Complete Guide on How to Be a Good Dom

Complete Guide on How to Be a Good Dom

It doesn’t matter whether you heard about BDSM through well-written erotica or you just heard people talking about it and decided to look it up. If you’re interested, you should definitely look into the concepts surrounding the lifestyle. 

Some people find themselves especially pulled toward a dominant position, rather than a submissive one. If that sounds like you, read on to learn about not only how to be a dominant in BDSM, but how to be the best possible dominant. 

The Basics

If you’re absolutely brand new to BDSM, here are the complete basics, so you know what the community’s about. 

What Is BDSM?

BDSM is an acronym that many people interpret as standing for Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, and Masochism; some people reference the D and S to refer to Dominance and Submission respectively. However, it doesn’t really matter what the acronym specifically stands for. What matters is how it manifests itself.

BDSM covers a variety of kinky behaviors. What’s considered “kinky” varies from person to person, but generally includes anything that strays very far from everyday vanilla sex. If it seems like a bit of an odd thing to include in sex, it’s probably kinky. At its core are a shift in power dynamics that can be absolutely bliss-inducing for many people. 

What Are Dominants and Submissives?

This shift in power comes in the form of dominants, also referred to as doms or dommes, and submissives, also referred to as subs. These two roles are what create the concept of BDSM.

 A submissive is someone who willingly gives up control during a scene. Often, they’re giving up some emotional control as well as physical; being tied up and blindfolded, for example, requires a sub to trust that their dom to only do things they’ll be interested in. 

A dominant is the person who holds the power that the sub is offering up. They’re the ones who will be tying up a submissive, doling out punishment, and otherwise reinforcing the power differential. 

sexy couple

Do Dominants Wield All the Power in Dom/Sub Relationships? 

From this kind of definition, it might seem like doms get the better part of the deal — after all, if you’re the dominant one, you get to control everything, right?

That’s not actually true, though. Although a sub is giving up control to you as a dom, that sub is expecting that you’ll respect it. They’re willingly putting themselves out there and allowing you to do what you want within an established set of guidelines, so both of you get pleasure in the way the power dynamics have both shifted and stayed the same. 

Communication and Safety 

Speaking of pre-established guidelines, it’s important to talk about how to communicate with a sub in order to ensure that both of you have a good time.

General Communication Beforehand 

Communication is one of those things that’s rarely shown in the highly-produced world of porn, but has to be a constant in real life. You can’t skip this step if you want either person to have a good time during the scene.

Sit down with your sub in a completely nonsexual context and work out exactly where each person’s boundaries are. What are hard limits, or things that each person is wholly, explicitly not interested in? What are soft limits, or things that each person is ambivalent or unsure about, but willing to try? Are you going to set up some roleplaying to lead into the scene, or just add in some bondage gear when it seems right during a normal bedroom session? 

Express your limits and listen to theirs. Both doms and subs have their limits, and each person deserves to have those limits completely respected.

Constant Communication During Scenes 

Communication doesn’t end when you put your sub in restraints. When the more intense kink kicks in, you’re even more responsible for constantly checking to make sure your sub is enjoying themselves in their own masochistic way.

In fact, this communication is one of the reasons that subs have so much power in a dom/sub scenario. You have to be alert and pay attention to if your sub starts hesitating and seeming more on edge, even if they haven’t told you to stop just yet. 

Every so often, check in with your sub. Newer BDSM players and sessions where you’re planning on approaching soft limits may benefit from straight-up checks. Try something like, “Here’s what I’m going to do, okay?” The tone is still commanding and dominant, but the question ensures that your sub feels okay to withdraw consent if they’re not sure about it. As you get more comfortable, you can work it into the scene with phrases like, “I bet you like that, hmm?” 


Safewords are the most sacred piece of BDSM culture. The concept behind a safeword is simple: if either party says it, the session immediately stops. It doesn’t matter if it’s been two minutes or three hours, a safeword is always respected, no matter the circumstances.

You can use a safeword instead of a simple “stop” for a few reasons. First, some people like to play around with the very concept of consent. They may negotiate a scene beforehand where one part will continue pushing a boundary even if the other says “no” or “stop.” This concept, known as “consent play,” is planned in advance and done with a willingness from both parties. In this scene, the violation of boundaries is only part of the act. If either party uses the safeword, that boundary should never be violated.

Another reason is that some people are just shy about withdrawing consent. It can sometimes feel like you’ve “failed” if you don’t go all the way through with a scene, which can make it hard to say “stop.” Safewords allow for the same effect without some of the mental effects of the word “stop.”

The third reason is that BDSM in all its forms is absolutely overwhelming. Sometimes, you might want to stop because you need everything to calm down for a few minutes, but you’re too caught up in the moment to express that concept. If you’ve established an easy-to-remember safeword like “pepperoni” beforehand, it sticks in your head and makes it easier to yell out. 

Lastly, safeword protocols are important in scenarios where someone is physically unable to say “stop” or even maybe shake their head. In especially intense bondage or gagging, the intention may be to completely immobilize the sub or make them unable to speak at all. Whether it’s a blinking sign, a hand shape, or even just a nonverbal sound, these are nontraditional workarounds for a nontraditional lifestyle. 

Finding a Submissive

So, you’ve realized you’re really genuinely interested in becoming a dom. Congratulations! Now it’s time to find a sub.

Your Current Partner

If you’re already dating or hooking up with someone, they’re the person you need to go to first. Even if you’re pretty sure they’re not interested and you’re going to ask for permission to look outside the relationship, you have to bring it up with them. BDSM dynamics don’t give you free license to cheat on your partner. And who knows: maybe they’ve been harboring a secret desire to be a sub as well.

Local BDSM Communities

If you’re not currently seeing someone or you’ve agreed to look specifically for someone to dom, try to find BDSM meetups in your area. You can also start getting to know local BDSM lovers through dating apps and meetup sites. Even if you’ve never seen anyone in full bondage getup, you may be surprised by how many BDSM enthusiasts are in your city.

Polyamory and BDSM

The BDSM community is largely accepting of a variety of different sexual practices, which is why it makes sense that polyamory would be a fairly regular part of the community.

A Dominant With Multiple Submissives

It’s possible for a dominant to dom multiple submissives at once. This includes just sexual relationships and full ones.

Polyamory in general sometimes works out to one dominant and multiple submissives. Especially if you enjoy each other’s company in other contexts, this probably isn’t a problem for you. You just need to make sure you’re comfortable with the arrangement. 

On the other hand, sometimes dominants have multiple submissives for other reasons. Some doms actually work full time as doms, usually for dungeons. That means they don’t necessarily have emotional dominance over someone; they take control and physically dominate them for a specified amount of time.

Of course, it’s important to remember that even if you’re a professional dom, you have to be attentive to any romantic relationships you’re in. Go by the golden rule: polyamory without informed consent is just cheating. 

A Submissive With Multiple Dominants

This is more difficult to pull off, but it can be done. If a submissive of yours wants to also interact with another dom, sit down and talk to them about why. It could be that they’re interested in a specific kink that you’re not comfortable accommodating, or just that they enjoy the other person’s company in the same way they enjoy yours. 

The common stereotype associated with doms is that they’re very jealous and commandeering, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can share your partner with other doms — after all, your intention should be to enhance their experience. But don’t feel pressured to say yes if it secretly makes you uncomfortable.

Setting Up and Tearing Down

Behind the scenes work isn’t very sexy, but it’s what ensures that these power dynamics take place in a space where the sub feels comfortable giving up control and you feel comfortable taking it.

Learn About General BDSM Practices

To become a more effective dom, you need to do a lot more research than just reading this article. From different knot ties for elegant bondage to certain impact points that cause different types of pain, BDSM is an ever-expansive treasure trove of knowledge. As a dom, that should be where you spend a lot of time.

Keep All the Gear You Need Safely Nearby

Professional bondage gear is an especially important part of a BDSM scene. You can’t just tie your sub up with duct tape and saran wrap, no matter what anyone says. You need those collars, rolls of bondage tape, and cotton ropes to restrain a sub safely.

Also keep things like scissors and double copies of keys just nearby. Even if you’re using the best BDSM gear, there’s always the smallest chance that something will go wrong.

Always Attend to Aftercare

Don’t ever end a session by essentially leaving your sub alone all of a sudden. Even if you’re not romantically involved, aftercare is an important part of moving from the intensity of a scene back into the real world. It grounds a dom and reminds them of how special it is to be able to dom someone else, and it brings a sub back into their natural frame of mind. Work something out beforehand, whether it’s sitting quietly in bed or watching a movie together, and stick to it.


Being a dom is definitely fun for some people. If that’s the kind of thing that arouses you, have at it. But just like any other behavior, you have to be fully informed and fully equipped in order to do it properly. You’ve got the information — now visit HUSTLER® Hollywood to get the fetish gear and equipment.