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What constitutes a good Dom/me?

02 November 1997

This discussion took place on #SanTara on Sunday, the 2nd of November 1997

The discussion looks at what characteristics make a good Dom or Domme, and which of these characteristics are learned and how they are learned.

Symbols and abbreviations
Smiles and grins
irc Internet Relay Chat-- a way of chatting with someone real-time on the Internet
sub Submissive person
dom/Dom Dominant person (usually male)
Domme Dominant female
24/7 24 hours per day, seven days a weeek. Ie. full-time
play-partners People who "play" BDSM scenes together
LTR Long-term relationship
frog frogaroo
Jal/jal jenni
Alexa^^ A Pro Dom (Professional Dominatrix). Owner of dina (a female slave)
MrEos A male Dominant
jenni A female submissive
Achernar A male submissive
warrigal^ A male submissive
fairlady{G} A female submissive/slave
sarah_ts Transexual, biologically male (submissive)
frogaroo A male Dominant, "owner" of alycia (a female submissive)

MrEos I nominate Alexa^^ as channel dominator, er... moderator for the evening
Alexa^^ Bows and starts the meeting :)

OK. The topic is domming/topping... and, yes, this li'l meeting will go on the site [ABIS] and I have to remind everyone of that before we begin

I am still looking for ideas regarding next fortnight's topic too, by the way

But tonight: What constitutes a 'good' Dom/me. Would anyone like to begin?

Points to...

Anyone? We were all so noisy before[the meeting started]! What would you think makes a good Dom?

I think at least some practical experience

MrEos A good submissive <grin>
Alexa^^ Chuckles

OK. That's one, Eos

MrEos Patience




jenni OK, MrEos. You got a reaction from me:)

i am with you all the way until you reach arrogance, i think. that part of what makes a good Dom is someone who is sufficiently self-confident to be able to admit to *weakness* :)

MrEos I say arrogance because the Dom has to know that he/she is "above" the sub and can make decisions in his/her best interest
frogaroo yep. arrogance is only desirable if in response to the sub's need for it. some subs are really in need of warmth
Alexa^^ So it is more an 'appearance' of arrogance rather than a literal arrogance?
frogaroo Yep
warrigal^ Nods to Alexa
sarah_ts In my dictionary a Dom/Domme needs to be self-confident and self-assertive. I find that arrogance is a word used to describe those who would like to have the aforementioned qualities but are somewhat lacking
MrEos I want to add [to the list] a desire to see the sub "improve" in some way
Alexa^^ Nods to Eos

I would add a love of the craft

MrEos I agree, Alexa. I see the "craft" as crafting a better submissive so that, when/if you both part, the sub comes away better than when he/she started with you
Alexa^^ Nods

But I wouldn't limit a love of the craft to the availability of a sub

warrigal^ from my point of view it is that a Dom/me needs to be able to listen to the sub

to explain: I don't tend to give much verbal feedback

Alexa^^ Nods to warrigal

Good point There are lots of ways to 'listen'

jenni speaking from a strictly sub viewpoint, i also tend to think it is essential for Dom/mes to be aware of and knowledgeable about the kind of psychological benefit/harm they can do... the strong added dimension in D/s
Alexa^^ Nods heaps to jal

Would you like to explain that a bit?

jenni OK, Alexa :)

ummm... too often i see people i suppose not really thinking through the responsibilities which become inherent within a D/s relationship...

Alexa^^ Nods
warrigal^ Nods
jenni very prevalent on irc, but also in rl, as, by the time a sub actually DOES submit, there is usually a rather large wall [that] has been crossed

or, sometimes, the reasons for a sub actually *subbing* can be embedded in rather traumatic past experiences, [which] can be dangerous stuff to open up without the intent to follow through :)

Alexa^^ Smiles
sarah_ts Nods in agreement
warrigal^ Nods emphatically to Jal
MrEos I wanted to say something about the responsibility issue ...

Every time a Dom/me gives a sub an order he is taking on responsibility from the sub, taking "choice" from the sub

frogaroo The situation is quite different whether you live with your sub (24/7) or whether you are dealing with episodic scenes
Alexa^^ Agrees
sarah_ts Sorry, but I disagree about the difference between episodic scenes and r/l (24/7). For me and a lot of people that seek out professional Mistresses there is no difference; each episode is just a part of the overall puzzle. Just as 24/7 doesn't mean every second of the day, each episode just means the "seconds" are further apart--the link is always there
Alexa^^ ok, well for dina and myself 24/7 is every second of the day, but I know it mean different things for different people, but for me the difference in responsibility, while not lessened, is different between play-partners and 24/7. My responsibility, for example, with clients is greater then that with dina, but only in the sense that because of our living arrangments she has been 'given back' some of the responsibilities a 'play' sub would give away
frogaroo Yes, Alexa, I find that living with your loved sub requires a lot of care in the way you play. You can really f... up because the bond is SO real. A *bad* scene could take days to heal. And you'd have to live with it...
Alexa^^ Nods a lot
frogaroo But I am very in-experienced with playing with strangers...
MrEos I agree with sarah about the responsibilities. I don't really "play" scenes, but my email slave and my r/l non-live-in sub both get the same feeling of responsibilty from me because I have control over them and it extends beyond our times of contact. So my responsibility is always with me. The distance and whether we live together doesn't diminish that.

Playing with someone on and off is different. There the responsbility is negotiated, like the rest of the scene, and ends when the scene ends

Alexa^^ Nods to Eos
sarah_ts That's what I meant, Alexa, for any 24/7 relationship to work the sub has to assume certain day to day responsibilities, but is still ultimately submissive.

With now and again scenes, that feeling of being submissive to the person is still always there, no matter the time between sessions. Maybe it is different, but it is still there

Alexa^^ OK. I would ask then, subs, what has been the most important thing a Dom/mme has had to have to make it (session, etc..) good, and Dom/mmes, what do you think is the most important thing you needed to learn to be a 'good' Dominant


jenni a knowledge of what they [the Dom/mes] want, and umm... a sense of humour when appropriate :))
Achernar a general sense of care, of affection, a feeling that the Dom(me) is enjoying her/himself and yes, a sense of humour. nothing worse than the feeling that the Dom(me) is going through the motions and not enjoying it
warrigal^ for me it is the ability of a Dom/me to get into my head, for them to be able to control me with a word, to command with a look
Alexa^^ Smiles
frogaroo Nods
sarah_ts Sort of like the others said...

I would like my Domme to understand the gift I want so much to give, and for them to want to accept it just as much, even if it is only for an hour or so

MrEos Wonders if he'll ever learn to control with a look or a word :( <sigh>
Alexa^^ Nods

OK. What about a Dom, Eos?

MrEos No, thanks. I just ate...
warrigal^ :)
jenni Groans quietly...<g>
fairlady{G} Giggles
Alexa^^ Well, for me the key has been consistency, in 24/7 and in shorter scenes
MrEos OK. I think it's important for a Dom to provide a solid base on which the sub can build their submission. So the Dom needs to be stable, unchanging and, as Alexa said, consistent so that the sub can "see" their future submission ahead of them. It also needs strength of character and certainty of the direction being set for the relationship and a deep desire to see it through, a need within the Dom himself, if you will
Achernar I just wanted to add to the consistency aspect. As a sub, I see consistency as important because it's a base for trust, and trust is really what it all revolves around
warrigal^ Nods to Achernar
Alexa^^ dina pipes in with a 'she needs to know what's expected of her' point to add to the consistency thread.
sarah_ts Nods
Alexa^^ OK. How do Dom/mmes learn their skills? Any ideas?
MrEos There are two main elements that I see...

One is natural aptitude. The second is knowledge and experience to hone it

warrigal^ Agrees with MrEos
Alexa^^ Nods to Eos

Care to enlarge on natural aptitude? Meaning a desire to Dom or presence?

MrEos Yes. A desire to do so, or else the ability to experience a deep pleasure when doing so. I don't know about presence. I don't think I have that particular attribute so I cannot comment :)
Alexa^^ smiles

If its ok, may I ask you frogaroo, how did you learn your skills as a Top/Dom?

frogaroo I was a sub, of sorts, then discovered that a lover of mine wanted from me what I had been looking for in a Domme...

...and again...and again...

MrEos On the thread of how one learned to Dom I got it from theatrical school (surprise)... where I taught (bigger surpsie)... and had to be able to walk up to any particular adult and take control instantly--no ifs or buts, when I was present it had to be me in control. I learned an enormous amount about being sure, confident and making what I say THE way
Alexa^^ I wanted a surprise :)
frogaroo Actually, for me it is not so much a matter of learned skills. More of empathy. I think [that] the subs taught me.
Alexa^^ Nods to frog
frogaroo I'm very much into duality stuff. It's in the head, more than in attitude. Subbing is *also* being in control.
warrigal^ Nods to frogaroo
jenni MrEos, you just made me make another connection... umm... my work involves getting other people to accept responsibility, and take control--basically empowerment stuff... ummm.. Now i will disappear into a bit of navel-gazing while i work out if that, in some ways, forms the basis of the way i submit... :)

(in some ways, facilitating Domination from others) phew! i will tie myself up into knots here if i am not careful :))

MrEos I see many similarities between what I have done in the past and what I do in the context of D&s. A lot of it reveals aptitude, but some things, like the teaching, show where I learned to dominate. So I see in my adult life a very active Dominant even when BDSM is not explicit
frogaroo Jalinari, I started with self-bondage :)) and, yes Eos, I have noticed :)
Alexa^^ Chuckles

OK. Who's up?

warrigal^ for me it quite the opposite from MrEos. in my work I am in control; if I screw up people can die, but in a scene I like to feel I am out of control. I like the Domme to have total control of me
Alexa^^ OK. For me it has been a balance of learned practical skills, taught through my own sub times early on, and a natural evolution so to speak into Dominance that provided 'presence'. There are some thngs that just can't be taught. Most Dom/mmes I know have at least tried subbing before topping, and for me it was how I learned too
MrEos Two things...

Firstly, warrigal, I enjoy playing Dom at work, home and everywhere. I quite happily take control when offered or available...

warrigal^ :)
MrEos Also being a Dom with an admitted submissive is just an extension of that. Most of it seems to come "intuitively" (ie. from previous experience) for me. Maybe I'm lucky, but it's something that just "turns on" for me (though it undoubtedly could do with some refining)
warrigal^ Someone once told me though that the sub really has the control and I found that at times she is right because can't a sub stop a scene at any time?
Alexa^^ Smiles

Old saying: people only have as much power over us as we give them...

frogaroo I agree with warrigal wholeheartedly
sarah_ts I agree with what you said about presence, and that one doesn't really "learn" how to dominate; one merely learns the use of the tools and their application, including verbals; and yes a sub can stop a scene, but cannot stop someone's character
warrigal^ Nods to sarah
Alexa^^ Thanks sarah

OK. Next point shall we, primary responsibilities of a Dom/me

This is of course assuming the Dom/me has a submissive/slave


sarah_ts You mean like safe, sane & consensual?
Alexa^^ Nods to sarah
MrEos Well-being of the submissive, both in scene and, in LTRs, in the relationship. Well-being of the Dom himself. Well-being of the relationship itself
warrigal^ also the well-being of the psyche of the sub. any person can cause damage in a person's mind and that must be looked out for
Alexa^^ Nods

Good point, warrigal

frogaroo Try to make sure that Pain does not become pain
warrigal^ nods
Alexa^^ nods to frog

For me it is a holistic approach of mind, body and spirit; because dina and I do non-consensual scenes, the sane and safe elements of SS&C are very important

Any other 'responsibilities'?

warrigal^ a knowledge of any injuries. it is up to the sub to make the domme aware of any disabilities
MrEos Good points, warrigal...

I also feel that a responsibility is that the sub ends up better (emotionally, intellectually, etc.) as a result of the Doms "attentions" than worse. This is in the context of a LTR, though, of course :)

frogaroo Same as Warrigal's comment: SAFETY
Alexa^^ OK. So a knowledge of some of anatomy is good
frogaroo For heavy play: YES
MrEos And a knowledge of some psychology for mind play
Alexa^^ Nods and agrees..
frogaroo Yep. Yep.
Alexa^^ OK. We usually wrap-up soon, can we get to creating good scene play and leave switching for next time?

So, I would ask the subs first: what would you say makes for a creat scene; what elements make it 'great'?

... And the Doms: are there elements that make some scenes great and some not so?

Achernar In my case, the scenes that have stuck in my mind as being great have been the ones really involving my emotions, my head, with a strong element of trust, and genuine submission, and that came through a good connection with the Domme
frogaroo Nods
Alexa^^ Chuckles

I think so too

MrEos For me it's a good scene when the sub reacts in ways that show that the buttons that I am trying to push are producing the reactions that I want to see.

So feedback from the sub is very important. I need to FEEL that what I am doing is working

Alexa^^ Nods to Eos

For me it is a combination of getting into headspace for me and the sub. With dina though, we just 'click'

frogaroo To me, there is a great aesthetic pleasure in a memorable scene. As an artist, I have an approach which is very sensual/visual; maybe I'm more into Libertinage (a form of anarchy) than anything
MrEos I agree with frog. When it all clicks it is a beautiful thing, something that you can feel all through you
Alexa^^ I also agree with frog. Most of my memorable scenes are very visually sensual rather than [just] an 'overt' display
MrEos I scene mostly in the mind. That's where I see the beauty. I see it in the submission in my sub, in her reactions towards me and in what I provoke
Alexa^^ Nods to Eos

Does anyone have anything to add ?

frogaroo I agree with Eos on the matter of beauty
Alexa^^ Smiles

I think [it is] a blend of both visual and psycological

For me overtness has its place; but I do prefer a more sensual approach

MrEos I can't ties knots so I rely on the psychological :)
Alexa^^ *grins* at Eos
frogaroo I suggest scouting and sailing as two good schools :)
Alexa^^ (whispers) I will teach you a few knots, Eos :)
MrEos :) OK, frog
Alexa^^ Smiles

Thanks for coming everyone. It's been another good one

MrEos You'll see it on ABIS soon :)

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