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Dom and Dommer

by Joe Newton

I’m having a weird reaction to someone I’m involved with. I find myself wanting to punish him for the slightest transgressions and scold him or give him the silent treatment until he apologizes. The poor guy hasn’t done anything very wrong — nothing wrong wrong — he’s just failed to meet my unreasonably high expectations for him. To make matters worse, we seem to have fallen into some sort of roleplay, verbally at least, where I order him around. He seems to want me to punish him and give him orders and I’m doing both, but I’ve never been a Dom or had a sub or whatever it is we’re doing. Honestly, I’m confused about what we’re doing but he seems to be inviting it somehow. How do I navigate this?

Problems Understanding Nuances In Situationship Here

“This situation reminds Me of the...

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...s In Situationship Here “This situation reminds Me of the kinkster classic Secretary,” said The Funny Dom. “It’s a fascinating look at a Dom and a sub who don’t fully understand their identities or how to pursue the dynamic functionally. It’s sweet and hot watching Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader fall into a problematic spanking scene, but in real life we know better.” The Funny Dom is the pen name of a 44-year-old Daddy based in Melbourne, Australia. A long-time kink practitioner and educator, The Funny Dom has been “holding light-hearted (but stern!) space” for Doms, subs, and switches online since the start of the pandemic. “It sounds like these two have developed a kind of Dom/sub dynamic,” said The Funny Dom. “PUNISH should think of it like a particular kind of dance they’re both loosely following. And while it’s all well and good for her to say he’s inviting it, it takes two to tango.” While your boyfriend may have known he was a sub when you met and he’s been subtly training you to dominate him all the time — by rewarding the punishing behaviors he wants to see from you — or your boyfriend is just as confused about the dynamic you’ve stumbled into as a couple; my money’s on the latter. But since you seem to enjoy punishing him, PUNISH, and since your boyfriend seems to enjoy being punished by you, this sounds less like a problem and more like the beginning of a beautiful (and hot) relationship. “It’s obvious from the way PUNISH and her boyfriend respond to each other’s behavior that D/s resonates for both of them,” said The Funny Dom. “They have a real opportunity here to explore a big juicy part of their identities. But to take those steps, they need to have a conversation about the moves they’ve both been pulling — and what those moves mean to them — and then discuss whether they’d like to pursue this dynamic further. And if so, how they can pursue it mindfully.” Basically, one of you needs to say, “Hey, what are we doing here?”, and since you’re the one who wrote to me first, PUNISH, I think you’re the one who needs to say it. And if you’re concerned about where this is heading — if you’re worried about this dynamic escalating in ways that make you feel uncomfortable about your actions — identifying what it is you’re doing will help contain it. Right now, PUNISH, you’re punishing your boyfriend and kindasorta hoping he likes it as much as you think he does; once you’ve talked about it, you’ll be able to punish your boyfriend confident that he likes what you’re doing. And remember: this conversation isn’t just about identifying your boyfriend’s limits as a sub, PUNISH, it’s also about identifying your limits as a Dom. If there are ways you don’t want to punish him, you don’t have to. But how to get that conversation started? “They can watch a decent kinky movie together,” said The Funny Dom, “something like Secretary or Love & Leashes — a much less problematic and even sweet depiction of a male sub dynamic — and then talk about what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what, if anything, reflected what’s happening between them. They can also grab a how-to book — and there are many — and look for a kink class or workshop to attend together and independently.” One how-to book you might want to pick up and read with the boyfriend: The Funny Dom’s Guide to Kink (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), which is available now. “PUNISH and her boyfriend — really, all couples who are interested in kink — need to remember that kink is a big, big, hot, transformative, messy, wonderful adventure,” said The Funny Dom, “and it shouldn’t be done in a non-conscious vacuum, folks.” In other words, PUNISH, you gotta talk about it. Or as we like to say here at Savage Love, Inc., you gotta use your words. Cis-het dude here in my 30s. I’ve had to spend several multi-month periods away from my wife over the last couple years for work. During the last long separation, I started writing letters — long letters, horny letters, emotional letters, and lots of smut. I sent notebooks filled with horny letters and erotic short stories, drawings, and elaborate choose-your-own-adventure-style pieces. I let her in on some of my kinks. (I know, Dan: I should’ve done this when we first started dating but I wasn’t listening to the Lovecast then.) As it turns out, she’s pretty vanilla and she asked me to pull back on the kink. Since the letters and stories were gifts, I obliged. I’m not great at talking about my feelings and desires but I can write them down. Not everything was horny — I sent love letters, not just lust letters — but I never got much of a response. For example, I wrote her an “ice cream menu” with codes aligning with different themes and kinks. The idea was that she could pick what she wanted to read in future notebooks. I got a couple requests, but she never used the menu system, let alone asked for “lavender honeycomb” or “mint chocolate chip” options. (Yes, vanilla was also on the menu!) I guess the issue here is that I feel like I’m not getting much back. Are these projects worth pursuing? Should I put my kinks (mostly subby stuff with me as the sub) back in my stories or does that come across like I’m trying to pressure her? We’re going to be back together fulltime for the next couple years. I love the heck out of this woman — that’s why I married her — but it doesn’t feel good to be the unreciprocated lust letter writer. Boy Overconfidently Oversharing Kink Stories “First of all, one cis-het bloke to another, a big bloody well done on the beautiful and creative outlet BOOKS found and explored and here’s to making space for sharing, vulnerability, and playful kinky discussions,” said The Funny Dom. “Our fellow cis-het blokes could do with more of this. Unfortunately, I’m thinking BOOKS transformation from a not-very-comfortable-speaking-about-feelings-and-desires guy to something like a coked-up-Aaron-Sorkin-like pen pal may have overwhelmed his partner.” You say it wasn’t your intent to make your wife feel pressured — not pressured to respond in kind, not pressured to embrace your kinks — but it sounds like she feels pressured, BOOKS, and it sounds like you actually are disappointed she hasn’t responded in kind and embraced your kinks. “I totally understand that BOOKS is feeling a little underwhelmed by the lack of reciprocation here,” said The Funny Dom. “That’s only human. But he’s gotta remember that no one asked him to cook this five-course meal. Before anyone does something like that for you, you gotta discuss tastes, appetites, and menu options before playing chef. Kink-dynamic wise, sending someone smut and possible scenarios for play that place your partner in the Dominant role — without clearly ascertaining whether that’s who they are or what they want — is a form of manipulation you often see in relationships that have been essentially vanilla but now one person wants to explore kink.” Needless to say, it’s not a recipe for success. So, what can you do? “BOOKS shouldn’t put the pen down,” said The Friendly Dom, “but he should keep the writing for himself — start an anonymous blog or write for a smut lit erotica type platform — and then, when he’s home, have a face-to-face conversation with his partner about how he’s feeling and, most importantly, how she’s feeling and whether she wants to explore any of this at all. And if not, well, BOOKS needs to take that into account before spending the next umpteen years together. Fundamental kink compatibility is not like simply going for different a footy team. It’s bloody vital to a functional relationship.” Follow The Funny Dom on Instagram and Threads @thefunnydomreturns. The Funny Dom is available for one-on-one online coaching sessions with couples and individuals. My last relationship collapsed because my ex-boyfriend needed a sexual performance I couldn’t deliver. Everything else was spectacular, and we really did love each other, but I’m one of those rare gay men who insists on monogamy. (We do exist, Dan.) Which means I couldn’t agree to him exploring domination and degradation with other men. We had excellent vanilla sex (both vers) and he said he was satisfied but he kept asking for my permission to get dominated by other men. I felt I had no other option than to end our relationship. I read your column and listen to your show, Dan, so I know my ex-boyfriend didn’t choose his kinks to sabotage our relationship. I did, however, hope that exploring them though porn and fantasy would be enough for him, but it sadly wasn’t. It’s two years after the breakup and I am happy to report that we are friends. He’s been seeing someone for six months and it’s getting serious, and his new boyfriend dominates and degrades him in ways I simply could not because I loved him too much to do things like that. I still have love for my ex and want what’s best for him and it’s very hard for me to interact with his new boyfriend knowing how he treats my ex. It has been hard for me to see their relationship as a loving or healthy one. Do I say something to my ex? I want to start by saying, “I’m happy for you, but….” But what comes after the “but”? The Loving Vanilla Ex Here’s what you say to your ex: “I’m happy for you.” No “but,” just a period. Zooming out: BDSM and Dom/sub dynamics don’t do anything for you. (And by, “don’t do anything for you,” I mean, “don’t make your dick hard.”) So, it’s not that you couldn’t do these things with your ex because you loved him too much to dominate or degrade him — it’s not that you’re too virtuous for that kink shit — it’s that you don’t wanna to do these things with anybody because those things don’t make your dick hard. Now, I’m gonna assume that like most vers vanilla gay men, TLVE, ass fucking makes your dick hard and ass fucking in the context of an intimate relationship feels loving and emotionally healthy. But let’s say you weren’t into ass fucking and someone decided to fuck your ass anyway. You wouldn’t experience ass fucking under those circumstances as loving; you would experience ass fucking under those circumstances as violence. Well, just as you’re capable of experiencing ass fucking as a loving and emotionally healthy sex act because you love having your ass fucked by someone who loves you, your ex-boyfriend is capable of experiencing domination and degradation as a loving and emotionally healthy sex act because he loves being dominated and degraded by someone who loves him. Consensual BDSM, Dom/sub play, erotic humiliation: not for you, you don’t get it, you don’t have to do it. But hundreds of millions of straight people — maybe even billions — don’t see how one man fucking another man in the ass could ever be a loving. They don’t get it. And luckily for you, straight people — the ones who don’t get it (#NotAllStraightPeople) — can’t to tell you how you’re allowed to love your next boyfriend, TLVE, just as you can’t tell your ex-boyfriend how he’s allowed to love his current boyfriend. Got problems? Email your question to Dan here! Or record your question for the Lovecast here! Follow Dan on Instagram and Threads @DanSavage. Follow Dan on BlueSky @DanSavage. HUMP! Part One is playing in cities across North America and Europe! Go to HUMP! Film Fest to check out the new films and get your HUMP! 2024 tickets now!  

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