New to BDSM? Need BDSM advice? No fear, intimacy educator, sex coach and author Stella Starlight's monthly advice column is here to help. This month, Stella tackles the issue of dealing with 'wannabe Doms' online - and gives her advice on how to spot them.

 

Image of Stella Starlight | BDSM Sex Tips Advice Column In a recent thread on Fetish.com, a member lamented the difficulty of meeting people online, especially when you add D/s dynamics. They said, “Just because I'm looking for a dom, does not mean I am looking to be disrespected.Their experience is worth digging into

Any time you’re meeting new people you need to take some precautions and have a bit of your guard up. It’s a tricky balance because you need to figure out how to be open enough to get to know someone and give them a chance, while also keeping yourself safe. It’s easy to tip too far in either direction and have interactions that range from unsuccessful to dangerous. 

While this is true for life in general, and certainly for online dating, it can pose some particular challenges when you add kink to the mix. For one thing, when you share any subgroup with someone it’s tempting to give them the benefit of the doubt. Especially when the group you share is one that the mainstream stigmatises, there’s this feeling that we’re in this together. 

Unfortunately, no one gets a pass just because they’re kinky too. I fall into the same trap when I'm in kink spaces of wanting to feel that everyone is "my people." But in reality, kink/BDSM/and fetish communities are just made up of people — and the same percentage of people are problematic anywhere you go.

Not only that, but the riskier the thing you want to do is — whether physically or emotionally — the more vetting you need to do around safety, and that includes the other person’s motivations for wanting to engage in their kinks. 

While Dom/sub dynamics might seem run-of-the-mill to people who’ve been around kink spaces for a while, the fact remains that playing with power requires as much training as rope bondage, impact play, or any other BDSM activity. But it’s not always treated that way. 

It’s easy to get online and start bossing people around. But that’s not D/s. That’s not kink. That’s just being a jerk. The problem is that a wannabe Dom (or bad behaviour in general) can often hide in plain sight in kink spaces, whether online or at venues or events. 

The only thing dividing many kinks from abuse is consent and negotiation. But from the outside, it’s often impossible to know what negotiation is in place. You just see the behaviour. Especially with some D/s play that can be very visible, we can forget that these dynamics must be as communicated about in advance like any other aspect of a scene or relationship. 

Man with BDSM toys. How to handle wannabe doms
Playing with power requires training, but it's not always treated that way. 
 

What to watch out for with 'wannabe Doms'

When you’re deciding who to engage with online, especially if you’re going to engage in any D/s dynamics, there are a few things you can look out for. 

The biggest red flag, in my opinion, is when wannabe Doms bring you into their dynamic without asking. If they start talking to you like you’re their submissive, giving orders, or making demands before any negotiation is in place - run away. Same goes for a wannabe Dom who expects you to call them by any honorific or title before you’ve negotiated those roles. 

Imagine how it would go if someone at a party just walked up to a stranger and hit them with a paddle — most of us would agree that’s assault and they’d get booted from the venue. That interaction would be nonconsensual. So why should we let it fly for someone to engage in their power play when it hasn’t been agreed?

Before engaging in power dynamics, ask the same vetting question you would for any other kind of play and get references. Find out what someone’s experience is, what training they’ve had, and how they plan to keep you safe. And make sure these negotiations and conversations are done as equals, outside of any dynamic. 

Remember, it’s only a power exchange if both people have power. If a wannabe Dom treats you like they own you from the first message there’s no exchange there; they’re merely taking. So trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. 

Stella Starlight xx

Do you need BDSM advice? If you have something that you'd like Stella to answer, let us know.
 

Ask Stella | BDSM Sex Tips | Fetish.com

 


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rubix

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fantastic article stella thank you

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