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Does being a 'sub' first make you a better 'Dom'


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This is something that has come up both in the chat and on a few threads

So, I guess a point of discussion

I will post my opinion in the comments.

Does it make you a better Dominant if you have been a submissive (or, experienced activities a submissive would experience) or is that unimportant?

Some regions in the past had rules that you could only strike someone with an implement you'd first had used on you (mind - if a new toy is bought for a dungeon - who uses it first ;) ) do you think that improves the understanding?


This is something that has come up both in the chat and on a few threads

So, I guess a point of discussion

I will post my opinion in the comments.

Does it make you a better Dominant if you have been a submissive (or, experienced activities a submissive would experience) or is that unimportant?

Some regions in the past had rules that you could only strike someone with an implement you'd first had used on you (mind - if a new toy is bought for a dungeon - who uses it first ;) ) do you think that improves the understanding?

So, my opinion.

Although I switch - I'm neither a better 'sub' nor better 'Dom' because of my experience at the other side.

Granted.  I have learned through doing, or having things done, but I feel a lot if more complicated than that.

For example.  You could hand me two canes.
One might be a really harsh smoked Dragon cane.

The other might be a little easier to take.

I can know this without feeling this.

But the sub being caned could be being caned for a number of reasons.

They might enjoy it, for fun.
They might be a masochist and the harder with the nastier cane the better for them.
They might be somewhat of a masochist but with less *** levels.
I might be caning them as a punishment
I might be caning them because I can, for my enjoyment
They might be taking the caning "for me"

And, I can't empathise with all of those roles.

Knowing the physical impact of each cane wouldn't really help me with some of the above.
Understanding what the sub likes and wants to get out of it is where my strength would be.

I think, I'm just using caning as an example - but - this can be the same for other play types.

But also... both subs and Dominants have different ways they like to serve / be served and their own likes and limitations.

I think understanding something because you've been there is natural; but I think you can still empathise with other people.

I think that there can be some advantages, as such, but ultimately I've met good Dominants who've never been sub, good subs who've never been Dominants - and awful subs/Dominants who have or who switch ;)

I don't feel this is a true science.


Love this!

My initial reaction was "of course it does" but it's got me thinking...

Personally, I don't think I'm dominant. I could probably "top" or possibly be the more dominant in a different dynamic but it'd be something I'd have to "try"

Pirate is a switch, understands the submissive mindset because he's experienced it. As a dominant he won't do anything he hasn't tried out himself, or at least with a sub if it's  not physically possible. He has had so.e of his impact toys used on him (within his *** limits) but as an example, he isn't to being whipped so wouldn't have someone whip him with the Dragon tail but he knows how to use one.


Being sub doesn't necessarily make you a better Dom, or vice versa, but it can offer a different perspective.


I've debated around this topic for a number of years. On one hand following the logic.
Yes- it would allow you to understand the head space punishment levels worship and more


No- for me being dominant means being dominant otherwise you are switch. Unless you are of same sex as your submissive I doubt your understanding would truly reflect their version of submission. I honestly believe a dom a real dom one who is in it for the right reasons cares enough to know studies enough to learn and watches enough to see what is working what is not. Communication of some sort and a willingness to be the best should be all that is needed to be the best dom and most importantly an amazing knowledgable or eager sub as its them who truly decide the outcome of the dynamic.


It can give you a better idea of the physical aspects.  Using __________ someone was able to give me a lot of *** with little effort. Everyone is different and everyone's endurance is different, but you can use your experience as a sub to get an understanding of what you may be dishing out as a dominant.  It gives you a chance to study domming techniques from people who are hopefully experienced.  It can help you build your domming limits - I would never want to inflict ____________ on someone else.

The mental aspect, it might help some.  Sometimes you learn better by interacting with someone rather than just reading or watching.  On the other hand, if you're just imitating what you've seen other people do then your future subs may not get the sense of being dominated.

Emotionally, no.  Having experience as a sub doesn't make you more dominant.

I mentioned in last week's munch that if I were to rate the dommes I've served from best to worst, the better ones would be the ones who started kink as a sub.  This doesn't mean they were always submissive, just that they started in a submissive role.  "I have absolutely no experience at this, but I want to dominate you," is a proposition most people would reject.  A starting dom/me has four options: start as a sub and learn from the experience, start with another dom/me teaching them, find a sub who is good at topping from the bottom to teach them, or start possibly with some personal research but with no other supervision.  Even with the second and third option they are taking a slightly submissive role as student.

Long rambling short - it's not 100% necessary for a dominant to learn as a submissive but it is easy to see why people would think it is.


I don't remember where exactly I read this but I feel it has some overlap with this discussion: it's that a good dom doesn't use anything on their sub without having tested it on themselves, because that is the only way you know how something like that might feel for the sub and how far you can take things. Now this does not mean be a submissive for some time necesarily, although that might help, but more that you feel the spanking implement against your own skin, or try out the electric shock on yourself, etc.


I really don't buy into this school of thought but I'm not saying it's wrong either.
However I remember reading in Jay Wisemans book 'SM 101' some interesting insights from a psychological perspective about how kinksters are wired differently.
The general tenor was that Dominants/sadists have a link between some form of *** and their sexual behaviour where as Subs/masochists have a link between *** and sexual activity.
I cannot quite understand masochists, as far as *** goes I'm a wimp, I would hardly enjoy welts on my arse or bruises on my thighs. Using my experience or *** threshold for a sub/masochist would leave them likely unsatisfied and reticent to return.

Another way of looking at it is; I like being deep in a subs arse, does that mean I must spend a season being pegged before I can enjoy pressing someone's head into the pillow and reaming their nought? 🤔 I don't think so thank you.


A very interesting question and many interesting views.
The suggestion that a Dom/me needs to experience the impact s/he is causing, almost has a flavour of ‘pay back’, which clearly in D/s relationship which is based on consent has no place. To someone who is purely a Dom the experience would be of physical *** (or other) without the satisfaction and release a sub would experience. Therefore I wonder what benefit this would have?
From my experience as a Domme (as brief as it may have been), I felt awe and care for my sub enduring what I did to him. As much as a sub is to please their Dom/me the same applies the other way around.
It was the realisation of caring feeling towards my sub that assisted me to consider exploring the sub side initially ...


I’ve always been a Dom and couldn’t switch though I do see the point made that arguably having submitted before would give you a better understanding in a Dominant role. I can’t really say as I’ve never done it. What I do though is test new things on myself before using it in session with my sub. An example is I bought 4 different coloured wax candles, by using them on myself first I realised that the heat from the red one was for some reason much more intense than the others so I knew to drop it from a higher height. When we got a violet wand I tried every different attachment on myself first as some are a lot more severe than others. A good friend made me a wooden paddle and by trying it on myself first I realised it was far more ***ful that the leather ones I normally use so I knew to use it more sparingly.
I know everyone’s *** levels differ but by trying things on myself first it gives me a better understanding of what each toy is capable of, I would always far rather start lightly with a new toy and build up than go in over the top because I had underestimated its severity


I think it should be mandatory. Too many 'doms' don't appreciate the psychological and emotional commitment that comes with giving to someone on the level of a submissive


My own opinion from my personal experience is that yes, my time as a sub has made me a more EMPATHETIC Domme.  

I may not be wired like this sub or that sub, but I’m certainly more attuned to certain subtleties, and I’m definitely less arrogant than I might be had I not gone through the psychological experience of subbing for the time that I did — an issue I run into when I speak with younger Doms who ask for my guidance, and occasionally, my training.  

If I dare suggest they try the other side of the slash to gain that much needed empathy, the arrogant response is pretty much predictable. Which I find makes them lacking.  

Now, I’m not saying this is the ONLY way, because I understand that the culture evolves and certainly we cannot *** anyone to do it this way if that’s not what they choose to do as a Dominant. 


I do really believe it is a sad thing that it’s not really the way anymore. Having a full understanding of both sides of the slash can only make one a better and more understanding, more fully developed practitioner.  Having the confidence and strong sense of self to undertake such a thing surely doesn’t diminish one as a Dominant.

In my understanding of the concept.  



Great topic and want that's engaging across the spectrum.
I think it's important that any experience you have you learn and develop from...you will make mistakes you will have success what you take from it and how you develop from there is down to the individual so in many ways for a Dominant to know and develop himself it cannot cause him harm to understand what it is to be submissive. Yes it will feel uncomfortable, unnatural but aren't most learned behaviours???
There will be varying opinions and more debate but I understand the meaning of my words and my actions and the implications those impose on another individual, if for only those reasons give it a try it might be of benefit in the long run!


When I first started to work out what I was more as an intellectual excersise I seriously considered if I could switch. It didn't take me long to win out that just wasn't me however I don't see how it could be a disadvantage in a y way to see things from the other side, surely knowledge is power and experience from both sides of the fence would give you a better understanding of the whole picture. I'm the same as Jed, I try things on myself to gain a little experience and an awareness of how hard I actually hit. I've also been known to drink my own piss and cum for the very same reasons. A strange thing thing to do maybe but again just so I know.


I disagree with the notion that its the physical side that it helps with, I don't think its necessary to inflict good physical punishment for the D to understand how *** works.  However, it may help with the psychology of how to dominate, although it does have its limitations in that unless the former sub and the current sub share exactly the same psychology wrt submission its only a guide not a template, but it may still help

12 hours ago, TheAlphaSub said:

I think it should be mandatory. Too many 'doms' don't appreciate the psychological and emotional commitment that comes with giving to someone on the level of a submissive

"mandatory" screams a lack of consent in many ways. 

It's an interesting answer as it implies that Doms, Sadists or tops give nothing. Are we devoid of emotional commitment ourselves? 

I do wonder at times and it's a subject I've found myself musing lately, do partners consider themselves equal before and when entering a dynamic? 

I wonder if many problems arise in a D/s dynamic when one party thinks they are superior to the other, or when one side believes they're bringing more to the table than the other? Does not communication, love and respect breed an appreciation of commitment, emotional or otherwise? 

There appears at times to be a tension between equality and equity, I feel that both need to be held in tension within any dynamic/relationship. 

Maybe that's a different thread though. 


Some would say yes. But it's an open question with many good answers... 


Personally... Some of the best D types I've met, were NOT submissive first... 

Some people are naturally Dominant.. And some are naturally submissive... 


Great subject!

When I was a Domme I never imagined that I would one day become a sub, it took a lot of persuading & at times I find it hard as I compare what Doms are doing to ‘how I would do it’. 
Since becoming a sub I haven’t gone back to being a Domme so I can’t answer from experience. However the 2 roles for me, take two very different mindsets so for me personally, no I don’t think it would help to know the dynamic from the other role.
Also because my 2 mindsets are such worlds apart, that also means I am unable to switch.  

  • 3 weeks later...

You are absolutely correct. Had I not been trained to understand the ***, the control, the full exchange of power; I would not appreciate and cherish the bond they en***. Without that knowledge; I could not take those things as sacred to the bond, when they are willingly offered to me. Too few understand that these days.

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