Playing With Power: Dominance and Submission

Authentic Power Play: Dominance and Submission by Eve Minax


Consensual Dominance and submission in relationships reflect an intentional acknowledgement and exploration of intrinsic power dynamics in an erotic fashion. These relationships draw upon the nature of the relationship, (the “bossier” person, more educated, older etc tend to traditionally be the “dominant”), to play with the already established power exchange. Conversely, some of these relationships have been “forced” on us through the years, eg … parents, bosses, etc that may have left an erotic print on our psyche that we wish to examine. By accepting and developing a D/s dynamic in relation to another, we can often heal and grow in ways that astound. The reason I am drawn to D/s as a Dominant is that I wish to mend some of the power imbalances I have endured over the years. I am also infinitely curious how relationships work and have a great desire to see them grow and develop into deeper awareness and closer intimacy.

The most important aspect to D/s training for both parties is to know yourself, your wants and your needs, and to be able to articulate those wants and needs in a thoughtful and thorough fashion. We cannot fully know ourselves at any given time however, so it also encourages compassion for yourself and your partner. You are human, you will err. There are many avenues to self-exploration and understanding and not any one of them is the only way. Ideally when our paths cross we can begin to understand how each of us have gotten there and have the wherewithal to follow through the relationship in a meaningful way. I would also suggest an ability to accept the type of relationship for “what it is” instead of trying to make it something it is not. A D/s component exists in all of our relationships, and when we develop that aspect of our dynamic then can we weave a thread of erotic power play.


As far as D/s training goes, I had to come to terms with the fact that I am a dominant person who enjoys and appreciates rigorous self exploration, consequently I attract submissives who also value self exploration and wish to defer to a more experienced person. What I have determined over the years since I began practicing serious D/s training is that I am a tenacious, yet flexible dominant. I have very specific ways that I like things done, but I cannot and will not reprimand irresponsibly. Two of the main ingredients to a good submissive for me are flexibility and humor. This is not to say that they should be a flake and a smart-ass, but that they can accommodate my mercurial ways with a sense of dignity and charm.


Although difficult, if I were to try to break down what makes a good D/s relationship work it would look something like this:



 * Communication. An ability of each participant to articulate their wants and needs and ability of each participant to negotiate their wants, (needs are less negotiable) are imperative to healthy relationships in all forms.


* Commitment. Energy and enthusiasm can wane in a relationship, but desire to participate in the relationship should always be intact – even if it is simply being questioned. It is perfectly healthy to question many facets of the relationship, but if the desire to be in the relationship is gone, then other facets arise. Be mindful.


*  Compassion for yourself and the other. Be kind to yourself, even when you make mistakes. Further, even if you are the dominant it does not mean that the submissive has no right to their feelings and emotions. Be kind to them also.


*  Service. The Dominant should be in service to the higher power of the relationship as much as the submissive is in service to the Dominant. Service ideally is the erotic glue to D/s. How can you serve and be aroused by service?


*  Flexibility. Each party should be able to move for the other. The most obvious understatement to this may be that the submissive will probably defer more often than the Dominant. Give each other enough space to work out individual quirks, but not too much that you no longer have any commonalities. Breathe into the change that will surely emerge.

*  Trust. How much do you trust that the other has your well being in mind first and foremost? How much do you trust yourself?

 *  Be honest. To what extent can you be honest with yourself, your beauty, power, and grandeur, with all of its foibles, imperfections and inconsistencies? D/s is all about being able to be truthful relaying your truth in a thoughtful and thorough fashion and subsequently being able to listen to your partner.

To sum it all up in the words of a former student at the Cleo Dubois Academy of S/M Arts  “find out what your partner wants and give it to them.” And of course, let them know honestly when you can’t.

What Does a Dominatrix Look Like to You? by Eve Minax

“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” 

Guillaume Apollinaire

One of my Sisyphean challenges in life is to demystify the myth of the Dominatrix – to fill out the missing gaps and one-dimensional characteristics that permeate our culture. The unique histories of Dominatrices inform their brave work and pioneering spirit. If you could look closely, (where are the stats anyway?), you would see an illustrious array of talent, skills, philosophies, and courage.


Like many other professionals I know, I too, have a unique history. Raised urban poor, I went on to obtain the first High School degree, and eventually a Master’s, in my family. Literary and theatrical studies combined with extensive pedagogical experience continue to inform my work as a BDSM lecturer, educator, and writer. Years before I would begin to fully understand my own leanings towards Female Domination and BDSM practices, I wrote my graduate thesis on “Subversive Practices in Feminist Performance Art”. Further, like many of my colleagues, I may not fit the stereotype of the Hollywood-produced leather cat suit clad man-eating vixen, but I have practiced the art of Domination with intention and commitment for many years.


The media stereotype of the Dominatrix is rather one-dimensional. The infiltration of SM culture into mainstream society leans primarily towards the fetishistic and aesthetic aspects of BDSM culture, avoiding any deeper underlying issues to the person and her work. In “real” life, Dominatrices are generally stunning; though not always mainstream beauties. We often stand out in a crowd because we tend to be individualistic, living life to the fullest and more often than not standing out as a leader – the one to take control in any number of ways. 


I’d love to see more research done that would illuminate the complexity of a profession that has been misrepresented and misunderstood societally. Like within most professions, a spectrum of representation exists, eg, not all lawyers are bad and not all police officers are good. The Dominatrix also has many layers to her persona, and I have been pondering the many variations exist for some time. 


Here is a partial list of some of the different types of Dominatrices, with basic names that I came up with off the top of my head, many of which can overlap with each other, and others that never mix.
The Domestic Disciplinarian: Could be your Aunty or Woman next door, until she puts you over her knee.
The Medical Specialist: Plays Doctor or Nurse to perfection.
The Rubber Mistress: Has all the rubber clothes and gear you could possible imagine.
The Goddess: Demands worship.
The Fetishist: Fetish is her motivator.
The Bondage Mistress/Top: Loves rope and knows how to use it.
The Whip Mistress: Whip wielding from single tail to cat o’ nine.
The Predator: Hunts you down and take you down.
The Philosopher: Keeps you in line with her words and ethics.
The Classic: Domestic Disciplinarian, Whip Wielder, Bondage Expert and more! The General Practitioner, (also with specialties) of Dominatrices.
The Good Girl Gone Bad: Looks angelic or like the girl next door.
The Seductress: Casts her spell to entice you.
The Counselor/Guide: Takes you where you need to go. 
The Emasculator: Wants your balls, you don’t need them.


Of course, this list is not exhaustive and as I began noting all the variations I realized that not only are there so many types, but that many of us embody any number of Strong Female Authoritarian Archetypes within our Dominatrix Personas which we invoke when appropriate to the scene: Queen, Priestess, Warrior, and Mother to name a few. Just because a Dominatrix self-presents in one archetypal role does not mean she cannot employ another type when necessary however, the Bondage Mistress can care for her bound subject in a very Maternal or Motherly way and once the Predator has captured her prey, she can employ the Goddess to finalize her objectives. Conversely, it would be quite useless for the Whip Mistress to whip the Domestic Discipline client as a Medical Specialist while wearing a black rubber cat suit. Not only do the genres not go together, but the Domestic Discipline aficionado’s needs will not be met and no catharsis would ensue leaving the session flat and ineffectual. 


I have often said that Dominatrices are Psychic Waste Managers, encouraging people to excavate parts of themselves that society deeply discourages: the primal sexual selves. If the libido is not allowed to emerge in a positive creative way, it can be destructive. I also say that the sacred and lascivious are flip sides of the same coin. Knowing who you are as a Dominatrix and how to go about employing different aspects of your self in the work helps achieve therapeutic results with your clientele. There is an old adage to the profession, we may not be therapists, but the work is therapeutic. Knowing oneself in Domination is particularly crucial because of the nature of psychosexual work. Libidinal drives inform our every movement, hence the work itself elicits the question of what drives us sexually. Personally, although I love whipping, I do not consider myself a whip Mistress. When I see my esteemed Whip Mistress colleagues doing the dance of fire and precision, I am truly humbled by their abilities. Would I desire to be them? Yes, but honestly, I must honor my primary arousal in order to be a better Dominant. I suppose I am an Archeologist of BDSM. I love exploring and excavating psychosexual terrain, and the whips and other accoutrements are simply tools that help me unearth buried artifacts.


In examining difference, we must also examine similarity. We Dominatrices all have sadistic streaks, or at the very least enjoy giving pleasure – and if a masochist seeks pain for their pleasure, we are happy to accommodate. We also, ideally, have hard skills in Domination, be they rope rigging, electro-play, or whip wielding.  Often motivated by deep fetishistic desires, we all care about our clientele in a professional fashion. Dominatrices have many similarities but perhaps only one commonality: whatever the archetype or role that we play, we need to push our subjects and ourselves a little deeper into the dark so that we all may extend our psychosexual travels a little further, returning each time with a bit more knowledge and a lot more savvy. 




Bottoms Up! 10 Ways of Being a Great Bottom

Oftentimes people conflate the terms “bottom” and “submissive” – to which I cringe because they are distinguishable. Today we will be discussing ten of the top ways of being a great bottom, specifically in Kink/BDSM, (if interested in how to be a better top, go HERE .  The noun is a “bottom” and the verb is “to bottom”. A “bottom” is a term originally derived from gay male culture that connotes a sexual positioning preference, generally meaning the one who is the receptive partner, (as opposed to top which indicates the active partner, or switch suggesting giving and receiving), and for our purposes today indicates the person receiving physical activity from a top. Read more

Sexuality: How to Encapsulate it in a Few Minutes!

This snappy video encapsulates Gender and Sexuality Studies in one small piece. I kinda love this guy. I keep finding his videos even though I’m not sure exactly who he is. Do you? In any case, he hit the nail on the head for me when he said this “So a biological female can be a man who only has sex with women despite the fact that he’s attracted to both men and women and kind of feels more comfortable in feminine gender roles. That may not be the most common combination of these factors, but it’s certainly not weird.”

Right on. It almost describes me in fact!

Watch this VIDEO to hear all about it.


Ah, Chastity!

Ah Chastity!

Controlling one’s mind is a particular pleasure for me, but I also value controlling the body as well. Of course being in charge of both can be a particularly challenging, albeit rewarding, conquest. Read more

Forget Porn Addiction, Let’s Talk About Connection: Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s “Don Jon”

I saw a movie tonight that I thought might be interesting because it is written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (the youngest from the 90s sit com Third Rock From the Sun about a “gaggle”? of aliens landed on Earth), whose work I have admired since that wacky sit com was on the air. But this is neither a discussion of Gordon-Levitt nor a movie review. What I want to address is what I think this movie is capable of doing. I think that the potentiality of “Don Jon” to provoke heart felt and interesting conversation between, (primarily straight mainstream younger), couples is quite profound. Read more

How to negotiate a scene by KL Joy

Hey folks! My name is KL Joy, and I’m going to write a little today about how to negotiate a scene with a potential play partner. Now, I’m not talking about relationships; I’m talking about that first sexy time you see someone in a club and want to get some of their style going on. Ultimately the word negotiation means to communicate openly and clearly what you want and don’t want out of a scene.

Read more

Help and Change: Let Me Help You Change?

As a professional coach who has worked with hundreds of people over the years, one question keeps recurring: “How could I ever tell my (current/future), partner of my desires? S/he would never understand.” I see and understand the dilemma. Societally, we simply do not talk about sex the way we might food, clothing, or reading preferences, so it’s not so easy to say, Read more

Consent and Fantasy: Ruminations on Amanda Berry et al

What started as a Facebook post  now has become a full fledged entry for me as I continue the dialogue around the horrors of what happened with those young women in Cleveland. I have been ruminating for days. Honestly, I am still speechless. I want to flee from my own profession in order not to be associated with such horror. I feel weak and ineffectual. Read more

Why It’s so Frustrating to Educate Kink and BDSM

This is quite possibly the best essay I’ve ever read arguing for more education of the writers who wish to condemn kink and BDSM. Read more