The EDGE Blog

BDSM Troubleshooting – How To Be A Good Dom


Let’s be real: if you’re experimenting with BDSM, you’re going to run into problems. This is a sign that you’re learning and growing! The good news is that you’re not alone. In all likelihood, what you’re going through has been experienced by others (who’ve lived to tell the tale!) Below are common issues that kinksters have historically run into . . . and the ways in which they kicked those issues’ asses.


After so many vanilla years with my partner it’s hard for me to take him seriously as a Dom.

Your husband clears his throat and says in his most Domliest Dom sounding voice, “Spread ‘em.”

And then you laugh.

In fact, the harder you try not to laugh, the worse it gets.

And then you feel bad, kind of. And nothing is sexy anymore.

We’ve all been there! How could you possibly take commands from the man you’ve seen change your babies’ diapers, cry during the red wedding on Game of Thrones, and upon whose anus you’ve spread haemorrhoid cream on more than one occasion?

First, you wait until after the scene and then extend the invitation: “I really want to try this with you. Sometimes it’s weird for me, and then I laugh. I’m sorry about that response and I hope we can trust each other enough to keep trying.”

Second, if your partner is serious about learning how to be a good dom, they must make this vital shift: ask, don’t tell. So instead of commanding, “Spread ‘em,” he takes a slowww breath, looks you in the eyes, and asks, “Will you spread your feet apart for me?”

Shazam. The cheesiness has been effectively banished, by way of vulnerability and authenticity. Well done and carry on!

I want to try anal play but I always get cold feet.

Of course you feel self-conscious about the poop shoot! But also, who cares? A little schmootz is a little schmootz.

To get to the bottom of this, practice cleaning out. Get yourself an anal douche that has a curved end, as opposed to one of those skinny/poky ones.

Administer one bulb’s worth of water, and then sit on the toilet to release. Now lube up a dildo, work it inside yourself, and check the results. Repeat this process until the dildo comes out clean.

If cleaning out is currently too much for your comfort level, try solo play with a butt plug. Strictly speaking, no preparation is necessary. Just use some water-soluble lube and have at ‘er. Now, proceed with your day. Masturbation, video chats, vacuuming the car . . . no one needs to know but you.

Bottom line: while largely the mess is preventable, ultimately some degree is inevitable. Better to reconcile yourself mentally ahead of time. We’re just humans, we make messes, no big deal, let’s move on.

My partner’s topping from the bottom. What can I do?

Start by having a conversation. Use an “I statement” such as, “I feel unnerved when you tell me what to do during the scene. I thought we clarified everything beforehand during our negotiations. I’d really love for you to trust me.”

Your partner’s response will tell you everything you need to know. Ideally, they will be vulnerable, answering with something like, “Sometimes I get scared, and then I try to take charge. Do you think there’s a way we can switch gears if this happens again?”

They may however answer with something shitty like, “If you were better at flogging, I wouldn’t have to tell you how to do it.” In this case you’ll need to take a step back and review the basics of nonviolent communication.

Another possibility is that your partner offers a valuable piece of feedback. An example would be, “When you slapped my face and accidentally hit my eye, I felt really defensive. Can we practice out of scene until we both feel more comfortable?” In this case, you’ll want to thank your partner and follow their lead

The takeaway here is: if you want to know how to be a good dom, start by doing what you can to create a safe, nonreactive container for you two to engage with open communication. Chances are, when all parties involved can clearly and honestly express themselves, you’ll earn each other’s trust and enjoy growing together.

I’m still judging myself. I feel perverted, emasculated, and broken for wanting something more.

Well hello, the Puritanical pestilence! Whether or not you were raised in the Church, chances are that you’ve inherited a degree of Puritanical conditioning.

News from the forefront of psychology and reason: fuck that shit! You can imagine whatever you want, and still be a good person. You can consensually play however you want, and still be a good person.

Wearing vinyl and saying “Yes ma’am,” crawling on all fours and getting used as a footrest, licking feet and being peed on by your wife . . . nothing is wrong with consenting adults enjoying each other in these ways. That doesn’t mean that you share these details at Bible study or with your children. It just means that you and your partner(s) are enriching your relationships through exploration and trust.

At the end of the day, you are who you are, and kink is just one component of that. Remember that we’re practicing and playing, with the goal of enriching the lives of ourselves and our partners.

When you have questions, there are answers. When you have problems, there are solutions. When problems seem too big, take a step back and remember why you’re trying these things in the first place. The BDSM lifestyle exemplifies agency and open mindedness, and that’s a damn fine thing.

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