For all the single submissives out there looking for love, I get it. No really, I do. You yearn to submit to a Dominant, and it seems like finding the right one is nearly impossible. Many of you will take what you can get because you don't think you deserve better. Others don't seem to know the difference between genuine affection or interest and the assholes who are waiting in wings for you.
I often go on lengthy diatribes about what's okay and what isn't between a Dominant and a submissive. I also frequently go on rants because people are made to feel that normal, healthy desires or sexual activities can't have a place in BDSM. For anyone who doesn't have the time for all that, here's a handy-dandy list of what separates the Dominants from the assholes so you'll know one when you find them.
Note: This is directed at male Dominants for two reasons. One, that's my main experience, and two, I've never heard of Dommes pulling this kind of crap. If they do, share with me in the comments below so everyone can be aware.
- He demands you call him Sir or Master from the moment you meet. You're a submissive, not his submissive. I advocate being respectful until he gives you a reason not to be, but anyone who demands a title before it's earned needs to be ignored.
- He starts out an introduction with a dick pic. No Dominant is going to send you this without some sort of agreement between the two of you. It's just not going to happen.
- He sends you unsolicited instructions of how to please him or orders to obey. Did you talk about this list? Was there communication and consent? If not, this is just another poser.
- He ignores your hard limits. Don't just walk away from this loser, fucking run. Ignoring your clearly identified and communicated limits is the sign of an asshole and an abuser. A Dominant will push your limits, sure, but not without first talking to you - a lot.
- He disregards your safe word. Yes, some Dominants out there claim not to play with a safe word. I find that dicey but won't pass too much judgment. If you use a safe word, though, it should be respected. Ignoring this is just more abuse.
- He lies. I know some people will say that everyone lies. White lies to save face or feelings. Most Dominants I know are honest to a fault. Think about it. How can you communicate openly and honestly if you'll lie about things - big or small? John Brownstone doesn't lie; he simply refrains from speaking until the time is right to tell the truth. I can respect that.
- He thinks more about his pleasure than your own. Caveat: if you've negotiated a relationship where this is acceptable to both of you (yes, that's possible), that's okay. Not my kink, but okay. I'm referring to the jerk who gets off and then ignores you or doesn't listen when you tell him your preferences.
- He makes you feel bad about yourself. I'm not talking about a humiliation fetish in the middle of a scene or even as part of an on-going relationship. I'm talking about the soul-sucking, self-esteem shattering bullshit that makes you feel less than human and unworthy of love and affection. D/s should build both people up, not tear you down.
- He separates you from family and friends. Okay, let's be honest here. Some people are just bad for us. They make us feel bad and doubt our self worth. I don't mean those people. I'm talking about loving relationships with friends and family. A good Dominant wants a happy, healthy submissive - and isolating you from people who care about you won't achieve that. Frankly, it will simply show that he's selfish and, most likely, insecure.
- He tells you that you're not a "real" submissive because you have your own opinions. In a D/s relationship, how you express those opinions will vary based on your consensual, negotiated agreement but you should always have your own opinions. The other flavor that goes with this one is that you're not a real submissive because you're too independent, aggressive, or (best of all) not willing to do what you're told by someone you just met who claims to be a Dominant. (Insert big, fat eyeroll.)
Assuming you're online when these things occur (and it usually does), I also think you can be proactive in dealing with these men. First of all, you are under no obligation to reply to a message that includes anything you find offensive. If you tell them to stop or to leave you alone, you can and should ignore them. You don't have to continue following or being "friends" with these people online. The unfollow, unfriend, and block features are all there for a reason. Use them. If it crosses over to harassment, you should report them to whichever site you're on.
Once you're in a relationship, you must remember that you're free to end it. You are allowed to withdraw your consent. If he doesn't listen, he's no longer acting as a Dominant. Now he's an abuser. And he should be treated as such - even if that means getting the law involved. Your physical, emotional, and mental well-being truly are that important.
If someone does a couple of the things on this list, they might (but I doubt it) simply be too new to understand how D/s really works. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, but I'd also move on and not engage with them. Let them learn the hard way - or end up alone, either way works for me. When you come across the guy who does most of these things, he's not a Dominant. He's an asshole. Don't waste your time or breath on him.
You are worth more than that, and you need to remember it and believe it.