Today’s question deals with trust from the other side of the slash: why do D-types need to trust their s-type partners?

ask ani a question

(I do my best to keep the whole thing gender-neutral, but please don’t be offended if I slip.)

My first question (yay!! :D) comes from Symphony.

Hello Ani! I loved to read through your blog, even after a few years of living bdsm I found many things I learned. And I’m really not finished with reading… But here’s my question: Why is trust needed for a Dom, too?

I recently got to know a guy who is actually really into being dominant, but he never thought about BDSM before. So when I asked him about being so dominant after a while, he answered “it will sound really weird, but…I need to trust somebody to be dominant [with them]”. I said “No, it doesn’t sound weird at all, of course trust isn’t just needed as a sub, but also as a Dom!” but…I couldn’t give him arguments why.

Why does a Dom has to trust a submissive as well as she does trust him? I only thought of “to not be laughed at when she perhaps finds it ridiculous what he says”…but that’s…not a good argument… 😀 So…would you help me with this question :)? Thanks! And…I’ll buy your books when you write some 😉

Well then, I’ll try to start writing a book. Soon. Maybe. Maybe just a short ebook, topic still to be determined. But I have ideas. Thanks for your wonderful compliments Symphony 🙂


Now, for your question.

I can’t speak directly from the point of view of a Dom, but I can say this one thing: they need to trust you to access these dark parts of themselves.

Domination, especially domination with sadism, is not something that’s socially acceptable or easy to talk about. Many tops and Doms I have talked with speak of shame, of feeling like it wasn’t okay to want the things they want. So it takes a lot of trust to come out as kinky, especially in a D-type role.

Now, not all scenes require a huge, relationship-level amount of trust. Pick up play, for example, requires just enough trust that you’ll know the top won’t kill you or something. But then there is a whole support system around you to keep you safe: other players, dungeon monitors, and your friends and partners. Tops need to trust the bottom enough so that they feel they can play safely, without constantly worrying about limits and boundaries.

But in deeper, long-term D/s or M/s relationships, Ds and Ms need to establish trust with their bottom for more reasons. There’s the question of limits and boundaries: even Ds and Ms have them.

There’s also the question of becoming vulnerable and opening up to a person. Just as letting someone top or dom you makes you vulnerable, topping or domming someone requires openness and vulnerability as well. They are showing you dark, sometimes “monstrous” part of themselves. They are showing you a side of themselves that they wouldn’t show the vanilla world, and they trust you not to betray them. They trust you to be always honest and open with them, and they trust you to honour that part of themselves.

So, to summarize, there are 2 basic answers to that question:

  • A Dom needs to trust you because if you don’t give him all the pertinent information about yourself, your limits and your needs, his ability to keep you safe is compromised.
    • A sub-answer to this is that a Dom who doesn’t trust you can’t push you—if he can’t trust that you’ll ask for help if you need it, then the play might more restricted.
  • A Dom needs to trust you because by being dominant with you, he shows you a vulnerable part of himself. He needs to trust you to honour and respect that. He needs to trust that you won’t lie, manipulate or otherwise emotionally damage him.

(Thanks to my Fetlife friends for helping me clarify some of these issues!)

If there are any tops or other D-types reading this, I’m sure Symphony would like your input too!

Good advice? Helpful information? Thank me with a coffee!