I’ve still pretty busy, and I don’t have as much time as I would like to do a full post, so I thought I’d post something I wrote years ago that addresses an issue I think a lot of subs tend to neglect. A good sub should pay attention to his dom’s psychology–what a dom gets out of being the guy on top. Understanding their Dom’s psychology will help them serve him better. For many subs, dominant psychology is alien to them. Subs by nature don’t like being in control, which can make it hard for them to understand what a dom gets out of it.
Obviously doms are not all alike and they don’t all think one way about anything. They have different kinks and limits and reasons for enjoying power. But there are common patterns among doms. At our most basic, Doms like the feeling of being in control. That control might take the form of giving orders, or the physical control bondage, or the power of being able to hurt the sub, or the power of being able to humiliate and degrade the sub, but it usually comes back to power in some way. Subs need to understand this for a couple of reasons.
- Safety. Good doms tend to like the feeling of having done a technique or a scene skillfully. The antithesis of pride in their work is the awful feeling of knowing they’ve injured or actually violated the sub. This is why subs need to help their dom avoid injuring them. If you push yourself too far, perhaps by not safewording, and wind up injured, your dom may feel very upset with himself for not having caught the warning signs. The first time I ever worked with my mentor, we put a sub into a sleep sack. After about 2 hours, the sub started to cramp up and asked to be let out. My mentor and I were working to get him out as quickly as possible, and I eventually unzipped the sleep sack. I hadn’t learned that you always keep one finger under the zipper as you’re doing that, and I accidentally caught the boy’s foreskin in the zipper. He began squealing loudly. The situation was quickly fixed and he wound up with only a small cut on his penis, but I felt guilty for weeks afterward (and I doubt that boy is ever gonna play with me again). It’s hard for a dom to feel in control when he know’s he screwed up and harmed the sub.
- Listen during play for the cues your dom gives you about things that might make him feel more powerful. I love to hear my subs beg me to stop. Knowing that the sub wants me to stop but can keep going (because he’s not safewording) gives me the power to stop or not as I choose, which I find very intoxicating. So I usually say something like “If you beg, I might stop”. The attentive boys recognize that I’m actually saying “I’d like to hear you beg now”. To do this well, the sub has to be actively participating, not just passively letting the dom work on them. So pay attention to the cues your dom gives about whatever s/he wants you to do. And it works in reverse; pay attention to the cues your dom gives about what he doesn’t want. If he doesn’t respond to a particular thing you do in play, it might be that he doesn’t like that. For example, if you start licking his boots and he says nothing, it might be that he doesn’t enjoy foot worship but is willing to let you do it because he thinks you want it. So if you’re only doing it to please him, you can stop and do something else. At least for me, when a sub starts doing something I enjoy, I respond noticeably, either by moaning or by saying “that’s right, boy”, or by the way I move my body. Obviously not all doms do those sorts of things, but look for them.
- Recognize that different doms want control in different forms. If your dom is primarily about bondage (physical control) and you are primarily about command and humiliation (psychological control), you may not be well-suited for each other. Some doms (like me) love the psychological drama of verbal abuse and humiliation, while others just want the physical interactions. Some want hardcore fucking, while for others the bondage or pain play IS the sex.
- Conversely, recognize when what looks like giving the dom control is actually pressuring the dom to play out the script you have in your head. I’ve spoken to a number of boys who clearly had a specific thing they wanted from me, and they had no interest in whether I actually wanted to do that or not. I recall one boy who had a kink about having ants dropped on him. He kept asking me to tell him how I would do that, even though I had repeatedly told him I wasn’t interested in that form of play. This sort of thing demonstrates that a sub isn’t actually being submissive but rather trying to orchestrate a script in his head about a dom doing a specific thing to him. When boys try to do that with me, it never feels empowering at all; instead, it feels profoundly disempowering, stripping me of my right to choose what we’re going to do. So don’t do that.
- Not all doms are capable of being equally dominant. No dom can be totally in control 24/7, but even allowing for that, some want different levels of control. Some simply don’t want complete control over the life of another human being, and some may want that control but be unable to handle the responsibilities properly. Some may want a slave who does nothing unless commanded or given permission, while another may want a slave who has a lot of independence to get his assigned chores do. For example, I don’t want to have to tell a slave “clean the bathroom now”; I would prefer a slave who noticed what work needs doing and does it, and then asks me to inspect the work or point out a new chore. Some doms want a slave who manages the mundane tasks for the dom. I read once of a domme who was chatting with another dom at a play party, and her slave came up and said “Mistress, it’s time to go.” The other dom was shocked and asked her why she allowed her slave to speak to her like that. The domme explained that she wanted her slave to pay attention to the schedule so she didn’t have to. This was a situation in which two doms had drastically different ideas about how a slave ought to relate to a master. Why is this important for subs to understand? Because your dom may have expectations of a slave that differ substantially from yours. Don’t assume that because you are both interested in slavery that you’re thinking the same thing. Have a conversation about exactly what that slavery might look like. As the sub, you have a right to have your slave needs met (assuming you actually want to be a slave). Some subs think slavery looks like doing a lot of chores, while others think it involves spending long hours locked in a cage being ignored. (That last is, incidentally, actually about a master serving a slave.)
- Many doms have a strong nurturing side. We may see ourselves as teachers of our subs, or as their protectors. If that’s the case, you need to let us play those roles because we find great meaning in them. A dom like that wants to be a moral authority or source of knowledge or a defender, and that requires the sub to be open to us in those ways. Obviously not every sub wants that in a dom, so if you find yourself with that sort of dom, you may be poorly matched or need to have a conversation about how to navigate that element of your dom’s expectations.