10 Signs You're Actually a Dom

A D/s Checklist

In D/s relationships there is a dominant and a submissive. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about the qualities it takes to make someone a good dominant. Because, contrary to the Hollywood portrayals, being arrogant, demanding, and dismissive are still negative qualities to bring to a relationship. Even (and especially, some would argue) one with this sort of power dynamic.

But if it isn't the attitude, the trappings, or the title that makes someone a dom, then what is it? Well, as with most other things, it's what's on the inside (and how you show it) that counts. So, if you've been wondering whether or not you'd make a good dom, ask if any of the following items describes you.

#1: You tend to lean towards leadership.

Take a moment and ask yourself how often you are the point person when it comes to making decisions, and getting things done. Do you step into the role of team lead on group projects? Are you comfortable with taking charge on team sports? Do people tend to follow your lead at social gatherings? These are all signs that you have the makings of someone who is capable of taking on the responsibilities of being a dom.

#2: People trust you.

It takes a lot of trust for someone to open themselves up and to submit to the will of another. You're leaving yourself incredibly vulnerable, not just physically, but also emotionally. So, ask yourself if people trust you. Do your friends share their secrets with you? Do your co-workers treat you as a confidante? Do you keep your trusts, once they've been given?

#3: You enjoy control (and respect it).

Control is something dominant partners need to be comfortable with, and generally speaking, it's a role they should enjoy filling. They're the ones sitting in the driver's seat, in many ways. However, it's also important to understand the responsibility that comes with being in control. The knowledge that your actions have consequences, and being comfortable with that, is a key component of being a dom.

#4: You understand consent (and communication).

Lots of people believe that when a dom speaks, a sub obeys. That's true on the surface, but it only happens because of a single, important component: consent. You also understand that agreeing with you is only part of the equation. Consent should be enthusiastic, and the person who gave it should feel they can take it back when they need to. You need to be willing to talk openly and honestly about your wants, or your partner's needs, if it means coming to that important understanding.

#5: Submitting does nothing for you.

You shouldn't knock something until you've tried it, which is why it's always a good idea to at least lick the other side of the coin. However, if you've tried on the submissive role and found it either did nothing for you (or worse, it actively chafed at you), then it may be because you would prefer a dominant role.

#6: A lot of the time, your partners will know before you do.

If you have partners ask you how long you've been a dom, and you find the question confusing since you never identified as such, that's likely a sign you're a natural fit. Especially, if the partners you're with have more experience in the D/s or BDSM lifestyle than you do, and they're telling you those stripes you've got make you look an awful lot like a tiger.

#7: You're genuine.

Whether someone is a dom or a sub, that role should speak to who they really are inside. It's nothing more than a label for natural inclinations they feel anyway. Which is why it's important to make sure you're choosing the label that fits how you feel, instead of trying to fit a label that doesn't really suit you. For dominants, that can tend to spiral out into other aspects of your life, as well, as you see no reason to pretend to be something other than what you are.

#8: You're particularly good at ignoring the haters.

If you find yourself inured to the slings and arrows of others, particularly if they're people you don't know, that is often a quality associated with a dominant personality. If you don't require (or even particularly desire) outside approval in order to feel secure in yourself and your decisions, that's another sign you might belong on the "D" side of the divide.

#9: You understand your responsibilities.

Lots of people look at dominants the way commoners looked at kings. All they saw was the servants, the respect, and the swagger. What they didn't see was that the rulers were responsible for providing for the people, caring for their needs, and taking on the weighty tasks of being a ruler. Being a dom is a similar, if more personal, situation. You need to take the time to understand your partner, learn about their wants and needs, and to provide for them just as they provide for you. You can't be a king if there are no people who will let you rule them, after all.

#10: You realize it isn't the costume that matters.

The trappings of a dominant are not what gives them their authority. It's who they are, and the relationship they've cultivated. Just like how you're still a cop without your uniform, or still a doctor when you're in sweatpants and an old t-shirt. So while crops and leathers are nice to have, if they're a necessity for you feeling like a dom, then you might just be filling a role.

Neal Litherland
Neal Litherland

Neal Litherland is an author, freelance blogger, and RPG designer. A regular on the Chicago convention circuit, he works in a variety of genres.

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10 Signs You're Actually a Dom