BDSM (S)explored: Confessions Of A Male Dominant

"Trust me, you don’t want to be explaining yourself to a doctor in the emergency room because you accidentally broke your lover’s arm."
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Photo – Redbook

BDSM is in vogue right now and whether you like it or not, it’s gone mainstream. I mean, who hasn’t heard of Fifty Shades Darker and started looking into BDSM themselves? According to the folks at Alternet, positive portrayals of BDSM in mainstream media, increasing sexual openness and safer practices in the bedroom have all helped to untie and ungag the sexual niche that is BDSM. With this in mind, I’ve conducted an interview with a practicing ‘Dom’ (‘Dominant’ – if you don’t know what that is, you can find out in our beginner’s crash course on BDSM) so you can get a better sense of what BDSM play is like from the “D” side. Obviously, to respect his identity, I’ll be referring to him as Marcus.

So Marcus, how does someone get into BDSM?

For everyone it’s different. Some people get into it because they have a partner who’s already playing and they get introduced to it that way; others experiment and sort of discover BDSM for themselves. For me, I always kind of knew that I was interested. I remember watching slasher films when I was a kid and getting really excited by scenes where women were tied up.

Then, I didn’t really understand any of these feelings, and they made me feel guilt and shame. I thought maybe something was wrong with me, to be honest.

It wasn’t until I started seeing a really open-minded girl that things began to change. She noticed that I had a tendency to be assertive in my lovemaking. I’d do things like pull her hair, bite her, lightly choke her… things progressed as I became more comfortable around her and she encouraged it because it turned her on, too. Before I knew it, we’d progressed to Bondage and heavier play: caning, slapping, stuff like that. The experience was mind-blowing for both of us. I realized that my own sexual practices were totally healthy, if slightly unusual.

What would you tell someone who’s looking at getting into BDSM as a Dom?

These things develop organically, or at least they should – I think. I know everybody’s getting interested in the lifestyle because of Fifty Shades but it’s something you have to be very delicate about. I mean, it’s one thing to lightly drip hot wax on a woman’s chest and another completely to gag and bind someone for a thorough lashing. Heavier play isn’t a garnish for sex. Introducing power dynamics into the bedroom requires plenty of communication and trust, and unless you’re playing with someone who has experience, you really should start out small.

This is all to say that I’d advise someone to proceed cautiously and with respect. Read, talk to someone in the community, and familiarize yourself with the scene. There’s a very real chance you could hurt someone and trust me, you don’t want to be explaining yourself to a doctor in the emergency room because you accidentally broke your lover’s arm. These things can happen between consenting adults, trust me.

Have you accidentally hurt a lover?

Unfortunately, yes; I have. It comes with the territory, especially for beginners, which is why I always advise that you take your time and learn as much as you can about the lifestyle and the person you’re playing with. Minor injuries are bound to happen, and sometimes that’s what a sub is looking for (this will and always should be clear to you, by the way—what they want, and how painful they want it to be), but it’s the big [injuries] you have to prevent with knowledge and communication.

The worst experience I’ve personally had was breaking a sub’s arm. As I’m sure you can imagine, the experience was absolutely terrible. And terrifying.

We’d been engaging in bondage play—in the most basic terms, I had her tied up, and she fell on her arm… The mistake was all mine, and that’s how it falls when you’re a Dom since you’re the one who’s in control. I assumed she wanted me to play a more severe role than the one we’d agreed on. To be honest, I thought I knew what she wanted better than she did—a stupid and arrogant mistake. On our way to the hospital, we were both upset about it. I’d gone beyond what we’d agreed on, so far as play was concerned, and didn’t communicate the extent of what I was doing to her during the act. Miscommunication is one of the biggest causes of accidents. At all times, you need to know exactly what you’re doing, including the limits. If you have all that in mind, chances are you’re not going to cause serious injuries. That, in my opinion, is one of the key characteristics of a good Dom.

What’s one of the best experiences you’ve had as a Dom?

That’s an interesting question. I’ve had plenty of intense experiences, and they’re all different, depending on the person. That said, I once dated a girl who was totally innocent of the whole BDSM scene. Based on her body language, the way we interacted, and some of the discussions we had, I realized she was totally into rough, domineering sex. At first, it was kind of taboo for her, but she quickly slid into the role. She’d get flushed and really into it. It was amazing, especially coming from someone so new to the scene. In any case, it didn’t take us long to progress from light flogging to gagging and hard anal play. One time I had her tied up, gagged, and was penetrating her behind with a huge toy. Obviously, we’d agreed on everything and we had an established safe word, so if things got too intense all she had to do was say the word. She didn’t. The pain and intensity of the experience was totally comforting and transcendent for her. As a Dom, I obviously got off, too. Seeing her bound, gagged, and moaning without restraint… just the way she flushed, the way her eyes welled up. We were both on a very intimate journey, and she trusted me to get there. A very rewarding experience, to say the least.

What is it that most attracts you about being a Dom?

The control, I think. I enjoy sex on its own, but sex serves as an amazing point of entry into power dynamics. Men like to think that because they’re penetrating, they’re in control. This is patently false, I think. Women allow penetration to happen. Sex is consensual and it doesn’t happen unless both parties are willing. In BDSM the sub has total control. But the theatrics, they sort of belong to the Dom. To me, performing dominance and control is totally engrossing. To feel like I possess someone completely, to believe in the illusion—even if it’s brief—that they are mine, is mind-blowing. And subs feel the opposite way. Those two energies feed off one another, and there’s a reaction that happens that kind of approaches critical mass. I also find that BDSM bleeds into other aspects of my relationship. The trust, communication, the intensity of sex, it all brings you extremely close. It really is more than just a kink. It’s a lifestyle.

How about some tips and tricks that only an expert would know?

Sure. If BDSM is really for you, you’re bound to start accumulating plenty of toys and you should have a place to show them off (if you have kids, please—for the love of god—make sure they can’t access it). Right now, my bedroom is basically a dungeon. I built a customizable bed frame with a cage below and cuff sites at each of the bedposts. It’s an amazingly versatile space. I also just constructed a wooden St. Andrew’s cross, which I’ll be using for the first time this weekend.

Honestly, BDSM has turned me into a DIY repairman, which is another perk. Lots of the time, you’ll find yourself building customizable implements and that knowledge extends to other stuff, like house maintenance.

The most important thing, and I can’t say it enough, is to look at BDSM as a lifestyle. It’s something that stays with you, even after you’ve gagged and whipped your sub’s butt raw and she’s crying tears of pleasure. I don’t believe it’s a hobby, and looking at it as such would be irresponsible in my eyes.

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Photo – Protothema

If you want to learn more about being a Dom or sub and the basics of BDSM play, we’ve got you covered in this beginner’s guide to BDSM – because no one should have to rely on pop culture and Fifty Shades to get their crash course on BDSM.

Written by Hugh Jasse

An eloquent soul, a lover of women, fine wine, and travel. I can often be spotted aboard a skiff in Santorini, catching rays and artfully plucking at my lute.