Definition of “dominant”

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about how maybe we shouldn’t shit on young doms just because they’re young, and in the comments we had quite an interesting discussion about what the definition of dominant actually is.

My personal definition of dominant is “has dominant desires”, the exact wording of which I stole directly from Ranai’s comment. For me the term dominant is just a convenient shorthand that I use to describe who I am (someone who likes being in charge) and what I want (someone who will go along with what I want most of the time). Like Simina said in another comment, “Dominant is not a title.” She also made an excellent point when she said “I want to know, if a dominant person isn’t allowed to call themselves dom without all this magical experience and training and what not, what the hell are they supposed to call themselves to express their identity?”

I can understand people being pissy when some yahoo shows up and calls themselves Master WolfDragon when they actually have no experience, but Master actually is a title, and it’s one that has a lot of meaning for people, particularly in the leather community. Dominant, on the other hand, just means that you like calling the shots. And if you do just like calling the shots what the fuck are you supposed to call yourself if not dominant? We spend an enormous amount of time talking about how important it is to be honest about what you want and what you have to give, and now some asshole is saying I should lie about what I want because I don’t fit their personal definition of dominant? How does that help anyone?

Also, being dominant most certainly does not mean that I slavishly follow some asshole’s personal definition of what is domly and what is not. I don’t give a shit if you think having penetrative sex is undomly, they’re my nerve endings and I’ll stimulate them how I like. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again “Am I seriously supposed to prove how dominant I am by doing what I’m told?” If you think the only way to be dominant is to follow your personal rules, I think you’ve profoundly misunderstood what being dominant actually means. If you want someone to do what you tell them the person you are looking for is a submissive. As I am neither submissive at all nor your submissive in particular, you can fuck right off if you think you get to tell me what to call myself.

What does it even matter if someone doesn’t meet your personal standards of domliness? The only person whose opinion of someone’s domliness actually matters is that person’s submissive, just like the only person whose opinion on whether I’m a good spouse is my husband. If you’re not part of the relationship, your opinion is irrelevant. Dominance is such a personal thing to me that I can’t imagine why the opinion of someone who’s not involved would matter in the slightest.

One of the reasons I define dominant the way I do is because I personally experience dominance as a facet of my identity. I like being in charge, I like ridiculous action movies, and I like nerding out about code. Nobody gets to tell me whether I actually like being in charge or whether I actually like action movies, and the idea that anyone could is completely ridiculous (well, at least until we have the technology to read people’s minds, but I expect that to take a while 🙂 ) It’s totally reasonable to decide I’m not experienced enough for you or not old enough for you or not mature enough or whatever, but nobody, nobody gets to tell me who I am. You cannot possibly know me better than I know myself and it’s unbelievably rude to think you can.

Thinking of dominance as identity also helps explain why I’m so utterly baffled by people who think there’s some kind of dominant hierarchy. Me being dominant is only about who I am, it really has no bearing on whether you over there are dominant, submissive, or a rutabaga. It doesn’t matter how skilled or experienced you are compared to me, you bloody well get to define yourself however you want.

We do need at least a broad definition of dominant and submissive so we can have a conversation about those topics, but I think “has dominant desires” and “has submissive desires” is plenty, and as a bonus defining it that way allows us not to be total fucking dickweasels about other people’s identities.

If you want to call yourself dominant, go to town! If that’s the best description of who you are and what you want, then you’re morally in the right using it and the dicks who say otherwise can fuck off until they come up with a good reason dominant people shouldn’t call themselves dominant and an alternative word that clearly describes who people with dominant desires are and what they want. I’ll just hold my breath until that happens 😉

5 thoughts on “Definition of “dominant”

  1. Again well said !!
    There is no one size fits all Dominant (snigger.)
    I am an easy going, gentle submissive who has a unsuppressable sence of humour.A fierce Master Wolfdragon would terrify and not suit me at all.I in turn would exasperated the poor growly beast dragon to the extent he would hang his flogger up and take up cross stitch instead. 😉
    A varied menu means we can all find something we like.
    regards to you.
    Freya

    vive la difference!!

  2. I agree mostly but words do have meanings and it’s important to remember that. As a sadist I’m always annoyed when people who only hurt their partners because the partner enjoys it call themselves sadists. Sadism is a desire, a specific kind of pleasure, just like dominance. With female sadists especially the meaning of the term is often twisted to a point where it’s just an empty word. Just wanting to please your partner is fine and dandy, but it isn’t sadism.

    Neither is it dominance, but female dominance as well is often twisted to mean that. In real world, men continue to have more power than women, and get to define the public perception of what women are like. Including defining female sexual dominance, which is usually reduced to male fantasy. Dommes usually accept this definition.

    If you look at heterosexual femdom vs maledom/femalsub dynamics, they are completely different. In my opinion, the role of domme in femdom has much more in common with the role of female sub in kink than with the role of male dominant. Person’s role in kink is far more defined by their sex than their preferences.

    Kinksters hate it when people talk about “true” dominance/submission/whatever, but I still think that most women who identify themselves as dominant or sadist are no such thing. They are usually tops. Just like most so-called submissive men are bottoms with no desire for real power exchange.
    Personally, I’m a sadist switch but I never dominate men because it’s completely fake. It has never made me feel in charge, just that I’m there to do what he wants. The most degraded and used I’ve ever felt has always been with male “submissives”, so I stay away from them. I wish I had realized earlier that the dominance I was promised was empty, just a male fantasy with no room for my own subjective desires.

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