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There is a veritable library on the internet extolling the characteristics of virtuous Dominants… truly there is. Each has something to offer the reader, if properly applied, of course context is everything, so if you want to gain the experience of your Foredom/mes, put your ego on hold and prepare to learn humbly.

A Note…

If there was such a thing as a rule for Dom/mes it would likely be more intended as an experience based set of principles or guidelines. Each Dominant is his or her own person and as such has the mental capacity (hopefully) to understand what it means to be Dominant and how to effectively maintain and uphold specific standards.

1. Everyone has limits, as a Dominant the rules you set in place for the behavior of your submissive are a reflection of these limits. Rules are basic to any D/s relationship, they relate what is and is not acceptable, so take the time to consider what you feel is acceptable behavior for the submissive under your care/control. Ensure that these rules are well understood and be patient, no set of behaviors is perfected in one day, the point is to provide your submissive with a standard of behavior that he or she will embody and perfect OVER TIME.

2. Rules should not be brittle. Welcome to reality, you are in a relationship with another human-being, and although you are the all-powerful, all-knowing, godhead (I mean Dom/me) no set of rules will cover every aspect of experience or unplanned misunderstanding. For this reason it is important to be open to negotiate the intricacies of rules and adapt them to changing circumstances.

Rules are helpful because they add clarity and facilitate decision making. Rules cut in stone become millstones and anchors…there are always going to be exceptions and no amount of rule writing will cover all the possibilities.

Jack Rinella, Rules for Masters

3. Establish a fair system of discipline and punishment. Obviously if your submissive enjoys pain, then discipline that includes pain may be counterproductive. Also think about the result of the discipline, how does it relate to the infraction?

If your submissive mispeaks or argues with you, which do you think is more effective 10 lashings or 10 minutes in the corner, followed by 1 full-page of “I will listen and respect my Dom/me when he/she speaks to me. If I have an opinion I will ask for permission to voice it rather than interrupting him/her rudely.

4. Humility is a virtue, even for a Dominant. Understand that relationships are developed, if you want to be respected then you should practice respecting others. If you take yourself so seriously that you become offended at anyone that disagrees with your principles, then you need to put your ego in check and realize that you are human like the rest of us, and as such are in no place to dictate life principles to anyone but your submissive.

You have the responsibility to respect others as equals in the real world. When you are not in a scene your dominance is a personal matter not a public mandate.


5. Etiquette. Learn it, live it, love it. Not all BDSM or D/s communities practice strict ethics but generally there are accepted behaviors that show respect for your fellow Dom/mes and submissives. You may assume the title of Dom/me but if you behave like a rude ignorant child, you will be regarded as such in the BDSM community.

Play Nice: Some Notes on Scene Etiquette and Leather Protocol

Basic Scene Protocols

6. Set progress goals and benchmarks. D/s is about growth, both for you and your submissive. As stated in the first principle, perfection is a process, not an overnight accomplishment. Keep track of the progress you make in your D/s relationship, watch how your bond with your submissive grows into something remarkable and fulfilling, and celebrate this growth, remember D/s is supposed to be nurturing for both parties involved.

7. You are the example so be aware of the example you set. As a Dominant, nothing is more undermining than the inability to take care of oneself. Keep your finances, personal hygiene, and physical/mental health in good order. Respect is something earned, if you do not respect yourself no one else will, this also applies for taking care of yourself. D/s is not a practice of the blind leading the blind.

8. Your submissive trusts you, make sure that you honor that trust by practicing caution.

  • Do not ignore the limits of your submissive, pushing limits is one thing, deciding that your submissives limits are secondary to your own wants is deeply unethical and can earn you a civil suit or worse prison.
  • Do not “play” under the influence of alcohol or mind-altering drugs. Anything that inhibits your ability to reason should be avoided before and during play, especially if play includes heavy physical exertion/stimulus.
  • Educated use of technique is the best use of technique, your submissive places his/her safety in your hands, make sure those hands are competent enough to be trusted.

9. Always have a back-up plan. Unexpected things can happen during play, especially if you are pushing limits. Keep safety equipment clean and easily accessible, pay attention to bindings, and educate yourself about positional asphyxia associated with different postures.

10. Aftercare is not an option, it is a necessity both for you and your submissive. The type and length of aftercare is a personal choice, but a D/s relationship or scene is not a one night stand – do not treat it like one.

These are my personal views, of course, but they are the product of research and practice. Domination is not something you inherently understand the ins and outs of, it takes practice, dedication, and self-examination. As stated before these are not rules, so much as they are personal principles that I practice, they are offered here for consideration, I hope that they will provide help to new Dominants starting out and to submissives who would like educate themselves about the characteristics of a Dominant.