Jul 172012

Much has been written about how a Dominant/Top should care for their submissive/bottom during the evolution of a scene.  Concerns over possible abuse, inaccurate techniques and unsafe surroundings have been discussed, lectured and written about to no end.  As the dominant ones, we are told it is our mandatory responsibility, for all our encounters, to follow safety guidelines and after care rules.  Learning how to care for one’s submissive is an excellent goal for all dominants. It will assist them in having a better understanding of what a submissive goes through. An often-ignored area is the dominant’s rights. Yes, we do have them as well as bottoms! It is often viewed by our community that the bottom is the only one at risk when engaging in our lifestyle/play/encounters.  Not until we hear stories of dominants being beaten, raped or abused by their submissives do we realize that dominants are also at risk. Sometimes even more so, as we are supposed to be the caretakers.

Our scenes are often described as a power exchange, with the energy flowing freely back and forth between partners.  One would assume the best encounter would be one of an evenly balanced exchange. Not so. Each interaction differs on what the people involved desire and agree upon. I might engage in heavy energy manipulation where I am giving much more than taking. Therefore would it not seem logical that both involved are affected by the encounter and might need to verify well being in each other. How many times have we witnessed a scene finishing with the submissive being taken down, given water, body conditions brought back to normal stasis and then the domme left to fend? Many scenes can be more emotionally and/or physically taxing for the dominant. At the end of each scene, both parties involved need to assess not only the other’s condition but their own.

The basic tenets of Dominant rights include:

  1. The right to their safety in all encounters.

Physical:  The right to be informed of any potential physical dangers they may encounter in playing with you, including STD’s, possibly infectious diseases and recent illnesses a submissive might have. To keep such hidden under the guise that it doesn’t affect the scene is reckless and dishonest. Accidents due happen and it is not ethical to put another in unknown harm’s way.  They have the right to refuse a scene or play partner without repercussions, such as damage to their reputation. All dominants have the right to interpret this aspect for themselves.  One’s comfort is an individual concept.

Emotional:  The right to maintain their own space and boundaries. If uncomfortable with a situation, the right to remove themselves from such. There is a common myth that as the “strong one”, the dominant should show little emotion and maintain decorum at all times. All of us are humans with emotions that affect our processes. Dominants have the right to show and express the emotions that are affecting them. This includes anger, sadness and disappointment, keeping in mind the concept of do no harm in mind.

Mental:  The right to be informed of any past repressions, mental issues or abuse or possible triggers that may affect the play they initiate with a partner. They also have the right to end a scene or play connection if they feel it has become unhealthy for either person involved.

Spiritually:  The right to practice BDSM spiritually if they so desire and to find like-minded play partners. The right to not be judged or criticized for not playing with someone based on this aspect.


2.  The right to informed consent.

Dominants have the right to agree or not on participating in a scene based on honest information. They have the right to research all potential play partners as much as needed to become comfortable. This includes inquiring into experience and past relationships. They have the right to refuse gracefully if they feel uncomfortable with a possible scene.

3.  The right to educate themselves.

Pursue knowledge and expand their skills in any area they are interested in. Ask other dommes for assistance if they are uncomfortable with an activity. Admitting that one does not know all is a show of good character. Exercising intelligence will help insure a good and safe scene for all involved.

4.  The right to stop a scene.

You might have witnessed a play scene where the dominant is goaded on by the submissive to give more. As the dominant, we have the right to call a scene if we feel a limit has been reached, fatigue has set in and hindered our accuracy, we are tired or just done.

5.  The right of determination.

Just as a submissive does, a dominant has the right to determine what they desire from a submissive, who may or may not fit those criteria and the right to say No thank you to ones that do not match.  They have the right to determine who to train, what style they enjoy training in and how someone earns their collar. In the aspect of ownership, the dominant also has the right to request a collar be returned.

6.  The right to their own style.

Each of us is unique in our dominance. No one way is better. What works for one does not always work for another. How boring this life would be if we were all the same. The right to not be judged by other dominants or ridiculed because one’s style differs.

7.  The right to be proud of their dominance.

Without crossing over into arrogance, the dominant should enjoy the strength and control they have.  Being dominant does not give the right to be a bitch or jerk. A true enjoyment of one’s nature and role is acceptable. Enjoy the privileges that come from it.

Please remember as a dominant, you do have rights. First and foremost is your right to honesty between yourself and any potential partner. You have the right to interview, inquire and question before, during and after any scene. Get to know your partner before you play with them. Let them see you in action with others. Be honest about who you are, your play style, level of experience and what you have to offer. Misrepresentation of any kind can lead to a disastrous encounter. Use your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable, there is probably a reason.


Many of the rights expressed here do apply to both partners in any lifestyle encounter.


  One Response to ““What about me?” The Rights of the Dominant”

  1. Awesome article. This isn’t a topic that gets covered much, but is an important thing to consider. As you note, for some reason, people often seem to think bottoms/submissives are the only people that need care and respect for their boundaries.