Is domination learnable?

After my last post, obviously I have to write a followup about domination :p

Honestly my advice is largely the same as in my post about whether submission is learnable: both doms and subs need to know what they actually want, they both need to know who they are and what they can deal with, they both need to be able to control themselves when they’re having strong feelings, and they both need to be able to communicate well.

For doms it’s probably even more important than for subs to have a handle on your emotions. Nobody submits to someone whose opinion they don’t care about, which means you have enormous power as a dom to emotionally crush your submissive by losing patience when you’re having a bad day. I’m not saying it doesn’t suck when your submissive has a shitty day and takes it out on you, but submissive people make themselves incredibly vulnerable to their doms and you have a duty to take good care of them.

Just like giving up control is a thing you can practice, so is taking control. I promise you nobody is amazing at that the very first time they try dominating someone. It is totally normal to feel tentative at first and to check in a lot and worry about whether all that checking in is ruining the mood and generally feel like a total dork. That feeling eases up a lot as you get more practice, which is why I say taking control is a learnable skill. I’m not sure a person can learn to want to take control, but if you do want to you can get better at it with practice.

Same with accepting service. It might seem silly to call that a skill, but it’s actually really hard to get used to when you’ve been raised in a society that says your purpose in life is to do things for others (especially men), not to let people do things for you, who do you think you are you lazy bitch what do you mean you asked your husband to bring you a cup of tea he’s going to leave you for a woman who actually cares about him. Ahem. Giving orders is very commonly hard for people in the exact same way – we’re basically trained from birth to hint and hope because what kind of domineering bitch straight up tells people what to do?

As a bit of a side note here, being a dom does not mean you have to learn to accept service or to give orders or to do anything that doesn’t do it for you, no matter how many assholes say you aren’t a real dom if you don’t ____. Fuck them, do what makes you happy. I’m only saying that nobody starts out amazing or even particularly good at those things and you can get better with practice.

And finally, self confidence is also learnable – well, buildable anyway. Unconfident people can certainly have dominant desires, but I think they should work on their self confidence because it’s not the submissive’s job to do all the work of convincing you that you’re good enough to dominate them. I firmly believe that if you want to have a submissive of your very own you’ve got to hold up your end of the bargain and part of that is inspiring your submissive to submit to you.

Come to think of it I wish I’d made a similar point in that last post about submission, because constantly reassuring your submissive that they’re good enough to submit to you isn’t any fun either. I can definitely understand how male submissives in particular are at a disadvantage there and that going against everything society says about what a man is supposed to be can do a number on your self esteem, but that’s also beyond the power of your dom to fix.

Of course hard skills like throwing a flogger or tying a knot are learnable too, nobody comes out of the womb good at those. Those are a lot easier to learn (well, it’s easy to learn enough to have a fun scene, I know you can spend a lifetime perfecting your rope technique) than the squishy soft skills I’m talking about here though, and basically everyone recognizes them as a) skills at all, and b) as important skills you should have. I wish we all talked more about the soft skills involved in being dominant or submissive instead of buying into the myth that a real ____ is magically good at all of those skills with no practice and people who need practice can’t possibly be a real ____.

Readers, what soft skills do you think are important?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.