BDSM & Kink

Domming 101, Part One: Common Dominant Myths

KK Dives Into Domming With This 3 Part Series On BDSM Dom/me/mxs, Written By Pro Domme Lola Jean
by Lola Jean
16 Sep 2019

UPDATED: 3 Nov 2022


So you’re interested in Domming? You’ve come to the right place! This is the first in a three part series on everything you need to know about Domming from Lola Jean, a pro Domme and Sex Educator. Here, we start with the basics and clear up some false misconceptions.

The BDSM universe is becoming more and more popular in our modern world, and with that popularity myths and misconceptions abound. Searches for all things dominance have soared, so let’s take a look at the literal meaning of dom and domming, as well as the questions of how to be a dom; how to be a better dom if you’re actively involved already; and what it means to be a dom. 

Domme meaning (BDSM Dom)

A domme (also spelt Dom or Dommx) is a dominant in a BDSM role. Being a Domme is a big responsibility, so it’s important you understand the rules.  

What is a Dom? What is domming? Why do Doms like being Doms? 

In the BDSM acronym, Dom/me/mx’s make up the ‘D’ when it stands for “Dominant” while the Submissives make up the ‘S’, standing sometimes for Submissive. 

Dominance and Submission is an exciting, oh-so-steamy dynamic.

What a BDSM Dom/me is not

Let’s bust some Dominant myths.

Myth One: Dom/mes can force subs to do whatever they want

A Dom/me does not force someone to do something if the other person doesn’t want to do that thing. 

This is a massively misconstrued interpretation of the meaning of Dom/Domming. In reality, all activities in a BDSM scene are pre-determined and consented to. There may appear to be elements of reluctance or resistance from the submissive, but again this will always be a pre-arranged element of the play.

Myth Two: Dom/mes act without emotional responsibility. 

As a Dom/me, you are responsible for creating a safe, physical and emotional space where someone can feel their most vulnerable. A sub is putting a tremendous amount of trust in you and your behaviour. Real Dom/mes act with a total understanding of the emotional responsibilities they carry, checking in with their submissives and ensuring a safer and exciting experience for everyone.

Myth Three: Dom/mes ignore safe words

No Dom/me should ever, ever ignore a safeword. It’s there to protect everyone in play, including the Dominant partner. 

Every person has their limits and will show nearing the edge differently. Whilst Dom/me’s may push boundaries, and experiment with nearing edges of resistance, they should never proceed with play once a safeword has been used. They should also have a system for ascertaining when they’re near a boundary – lots of play partners like to use a traffic light system (green – all good; yellow – slow down, we’re near a boundary; red – stop all play) or a number system to judge how things are feeling for one another. 

 Everything must be rooted in consent and trust, otherwise it’s not play, it’s abuse. 

Myth Four: Dom/mes underestimate the importance of trust 

The more trust you have built, the further towards the edge you can – in theory – take someone. 

In building trust, you’re creating a magnetising experience in your attempt to be a good Dom. The better you know your submissive, the more confidence you’ll be to build in your activities as a dom, and the more tailored an experience you can provide. 

Being a good Dom requires heaps of trust and commitment. 

Myth Five: Dom/mes all dominate the same way.

Being a Dom/me is more than an identity badge. 

No two Dominants are exactly alike, and nor do all Dominants have to fit into the same general category. There are Dom/mes that are scary and Dom/mes that are sweet, Dom/mes that wear leather and Dom/mes that wear jeans. 

It’s a way of behaving. That behaviour will adjust and evolve over time, not only from your own experience as a Dom/me, but in the ways you interact with your submissive(s). Don’t forget that the openness to expand your knowledge of how to be a better Dom/me will positively shape who you are as a Dominant.

There are varying degrees of domination: from traditional old school rules, to a more playful casual domination (my favourite), to 24/7 D/s relationships. What type of relationship you end up building will depend on the needs and desires of the submissive and how the Dom/me can accommodate it. It’s all about knowing your submissive and being totally open when communicating with each other. 

There’s not a ‘Become a Dom/me in 5 Steps or Less!’ textbook. It’s about trusting your body, your submissive, and your intuition and desires.

How To Be A Dom/me/mx

Effective Domming requires intuition, reading nonverbal communication, and empathy – lots of empathy. 

Empathising means you’re able to put yourself in another person’s shoes. This is not the same thing as sympathy. You act upon empathy because you can envision how someone is feeling. It’s the key to making someone who is vulnerable feel safe. 

You need to be able to understand how your submissive may be feeling. It’s a good idea to experience the submissive role in some capacity to relate to their experiences for when you Dom/me. Like everything, knowledge and understanding is power. 

Plus, you never know – you also might like it. 

Building The Backstory

Think about any Domination scene* you’ve seen in a movie – or even in a real-life sex party. There’s a whole load of backstory, conversations, and time that went into that relationship that allowed for that scene to play out as it did. 

*scene being a finite time wherewith Dominance and submissions are occurring between two people.

Professional Dom/mes can be expert mind and intuition readers, but even then would only delve so far in a first-time session with a new client. When Domming someone, especially for the first time, you shouldn’t try to imitate your idea of a Dom/me.  Just because you’ve seen it in a movie, it doesn’t mean it’s an accurate representation. When you do this, you’re losing sight of the person in front of you. You can get lost in the moment and become carried away. 

If you’re determined to make a particular experience happen, or if you are tied to a picture in your mind, you won’t be acting in response or listening to your submissive, and responding in real time. It’s in these situations that people get hurt.

The best Dom/mes can maintain control and composure. They have an innate confidence that they don’t need to know everything. It’s essential to recognise the areas you’re unsure about, and educate yourself around them, especially when it comes to the more physically dangerous elements of play. Want to know more about rope bondage, or impact play, choking? There are courses on all of these and more – some even run by me!

You don’t need to ‘fake it ‘til you make it.’ This is an individual role that only works when you’re authentically yourself. 

Dominance Motivations

We can either rule with the promise of reward or the threat of punishment. And don’t forget, denial can play a key role in punishment, too.

This will be determined by what your submissive reacts most to and not what you prefer as a Dom/me. Your preferences are also valid, but they need to align with the sub’s desires. 

Rewards don’t always (or ever) have to be sexual, either. Your sub could just have their fundamental human faculties returned to them – sight, touch, freedom of movement. Maybe you’re the reward. Perhaps it’s a physical item that’s the reward. Maybe it’s a tasty snack, or words of praise. Either way, the motivation needs to come from your submissive.

Isn’t it all just spanking though?

Impact play is a *tool* of domination. For some, the physical sensation can be completely satisfying on its own, for others it functions best as a punishment, or a deterrent. For still more people, it leaves them completely cold. 

I’d venture to say that impact play forms a tiny subsection of BDSM, but we still seem to give it the most attention. The soft skills may not seem as outwardly sexy, but they are sometimes the most essential parts of our submissive’s experiences. Some people love being spoken to in a certain way, or called certain things, and don’t care to be touched at all. 

Why do people enjoy being dominated? Join Lola Jean in part two to find out!