BHD or Big Hard Dom is not always the colossal male domination problem you might think it is. The kink community is small and is often times the only place where someone can feel normal. writer Abi Brown explores why BHDs shouldn't just be kicked out and ostracized after their first offense.

Nobody likes a Big Hard Dom

Most people who have been knocking around the community for a while will have met a Big Hard Dom. There are a few archetypes. There’s the relatively inexperienced young man in his early twenties who wears a nasty-looking whip hooked to his belt. He is also incredibly keen to tell you his BDSM anecdotes without ever once seeming to consider how those subs felt, for example.

But they’re not all young. Another common model of the Big Hard Dom is the middle-aged pillar of the local kink community. He will proudly boast at munches about his consideration collars and the beneficent way he fixes the lives of the much younger women he deigns to play with.

Spotting a Big Hard Dom

You can spot a Big Hard Dom out in the wild pretty easily. They get their submissives to capitalize pronouns that refer to them in writing. They insist on being introduced as ‘Master So-and-So’ to anyone who asks their name. Additionally, they never really talk about what their partners' wants and needs are. It’s generally all about the pain they want to inflict. The Big Hard Dom is almost always male. Almost always dressed in black leather. And almost always in it for themselves.

Why is the Big Hard Dom such a problem?

There are a few stories of negative experiences in fetish clubs and kink spaces that seem to come up again and again. This type of male domination assumes that a female sub’s is the Big Hard Dom's right. Rather than something that is given to them, which is often the cause of these problems. People who don’t consider the nuances of consent. Or who push at someone’s limits right from the off with no negotiation.

Missing the steps

Sometimes, a Big Hard Dom is missing stairs: people are aware that he is a problem. But have become so used to coping with it, they’ve started making excuses for him.

Even when they’re not missing stairs, Big Hard Doms can be irritating and troublesome. They can put new people off becoming more involved in the community. Moreover, these male domination fakes can lead inexperienced subs, who don’t know how to spot them, into dangerous or damaging situations.

It would be disingenuous to suggest that only new submissives fall prey to their charms. My most major Big Hard Dom experience was some five years after I first turned up on the scene. It lasted for a surprisingly large number of months before I came to my senses.

How a community should deal with a Big Hard Dom

We’re not always in a position to just throw people out on their ear. Not all BHDs deserve to be discarded, either. But two most important things we can always do are:

  1. Get someone they trust, admire or look up to, to talk to them about the things they do that are problematic. Don’t let them get away with pushing limits and boundaries. Call them on their bullshit every single time it comes to light.
  2. Keep an eye on the people they’re playing with, and anyone new to the scene they seem to be making a beeline for.
  3. If your local Big Hard Dom has missing stair tendencies, let them know about the problems other people have had with them. Be pretty gentle about this at first. You might find that the subs in question don’t want to hear it. Just make sure they know there are people around to support them if they want it.

Most BHDs aren’t dangerous. Your average 21-year-old with a bullwhip and an over-inflated sense of his own importance and male domination will grow out of it before ere long. Frankly, the best thing you can do about him is to laugh a bit at how ridiculous he looks. Then wait for him to mature a little. It’s worth keeping an eye on examples of the genre in general. For the good of your local community and for the other people in it.

HELP! I think I might be the Big Hard Dom...

If an uncomfortable number of the things I’ve touched on here ring true for you: I’d like to both thank and congratulate you. No, really. The fact that you’ve spotted it. That you have a strong enough sense of self-awareness to let this post hit home is a sure sign that you’re actually, at heart, a decent person.

The best advice I can give you is this: listen. Listen to yourself, and to the people you’re playing with. Do you really want to sleep with people who can take superhumanly intense beatings without complaint and never forget to capitalise Your trousers in writing? Or have you just got swept up in a whole bunch of stuff from books and porn clips? Have real, honest conversations with your partners about their fantasies. About what they want to get out of a BDSM relationship. Try to put their needs first while you’re playing, even if that’s not how it looks from their perspective.

You might be surprised by what happens next.


Abi Brown is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to sexual deviancy, far-left politics and wearing too much jewellery. Find her at her website or @see_abi_write.


What are your experiences of Big Hard Doms? Tell us how you cut them down to size by commenting below or in the forum.


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Dom's like this is what made me hesitant to become a full sub. I didn't want to jump into the deep end and end up drowning with a Dom who wouldn't understand me. Then my master started training with a Dom that explained things differently. I now see things differently. 

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I am conflicted about this article. To start off, I used to be a sub in this very situation and my head did get a bit effed up. I wish he would have respected me more, but I also understand that I should respect his fetish despite the fact that we weren't as compatible as we thought. I think there are subs out there who would actually enjoy this kind of treatment. I am not one of them lol. I still don't want anyone to feel like they aren't able to express themselves, but I do hope that they are able to communicate just how hard they want to go, so that there is no misunderstanding. 

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Posted (edited)

A very informative read. Even for those who do not fall into these categories, its good knowing what we shouldn't be doing. Many Thanks x

Edited by SirArtu

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