Finding a Dominant/submissive play partner

April 9 | Guest post by Sloane Adelaide
Where am I hiding?
…Where am I hiding?

Hi there, I need advice. Sexy advice.

I'm in a relationship where my partner is not interested in BDSM, but I am. I miss it. They can't bring themselves to hit me — it makes them uncomfortable.

My partner has decided that they're okay with me going to someone to help me with my needs. The problem is I don't know how to do this!

It needs to be someone I don't know, and they need to be very discreet. How do I find such a person?

I can help! This is actually a complicated question… maybe even more complicated than you realize. I'm happy that you and your partner have talked about boundaries. You mention that you miss it, so you are experienced in BDSM. I'm going to write this to try to help those who might not be as experienced, too. First we'll talk about what to consider before engaging in a BDSM relationship, and then we'll talk about finding one.

What's BDSM mean to you?

Types of BDSM relationships

First off, let's talk about what BDSM means. A widely-accepted definition of "BDSM" is "Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submissive, Sadism/Masochism." It's a very basic acronym for a very complex idea. Are you interested in being tied up or otherwise restrained (bondage)? Are you interested in punishment (discipline)? And is the type of punishment you're interested in physical (e.g. spanking) or denial (e.g. orgasm denial) or something else? Are you submissive (what kind)? Are you a slave (do you know the difference)? What are your hard boundaries? Do you want to be humiliated or is that too far? If you're submissive, are you also a masochist? Or are you a Dominant, and you want to be in control of someone else? Have you considered a purely text or phone-based BDSM relationship (as in, you never meet physically)? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what to consider about you and BDSM. There are as many different types and levels of kinks as there are kinksters. [related_post]

Seeing as you mentioned that your partner isn't into hitting you, I assume you enjoy pain. It might be worth it to think about other things that turn you on, and talk with your partner about those, too. If your partner isn't into hitting, but you can both get turned on by nipple clamps, that would be a great realization to come to! If you already know your specific desire, let's talk about things to consider when finding someone specifically to fulfill your BDSM needs.

What to discuss with a potential play partner

So, you're into receiving physical pain, specifically hitting. Consider what else you might be into that comes with that: do you want it to be as a result of a transgression (punishment), or as something you ask for (reward? training?). Are you interested in it being a humiliating over-the-knee spanking, or does that humiliation aspect turn you off? Do you want to be hit in different places on your body? Are there places you definitely don't want to be hit? What I'm getting at with all these questions is this: there is a lot to consider when you're looking for a BDSM play partner, especially a casual one, or a professional one.

Communication is paramount in absolutely any relationship, but it's especially necessary in a BDSM dynamic, particularly when there's no romantic relationship and you won't be just talking out feelings with your play partner. (For more on communication, check out this post I wrote about my own experience BDSM and open marriage.) When you find a BDSM play partner, you're approaching someone with a wish list. You need to figure out what's on that wish list. In order to do that, you could:

  • Read erotica
  • Watch porn
  • Join forums
  • Make a separate Twitter and/or Tumblr and talk to people in the BDSM community
  • Make a list of things that you're interested in, and a list of things you definitely don't want to do (these are called your hard limits).

Remember that the most important part about BDSM is safety. Never start a session without discussing safe words. Always respect your partner's boundaries. Always respect your own boundaries — don't push yourself farther than you are comfortable. If you're new to a certain activity, research the hell out of it before trying it, and discuss the research with your potential play partner. Be fully aware of the mental toll BDSM takes. Any session you have has to end with aftercare in some form for everyone's well-being.

Finding a BDSM play partner

Professionals

Professional Dominants are sex workers you hire to dominate you. Note that some dungeons have professional subs, too, but that these are more rare.

Here's an experiment: Google "dominatrix" and your city name right now (I'll wait). If your city is big enough, you'll probably return results from the web pages of professional Dominants. Yes, it's as easy as Googling it. The pages explain their services, their rates, their rules. Read these pages and get a sense for what goes on when you hire a professional. Sometimes they work at a dedicated space (like a dungeon) with others. Sometimes they meet you at a hotel. Some specialize in humiliation, others specialize in bondage, others specialize in spanking. Peruse the sites and figure out which professionals might be a good fit. Contact them through the method listed on their site.

Of particular note when you consider hiring a professional is that generally, they don't offer sex. The reason for this is obvious: in most places, it's illegal. However, paying someone to tie you up and tell you you're a dirty girl isn't illegal. Hooray! Evidently, though, if you're looking for BDSM to be part of actual sex, you're not going to get it through hiring a professional.

As the name implies, these people are in the business of BDSM. They have strict rules and regulations. You'll be instructed about what the safe words are, you'll have to dress in a certain way, and you will be told what is and what is not permissible to do during a session. This is a very particular type of session that is not for everyone, but it could be perfect for someone who wants to make sure that sex and the social aspects of a relationship are completely separate. However, it's expensive.

Non-professional D/s relationships

If you don't want to hire a professional, it is possible to find a Dominant or submissive play partner who is interested purely in play and not a romantic or social relationship. The best way to find this is through a website designed to facilitate meetings between like-minded fetishists.FetLife is a website where you can create a profile and find other people in your area. You can see what their fetishes are, and you can contact each other and go from there. FetLife also organizes completely vanilla meet-ups so that members can meet face-to-face without any pressure. I've had success finding play partners on vanilla social networks, too — particularly for long-distance, text-based/Skype-based BDSM. Some cities will have "dungeons" where interested parties can go to meet (sometimes through invitation only) and engage in sex on the premises.

Obviously, you need to be extremely careful and exercise caution when meeting someone from the internet. I'm not going to go into this here, but it should be evident that this is even more important when the point to your rendezvous is sexual in nature — and doubly so when there is potential for restraining, pain, etc.

Another thing to consider is that BDSM relationships, even when they're not romantic, have a mental aspect to them that can be extremely intense (there's a reason I'm not referring to these as "casual relationships"). It's important to think about this before entering a BDSM situation with someone — whether it be a one-time session or a full-fledged relationship– and to discuss (again! communication!) the limits to your relationship. Think about the complications of a "fuck buddy" and then add on to that the dynamics of a Dominant/submissive relationship and, in your case, your relationship with your partner. That's a lot to handle. It's doable, but it takes a lot of work.

Bottom line

Haha, BDSM pun. It can be extremely rewarding to find a BDSM play partner or hiring a professional. You need to be mentally prepared for the relationship, and you need to do your research. You need to keep your own safety and your partner's as the top priority.

Has anyone had success finding a D/s play partner? We'd love to hear particularly from Homies who have opened their relationship to do so.

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  1. I met my fiancé/BDSM partner on FetLife.com. I started out searching for users in my area. Wasn't looking for a relationship, just online friendships with like minded individuals. After a year of online chatting we ventured to out local BDSM dungeon, thewoodshedorlando.com, for fun and to meet some of his friends. Well I was hooked! On both him and the local dungeon. Now we have two beautiful twin girls and plans to marry this fall, and we still make it out to the dungeon once in a while, when someone offers to babysit.

    15 agree
    • Congratulation , on having found your someone. I have been on Fet Life for 5 years without any luck. Your post has given me encouragement to continue the search.

      1 agrees
  2. Good for you for knowing your needs and expressing them. I've found that kink desires are some of the hardest to talk about. My advice: Fetlife to start with. And also, look for kink or lifestyle events in your area. Here in ATL, we have Frolicon, and SELF, and Furry Con, and a few more. Lots of kinky peeps in Atlanta! Attnad an event or two if you are comfortable and see if you meet some nice people. I have met some amazing people at kink cons, and generally everyone is really nice and respectful. Best of luck!

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  3. The fetlife suggestion is seconded (fourthed?). I have found all of my play partners within the local kinky community, so have a look on there and possibly try a local munch (meeting in a vanilla pub with other kinky folks) or, over here, we have playmuches, where people can sit and chat and/or play if they want. Finding a D/s play partner after being friends with them first may be better than meeting up with someone you have only talked to online, depending on your level o0f comfort.
    And kudos for you for knowing what you want and communicating that. I do have a D/s marriage, but we are open to other partners as well, and it's something that needs more communication than we thought possible. Have fun 🙂

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  4. I had more luck with okcupid than with fetlife, personally, but I think that speaks more about the area I'm in than anything. Generally, though, if you find munches (meetups for the bdsm inclined that usually don't include play but are more of a social thing), try those.

    I'm not going to lie, it may be really difficult to find someone who is interested in being a play partner if you're exclusively looking online. In my experience, it's more difficult if you're already in a relationship. It's usually better to start off by making friends with likeminded people in meatspace. But this is all just my experience.

    3 agree
  5. My partner and I have considered seeking a play partner for both of us. Does anyone have any experience with that? The local kink scene is pretty small, so I don't know if there are even very many resources available to us. I tried FetLife and got scared out by people who wanted to meet in really gross, sketchy places.

    Honestly, I just sort of happened into every sexual AND relationship partner I've had, so I have next to no experience seeking a sexual partner and zero in seeking a sexual partner for a couple and none in seeking a kink partner so I dunno. I'm lost. Haha

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    • Finding someone to join a couple is super hard to do! I'd suggest going back to fetlife, and joining the swingers groups. The groups are great places to find events and clubs where people are more open to playing with couples. Good luck!

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    • I have a friend that is into this kind of thing. He would be the submissive one. He asked me to help him look into finding a couple or couples that wanted to hire a third party I guess you can say. Don't matter if it is m/f, m/m, or f/f. Just curious on information that would help him go about this? P.s. he say's no actual sex involved! Please help! Email response to cbaker0208@gmail.com

      2 agree
    • I know what you mean. Me and my partner met a play partner off of Craigslist, which I don't normally recommend. My partner sometimes skims the ads as a "what the heck" kinda thing, but I decided to and met someone who is clean, caring, and Dominant. Yum.

      4 agree
  6. I'm not into BDSM but I just wanted to say how much I love offbeat home and it's homies. I think the fact you post these topics and are inclusive of all communities is so awesome and that's what keeps me coming back.

    45 agree
  7. In addition to the suggestions in the article, have you ever considered attending a local munch (BDSM diner meet-and-greet style get together) or public play party together? It might be possible you meet someone who enjoys your kinks, and satsifying them, while your partner is with you.

    For example: I love being flogged, but my husband has the starts of arthritis in his hands and the repetitive motion of swinging a flogger causes his joints to swell and hurt.

    We've gone out to play parties together, to find someone who enjoys flogging and either (a) is happy to please a lady (b) Happy to play with another (c) doesn't have anyone who enjoys flogging. We sit down to discuss it a bit, limits, safe words, a no-sex policy…… I've been lucky enough to be flogged by a man, to be curled up, snuggled and kissed by my husband seconds afterwards.

    The question that begs to be asked "is your partner comfortable with BDSM?" maybe they aren't into it, but if they are willing to be around it, it could be a fun outing for both of you.

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  8. Find your local TNG/kink group and go to munches! It's worked wonders for some of my friends. In my area it's very common to need extreme discretion given your job, and I have not so far heard any horror stories from anyone that got outed due to being seen at an event.
    I've met my past 2 kinky partners through D&D though so hey that works too. It just came up when we started getting closer. Meetup is good for finding nerdy people… from there, well, you have a good chance for finding someone of kinky persuasion.

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  9. I feel like I should emphasize the bit about caution, which is probably self explanatory..

    Be wary of guys who -don't- go to Munches, who aren't active in the community. There is the odd Lone Wolf who is not that social, but even the Dom in my friend group who isn't that social, was not adverse to going if needing to catch up, or get to know someone.

    Get to know the others at a Munch, particularly the other Bottoms, to learn about the Doms (or other Tops!) in the community, their styles, and -reputation- . If a Dom does not have a good reputation in the local kink scene… that is a really bad sign.

    Even if you would like to meet up with a guy you only know through FetLife, I would encourage meeting up with them at a Munch. If you do meet someone in a public, vanilla place, you can still get caught up in the moment and agree to something you later regret. . (yay.. experience?…).

    I don't know how much you're willing to dive into the kink world, but it is very helpful (and fun!) to have kinky acquaintances (also on Fetlife!). Even if just for advice, they can be a life saver from feeling alone in your fetishes or situation. An unethical Dom who knows you have no one to talk about BDSM with is a dangerous Dom to be with.

    14 agree
    • Wow, I feel like I was a bit of a Debby Downer there. I LOVE my kinks, and love the experiences I've had. My friends were invaluable in helping me explore my kinks safely.
      How I wish I had gotten into the MinKY community earlier, before I left the country. They were wonderful, and I wish I hadn't gotten the flu before the MinKY play party I'd planned on attending. My friends made it up to me by organizing a mini-play party with a friends Dom before I left 😀

      2 agree
      • Yup I'm here. I own Dominantguide.com as well.

        My advice, since being discreet is paramount is that you go to a professional. This way you get exactly what you need, there are no emotional ties to worry about, no stress if you need to break it off and the local community won't "accidentally" see you with someone other than you partner.

        FetLife is okay, but they are not a dating site and the founder wrote the code to discourage ASL searching. If you want to network with friends and go to local events, it's great for that – but dating is rare, not impossible, but rare.

        I think it's very cool that your partner is willing to open the relationship so that you can get what you need outside it. A lot of relationships aren't capable of that.

        7 agree
        • Also less likely for awkward feelings to develop for everyone involved I think.

          1 agrees
        • In my experience, dating happens all the time through munches and other events. The catch is that it doesn't happen right away. Munches encourage you to get to know the local community, and often the right person for you will turn up in the community. Patience is helpful though 🙂

          1 agrees
  10. Start with Fetlife, and get involved! I'm actually on the BoD for the largest regional leather conference in the Southeast, having only been active in the lifestyle for about 4 years. (Life is awesome sometimes.) It's all about getting in, making connections, and being willing to learn. Safety first in finding play partners, of course, and knowing Who's Who in the community will go a long way toward that.

    Have so much fun! I wish you lots of sexy times and personal growth in the lifestyle!

    3 agree
  11. Ok, so I was actually thinking of email the question last week, but since we're semi-sorta on the topic. Anyone got advice on D/s relationships that doesn't involve going out and meeting other people?

    Hubby and I are considering D/s as an extention of our existing dynamic. Well, me more so than him, but he's not adverse to the idea. I've had a relatively kinky relationship before (and being that I've only had 3 sexual partners, it makes up a good percentage of my experience) so it would be fairly easy if I were Domme, but I'm very very sub.

    We're both really very private people though, and incredibly jelous/possessive of each other so it's not really something we're interested in sharing with other people.

    1 agrees
    • Teaching your hubby doesn't make you a Domme, especially if you consider it one of your services to the relationship – so even if you have the experience, show him what you know. And no, it's not topping from the bottom as long as he has the control over the situation.

      If you aren't interested in going to munches and saying hi to the locals, hit the bookstore and online for websites and forums. There are many very good books available for people learning BDSM and adding it to their relationship.

      3 agree
      • That's a good way to look at it, I hadn't thought of it that way 🙂

        1 agrees
    • Foxie, if you two go to public events, you don't *have* to share each other. There are many events (in my area at least) that are purely education-based. Learn about safety, kinks, kinky DIY, etc. Also, there is no kink at vanilla munches, so I don't know what kind of sharing could happen there. Finally, you can sit and watch at public kink parties without having to join in. Those are a great place to watch and learn, and ask questions about what more experienced people are doing.

      2 agree
  12. Join fetlife, find local groups and go to events with kinky people! One-on-one meetings with people you met on the internet are a recipe for disaster, which is why kinksters constantly congregate in groups. Vanilla munches (munches are just meet-ups at restaurants or bars) are a great place to meet people. Meet friends first, and then after you have found a trustworthy set of people, start asking for recommendations on who is safe to play with. This should be a slow process for a newbie, because safety comes first!

    After you meet new friends in public/vanilla spaces, go to a kinky party! I recommend always playing with new partners in public, in order to avoid risky private situations. If possible, watch that person play with others before they play with you (or talk to someone they've played with before) in order to see if they are safe, and if your interests align with theirs.

    I have to recommend against websites like collarme. I have heard plenty of horror stories about bad experiences with inexperienced doms or desperate subs. Okcupid is slightly better than collarme, but I would still get to know people in your community first. You need to have friends that you can go to for help and advice, kinky friends who you can learn from and understand your concerns and issues.

    In response to Foxie's comment, "we're both really very private people though, and incredibly jelous/possessive of each other so it's not really something we're interested in sharing with other people."
    Foxie, if you two go to public events, you don't *have* to share each other. There are many events (in my area at least) that are purely education-based. Learn about safety, kinks, kinky DIY, etc. Also, there is no kink at vanilla munches, so I don't know what kind of sharing could happen there. Finally, you can sit and watch at public kink parties without having to join in. Those are a great place to watch and learn, and ask questions about what more experienced people are doing.

    2 agree
  13. Less than 3 years ago, I was in a very similar situation.

    I discovered a thrilling new desire to dominate that just didn't work with my husband (he's doesn't follow orders well.) We were already swingers, and after a ton of research, I began my hunt for the perfect LONG-DISTANCE submissive for me.

    And what a hunt it was! It took months of sifting through emails and interacting online to figure out what I wanted and who was just jerking me around. (Check out my website if you want the details, though it's reverse chronological.)

    I used Fetlife & Collarme. And I had a few false starts. But I stayed persistent and found my sweet boy, my 24/7 submissve cockpet 6 hours away from me. I regret the distance now, but it was necessary for my peace of mind when I began the hunt.

    My boy and I have been together over 2 years. Our 12th in person date is coming up soon! And we are still finding the balance with my husband. <– Very tricky but very much worth it.

    There is so much to say (ask me anything!) but just know it CAN work, you CAN find a true honest submissive or dominant online but you have to have faith… and a very secure pseudonym. Make new email addresses, remove your name from your cell number if you are texting, and be very cautious.

    Good luck! MD

    2 agree
  14. I am looking for a dom in my area, new at this and want to explore it more. I am in Merrillville, In. Please send me some info. Thank you ! Sandy

    1 agrees
  15. I have a question. I'm from a pretty small country… How does one meet a dominant male??
    Specially when i'm a control freak (really) and i need someone "higher" then that, I really need someone that will make me feel safe so I can let go of control for the time I'm with that person …. (P.s. Sorry for my english I hope you all understand)

    2 agree
    • Fetlife.com is a huge social community and it is global so you might just find people like you on there.

      1 agrees
  16. I have a question, i have a friend who is into submission, he doesn't want to be hit just dominated how rver he is REALLY nervous about seeking out like minded people because he thinks imhe is weird or messed up for wantinf it. I keep telling him he is normal and that many more people than he is thinking are into it but he doesn't really believe me. I want to help him come out of his shell and embrace this side of himself because he is like a kid at christmas when he talks about what he want done to him. How do I help him? What are some good sites he can go to so that he can meet other people who enjoy this lifestyle aswell? Please help!

    1 agrees
    • Masochism and submission do not go hand in hand. See Do I Have to Like Pain to Be Submissive (http://www.submissiveguide.com/2009/05/pain-submissive/). So your friend will fit in just fine at any kinky community he wants to be a part of. I always suggest people start at FetLife.com. It's like a Facebook for kinky people. He will be able to find his local community that meets for face to face interaction and dating.

      1 agrees
  17. I've always was interested in BDSM and had a natural sub personality. I did my research and read and finally googled and found Fetlife. I needed training as this was my first deep dive into this relationship. So i set out and posted some to find one. I found a Dom who wanted a play partner one or two days a week since his Slave only comes weekends. He wanted me to possibly add to the dynamic in play with his Slave on the weekends because she exerted some switch traits he wanted to include. But also train me on weekdays by myself. It's quite interesting and I do recommend exploring and using Fetlife. Go out there and play safe. I had the best experience as I did my research and was safe so I didn't end up with a wrong fake Dom.

    2 agree
  18. I am seeking a BDSM partner to indulge me in my deep seeded need and expectation to be spanked for my transgressions . It is not simply a fetish or kinky fantasy. I need the consistency of corporal punishment in my life.

    • Hi there… Maybe we should chat. let me know if you are interested.

  19. I am a dom woman looking for a sub bi woman. How do you recommend me going about this?

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