Ask Page: My Partner Only Dominates Me When It Suits Him. What Should I Do?

bright pink handcuffs on a camo background
Image by Campco Photos / CC BY

Hi Page,

So I’m extremely new to BDSM, been around for just under a year. My question for you is what advice do you have for a naturally submissive person that wants to be dominated but has a partner (that I’ve been with for 6 years) that only dominates when it suits him? We have already discussed the idea of poly and he’s 1000% against that.

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You may very well have done this already, but just to be clear: If you haven’t done so already, let your partner know that you’d like for him to dominate you more.

If you tell him and he isn’t down for it, or he says, “Okay, yeah, sure,” and then doesn’t follow that up with much domination, then you realistically have the following options (since you said polyamory wasn’t an option):

  • Accept that he isn’t going to dominate you as much as you want him to. We don’t get everything we want in life. This might be one of those things.
  • If he agreed to dominate you more but doesn’t follow up, you can gently remind him. But obviously if he said no, this one isn’t really an option.
  • Break up with him.

What you decide to do here really depends on his level of resistance and how important being sexually dominated is to you. If it’s a “well, this would be nice” priority level, then you can probably live just fine without it. And it likely wouldn’t be something you’d break up a 6+ year relationship over.

There are plenty of people that have this kind of relationship with submission, for whom submission is a fun pastime, but it isn’t a core part of their identity.

If submission seems like something that’s baked into your soul, however, then it might be something you think is worth leaving a long-term relationship over. I know people who have this sort of relationship with submission. Where it’s not just a sexual activity but almost a spiritual act to them.

It’s like any relationship incompatibility, really. For some people, differing on whether they want kids is a big deal. For others, they’re happy to compromise. Or perhaps they’re willing (or unwilling) to compromise on whether they live in the country or the city.

That said, it’s worth noting that even active enthusiastic dominants can experience times when they get wrapped up in life stress and don’t play with their submissives for a while. I’ve been on both sides of that one, both as submissive and dominant.

Here’s an article I wrote about that called “Why Don’t You Beat Me Anymore?” that you might find helpful or interesting.

I will say that as a long-time presence on the kink scene my experience is that dominants typically dominate when it suits them. They’re in control. They’re driving (most of the time anyway; when a submissive takes control in a situation where they should be submitting, this is sometimes known as topping from the bottom, and most dominants I’ve known really dislike it).

Now that said, you can very well wish your dominant was more frequently in the mood to dominate you, and that’s completely understandable (and I’ve been there, on both sides of the slash, seriously read that article).

But it’s also completely understandable that a dominant is only going to dominate you when they want to. A dominant has to consent, too, to anything that you do. If they’re not feeling it, they don’t have to. (Just like you always have the right to say no to submitting.)

Play Partners Versus Romantic Partners

There’s also one final note: I do know people on the kink scene who consider themselves monogamous who have a vanilla partner (who knows everything that’s going on) and also have nonsexual/nonromantic BDSM play partners.

So even without a polyamorous setup (where people are in multiple loving, romantic partnerships), some people have found that they are open to play partners for non-sexual BDSM scenes.

However, something about “1000% against” poly makes me less optimistic that he’d agree to play partners. Still, it’s an option.

(Note to vanilla readers: Yes! Non-sexual BDSM scenes do exist. Some people mix sex and kink, but others only partake in one or the other at a time. Or at all — there are asexual kinksters.)

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Have a question about a post? Maybe need some advice about a relationship or situation? Write me. I love getting messages from you.

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Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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