How to be a good dominant

I always get the question, how to be a good dom.

Let’s first start with the biggest misunderstandings:

Being a dominant doesn’t mean that you have to be rude. A lot of people that try the occasional BDSM in Second Life actually think the more rude you are, the more dominant you are. That is wrong and it’s probably due to the anonymity that Second Life offers.

Never expect non-consentual parties to participate in the dominant play. The dominance is a play between you and the sub, as a dom you can never expect a third party to be a part of the training that you do with your subs. A kind request could always be put out – But a no should always be respected.

Just because people are dead horny doesn’t mean that they will become good subs. Finding a good partner/sub/dom is similar to building a relationship to anyone in Real Life. It is all about chemistry and trust and it is a good thing if the relationship is built on the same thing within BDSM as well – The element of trust is even more important in BDSM as you hand over the control to the dom/me.

Let’s take a look of what you should do:

There is a expectation on your behaviour as a dom. To me a dom sets the standards, that means that you should have a high degree of politeness towards people in general. A gentleman’s way of being is good before a scene and after a scene, during aftercare and debriefing. An emotionally straining scene always puts the responsibility on the dom to catch the sub as they recover emotionally from an intense scene.

Treat everyone with respect. This is a tricky part as a scene can call for some disrespectful behaviour towards your sub. But the real respect is carried out by “reading” your sub all the time during the scene. As a dom you have a responsibility to fulfill the needs of someone else as well. This statment will probably be debated, dependant of what thought you have around the role of a dom.

Always have a boundary discussion. Your sub is treating your with a great deal of respect as you are given the trust to have total control – Honor that respect by not stepping over established hard limits.

Always debrief a scene, even if you do it in SL. BDSM in Second Life can, if it is good, mess with people’s heads – Don’t underestimate that fact.

Always have a mindset that puts you in a learning mode. There are no “end level” or a fully learned dom. Dominants that are inexperienced, but willing to learn are easy to handle as they realise their limits. Doms that think that they are fully learned, that they know it all, are the most dangerous ones. They don’t realise their mistakes and as they don’t do this then they don’t learn from them either. This is also one of the reasons that Real Life scenes might go wrong.

If you feel that you are inexperienced – Acknowledge it. Get a mentor, talk to other doms, take their advice for it. The same thing if you are a sub. The combination of an inexperienced sub and an inexperienced dom in Real Life is really dangerous. One solution is to have a mentor dom, dungeon master that might supervise the scene.

If you have more advice on how to be a good dom, then please feel free to add to this list in the comments.


  1. we subs WANT to be dominated by our Doms; we WANT to give You our submission. And we will support You in this, to the best of our ability and understanding of Your preferences… A power exchange is not always a battle or struggle, and we are not Your opponents…

    we are submissives; we are not identical clones; enjoy the submissive you are with, please. If You require our service in acquiring experience, or in learning to dominate us, that does not make us less submissive or You less Dominent.

  2. As you touched on, and something that I see as an unfortunate reality, is that many SL doms tend to not only be rude or cruel towards their own subs, and even not only towards other subs, but women in general. Anonyminity of SL not withstanding, I think this is a mark of not only a bad dom, but a bad person as well. Being a dom does not require that you meet out punishment every chance you get. The dom-sub relationship, from what I have seen, is every bit as much a partnership as any other relationship.

    But what bothers me most is the assumption on such a person’s part that every female (and in some cases, every *person*) is a sub, subject to their whims or commands. This, of course, is not the case, and making that assumption can have catastrophic results. Such a Dom will certainly make few friends, and will more than likely be held in amused contempt by others. Per my understanding, one Dom does not hold sway over another’s Sub, save in matters of protocol and politeness. Threatening to punish another’s sub, or to comment on their “lack of education” is simply bad manners, and betrays a certain amount of ignorance that is, I fear, all too common in SL. And moreso, it is insulting to that Sub’s Dom.

    Common courtesy is a must, I think, regardless of whether you are a Dom or not. Being a Dom is certainly not a pass for lack of civility.

  3. It seems lately I have been talking to so many subs that are having some serious issues. They have been so confused/scared because of something that has happened in RP. In all of these conversations, one important thing was missing in each; the continuos dialouge. Not to mention the after care in a few of the cases. Both the dialogue and after care are very important for the emotional / mental state of the sub. And probably the Dom as well.

    For myself, I question things. If I’m not sure of something, I will seek out a more experienced Dom or sub to speak with. I think this lifestyle is a constant learning and with that comes the ability to be a better Dom / sub.

    I also believe there is a huge misconception that all good Dom’s are cruel. This is so not true. The Dom’s I know in RL and SL happen to be some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Not to mention, quite a few of them have a sense of humor that is unmatched by others.

  4. Between Stoltz & Maas, You have the gist of it. As Dominants, We are one half of a relationship. And just as We expect our subs to be submissive & obedient, We are expected to be responsible & dominant. But We are human too & will make mistakes. The one important thing that no Dominant should forget is that We ARE human, We make mistakes & WILL make mistakes. Have enough trust in your sub to understand their concerns & listen to them when they raise those concerns. Acknowledging Your mistakes & listening to your sub does not diminish Your Dominance. It may bruise some egos but in the end it makes for a much more fulfilling relationship than the presumption You are always correct in everything.

    The learning experience is paramount. We are all Doms. There is no real title of “Master”; “Master is a title given to Us by our subs out of respect, or given by other lifestylers in recognition of Our skills but the title is relative only to others. There are no courses for Dominance, no degrees, no ranks for Dominants. To be called a Master is a show of respect & only given by the willing. It cannot & should never be demanded or coerced from another. No Dom should strive to be a Master. If that comes from someone it should make Us feel valued & loved, not taken for granted. We are ALL always learning, Doms & subs alike.

    Recently, I was reminded of one of My responsibilities by My sub. Hearing it deflated My own ego some but I had the good sense to listen to it & take it on board. I had the sense to acknowledge it because I could see that she was correct. I am trying to correct it because I enjoy My sub & want to be all I can be for her. It’s good for a Dom to be reminded of such things by their sub & I encourage Mine to voice her concerns when she has them. One should never feel attacked or challenged when Their sub raises issues. The relationship itself is more important than the theme we attach to the relationship. Someone mentioned that when We find a good sub or a good Dom the relationship is magical. It is so in My case.

  5. Found this very informative and to those that posted, kudo’s.
    Having really only learnt how deep my submission is, on entering SL, I find the majority of Dom’s that I have met to be quite wonderful people. I was fortunate to meet such a Master my first week here and even though we have parted now, he taught me a lot about Master/slave relationships. Every Dom is different, goes with their personalities, as we all are. There is no magical formula for the perfect Master and as a good friend of mine has said ” he wished the word perfect would be deleted from the dictionary”. The basis for any relationship is communication and lots of it. My former Master often said to me ” I am not a mind reader mine” and I smile when I think of those words, none of us are. What concerns me in SL are those so called Doms/Masters who believe they are Gods here, with no concern for their subs wellbeing, their only concern is how many they can have at their feet in submission, taking care of their sexual needs.
    Sex in BDSM is only a small part of the relationship and when it does occur then you have a fantastic experience with the control that is taken of you. SL is a worrysome place at times and I urge any subs that come here to be very careful of a Dom/Master who wants to slap a collar around your neck in the first meeting. That’s not good Domming, it’s exploitation. D/s takes time like any relationship and I think that the lines in SL get blurred a great deal. Those of us that truly D/s, do this in RL to an extent and this place furthers the experience. Good Doms/Masters are hard to find as are the subs/slaves that sit at their feet. Be Safe, Sane and Consenual ALWAYS

  6. Ah Maas the true gentleman 🙂 Thank you for your words, I have observed on many occasions other Dom’s feeling the need to comment on other Dom’s subs behaviour and their perception on how they should act. Even some Dom’s I know in SL have done this to me. When this happens I discuss it with My Master to guage his reaction on my behaviour. His answer is always the same, “you are my sub, and you act and behave as I have instructed you to, if any other has a problem with you then they should come discuss it with me”

    He’s right I am for the most part polite to all that I meet, unless pushed to react to a comment or a action, my master expects me to react, he doesn’t want me to sit there like a good sub and take abuse or comment from another. If i am acting or behaving in an incorrect or bad manner my master will deal with this and not another Dom. My Master likes my spirit and my mind, he doesn’t want a docile sub.

    I too have noticed that most males/Dom’s, not all, assume that all females are subs, this happens a lot sometimes in the square at IOP, this is totally a wrong assumption as one poor Dom discovered the other day in the square, and my friend Margo came along, and felt the wrath of Margo lol oh my hero 🙂

  7. Maas, I think you hit a good few spots right on the head there… so did a couple of others, I just wanted to say that As far as i’m concerned a sub should at ALL TIMES respect other Dom/mes no they don’t necessarily have to call them “Master/Mistress” as they are not owned by the outsider, however they should as i said at all times respect them no mouthing back”you don’t own me kind of thing” subs are subs and doms are to be respected, on a ladder i am in the sense on the lower rungs, the best way i can put it being that Dom/mes are most definitely in the higher position, so they do have the rights to speak and say what they want., however that does not mean *if speaking of SL* that they can dominate EVERY sub around them but they have and cannot just expect to involve themselves in others RP, *if speaking of RL* then I say a real sub would never speak out of turn to a Dom/me not in any case.
    and a true Dom/me would know better than to order anothers sub around it depends on what is being asked of course, but another dom/me wouldnt just tell anothers sub to jump into bed with them, or scrub floors because they said so, but I believe they have the “right” and level to request certain things and as a sub we SHOULD RESPECT them at all times! no matter who they are.

  8. Everyone should be respected no matter who they are. I’ve taken note of the comments made. There are a few who I think speak one way and act another. I know that I am new at this lifestyle however, I would never go so far as believe that I have the right to tell someone else’s sub to obey my wishes. That’s disrespectful to the Dom/me in that relationship and to the sub as well for asking them to go against their Master/Mistress. I do not believe that a sub should have to be respectful when someone outright disrespects them or their Master/Mistress, I believe they should have the right to defend themselves. I would not expect my subs to sit there quietly while someone insults them.

  9. Good point there, Caliea and as you wrote no one should take an insult. But then again, if a sub is insulted then the dom/me is in a sense disrespectful and everyone should be treated with respect.

    Respect and politeness should be applied at all times by both roles, doesnt matter if you are a dom/me or a sub – There is always an expected behaviour on each one.

    To be strict as well on the matter: As a dom/me you are expected to be polite towards other dom/me and this is where the tricky part is. If you tell your sub to freely defend themselves towards a percieved insult, then the question is if your are dominating your sub or not?

    Of course, a sub should only obey their owners command, unless they are told otherwise. To me a dom/me is not dominating a sub, that they do not own, just because they expect a good level of politeness. And to me there is a clear difference between politeness and service. Service is something you provide for your dom/me, politness is something your apply towards everyone.

    And I’m not sure that I would put my sub in a free roaming mode where they can tell anyone off just becuase they feel insulted.

    BDSM is in part built on a hiearchy and that needs to be keept as well, when we fiddle with that then we get unwanted drama. If the sub is out of place being impolite towards other dom/mes then the discussion should be taken between the owner and the other dom/me that feels insulted.

  10. Just another point i wanted to add, I do say that even tho My opinion is Subs should respect Dom/mes as they deserve that right, There are obviously situations where there is cause for a different attitude, how ever in all i’ve said I am a sub but I am NOT a doormat… respecting Dom/mes even if you don’t like them doesnt mean i’m saying they can just throw orders around,
    Defending yourself is another thing altogether from what I was saying in a general perspective….

  11. I dont think people, subs or Doms, have to be polite and respectful towards other doms beyond what can be expected of reasonable, mature human beings. Especially if this is based solely on them being of the dominant persuasion.

    BDSM is definately based on a rather strict hierarchy as Stoltz points out above, but I do not support the notion that this should go beyond the relationship you’re involved in by default. It is something between the dominant and his or her sub (or subs, for the overly confident doms amongst us ;). For me personally, everything beyond the relationship is normal human interaction away from any sort of BDSM context.

    I think, in essence, that people should be respectful to eachother not because one or both are or claim to be dominant, but simply because that’s how you’re supposed to treat other people. I am, or try to be, respectful and friendly to the people I know and like, not because they’re involved in BDSM but because I rather enjoy their company and would hate to disturb that by being a disrespectful, rude cock. I do not always succeed but hey, one tries nonetheless 😉 And besides, is it really okay for anyone to be rude to someone without some justification?

    In short, I prefer to be able to be able to trust on the fact that my submissive wouldn’t go around insulting people without (what I think is) a valid reason. And if she does she can get disciplined not because of what the “victim” thinks or wishes, but because she disappointed me.

    Oh and by the way, you have to question the sanity of any dominant that tries to order someone else’s sub around.

  12. Totally agree with you Roman – Most politeness should be there without people being involved in BDSM.

    But what is to be considered as rudeness? The problem is that it can be quite fluid in some cases. A person, that is not being a sub, might find it rude how dom/mes are adressing subs.

    When you are taking on the role as a sub, then you can expect to be treated in a certain way – Because your choice of role. That treatement should never go beyond disrespect tho. And at the same time, as you put it, you are insane as a dom/me if you think that you have control over someone else’s sub.

    As CAT put it, a sub is never a doormat, but a sub should also respect other dom/mes or other subs for that matter.

    The big question then is how the respect is expressed, and I think what I am trying to say, is that the expectation on how you express the respect – That differs from person to person.

    Being rude to anyone is never ok – And I think it is never ok even when you have a justification. In the instant you think you have a justification, then you are not any better than the person that was rude to you in the first place.

    Another reason why I am stressing the politeness issue, is that we are representatives of a lifestyle that can be percieved in many different ways – And a lot of negative ones. We need to challange people’s perceptions and stereotypes of BDSM. And being polite is one part of that.

  13. So many good points throughout article and in responses, including yours, CAT, but you made one statement which disturbs me: “I say a real sub would never speak out of turn to a Dom/me not in any case.” ,,,
    * aren’t subs (and for that matter, Dom/mes) human and therefore they WILL make mistakes? Even experienced, educated ones, as well as the less experienced ones?
    * Don’t “real” subs vary so much that characterizing others as “real” or not is a bit problematic? There’s a lot of stylized behavior in BDSM; it protects subs and Dom/me from becoming abusers or victims; but with any rigid protocal and culture and ritual system, there is a hazard of becoming exclusionary beyond the benefits. It can stifle the life out of a community, or make learning a sadly temporary phase rather than a life-long joyous quest.
    * In SL there are endless newbies AND posers (and yes, i realize that term suggests i too make distinctions on who’s In and who’s Not… or who Gets It and who Doesn’t (Yet)). What some newbie Doms and posers would characterize as discourtesy is anything other than their whim of the moment… and mouthing off, anything other than “yes Sir/Ma’am.”
    Submission is a gift, an intimate and personal act BY a sub (not made by a Dom/me); submissiveness may be the gut-level reaction of a sub to a Dom/me but neither it nor courtesy awards anyone labeled a Dom/me any special rights. Dom/me, like anyone, should receive and give courtesy; giving courtesy is partly a matter of self respect, which is something to which we all have a right and responsibility to cultivate. … i’d like to read an article on self respect in BDSM, wouldn’t you? i think BDSM can cultivate very healthy self respect in both Dom/mes and subs…
    Just some thoughts. Thank you for making me think, CAT, and all other posters…

  14. Hey Stoltz,

    I think choosing to pursue a D/s lifestyle with your partner doesn’t automatically require you to express that lifestyle towards others.

    Now, that said, I for one tend to appreciate subs that are not afraid to expose to others their preferred lifestyle (referring to other dominants as Sir for example). It shows a certain level of comfort and honesty that I can appreciate. This goes for dominants as well, actually.

    The point you made about the way BDSM is perceived and stereotyped I couldn’t agree more with. The image of our lifestyle in the mainstream world is obviously rather warped.

  15. To pursue a lifestyle never requires you to express that lifestyle (i.e forcing it onto others) – That would be disrespectful. If people are not interested in BDSM then I don’t try to convince them. But if people are, then I tell them about some established norms within the lifestyle: Consent, boundary discussions etc and how important that is. That’s knowledge sharing and that is important.

    There is another dimension of it as well: in the instant people know what you are into then you become a representative for that lifestyle. Your behaviour can all of sudden affect all other dom/subs.

    There is a level of collective responsibility involved in this matter. That’s when politeness and giving people a good perception about BDSM comes into play.

    As a dom/sub you set the standards for the perception that people, who are not into the lifestyle, will have.

    The expression of respect that I was on about in my post, was mainly targeted towards the interaction between people within the lifestyle.

    In my opinion there is never an excuse for not being polite, no matter if you are a dom or a sub. And I also think that there has to be made a clear distinction between servicing and being polite.

    Servicing is something you do, as a sub, when the dom/me has been given the curtesy by the sub, as cloud wrote in her post.

    • while I found this thread particularly informative, i find myself asking why a slave/sub would be disrespectful to a dominant. Firstly my actions are reflective of the one i am serving, secondly, is it not proper to inform your dominant of mistreatment by another dominant as you are his property or play partner? Perhaps it is my nature but being anything less than polite serves no purpose in my lifechoice

  16. Cloud I enjoyed reading your posts, Your knowledge is making ME think things over and re read and learn more so I thank you,
    I read your post twice and then went back to the post where I mentioned about that quote “I say a real sub would never speak out of turn to a Dom/me not in any case.”
    I think maybe now I can say it a bit clearer, *I hope* what I was more trying to say was, that Subs in Sl, tend to be more blaise and tend to react and respond in ways I think that a sub in Real life would not..
    MAYBE SOME and i emphasise on the maybe and some… consequences aren’t as harsh as they are in RL…so leaving both sides to be more relaxed about the relationships/commitments I see people go from Dom/me to Dom/me and sub to sub like changing a shirt… this is not a generalisation… just incase it started to sound that way.
    I’m enjoying these posts emmensely, it gives me and all of you to see sides of each other we don’t really get to see… yay for the bloggy 😀

  17. 🙂 i am enjoying the blog very much also. There’s pleasure in thinking, reading, sharing about these things.
    CAT, i agree in SL subs (well, Dom/me too) “tend to react and respond in ways I think [they] in Real Life would not.” i think you meant socially especially, but consequences are NOT as harsh, in many ways; there’s safety in SL which doesn’t exist in RL; and i wonder at times if the freedom SL gives is very much compromised by the unreality. Take whipping or restraints, as examples; in RL, they require skill to avoid serious potential of harm… i don’t think one should rely on SL as good social training, or practical training either. Does the blaise of SL mis-train?
    Also – the changing of shirt switches Dom/me/sub::grin:: yeah. Puleeeease!

  18. The way I see it is this; domination/submission is an agreement between two (or more) consenting persons.

    You can demand from your sub(s) to submit to all Doms if that is part of your agreement, but you can never demand from a sub that you don’t have a D/s agreement with to treat you in any special way because you are a Dom.

    My sub submits to me, everyone I tell her to submit to or those she choose to submit to (with my permission). In regards to anyone else – Doms, subs or vanillas – she is an equal. I expect her to treat everyone that treats her with respect with the same respect that I think all humans should show each other, but I also encourage her (and will assist her if necessary) to not let herself be treated disrespectfully by anyone. I would consider it very disrespectful if someone, without an agreement with me (or her with my permission), demands or expects submission from her.

    That said, I do encourage her to show a bit extra respect for all Doms as long as they treat her with respect, but that is a privilege reserved only for those who deserve it.

  19. WOW- I found this blog, on google, trying to research what makes a good Dom. I’ve always had a dominate nature ( not in a mean sense), and needed to figure out how to project that in an appropriate manner. ALL of you above, Doms, and subs alike, have been a source of invaluable information. For that I thank you. No matter what role one is most comfortable with I believe in the power of positive feedback.
    Best wishes to you all

  20. Majestic, Thank you for your post, Master (Stoltz) & I appreciate your feed back and we are glad to have helped you out too,
    If ever you would like to come back and post even for questions etc, please do so.. you are most welcome 🙂

  21. I have what I believe is a serious problem. let me start at the beginning, I'm a relatively new Female dom I have (had) a newer male sub, we were doing great with our relationship for 4 months and then about 2 months ago we decided to go out. i left my sub at our table while i went the ladies room, then when i got back to my table he was crying and had a very bad bite on his shoulder I asked him what happened and he pointed out an older male dom and told me that as soon a i entered the ladies room the other dom had come up behind him bit his shoulder then walked away laughing. i confronted the other dom and he said "yeah i did it what are you gonna do about it" i informed the club owner then called the police. We have a restraining order on the man now but my sub is still unwilling to go anywhere or leave the safety of his older brothers house…… I dont know what to do and i'm feeling kinda helpless….i love my sub and am very worried for him….. can i get some advice please? 🙁

    • So sorry he experienced that assault. It is an assault, and the safety of society has been ripped away from him, just as it would in any situation that a human being experiences a violent, unwanted assault. I would encourage him to start by calling a help line for violent assaults – you can too to help you help him. The help line will know of local resources to help your sub. He may need counselling and probably not a lot: it’s about helping to reinforce his feelings of safety again, and allowing him to vent his fear and frustrations elsewhere. Ask for kink-friendly resources. Also, I’m a member of FetLife, and if you are too, there are groups that share kink-friendly therapists and health professionals.

      I haven’t experienced this myself, so I can’t offer much help, but you can contact me if you like on FetLife (same name). Or on here. I hope he’s better: your post is a few months old.


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