When Dominant Personalities Clash

That which yields, is not always weak.
— Jacqueline Carey

Have you ever experienced this?  There is no reason why there should be tension…but there is.  Suddenly it’s not a conversation – it’s a power struggle.  If you know what you to look for, you can actually watch the breakdown in conversation as each side stubbornly sticks to their point.  They simply stop listening to each other; waiting for their chance to talk again.

When I’m faced with this problem I go two ways.   If it’s just me and someone else, I’ll change the topic, or change the person I’m talking to.  I can recognize what’s going on, and non-constructive arguing?  Not my kink.

If I’m facilitating a group discussion it’s a different matter.  Suddenly it is my job to bring the discussion back to a place where it can continue to move forward.  Sometimes that does mean shutting people down – and that’s okay.  Sometimes it’s about supporting the group dynamic/purpose over the individual.

The unfortunate side effect of BDSM discussions is that some poeple can’t leave the power out of it.   Often, these people all amongst those who claim they are lifestyle or live their Dominance 24-7.   They are Dominant and you will listen (and yes, this is why Dominants can’t play cards).

I call bullshit.

One is only a Dominant in the context of an agreed upon power exchange.

Now I’m not saying that if you aren’t in a power exchange relationship you cannot identify in whatever manner choose; but I am saying that if you are not in a power exchange dynamic you have no right to expect anyone respond in a certain manner to your self proclaimed label.  Furthermore, you have no right to get your flogger in a knot over this.

You cannot force people to play into your fantasy unwillingly.

If you try; you’re an ass – and if you’ve ever been to my BDSM 102 class you’ll remember that rule #1 is, in fact, You have a responsibility not to be an ass.


Huge love to ToroGRUE to giving me time to write the above.  If you’ve never been to a GRUE before, you really need to check it out.   I was pretty sceptical going in about how well the unconference model would work in an atmosphere of  such a diverse and at times uncompromising group of people.  Would people be willing to talk about things that weren’t their thing or if x many tops could get past their need to constantly preserve their Dominance long enough to participate honestly in discussions.  But it worked.  There were over 20 “sessions” and endless more pockets of coversations over the course of the two days, and by and large there was very little cock measuring by any of the participants.

If you know me, you know in-depth discussions are my crack, so I was in heaven….  and I at once point I realized there was nothing going on that engaged me… so I stretch out on the floor and wrote.  I had 30 mins with nothing to do but write….

Seriously people.  Heaven.

3 thoughts on “When Dominant Personalities Clash

  1. Ibid says:

    I had this whole very long thing I wanted to add to this. Instead, you said this:

    “One is only a Dominant in the context of an agreed upon power exchange.”

    And that pretty much sums it up. Whether Dom or Submissive or what-have you, it only really functions or has relevance to other people if they agree on the dynamic or the “consensual reality” (stealing that term from Mage: The Ascension who stole it from somewhere more reputable I’m sure).

    Also, you make me really wish I went to GRUE.

  2. Serenity9 says:

    I always find those self-proclaimed dominants that clash like that are very insecure people in general or at least I like to think so. I really can’t respect that kind of thing because for me dominance is about control. If you can’t control yourself then you sure the fuck haven’t the right to control me. That’s why I rarely get into a pissing match outside of very controlled circumstances and when I do I never get outright angry about, but instead do it for the amusement factor.

    The kind of dominance that I respect the most is when a person is secure and comfortable enough in their skin to laugh at themselves. There’s really no need to “assert” your dominance as you pointed out outside of “the context of an agreed upon power exchange.” To attempt to master another requires consent, but to master another one must master oneself.

    1. bliss says:

      Good on you for calling D-types on this (high-larious video by the way, thx).

      i was recently witness to one such verbal pissing match, and by two D-types that i actually admire, so i just said, “Hey guys, you’re splashing my shoes.” Everyone laughed and the building tension was diffused.

      i think. i may still end up paying for that one…

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