Tool Time

by Molly Moore
Man holding BDSM strap

In my local area group on Fetlife, which I run, a new member posed this question;

“The predicament I find myself in is my complete lack of tools of the trade. I have a very willing sub ready and waiting but asking her for guidance would be counter-intuitive hey?
Always having been a dominant guy I find it difficult asking for help but I’m swallowing my pride this one time..
Apart from joining this community, Where is the best place to start? Essential items etc..”

He received quite a number of replies the vast majority of which were constructive and helpful and one member even decided to write their own blog post about it: Tools of the Trade in which he lists what, for him, are his top 5 essential pieces of equipment. Of course any list like this is going to be hugely subjective and personal because we don’t all like the same things. For example, he mentions a butt plug, but if your submissive is not into anal play of any sort then clearly it is not going to be something you have let alone list as an essential toy. That doesn’t mean I don’t think lists like this are interesting or note worthy. They reflect a person/couples brand of kink and it is interesting to see what others class as their must haves but that it the point, it is THEIR must haves and as such for someone new to BDSM, lists like this can useful if used as a starting point for their own ideas and explorations with their partner.

With that in mind I started thinking about what my list would look like and talked to @domsigns about what he would list. I certainly have my favourite toys but it is an ever evolving and changing thing which can depend on mood and desire in the moment. I will however revisit this topic in a future post and share our respective thoughts on this but for today I am taking a slightly different tack.

I am of the firm belief that owning a whip, some chains and a serious expression does not make you a Dom. The contents of your tool bag, or lack there off, are not a direct reflection of your domliness. Yes they can be fun, useful and exciting to discover and collect (For another post but just to note, they don’t have to cost the earth either) but they are not what you makes you Dom just as having them used on you does not make you sub. The tools you really need to be Dom are within you, they are what you are, not what you carry in your hand.

With that in mind I have made my own list of what I think you need to be a good Dom and none of them are things you can buy.*

  1. Intelligence: I don’t necessarily mean academic intelligence, although that can help, what I really mean by this is that you have the ability to understand the depth and complicated nature of these types of relationships and the feelings and emotions that they inspire. I have long been of the opinion that the correlation between the amount of kinksters that are also self-confessed geeks/artist/creative folks etc is not a coincidence and is why I have placed this at the top of the list as it is a trait that informs the 4 other things on this list.
  2. Imagination/creativity: Clearly these two are tightly interlinked and yet also separate skills but they do go hand in hand. It is one thing knowing how to wield a bull whip with precision but if you do not have the imagination to weave that skill into a bigger scene then all you really have is some interesting whip skills. Likewise creativity applies to not only how you take your imagination and bring it to life but also the ability to adapt to situations as they unfold. Creativity also applies in a practical sense too and this is one that will stand you in good stead when you toy bag is unavailable and all you have is your hands and whatever objects you find around you. Being creative, making your own tools of the trade and adapting everyday objects will not only save you a fortune but much more excitingly everyday objects will suddenly take on new, kinky, lives.
  3. Patience/self-control: This might actually be one of the most important traits/characteristics that a dom can have. Like intelligence it also informs all the other things on this list. How can you possibly hope to control someone else and the situation they have agreed to be in with you, if you can not control yourself. In my experience I have found that the best doms are often the ones who appear to deny themselves in a quest for something more than just an orgasm. I am not sure I have the words to truly explain it but it is that patience and that apparent self-control that allows both parties to indulge in something more than just orgasms, something more intense and raw. Also I feel a word about anger is appropriate here. There is no place for anger/rage in a kink scene (clearly, roleplaying these emotions is different) but anger and rage are about loss of self-control, it is the difference between kink and violence.
  4. Communication: Being a dom is not about telling someone what to do, barking orders and pleasing yourself, it is meant to be a something that brings mutual pleasure for all involved. To achieve that though you have to be able to communicate well and that is not just about expressing your thoughts, feelings, desires, expectations but also listening to someone else’s. This isn’t just about verbal communication either, understanding body language, picking up subtle indicators is just as important. Good communication between partners is vital for all relationships in my opinion but its role in kink relationships is essential. Being able to talk and to possibly even more importantly getting someone else to talk and really listening to them when they do is absolutely key.
  5. Willingness to learn: Knowledge is power after all. Knowing yourself, learning yourself and your partner(s) should drive you. The role of a dom is not to find someone to service just your needs, it is about finding pleasure in a meeting of desires; yours to be in control, to be the power and the subs to be controlled, to relinquish that power to someone who will use it in a quest for everyone’s pleasure. Learning someone, learning yourself, learning what makes you both tick should thrill you.

Clearly everyone has their own style and methods. There is no right way to be a Dom/top or for that matter a sub/bottom, the only right way is the one that works for you and your partner(s). The key is finding a person that you click with, because THE most important tool at a doms disposal is surely the relationship(s) they have with the sub. Regardless of whether that is 24/7 or just casual play partners it is that connection between the people involved that will become far more important than any tool you may have in your play bag.

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Marie Rebelle October 8, 2014 - 8:06 pm

“I am of the firm belief that owning a whip, some chains and a serious expression does not make you a Dom.”

So true! And, like you said, the list will be different for everyone, but damn, your list could have been mine!

Great post, Molly!

Rebel xox

Master October 8, 2014 - 8:09 pm

Interesting take on the original concept. Have to say I agree with all of it, I think i might actually prefer your suggestions!

Modesty Ablaze October 8, 2014 - 9:23 pm

Yes . . . as always!!!
Xxx – K

Malflic October 9, 2014 - 2:12 am

You should turn this post into a class for munches and at cons. It really makes all the right points about the dynamics that make things work both in a scene and a relationship.

Molly Moore October 10, 2014 - 10:41 pm

Thank you, that means a lot. I was slightly hesitant to talk with authority about ‘being a dom’ as I am most definitely not one but I think I have a good insight into what makes a good one nevertheless


Jane October 9, 2014 - 6:14 am

This is such a brilliant piece. (I loved it so much that I read it three times and then a fourth time aloud to M.) It is absolutely the person, not the baubles and trinkets they may or may not come with, that is most important.

Now off to ponder my personal ‘essentials’ list …

Jane xxx

Cammies on the Floor October 9, 2014 - 1:02 pm

So very true. I often surprised at how many different ways my husband can create a scene – he’s far more creative than I am. It is important to keep me guessing as part of the head space I need, and he is certainly a patient man.
Honestly, most of the time we don’t have any “tools” other than each other and he can still put me in subspace.

Mia Sinclair October 12, 2014 - 8:42 pm

Molly this is an excellent post and I agree with Malfic this would make a brilliant educational piece/presentation!

As a Switch, in my Domme role you have hit the nail on the head as far as the mindset of the Dominant role should be, in the sub role you have highlighted exactly what I would look for in a Dom/me.

One final point from 3. Patience/Self-Control this sentence stood out for me:-

“Also I feel a word about anger is appropriate here. There is no place for anger/rage in a kink scene (clearly, roleplaying these emotions is different) but anger and rage are about loss of self-control, it is the difference between kink and violence.”

Point very well made!

~Mia~ xx

Molly Moore October 13, 2014 - 11:42 am

I think it is really important to separate the two…there is no place in kink for losing ones temper. Yes, we all do it, but when we do that is not a moment to indulge in kink play.


SJF102 October 19, 2014 - 4:57 am

Yet again drawn to your words and I find myself agreeing with you, especially on the subject of patience and self-control. Time and time again i find myself thinking (after someone has mentioned it) “You’re” going far too fast it’s going to scare them off. I’ve been able to get my sub to do more or less all that I’ve wanted her to do because i took time.

Again a very thoughtful and insightful piece Molly xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Jade October 31, 2014 - 9:49 pm

I’ve been meaning to come back here and comment on this ever since you wrote it, but kept getting distracted. When it showed up in my inbox as part of Cammie’s October Reads post, I was glad of the reminder.

It’s uncanny how often we think alike, Molly. When you first mentioned the “toolbox” idea, the first thing I thought was, “There’s no such thing as the most ‘essential tools of the trade’.” What a ridiculous idea that there could be a one-size-fits-all list of “essential” toys. You nailed it – exactly as I would have phrased it – when you said “The tools you really need to be Dom are within you, they are what you are, not what you carry in your hand.”

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