DOMINION: Six Simple Rules for the Novice Submissive
14 September 2020
Thank you to everyone who contacted me after the last article. I read every message and was humbled by those who shared their stories. Unfortunately, one of the recurring themes of those stories was abuse. Far too many subs shared stories of mistreatment that ranged from comic and inconvenient to tragic and painful. It broke my heart to hear how some of you felt discouraged in your kink journey because of the actions of others. Your kink journey should fulfill you, not bring emotional pain and turmoil.
The rules I offer below are meant to help the novice submissive navigate the confusing waters of the kink world. As before, I am not AT ALL claiming to know everything about kink, but I've guided a number of subs and Doms and I hope I can help you as I've helped them.
1. Own your power
Be wary of attitudes and people who try to make you feel "less than" because you identify as a submissive. Remember that you are in charge of the game. Your submission is something you give. You own it; it is your power. It is inherent in you and cannot be taken from you, even when you play a game to the contrary. When you indulge your submissive side, you are doing so not because you were born to be lesser than or because it is your station in life. You do so because it makes you feel good.
The games of kink play are about the exchange of energies. The fall of the lash triggers responses that YOU control both in yourself and the Dom. Your intake of breath at the strike, your squirming under their hands guides the game. You control where the game goes and through the use of your safe word, when it pauses or end. Own your power.
2. Maintain your autonomy
You are a fully-formed and self-contained being with a life outside of and beyond your identification as a submissive. You have a right to your own friends and family, your own money and place to live. You have a right to control what is done to and with your body. You have a right to establish rules about how others may interact with you and you may change those rules at any time you desire.
No one has the authority to control you to an extent that you feel trapped, afraid to leave, or fear violent non-kink repercussions for not following their rules or directions. If you feel unsafe, then the situation is unsafe for you.
3. Define your limits up front
There is no such thing as having no limits. We all have limits. Is it acceptable for the Dom to slit your throat open as part of a cutting scene? Can they introduce animals into your play scene? Can they intentionally break your arm while wrestling? If the answer to any of these questions is No, then you have at least some limits.
If you don't know where to start, consider asking friends or others who play on the same side of the slash as you. You can also browse through Recon profiles and see what other people list as their limits. Start by writing a long list of possible limits and organize the list into categories. Is it a Hard Limit (you can't conceive of a scenario where you'd allow anyone to do that to/with you), or is it a Soft Limit (perhaps you'd let someone you trust do this).
Trust can also be broken down by length of acquaintance. For example, there are some for whom condomless sex is a Soft Limit. They may only indulge when they have known the person for some time or have had some level of previous interaction. They may also restrict these or other activities based on level of experience. Do you want someone who has never done temperature play before to fire flog you?
Also consider activities that may be triggering to you. Triggers are those involuntary social, mental, or physical reactions that you can't control or may not even know about until it happens. Rape scenes, race play, even spanking can be triggering to some people. Thinking about these things ahead of time helps you plan for play negotiations later.
Take the time to think about your limits well ahead of scheduling play time or meeting people on Recon or elsewhere. Know your limits as well as you know your kinks and fetishes.
4. Find a mentor
Mentorship is encouraged in the kink community, but be careful when choosing one. Your mentor should play on the same side of the slash. If you identify as a pup, your mentor should be another pup, not a handler. If you are a novice fistee, your mentor should be a more experienced fistee, not a fister. Someone who's been in your shoes will better understand what you are going through and will be able to guide you.
Avoid establishing a mentor relationship with someone to whom you are attracted. This helps keep the relationship platonic or learning-centered. Your relationship will already have a certain degree of intimacy as you share your deeper thoughts and feelings. When you are also attracted to your mentor, it is easy to get your wires crossed. You might end up with hurt feelings or worse. For this same reason, you should avoid having sex or playing with your mentor. A good mentor will encourage you to explore your kinks with others. If your relationship has crossed the line from mentor to partner/significant other, they may not want to see you share yourself with others.
Even if there is no attraction, there is never a need for a mentor to have sex with you in order to guide you. A good mentor answers your questions, helps you find resources, and aids in your personal growth. Once you start having sexual interactions with them, they cease being a mentor and become a play partner with whom you are exploring a given kink. That may be perfectly fine, but that is not a mentor relationship.
5. Vet your partners
Everyone who calls themselves a kink expert can't back it up. It is perfectly fine to investigate a person before agreeing to play with them. Ask others in the community about their reputation. What do others who have played with them feel about their level of skill? Do they respect boundaries? How do they play? Are they safe? Do they honor safe words? How extreme are they in their play?
You should ask them direct questions for which they should have an answer. Ask the fister what kind of lube they use. If they mention some water-based lube, they likely do not have the claimed expertise. This assumes that you have done the research to know what kind of lubes are best for fisting. Being a novice does not absolve you of the responsibility for your own health and safety.
6. Have a plan
Have a plan before you meet up with someone, no matter how casual the encounter. You should have already had conversations about what activities were going to occur and what your (and their) limits are. This negotiation should happen every time you meet someone new and re-explored regularly with existing partners.
Also have an exit plan. When meeting someone, let a good friend know where you are headed, and how long you expect to be gone. Call/text them when you arrive (or when the play date arrives at your place, etc.). Have them call you maybe 30 minutes into the date and have a safe word. A safe word is some word or phrase that you wouldn't ordinarily use. If your friend texts/calls you and you say that everything is "peachy keen", then they know that something is wrong and they should execute whatever plan you have arranged. You can also have a couple of safe words to let them know a greater detail of what's happening. The bottom line is: Hope for the best, but have a plan if things go wrong.
As I said before, I wrote these rules as a response to some of the stories I read. It is my sincere hope that by writing them, I will help some novice sub avoid the trauma others wrote about. I also so hope that Doms will read them and consider how they interact with the submissives they encounter.
Dominion is the PledgeMaster and co-Founder of ONYX Mid-Atlantic. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. His weekly video podcast, The BGKH Show with Dominion & Epic returns to Youtube on Wednesdays at 8pm eastern, starting August 5, 2020.