I’m dating again. Being treated warmly by someone who knows me only from an OKCupid profile feels really, really nice after a long dry spell. But I’m finding that because I’m open about being a submissive and kinky, almost as soon as we meet, people start to act like they’ve been my dominant for years. Why the hell would someone do that?
My submission must be earned. Sometimes people can earn it over the course of a date; I’ve met people at a bar, gone home with them, and let them be “my dom” during our play scene on many an occasion. Sometimes it takes longer. But if the first thing someone does after meeting me is try to order me around, it’s not going to turn me on — it’s going to piss me off.
Any kind of kinky play or dynamic requires so much conversation, and so if someone hasn’t even brought up the idea of kink but starts to behave in a dominant way, it makes me nervous that boundaries and consent aren’t something that they’re thinking about, and as a submissive, those are things that I’m always thinking about. I have to.
If consent and boundaries aren’t on my mind from the very beginning, it makes it easier for people to play mind games on me. “I bought you drinks and dinner, what do you mean you won’t let me fuck you in the ass?” “You said you like to be choked, why are you so angry?” This shit has happened to me before. The longer we hold off the conversation where we talk about our limits, the harder it is for me to have that conversation at all. So if someone approaches me with actions that imply that they don’t want to talk about boundaries, I get nervous that we won’t. It’s too easy to get sucked into a dynamic where they’re in charge and I comply, without ever sitting down to work out what that means.
Just because I’m a submissive doesn’t mean that I’m your submissive. If you’re a dom on a date with me and you really think that you’re the one in charge, you’ve got it completely backwards. I am in charge of everything in my life — my finances, my emotional world, and my sex life. I get to decide who tops me, when they get to top me, and how. Allowing someone to be my dom is a gift; my submission is not to be taken by force. If that doesn’t work for someone, then we aren’t meant to be, even for a moment.
But even though I viscerally believe this, it can be super hard to convey it on a first date without seeming like complete bitch. So I try to show doms that I’m just as much in charge as they are on a first date. I don’t let people open doors for me, I pay my own way, I typically take charge of the conversation. And while it sometimes works, it sometimes just makes people think I’m being a brat. Which I am, to be honest. But I’m my own brat!
If I’ve come to any sort of conclusion about this sort of exchange it’s this: I’ve got tons more work to do when it comes to communicating. I’ve gotten so much better over time at talking about sex, what I like, and what I don’t like, but I haven’t figured out the right way yet to say to someone, “Hey, really glad you’re dominant and all, but you’re not my dom just yet, so slow the hell down.” I guess I could say just that, but I typically want someone to see me at my sweetest on a first date, and that doesn’t feel very sweet to me.
Dating is hard. There are all these things I feel like I need to get out in the open as soon as we sit down, but that feels like it takes the magic out of everything. It also feels like I’m assuming we’ll last long enough to make it to bed together, which doesn’t always happen. But also, when I don’t bring them up, things get weird and uncomfortable very quickly. When I figure out a balance, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, got any tips?
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