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COLUMN

Savage Love

I'm 21 years old and in a monogamous relationship.

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I’m 21 years old and in a monogamous relationship. I lost my virginity to my boyfriend, and it was a really great experience. I was drawn to BDSM even before I began having sex, and he’s been happily fulfilling my needs. However, he revealed fairly early on that he also enjoys being submissive during sex. I asked him to explain what sort of dominance he was looking for, but he said he’d rather show me. Recently he tried to steer a sex session in that direction – me dominating him – but I felt nervous and self-conscious. I felt like I was failing a pop quiz. How do I become more comfortable with being a dom? Any tips for first-time doms? Or am I just not cut out for this?

Not Quite A Dom

There are a lot of skilled, confident BDSM tops out there – people who are exclusively dominant or switch – who got into it for the same reason you’ve started to explore your dominant side, NQAD: to please a submissive and/or switch partner.

But “show me” is not how a couple incorporates BDSM into their sex life. Maybe he’s having a hard time articulating his desires because he’s shy, or maybe he’s insecure, or maybe he mistakenly believes that sex – even logistically complicated sex – should just “happen naturally.”

So here’s my first tip: Force him to talk about what sort of BDSM or D/s play he’s interested in. A lot can be assumed during a strictly vanilla sexual encounter – far too much is assumed, far too often – but what goes on during a sexual encounter involving BDSM has to be specifically and explicitly negotiated. If he’s too shy to have a face-to-face conversation about his kinks, do it over email. If he doesn’t feel comfortable sending emails (they live forever on a server, they can be forwarded), tell him to you write you a letter, read it in his presence, then tear it up.

Second tip: The less a newbie dom has to fake during BDSM sex, the less daunting the role feels. Instead of pretending that you’re a menacing and experienced dom, incorporate what’s really going on – your boyfriend is so submissive that he’s submitting to his submissive girlfriend, and how perverted is that? – into your play and dirty talk. Then your unfamiliarity with the dom role becomes something you’re bringing to the scene, not something that’s causing you to fail at it.

Third tip: A blindfold is an inexperienced dom’s best friend. Not ready to visit your local BDSM sex shoppe? An ACE bandage will do the trick. You’ll feel much less self-conscious if he can’t see you fumbling with rope, suppressing a nervous giggle or searching high and low for a mislaid key to the handcuffs.

I recently made friends with a guy who is in his first sexual relationship. He comes to me, his best male buddy, with questions, and I try to make sure he’s informed and being safe. But he’s asked me a question about oral sex that I don’t know how to answer. What is a man supposed to do when he’s about to ejaculate during oral sex? I feel like there should be a polite version of “Where do you want it?” that a guy can say to a woman, but I’ll be damned if I can think of it.

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