While many people dream of being in a relationship between two exact equals, it’s actually a lot more common for one partner to be more dominant than the other. One person may naturally gravitate toward making most of the decisions or taking the lead while the other prefers to simply go along for the ride. However, it’s not at all uncommon for the same person that loves taking charge the rest of the time to be more submissive in the bedroom or vice versa.

In other words, it’s definitely to your benefit to learn to take the lead between the sheets even if you’re naturally more submissive. Switching roles in the bedroom from time to time can be an effective way to spice things up in a relationship when your sex life could use a boost. It can be fun and empowering to tap into a different side of your sexual self as well.

  1. Make sure you’re doing it because you want to

Although there are definite benefits to being sexually well-rounded, not everyone is comfortable with every single possible role, act, or scenario out there. It’s fine to be interested in pushing your limits and expanding your horizons because you want to turn a partner on. It’s not fine for a partner to demand that you do things you’re not comfortable with or are adamantly against. Make sure you’re interested in learning how to dominate at least partly because you’re curious about it and think it could improve your own enjoyment of sex in addition to your partner’s.

  1. Thoroughly discuss both your limits

When trying something new in the bedroom, especially something like dom/sub or BDSM play, it’s important to sit down and have a serious discussion about limits and boundaries with your partner beforehand. How far is your partner comfortable with you taking things? How far are you personally comfortable with going? Are there are any specific acts or scenarios that either of you is particularly interested in (or completely against)? Start by coming up with some basic ground rules that work for both of you.

  1. Know the three levels of dominance

Sexual dominance is far from a one-size-fits-all concept. Yes, some people are totally into full-scale BDSM sessions complete with whips, chains, and the whole shebang. However, many people prefer to keep things relatively gentle and loving. Still more like things somewhere in between or enjoy changing things up. Which of the three levels of dominance – gentle, intermediate, or aggressive – you and your partner decide to start with is up to you, but for more couples, it’s best to err on the side of caution and start small.

  • Gentle Dominance: If you are completely new to playing the dom role in the bedroom, gentle is the best starting point. Being gently dominant could mean manhandling your partner a little in bed or talking dirty to them. Some that are into gentle dominance like being pushed against walls, having their hair pulled, and so forth as well. In other words, these are activities many people enjoy and are comfortable with – perfect for testing the waters and learning what you each like.
  • Intermediate Dominance: When most people say they’d like to be dominated in the bedroom, they’re thinking of this level of dominance. Popular activities include being handcuffed or bound, spanking, or being bitten. Some people into intermediate dominance enjoy orgasm denial or other forms of teasing as well. If your partner was originally the one that asked to be dominated, it’s possible that their previous experience extends to this level.
  • Aggressive Dominance: Very, very few people actually start out at this level and with good reason. Aggressive dominance is something most people need to work their way up to, as it takes time and ongoing experience to discover your true limits, as well as learn what you really like and don’t like. Examples of aggressively dominant activities include but are not limited to being gagged, choked, or degraded. Hardcore BDSM would also be classified as aggressive dominance.
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  1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself at first

Some people take naturally to being dominant in the bedroom and wonder why they didn’t give it a try a lot sooner pretty much from day one, but it’s not that way for everyone. Most people find that learning to be a good dominant is a lot like learning anything else new in life. It’s a skill that needs to be developed over time, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not Fifty Shades of Grey material right away. Just take it slow and progress at a pace that feels comfortable to both of you.

  1. Always have a safe word

Even if you’re starting out with really gentle dominance, it’s important to have a safe word. It’s not just for your partner’s emotional comfort and well-being either. Sometimes play can drift into territory the dominant isn’t that comfortable with and a safe word is the quickest, simplest way for either party to tap out if needed. Choose a safe word that doesn’t relate in any way to anything you’d reasonably be doing or saying in bed. For instance, “pussy” or “cock” would be terrible safe words, but “Oklahoma” or “refrigerator” might work perfectly.

  1. Make sure you dress the part

When you think of how someone who’s dominant in the bedroom dresses for playtime, what do you picture? If you’re like many people, you probably think of head-to-toe black vinyl, leather chokers, and sky-high stiletto boots. Some folks do find dressing that way helps them slip into the dominant role more easily, but it’s perfectly OK if you don’t. Figure out what makes you feel most dominant, powerful, or assertive and wear that. You can be totally naked if you like or dressed in something completely unconventional. It’s up to you.

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

The key to truly great sex of any kind is thorough communication on both ends and sex play that includes domination is definitely no exception. If anything, adequate communication becomes more important than usual, even when you’ve been playing this way for a while. Always communicate with your partner and encourage them to communicate with you. Not only do you want to make sure they’re comfortable with everything that’s going on, but you want to see to it that they’re actually getting the satisfaction they’re after from what you’re doing. Don’t leave yourself out of the equation though. Remember, exploring and pushing boundaries this way should also be fulfilling and enjoyable for you, whether or not it was originally your idea.

  1. Accept that sometimes less is more

When people are into being adventurous in the bedroom, they often assume that the more they do, the better. In actuality, great sex means understanding that for some people, less is more and that’s totally OK. There’s no minimum number of dom/sub activities you have to be into in order to be deemed adventurous enough. By all means, if you really like dressing up in head-to-toe latex and maintaining a huge collection of BDSM gear, go for it. Just understand that it’s totally fine to simply prefer a little light spanking or some X-rated talk once in a while. There’s no right or wrong way to play. All that matters is that what you do feels good to both of you.

  1. Don’t be afraid to get creative

Once you get more comfortable in your new role as a sometime dominant, you’ll probably find that you get lots of new ideas as to what might feel good in the heat of the moment. So long as it’s safe and both of you agree to it, feel free to let your creativity run wild and incorporate pretty much anything into your play. Rope, scarves, food, ice cubes, and candles are all excellent items to explore with. So are different kinds of sex toys and props like whips, floggers, costumes, and more.

Not quite sure where to start? In need of a little extra inspiration? Consider sitting down with your partner, logging onto an online sex shop, and browsing the offerings together. You might be surprised at just how many possibilities there really are! Take turns pointing out items you’d each like to try and maybe purchase a couple to look forward to.

  1. Check in with your partner periodically

In addition to communicating with one another while you’re actually going at it in the bedroom, you’ll also want to check in every so often to make sure you’re both getting what you were hoping for by adding dom/sub play to your repertoire. Are both of you comfortable with how things are progressing? What’s working for each of you and what could use a little improvement? Are there any new ideas, fantasies, toys, or scenarios either of you might like to take for a spin? Not only does talking openly about sex play ensure both parties are continually happy and satisfied, but it can help foster intimacy as well. Try it and see!