In this blog, I’ve covered a range of topics related to Dominants and domination; I’ve looked at the nature of Domination, the preferred characteristics that should ideally be present in a “good” Dominant, the Dominant typography common to SL, and the more common roles Dominants in SL can (and do) adopt.
But how does one who has little practical experience in the world of D/s, but would like to adopt the mantle of a Dominant, go about things?
All too often, people entering the D/s environment within SL do so in the mistaken belief that being Dominant is not something you learn, it is simply something you “are”. This can lead to some very odd extremes of behaviour that can encompass, but are not limited to – rudeness, swagger, foolish chatter and/or demands, and sometimes a pompous belief in their own infallibility.
But the truth is, no-one is truly born Dominant, although we may well have a predisposition towards a dominant nature. Like any other skill, Domination is something that can, and is, learnt; it is refined and honed over time as an ongoing process that encompasses both experience and learning in a mutual loop of self-development. “Good” Dominants will admit that they are constantly learning, no matter how experienced they may appear to be.
This being the case, if you are coming into SL D/s for the very first time, there is no need to feel you have to reach for a mask or adopt a certain style of behaviour in order to establish your “credentials”.
It’s Not In a Title
Thus we come to “Pey’s First Rule of Domination”: Your status as a Dominant is not determined by the tag you hang above your name. It is defined by how you act and interact.
Taking time out to watch how others interact is one of the best activities the “newbie Dom(me)” can engage in, watching how other Dominants interact with those around them. Observation can also give valuable insight into the types of behaviour that don’t go down so well with those who are established in SL D/s.
And observe means just that. There is an etiquette to D/s and BDSM that extends into SL. Finding others engaged in open play at a public sim is, not, I’m afraid, an invitation for anyone to join in. Nor are all subs obliged to kneel before every Master or Mistress they happen to come across.
Which is not to say that some engaged in public scenes wouldn’t welcome an additional pair of hands (or feet, or a forked tongue or furry tail or whatever tickles their fancy…); some people do get turned on by-play with strangers. Some Dom(mes) like to see their subs played with and excited at the hands of others.
So how do you tell the difference?
Well, a big clue is in the invitation; if you’re invited to participate, you can take it that your involvement will be appreciated. BUT….don’t leap in with both feet. How has the play proceeded so far? What limits have been expressed? What limits have been implied? Has the Dom(me) or (just as importantly) the sub expressed any preferences for the play or indicated part of the play has moved towards a limit that shouldn’t be crossed? How have others behaved around the sub? Have they used harsher language, have they used corporal punishment, or have they been more tender? Take your lead from what you have seen going on before you, use IM to establish anything you are unsure of, and moderate your play accordingly. Again, “domination” does not necessarily involve leaping forward, whip in hand and flailing the living daylights out of someone – and if that hasn’t happened in the scene so far and no indication has been given that the sub would enjoy it, it’s a fair bet that it would probably not be welcomed.
Equally importantly, remember that just because you’re invited to engage in the play doesn’t mean you must. If you feel uncomfortable or awkward, you can actually politely refuse; no-one will think any less of you for doing so. D/s is as much about respecting limits and preferences as it is about anything else – and no-one will think any the less of you for expressing a preference not to directly engage in the play at hand.
“Talk to Me”
Which brings me to “Pey’s Second Rule of Domination”: always communicate. Never, ever, be afraid to seek advice, to ask questions. Sure, some of them may mark you out as a “newbie” – but there is absolutely no shame in that; and I’ve yet to find a good Dominant who will tear your lungs out for politely seeking advice from them. Well, providing you are diplomatic; asking, “Why did you do this? Why did you say that? How do you find out if your sub…” during a scene may well not go down to well! Pick your time wisely, and people will generally be willing to help.
And communication goes much further than one-to-one conversations. While it is true that many “wannabe” (in the most negative sense) Dominants are loud, bombastic, opinionated and all around pains in the posterior. However, This doesn’t mean you need to be the mouse in the corner.
People tend to be attracted to others who show genuine warmth and wit, and who demonstrate demonstrate intelligence, a willingness to show empathy, and so on. These traits apply to Dominants as well; so what if you lack “hard” experience? Simply being yourself, talking with people getting to know the “regulars” at your preferred playground, group or club and allowing your sensibilities and sense of humour to naturally shine, will go a long way towards generating open and warm responses to you and help people build a fair and reasonable assessment of you.
And in that regard – don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Among other things, BDSM in SL involves a bewildering array of toys and devices, and no two product lines are alike; there are no given standards for how menus should work. So it is very easy to get things wrong, or look (in your own eyes) a complete twit or feel yourself panicking as you fumble. This is all perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of. The important thing is not to let it get to you. Take a calming breath, make a joke at your own expense. Not only will it help prevent tension developing, it’ll demonstrate that you are able to keep your ego under control – which is no bad thing for a Dominant.
It’s a Learning Process
Which brings us to “Pey’s Rule Three”: Give yourself time to learn and grow. Don’t expect – or try – to become an Instant Expert. D/s has a culture and language of its own which can be daunting to learn. As well as asking those around you, there are a lot of good resources out on the web you can use. Use them. Confused when someone talks about “SSC” or “RACK” – sneak a peek via your web browser. You don’t have to demonstrate any newly acquired knowledge, but simply taking the time to look such things up can only broaden your understanding. I’ve tried to provide insight into the Dominant lifestyle through these pages; hopefully they may help the aspiring Dominant – and there are other resources out there. Leather and Roses is one; Google will turn up others.
Giving yourself time to explore, learn, ask, etc., will help you better understand the direction you’ll like to grow your D/s experience in SL and – allow you to find your own style: how you like to behave, your manner to chat, the confidence you exude, your manner of dress. All these are quintessential markers of the who you are and how you wish to be regarded – and if you let them grow naturally as you gain experience, you’ll fnd they both fit and serve you a lot better than simply grabbing the nearest “Dominant’s outfit” and strutting your stuff while wearing it.
Always remember…reputations spread easily in any environment….and that is so true of SL. And just like any other club, group, clique, gathering, or interest, it is a lot harder to get rid of a “bad” reputation than it is to establish a “good” reputation.
If you’re of a mind, seek out one of the D/s groups I’ve listed below. You’ll find people – Dominants and submissives like – willing to encourage, support and help; they also provide friendly environments in which you can discover more about D/s – and may offer talks and a similar on a range of D/s topics.
And all that said….don’t be tempted to give in to peer pressure. We all approach D/s differently. We all have our own hopes, wants, and desires, so that what is right for one Dom(me) may not necessarily be right for you. So what if Mistress X has collared 8 subs, and all are happily devoted to her? It doesn’t mean you have to leap out and collar half-a-dozen subs of your own to be regarded as a “Dominant”. You may just as easily find that progressing to the point where you give your collar to just one sub is all the fulfilment the two of you require. Equally, you may find the whole collaring / relationship “thing” way over-rated, and that becoming a “staff” Dom(me) at a reputable club or playground is more to your liking, or that simple casual play is more suited to the time you have for SL.
D/s Groups and Locations
This list is not exhaustive, but highlights a number of in-world Groups that may assist the budding Dominant (and submissive!):
- BDSM Forum – Forum island: a newcomer-friendly BDSM group on a private sim; Group membership is by invitation. Talks and tours available. Voice can be used
- Estate Obscure – Estate Obscure: a women-only D/s group and private sim for Dommes, submissives and Switches. Run with care, knowledge and understanding
- D/s Council of Second Life: dedicated to promoting, protecting, & understanding, D/s lifestyle in all its forms. Members of this group are expected to care for one another, practice responsible D/s, and to respect all forms of D/s in the secondlife community. Membership is restricted and must be approved by an officer (see the Group listing in-world).