July 9, 2009


The Thinking Dominant, offers up thought provoking questions from time to time. Their subtext says, "Journal prompts and writing tasks for the Top's mind...because Dominants need help formulating their thoughts sometimes too...." I say, Amen to that.

They recently asked about Authenticity.
  • What are your thoughts regarding those who primarily are attracted to BDSM because of its “transgressive” nature?
  • Are dominants who embrace BDSM more as a fun, taboo way to explore sexuality any less authentic than those who have committed to the philosophy of BDSM/ base their relationships on power exchange regardless of the sexual elements?
Is an ethical Top less Authentic than an ethical Dominant? I don't think so. The notion seems to imply a kind of elitism, "my dominance is better because it fits into some predefined framework". After all, the definitions even tend to suggest that:

authenticity - the truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions.

authentic - entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience.

There are any number of forums, particularly across the width and breadth of the Internet that seek to define peoples roles and kinks into finer and finer layers. I think that if people are truthful with themselves and their partners - then it doesn't really matter which side of the coin the Dominant falls on. At some point we get into too much parsing of roles and characteristics.

As in many other venues in life, people ought to celebrate their similarities, not their differences. Think of the differences as the flavorings, or toppings, or decorations on the lovely cakes that we all are.

It is certainly my personal opinion that developing a strong and deep and abiding relationship with someone I do such intimate things with is far more fulfilling and intense than just doing a scene on a stage for others to watch. However, I think that is true of nearly every connection with another human being, regardless of the activity.


  1. "At some point we get into too much parsing of roles and characteristics."
    Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank You!!!
    I get sooo frustrated by the amount of judgmental 'information" out there. This is right, this is wrong, this is real, this is fake. Bah!

    Dom or sub, Top, bottom, or sideways, every relationship or encounter has it's own dynamic. There is no One True Reality. There's just honesty and communication and a whole lot of flying by the seat of your pants. We work it out as best we can.

    I know this doesn't at all address your question but I wanted to send you a cheer, anyhow.

  2. unless if course you are an actor but I think that speaks to your point. To many definitions when all that matters is it works for you and the ones you are with.

  3. Hmm... that second one is an interesting question. I suppose those who are into BDSM for the sake of being different are not authentic in that it's not an inherent kink, but they may be doing authentic play (whatever that means) in that their actions are true to the traditions of the community.

    Try substituting a vanilla noun for BDSM, and see how you feel. If someone's into Indian food just because it's foreign, but not because they specifically enjoy the flavor, I wouldn't call them an authentic Indian food enthusiast, but could say that their consumption wasn't authentic.

  4. Couldn't agree more.

    Not only do I hate when people try to define what I (re: dominants) should be, do, say or act like, the fact is I would be the farthest thing from dominant if I even gave a the slightest damn how anyone wants to define me.

    If you want to put someone in a box, you're looking in the wrong direction - and that includes - ESPECIALLY - my own wife who has her own ideas about how a dominant is "supposed" to act.

    Anyone can follow scripts or wear "appropriate costumes" but that's just play acting.

    Anyone can learn to role play and some might even become pretty convincing. I have met several who are quite successful at it.

    There are many cases of "I don't have a dominant bone in my body, but I play dominant in my spare time." There is nothing at all wrong with that as long as it works for everyone. Those are the "dominants" who want to define what does or doesn't fall within the realm of "dominance."
    Since they have followed a script to learn their part, they are convinced that anyone who doesn't act the same way can't be a dominant.

    It's like a white hip hop wannabe who tries hard to act black telling black people what it takes to be black. It's a joke.

    "True" dominance isn't learned (though there is a ton of learning that goes with it). You either are or are not dominant. And if you are dominant, then you do what YOU believe is right (and, I hope, are more than willing to change if you find you are wrong). Not what some self-appointed arbiter of "dominance rules" decides you should do.

  5. Great topic David. As a sub who has been in relationships with three Dominants in my life, i can say from experience that(the view from the bottom, if you will) that They all had different styles. But, they were all authentic as far as i was concerned because they were totally different people. They weren't a "type" they were just men who happened to be Dominant.

  6. such an interesting post. my perspective has changed so much since falling in love with a man who knew nothing about bdsm before he met me. he's very dominant, but he wouldn't have called himself one when we first met. and the things that we do together i think are more like play than anything that he's decided upon as "the dominant" in the relationship. but it works and it makes us happy, and because he really doesn't identify with bdsm the labels mean nothing to him. and therefore they have no place in our relationship. we just do what we do, and we enjoy it, and then sometimes i write about it. :)