Toys and Tools Dilute the Experience of Domination

Sep 30, 2010 • Feature, Opinion

Recently, I met a woman who had experience in the BDSM community. She shared how dungeons worked, related the depth of the sociological and psychological connection between a submissive and a dominant, extolled the openness found in the negotiations of a scene; she showed me videos, stories, and images. The topic wasn’t alien to me, but had never been taken seriously until this point.

The vast majority of these people don’t get it. They want to, but they don’t understand. If they understood what they were trying to do, they wouldn’t need anything other than their bodies to do it. When I relayed my views to the woman, she looked at me with curiosity, and what seemed to be disapproval.

Dominance isn’t tying someone up, it’s taking over their body, enveloping their thoughts, their emotions, and their orgasms into a container of control. It’s pacing intimate interactions to the point of break for the submissive.

Toys, tools and whatever

Submissives and doms alike, for the most part, have an over-abundance of wares in their tool chests. Ropes, gags, masks, whips, vibrating objects, lotions, flammable liquids, waxes, latex, spikes, collars, chains, knives, costumes, soundtracks — the list goes on and on.

True Domination, on the other hand, includes an abundance of tools that you can’t buy in a store. They are more effective, and far more intimate than a drill gun with a rubber cock attached to the end. The excess of gear and focus on it makes the idea of dominance in the BDSM community a joke, child’s play.

It’s nothing but dress-up time for the half-wits, surrendering an art to the masses by making it accessible fun for the weekend warrior dom and sub.

The toys criminally dilute the art, and the vast majority of dungeons are nothing but a carnival of how diluted the entire experience has become, and a foreshadowing of how much more watered-down it’s going to get.

Safe words

The process is complicated. The process is involved. The process is delicate. The various calculations and observations that the real dom needs to comprehend and undertake require a level of attention that is atypical among most so-called doms.

The result is the need for safe words, the concept of which is amateur at best. The need for safe words clearly illustrates that most people involved do not care to take the time to get to know a submissive or to develop the understanding required to actually, intuitively, perceive the limits of said sub. It’s a sign that the dom in question substitutes extreme measures in lieu of skill in the art of dominance, measures that could harm or adversely affect a sub.

True Dominance

Want to decimate your partner? Want to be in full possession of their soul and control their entire being and have them submit to you even if they’re not a submissive by nature? It’s involved. It takes attention, it takes observation, it takes a level of knowledge, and it takes a lot of patience:

1. Psychology

Get to know your submissive. Get into their heads, discern what makes them tick, what makes them drip, drop, and dive. Arousal can be completed by many methods, and nowhere in our biological existence does it dictate shibari or setting someone on fire.

2. Anatomy:

Read a book on erogenous zones and pressure points. The human body is a fascinating and powerful machine. It’s malleable, it’s bendable, it’s pleasurable. With a little education, your hands and breath become your weapons of defeat.

3. Meditation:

Patience, personal insight, and mental observation are of the utmost importance for any power dynamic, and engaging without the distraction of gear is extremely important because you must stay attuned to your sub.


If these dress-up doms were more into understanding human nature and truly tearing into their partners (on a level that no toys will ever reach), they would spend less time learning knots best left to sailors and setting up safe words and truly experience what it means to possess someone entirely.

The bottom line is simple: if you know what you’re doing, you’ll dominate; if not, go buy some more toys and tools.

As for the woman I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, she’s sleeping at my feet. But she’ll be up in a moment editing and posting this.

M. Lore doesn’t feel you’re entitled to know more about him than what he has contributed here.

  • Anaiis

    It’s true. I was sleeping at His Feet.

  • Dawn

    I’m so happy you posted this. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately — about what it means to dominate someone. I’ve researched and engaged in BDSM before but it never really appealed to me — I liked my partner well enough, but I wasn’t in love with him, and without an intense connection between us, the play seemed empty. The toys, words, gestures, and tools seemed more like theater than a reality that had penetrated me.

    I stopped exploring at that point, feeling that my curiosity had been sated for the moment.

    Nevertheless, I still encounter people who are in the scene. A friend told me about a woman he recently met who is currently in therapy after having a destructive relationship with her Dom — a man she had met randomly and with whom she had immediately begun the Dom/sub relationship. And it struck me: subbing is such an intense emotional experience. How can you get into something like that without really knowing the person first? You have to believe in him or her entirely. You have to wish to submit to their vision. And if you don’t even know what that vision is, how can you submit to it? It seems like it instantly puts you in an intensely vulnerable position with someone you don’t know and who could easily hurt you. Hence the safe words – because you’re working with all this uncertainty.

    I haven’t wanted to really express these thoughts because I thought: well, perhaps I am simply not inclined for BDSM and therefore cannot really hold a valid opinion on it. But at the same time, I have recently entered a relationship wherein I feel entirely dominated and overwhelmed in the way that I think most BDSM relationships try to emulate — and without all the theater. (Which is not to say we don’t use toys, tools and whatever, but they are accessories, not necessities.) The relationship isn’t empty because we use words and symbols that are particular to us, not ones that have been imposed by our attempts to imitate a certain dynamic. I feel this way toward him because I *adore* him, because, having come to know him, I want him, his vision, his will exerted upon me because it is the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. We have come to operate this way because I feel this way toward him, because he is skilled, because he knows my body and how to play it, because he knows my mind and heart, and with hardly a quiet flicker, his effect over me is powerful and deafening.

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