.
- Verbal play should stop during aftercare, or it should shift to a more gentle and comforting phase. “Yes, baby. Daddy’s gonna take care of you now.”
4 thoughts on “Verbal Play”
As a sub I really enjoy verbal play, but so few Doms are actually good at this – in fact I don’t think I’ve ever met one, which is a real shame. I feel like this is a hard skill for a Dom to acquire and it does take a lot of practice.
I think you’re right, broadly speaking. It takes either a lot of practice or a dom who’s naturally good at communication skills like public speaking or acting. It’s the kind of thing we don’t see addressed very often.
It’s a hard balance. I feel like us in the BDSM community especially care about important issues such as consent and respect and it is hard to turn on the switch to suddenly act like another person. I also do like when Doms are affectionate with me, so yeah it’s a hard ask to also expect them to verbally abuse me.
I generally don’t have trouble shifting gears, but I can understand how a dom would. For me, the trick is to remember that this is what the sub craves, so by insulting him, I’m validating and respecting him.