There are several Dominant “types” within Second Life. By “type”, I’m not referring to the roles that a Dominant may adopt – such as the Disciplinarian or the Controller or the Goddess or whatever; these are discussed in a separate essay that makes up my little quartet on Domination and SL.
By “type”, I mean the overall approach a Dominant takes to Second Life: are they here for casual play? Are they seeking relationship-based D/s? Is D/s their primary reason for being involved in Second Life, or is it balanced or offset by other, more vanilla interests? Is the Dominant monogamous or polyamorous?
Broadly speaking, Dominants in Second Life tend to fall into three brod groups: the casual, the moderate and the lifestyle, with the latter two potentially open to further sub-division.
The casual Dominant is perhaps best described as someone who has little or no desire to engage in a significant D/s relationship. For them, things tend to be focused on thrill of the chase, the capture of a now experience, a new submissive or two and new ways of finding pleasure / giving torment or tease. Short-term capture and interaction over a few days may form a part of their activities, but they are by-and-large not seeking a long-term relationship – although some might make and exception if someone very special comes along. Open play sims, kidnap rp sims and the like tend to be popular with the casual Dominant.
The moderate Dominant is someone for whom D/s is very much a focus of their SL life, but who also engage in other activities that may lead to them spending a fair amount of time and effort away from anything that is D/s-oriented. This is not to say they are not committed to “being” Dominant, rather that their SL life is more reflective of the fact that SL offers them more than one avenue of interest. They may be more involved in relationship-style D/s than the casual Dominant, but not exclusively so.
The lifestyle Dominant is someone who sees D/s as their raison d’être for being in SL, with all other interests being secondary to having a “fully D/s” lifestyle while in-world. In keeping with this goal, the lifestyle Dominant may adopt the more forceful Dominant roles, frequently combining that of the Controller and that of the Disciplinarian. Some may adopt an almost stereotypical mode of dress in-world; others may not. Whichever way they opt to dress shouldn’t be mistaken as a sign that they have little understanding of D/s or that they are simply “playing” the role. They also tend to opt for a style of dress that reflects their deep involvement in SL D/s, which may come across as stereotypical of : boots, uniforms, visible accoutrements such as whips, etc., on open display. This is perhaps the type of Dominant that those new to SL and D/s aspire to, as it is seen as symbolising “the lifestyle”.
Within the moderate and lifestyle categories of Dominant one may also find the Collector and the Matriarch / Patriarch.
The Collector, as the name suggests is someone who tends to gather submissives quickly – often according to some specific criteria or role-play requirement. The Collector tends to collar quickly, and is inclined to see the size of their collection as a sign of their prowess as a Dominant. This is not to say the Collector is unskilled as a Dominant; rather the reverse, they are probably quite adept at assuming one or more Dominant roles that enable them to attract submissives. However, they may not always place a priority in maintaining the balance within their group, nor be willing (or indeed able) to provide the attention and /or nurture submissives in their charge to the degree the submissive desires. As a result of this, Collectors tend to have a high turn-over of submissives.
The Matriarch / Patriarch may appear similar to the Collector, but in fact their goal is very different. It is not quantity that counts with the Matriarch / Patriarch, it is quality. The quick collar is rare here; rather then will take time to get to know a potential and see how the potential engages and relates to those submissives already within the “family”. As a result, the units they form tend to be more close-knit and enduring, with a much lower turnover than the Collector may experience. Submissives who require a little more in the way of nurturing and support can settle into such units, where they will receive the love and support of their peers during those times when the Dominant’s attention is focused elsewhere, and they will have the assurance that their Dominant is invested in them.
Why draw any distinction?
Why is it important to draw any distinction as to the “types” of Dominants one may encounter?
Well, because for any D/s relationship to flourish each side needs to be able to recognise with whom they are dealing. If a submissive is looking for someone who will nurture them, helping them to grow in their role, share SL life and times with them – then it is fair to say, engaging with a casual Dominant could well lead to heartache; they’d be much better off with a moderate or lifestyle Dominant – with the caveat that it’ may not be a good idea for a submissive with these needs to seek a deep engagement with a Collector.
Similarly, the submissive seeking to surrender absolutely to a Dominant as far as it is possible within SL, their wish being that they are placed under “total control” at all times, may well find their needs better met by the lifestyle Dominant than perhaps by the moderate Dominant who may spend som of their SL time engaged in activities removed from D/s.
That said, it should be understood that there is no implied hierarchy here: the moderate Dominant is not necessarily more skilled than the casual or less skilled than the lifestyle Dominant. Nor is any given type of Dominant more adept in applying the various Dominant roles. The only real differentiators between them are in terms of their willingness to be involved in longer-term relationships in SL and /or their commitments to D/s and other interests that they have in SL which may impact on their ability, time and willingness to engage “purely” in D/s-related activities.
So one might say the watchword here is to be aware of what is going on around you and the people you’re interacting with – be aware of the types of roles evidenced – but don’t completely typecast people by their initial behaviour. It takes time to understand and appreciate who and what they are.