In the books and the movies, you just know. Your eyes meet, and then suddenly theirs are downcast, and you feel that thrill of DOMINANCE. You walk over, tell them confidently “Follow me!” and enjoy as they shiver with impending orgasm just from the tone of your voice…
All of which makes for great erotica, but not such great relationship tactics. Not that it doesn’t happen – studies have shown that dominant personalities do neurochemically affect submissive responses simply by entering the same room – but so what? If you’re looking for more than a simple flirtation, there are some necessary skills and steps that need to develop.
Mollena Williams calls this process “Diplomacy for D/s” and has an entire series on the process. The primary thing to remember is that this is a relationship between human beings. This means that before the dominance and submission is fully expressed there needs to be mutual respect between the two people.
Of course, before you can learn that you need to actually meet someone.
Sites such as Fetlife or even here on Kink Academy can put you in contact with other kinksters, but if you’re looking for real-life interaction you need to explore the community of kink. Mollena co-wrote “Playing Well With Others” along with Lee Harrington, and they provide a guide to the various kinds of events you might want to try out. It’s important to make sure the event fits your personality – if you’re not comfortable there, what are the odds you’ll meet someone you’ll be comfortable with exploring kink?
That’s a key part of finding the right submissive partner, according to former International Power Exchange title holder (and Kink Academy instructor) Stefanos: clear communication of expectations. It’s very romantic to have someone simply “surrender” to your will, but even if they want to they can’t stop being an individual with needs, wants, and desires. Taking the time to explore what those needs might be – and where they overlap with your dominant inclinations – is essential.
For example, if you believe you are wanting to have a female submissive, it might be good to watch a professional like Domina Snow give her take on how to dominate women. It’s a hot series of clips, and you might even want to watch them more than once. It would be a mistake to try and duplicate what she does with Kelle Martina, though – that is particular to their scene.
A better tactic would be to remember what things appeal to you – such as the riding crop, perhaps – and then play the Toy Negotiation Game with a potential partner. If they pick out the crop, you can get your first inkling of how your proclivities might match.
It’s important to remember that everyone has a different experience of submission. Mistress Simone’s bottom feels very cared for and nurtured in her interaction with the Mistress, and that in turn feeds the needs of Simone. On the other hand, Barak and Sheba enjoy a kind of D/s known as “Brat Play” and that kind of interaction might not work at all for Mistress Simone. Part of the reason we model so many interactions here on Kink Academy is so that you can not only talk about but watch real interactions that might resonate with your kink.
It’s important to realize that submission is not an on/off switch – it’s more like a rheostat, a dial that can be turned in various levels depending on circumstances.
Ava Amnesia talks about the concept of a “spectrum of submission” and how various labels can help communicate where you and your partner might want to explore. She emphasizes, however, that any label, from “Slave” to “Brat” to “Thing 1” needs to be the start of a conversation, not the end of one.
Expectations go both ways. It is also important to find out from your potential submissive what they expect from you in terms of responsibility. As Scotty explains in his series on dominance there is a real responsibility to taking the dominant role in a relationship. There also can be unrealistic expectations of how far that responsibility might extend – an expectation of what Graydancer calls “domnipotence.”
If the expectations don’t match exactly, that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. After all, people change over time, so any relationship that hopes to last will have to find ways to deal with conflict. Sarah Sloane teaches several methods for not only dealing with conflict within D/s but also maintaining that dynamic during the process. It’s not always possible – some conflicts are simply too big to deal with in any roles but equal human beings – but the more you practice resolving problems, the better you both will get at it.
If it sounds like a lot of work just to find a submissive, that’s because it is. Like anything, you get out of the process what you put into it. It’s easy to find someone willing to bottom, but submission is a deeper process, and worth the time and effort to get it right.