BDSM: What makes a good dom?

Published: March 23, 2021
Updated: May 23, 2022
dominant woman in vintage look holds whip

If you aren’t familiar with some of the basic roles people take in BDSM play, a dom, short for ‘Dominant’, is someone who takes the lead with a sub, or ‘Submissive’. A dom is someone that will guide the direction of a relationship with a sub, be it either sexual, financial, or otherwise. 

This means dictating what the sub will do, when they will do it, and how they will do it. Doms are responsible for some of the organizing that goes into BDSM play and must have control over the situation to ensure that both parties enjoy the experience fully. 

A sub isn’t entirely responsible here either, but when it comes down to brass tacks, the dom is the leading figure in this relationship. 

Doms can be male, female, or other, and aren’t limited by their age, experience, or any other physical characteristics. Personality can also range pretty widely for a dom, and as we will discuss in this article, is one of the core components to determining what makes a good dom. If you are interested in getting more familiar with your kinky side check out the best BDSM dating sites here!

woman tied up ready for BDSM sex

Firstly, what are bad qualities in a dom?

First off, it is important to recognize what qualities in a dom you should avoid, as these can be clear signs of someone who is not only incapable of providing a healthy experience that is enjoyable, but may also indicate they lead toward abusive tendencies. 

Recognize the difference between someone who is dominant, and someone who is domineering. Someone who is domineering is not a dominant, and it is a quality in a dom that you should avoid at all costs. They tend to be rude and curt, often crass and known for mistreating submissives.

Domineering figures tend to be oppressive with their submissives due to a lack of understanding for what makes a truly great dom.  They lack respect, communication skills, self-control, and ultimately self-discipline, sometimes resorting to threats and physical abuse to make up for their shortcomings. 

Anyone who can’t incorporate these into their character isn’t a good dom. 

So, what makes a good dom? 

As we hinted at above, the truly great doms understand the value of patience, respect, strong communication skills, self-control and discipline, as well as a level of understanding for their sub. However, there is more to this relationship than that. 

You see, being a good dom is a skill, and like with all skills a willingness to learn, to grow, and to develop it further will help the dom do better. Any dom who assumes they’ve learned everything they need to or simply knows it already is already making a mistake. 

A good dom is someone who is always looking to improve their skill, and the really good ones will take it upon themselves to take time during their normal day to read up on how to improve, even seeking out more experienced doms for advice. 

A good dom is not only communicative and understanding, as well as patient and respectful with a healthy dose of self-restraint and discipline, but they endeavor to grow and learn in their craft. 

Being a good dom is more than simply carrying a crop, telling someone what to do, and dressing up right. It takes dedication and understanding. 

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Finding the right dom for you

If you are looking for someone that is really compatible with you, it may take a while. However, you should stick with the basics for what defines a dom as genuinely good. Avoid doms who are overbeating or use threats or insults, as they don’t care if they emotionally harm you. 

A truly good dom works on a subtle level and ultimately demonstrates to you that they care. They will work to avoid emotional harm and will be quick to care for their sub should that happen. They respect others regardless of their title and are open to learning. 

Finding a good dom can require a bit of work, but if you are involved with a community then take the time to inquire about someone who feels like a match for you. Find out what their reputation is like and if they fit the criteria. Check out this article if you are interested in how to set up your first BDSM date!

Be patient and put the effort in to find a good dom, it is well worth the time.