9 Tips for Exploring Dominance & Submission

Dominance and submission – a way to explore power dynamics and stretch the boundaries of so-called “conventional” sexual roles.

Sometimes the very elements that would be troublesome outside the bedroom can become extremely erotic when played with sexually.


Perhaps your partner ordering you to go do the dishes wouldn’t be appealing in a traditional romantic relationship, but what if they ordered you to lay down so they could pleasure you for hours? The only caveat is… you’re not allowed to orgasm… yet.

There are so many delicious elements to a D/s dynamic. It can offer both physical pleasure and increased connection, and even encourage variety and excitement in long term relationships.

Today, we are going to dip our curious toes into Dominance and submission, although the possibilities are truly endless.

What’s in a Name?

Before we get into all the fun variants of Dominance and submission, there is one cornerstone to determine first. Will you be a giver, a receiver, or both? Gender expression has absolutely no bearing on sexual roles, so enjoy the limitless potential. As with all aspects of BDSM, these are not fixed roles, and you can also chose to be a ‘Switch’, and swap between the roles at your preference.

Some of the most popular power dynamic definitions are: Dominant, Top, Master, Sir, Madam, Mistress, Owner, Trainer, and submissive/sub, slave, pet, bottom, trainee, and of course, S/switches. When you close your eyes and think about a dominant or dominatrix, you may think of an intimidating, leather clad person with a whip in one hand, and a flogger in the other. A Dominant person can be all that and more, but they can also be loving and nurturing, or cruel and sadistic – it’s entirely up to you. There is no right or wrong way to explore dominance and submission, as long as it’s consensual and feels authentic to you.

It is key to remember that the sub holds all the power – so don’t get BDSM twisted with abuse.

Let It Go

It’s time to throw away any internalized self judgment, any ideas of how sex should or shouldn’t be, and just enjoy having fun and playing with power dynamics. Hopefully you’ve already read about how to safely get started in BDSM, and if you haven’t, go back and brush up on the basics and intermediate concepts. Now that you have your fundamentals, it’s time to get down to business.

Let Me Hear Your Body Talk

There is so much more than just language when it comes to being Dominant. Your tone and your body language is even more important than the actual words you say, so try to exude your Dominance through your pores as well as your mouth! Stand up straight, lift your chest, and allow yourself to take up space.

Let your presence be as commanding as your voice. Use direct eye contact, and try speaking slowly and clearly. A lower tone can be helpful, as if you were commanding an animal.

Practice these techniques by yourself first to see what feels the most natural to you, as that is what’s going to be most effective.

Looking The Part

If you’d like to have beautiful or intimidating garb, go right ahead! Try out some thigh high stockings, black leather boots, suspenders, suit and tie, or anything else that tickles your fancy. Clothing and accessories can be powerful tools to help you embody a dominant role.

If you’re taking on a more submissive role, you can still dress up to your heart’s desire, though being naked is the most traditional outfit of a sub. Try out some beautiful body jewelry or a classic collar to adorn your submission.

Assume The Position

You may have fun learning some submissive positions (NSFW) together, with the Dom training the sub in exactly what brings their eye the most pleasure. Try learning 3-4 in a week, and then greet your lover when they come home from work by kneeling completely naked, with your collar on. What a good teacher’s pet, showing them how well you have learned. Oh, and how eager you are for rewards and treats… 

Erotic Motivation

Which leads us to our next section – what motivates you. Some subs are motivated by fear, humiliation, pain, or discipline. Others can be motivated more by rewards, praise, and treats. Some love a little of both. Spend some time together playing with each, and see which you both enjoy best.

Perhaps a good oral sex session performed on your Dominant could be followed by them paddling you for forgetting to ask permission. Maybe you prefer being rewarded for a job well done with a Magic Wand session. Try both out – you may be surprised at what interests you more.

Naughty or Nice

Try writing down a list of all the things you’d like to try sexually, and marking them from 1-5 with how excited you are about them. Have your lover do the same, and then compare notes. If there are things on their list that you would enjoy doing for them, but aren’t necessarily your favourite, mark those down on a seperate sheet.

Congratulations! You’ve just created a sexual blueprint for all the fun you could have! Plus, as a bonus, you’ve given your dominant a list of ways they can either please or punish you. What a good student you are…

Tantalising Tension

Now that you have the erotic groundwork, the D/s world is your oyster. You can create sexual contracts together, explore new kinks and turn ons, and play a plethora of erotic games. Build some anticipation for all this play by texting your lover throughout the day about all the naughty things you’re going to do when you see them. The tension really heightens arousal and can even increase blood flow in anticipation!

Kinky Games

Need some fun ideas to get started? Try getting out a lovely crop, and stroke it all over your naked lover, helping relax their body and mind whilst heightening their arousal. When you’re ready, tell them that they must kiss wherever the whip touches. Start easy, and tap their toes. Then, the pillow near them, then the floor, the wall, your feet, the pillow again, and enjoy watching them scramble to obey you. You may even enjoy guiding that whip towards yourself.

Don’t have any BDSM toys to play with yet, but want to play with your power? No problem. Try licking your partner right to the edge of orgasm, and then stopping. Start again, taking them right to the brink, but never allowing them to fall over. You can play this for as long as you like, then give them a lovely kiss, and tell them to go to bed (good luck falling asleep with your squirming lover beside you).

Aftercare, Always.

Whether you’re new to BDSM entirely, or you want to include some more power play into your bondage repertoire, D/s exploration can be sexually fulfilling. For some, even emotionally healing. Make sure you check in with your submissive throughout the session, as well as directly afterwards, and again the next day. Some submissives experience ‘sub-drop’ where their emotions crash after all that oxytocin and endorphins have been coursing through their system. Aftercare is as important as foreplay, so make sure you prioritize it.


Enjoy playing with your new ideas and skills, and as always, keep is safe, sane, and consensual.



Isabella Frappier is an Australian writer and a holistic Sexuality Doula, who specializes in body literacy and sexual sovereignty. She is also a host on the popular new Sex Magic Podcast. When she’s not busy championing her sex positive agenda, she—oh wait—she’s always busy doing that. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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