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 😉