Join now for free!

I am a:
next »
Flirt Magazine:

How Dom or Sub Are You, and Why it Matters

Many people think that people naturally divide into those who are dominant (the doms) and those who are submissive (the subs). While there's a little overlap in between, these labels seem to describe most of us pretty well.

Submissive redhead woman gagged
Subs are aroused by the sensation of losing control

But we still don't always know where we fit in. Here's how tell whether you are dom or sub, and why being honest about it can pay sexual dividends.

Who Actually (Really) Initiates Sex in Your Relationship?

First up, we can clearly tell who is the domineering partner, and who is under control when it comes to the bedroom. The dom in the relationship is almost always the one who initiates sex and takes control.

They may not be the most professionally successful, the strongest or the most outwardly confident, but when you reach the bedroom, they know where to start, and what to do.

Which One of Your Decides How to Have Sex?

OK, sometimes people just fall into bed without anyone deciding when, or it's too hard to tell which one of you has set the ball rolling. But you can also tell the dom from the sub by paying attention during sex itself.

The dom will be the one who decides which position to assume, and when to try something new. You might be surprised who that actually is.

If you Secretly Love Losing Control, You're a Sub

In life, we are programmed to feel anxiety when we lose control. This coping mechanism lets us deal with threats in the wild or situations where we need to boost our adrenaline levels. But it has other effects too.

Some people are aroused by the sensation of losing control. For example, dogging makes some people feel alive when they place their destiny in other peoples' hands. If that's you - and be honest - then you're a classic sub.

woman being dominated by her man
The dom will almost always initiate sex

What if Both of You Make Sexual Suggestions?

Here's something that can make things even more complicated: the dom and sub roles aren't totally watertight. People can temporarily move between them during sex, making the odd suggestion here and there.

But that's not the point. Over time, you can easily tell who is calling the shots. The sub will make a few suggestions, and not usually confidently. The dom will let their ideas come true, but retain overall control.

What Happens When Two Subs Get Together?

At the outset, we suggested that everyone divides into subs and doms. Well, that's true, but it's still possible for two submissive people to fall into bed and start a relationship. Couples like that are everywhere, but they rarely catch fire in bed.

Typically, two subs will have distant, tepid sexual relations without much tension - and this tension is what creates sexual magic.

And What About Two Doms? Can That Work?

Conversely, it's perfectly possible for two doms to get together. Two feisty sexual beings can have incredible sex, but there's a catch: this kind of couple will always be competing, and every sexual idea will have to be considered.

There's no give and take when two doms get together, just a never ending passion. Sometimes that works, sometimes they fall apart, but it always makes for fireworks.

How Roleplays Can Make Sense of Power Relations

Whether you are naturally sub or dom, the way that power works in sexual relationships can be a real mystery. And it can do some serious damage if your roles become confused and either partner becomes frustrated.

That's where sub-dom roleplaying can be handy. If you create scenarios where roles are exchanged, you can experiment and find out where you really stand. It's not just about kinky pleasure: S&M can clarify sexual politics like nothing else.

Embrace the Zone Between Submission and Domination

When you start exploring whether you are dom or sub, you'll probably find out a lot more than you bargained for. Our deeper sexual desires are formed from millions of years of evolution, and they can take us into some pretty unusual places.

Whether we are men or women, we can find pleasure in submission and domination. Even though we may naturally lean one way or the other, there's a thrill in acting out the opposite and breaching taboos. You'll find that out when you embrace bedroom politics.

Dominatrix woman wearing fetish lingerie
Sub or Dom? Sexual experimentation will help you find out where you stand

Two Pro-Tips for Subs and Doms Alike


Always talk about your Sub-Dom fantasies before embarking on sexual experimentation. Playing the part of a dominatrix or submissive slave seems simple, but it never is.

BDSM is serious business, and messing around with sexual power relations can cause lasting damage. So, always chat with each other about what you enjoy, your fantasies and - importantly - your boundaries. That way, you'll enjoy BDSM experiments so much more.


Have the right props to hand, to smooth out any Sub-Dom shyness. This is something all budding doms know after their first kinky BDSM session. Having the tools of the trade makes all the difference. We're not talking about handcuffs (yet).

In fact, the humble blindfold is the sexiest prop of all. Slipped over a guy's eyes, it immediately turns him into a dependent submissive, ready to be controlled by his partner. So have something close by to use, even if it's his own work tie.

Understanding Power is the Key to Sexual Harmony

So, let's recap. Submission and dominance are hard-wired into us, but they are flexible. While we all lean towards one or the other, we're adaptable enough to accommodate both roles. However, in relationships, it really helps when partners complement each other, instead of clashing.

If you're in any doubt about where you lie on the Sub-Dom scale there's only one option: try some kinky (but safe) BDSM. Trust me, it will be a revelation.

Related reads

Image sources: (1) iiievgeniy | (2) tiagozr | (3) Wisky |