Playing With His Senses: A Beginner’s Guide to Being a Sensual Domme

sensual domination scene

You might have heard the term “sensual domination” and wondered what it was.

How is it different from good, old fashioned, regular domination? What? That’s not good enough anymore, huh?

In my day we had to walk two miles to the dungeon in the snow….barefoot! And we liked it! (Of course you did, you masochist!)

Sensual domination isn’t some new kind of domination that kinky people are suddenly practicing! In fact, I’d argue it’s the kind of BDSM play that most couples, especially those who are on the lighter side of bedroom play, practice the most.

Sensual domination isn’t some new kind of domination that kinky people are suddenly practicing! In fact, I’d argue it’s the kind of BDSM play that most couples, especially those who are on the lighter side of bedroom play, practice the most.

Domination is taking control over something or someone.

Sensual just means relating to the senses—sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.

In that way ALL BDSM play is sensual. It all focuses on the senses, whether you’re overpowering someone’s sense of touch with a stingy paddle or taking away someone’s sight with a blindfold. 

But if you hear someone referring to the term “sensual domination,” it generally means something a little more specific, which is domination that focuses more on pleasure than pain and creates an element of delight through the five senses. A sensual domme will likely take more interest in play that feels good for the bottom and creates an erotic atmosphere—although that doesn’t mean that sex will necessarily be involved.

If you’re looking to add some sensualism to your scenes, here are some easy suggestions.

  1. Blindfold your bottom. When you take away one sense, you heighten the others. You create anticipation and fear of the unknown. What will happen next? Will I get sharp a whack with a paddle or will get a soft feather draped against my backside?
  2. Use everyday objects. Some of the most sensual items you can use in a scene aren’t the ones you buy in a BDSM store. Look around your house for objects with varying textures like combs, cotton batting, sponges, aluminum foil. Especially if your bottom can’t see what you’re doing, playing with the unidentifiable objects will be thrilling for your partner as they try to guess what they are. One of the sexiest sensual items I’ve found was a car buffer from the dollar store!
  3. Play with temperature. Wax play can be very sensual! Dripping warm wax on oiled skin is a delight. But it does have a little learning curve, so do your homework. You wouldn’t want a sensual scene to turn into a trip the emergency room. Or you can go the other direction and use ice to drip slowly on your partner’s stomach or slide it around more sensitive parts. You can even put it in your mouth for a cold kiss.
  4. Freaky foodies. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember the sexy scene in the movie 9 ½ weeks where Mickey Rourke feeds Kim Basinger from his fridge, in a very r-rated way. While using food in a sensual scene is fun, do be aware that some foods really shouldn’t be…inserted…places that are bad for you. Whipped cream on the stomach? Yum. In the vagina? That’s going to get very oily and leave a film. You don’t want to disrupt the natural flora and fauna and leave your lovely lady with a yeast infection. One of my favorite ways to use food in a sensual femdom scene is to feed my partner bites of goodies and deny them the right to feed themselves. I especially like to do with this bites of cheesecake or chocolates. Then follow it up with a sweet kiss.
  5. Comfortable kink. When you’re trying to be sensual, remember that the texture of the objects you bring into the scene matters. It’s not a bad idea to invest in a good, soft pair of leather handcuffs instead of a cheap pair that digs into the skin or can break. Even think about what you’re wearing and what your partner’s wearing…or not wearing. How is what you have on going to feel when it rubs up against them?
  6. Pamper me. As a sensual domme, myself, I love a good pampering session. I’m also not above pampering my sub. I love to be drawn a hot bath and poured a glass of champagne, especially if my darling is sitting next to me, rubbing my hands. I’ll also always appreciate a foot massage or full body massage. If you’re looking for a sensual scene for your submissive to perform for YOU, have him make you dinner dressed only in an apron while you relax. He can feed you appetizers while you wait.

Although there is definitely kinky play that’s rude, crude and downright dirty, and I like that too, I would say a lot of the kinky play I see and perform myself falls under the “sensual domination” umbrella. Ultimately, sensual domination is a lot like gentle femdom. It’s not so much what you do as how you do it that counts.

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Gentle Femdom and Role Reversal? What’s the Difference, Anyway?

man kissing woman's leg

If you’re into sweet and loving femdom, you might be familiar with both the terms gentle femdom and role reversal. You might think these are the same things. Isn’t femdom a role reversal by definition in a world where we still tend to see men as sexual aggressors and leaders and women as less sexually driven followers? The answer is yes. In some ways, gentle femdom is automatically a role reversal of stereotypes about men and women.

However, role reversal as a specific relationship dynamic is its own creation. Both have some similarities but there are also differences. While some kinky folks might be into both, many see them as separate desires.

Gentle Femdom

Gentle femdom is femdom that is…well…gentle. There isn’t one set definition about what is and what isn’t gentle femdom. I’ve been a party to some heated Reddit discussions about why gentle femdom can or can’t include any forms of sadism or humiliation, and people have some strong ideas on the matter.

But regardless of what activities you consider to be gentle or not, the attitude of a gentle domme is almost always one of loving affection. A gentle femdom tends to use praise more than punishments, and funishments more than actual punishments.

Gentle dommes are often, although not always, girly and feminine, and there can be some crossover with mommy dommes, dommes who are very nurturing, caring, mother like figures to their subs. (This can also cross over into age play.)

If male subs in gentle femdom relationships are into cross-dressing or being feminine, this is usually looked at as being cute and pretty instead of embarrassing or dirty, and male subs in the gentle femdom community often display at least a little androgyny.

Gentle femdom is probably influenced at least somewhat by Japanese hentai and Yaoi, anime and manga about relationships between young gay men that is typically created by women and targeted at a straight, female audience. I say that because, as opposed to “harsher” femdom, a lot of gentle femdom porn consists of manga style comics that are very….cute! (Secret….I actually love them.)

Role Reversal

Role reversal is different from gentle femdom in several ways.

First, although gentle dommes are figures who hold loving power over their submissives, they generally retain feminine qualities and attributes. A gentle domme is often portrayed as shorter than her male submissive, in the same way that most women are shorter than men.

And while a domme would probably be very upset if someone hurt her partner, she wouldn’t necessarily be seen as a white knight figure who would defend him or his honor. Gentle femdom is also still femdom. At its heart, there is usually play involving some kinds of tease and denial, sadism, service, embarrassment, etc…

Unlike gentle femdom, role reversal doesn’t need to be kinky.

In fact, some people who are into role reversal say it’s not kinky at all, and they like purely vanilla sex. What people into role reversal do like is the idea that women will have more typically masculine attributes and roles.

This doesn’t mean that men into role reversal are looking for women with beards or without breasts. But they like the idea of the women being the stronger, taller and/or bigger person in the relationship.

There also tends to be a focus on the woman as protector figure. Whereas typically men are seen as defenders of women, men who like role reversal like the idea that a woman will protect them.

Typically, men are expected to be the ones who ask a woman out, and this can be true in gentle femdom as well. But people who enjoy role reversal enjoy it if the woman is the pursuer and woos the man.

Some people into role reversal are also into gentle femdom, and the reverse is true. But they are separate desires. Some people into role reversal might not even label what they like as a kink, but instead just a preference.

Overlap Between the Communities

Personally, I see a large overlap between the two communities. Both tend to value softness in men, and both are very romantic versions of kink. There is much more petting, loving, caressing, cute name calling in both gentle femdom and role reversal than you see in stereotypical femdom. Both communities display a lot of artwork and artistic depictions of relationships between dommes and subs and men and women instead of graphic sexual photography.

If you want to learn more about role reversal, I recommend r/RoleReversal on Reddit. While I know a fair amount about role reversal, I’m not an expert. There you can learn more about how people describe and define this relationship dynamic.  Do you have any experience with role reversal? Feel free to share your opinions about how you think it differs from or is similar to gentle femdom.

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An Inside Look at Gentle Femdom. Cuddles With a Side of Control.

BDSM man in bondage tape

Most people who hear the word “femdom” initially have a specific image in mind. Usually, it’s of a beautiful, tall, stern woman in five inch boots sneering down at a man on the ground and degrading him by calling him humiliating names or “forcing” him to commit potentially demeaning acts like licking her boots or barking like a dog. Most of the femdom presented in movies and in the media often seems like this kind of caricature. It may be hot to some people. But it also might be scary or intimidating.

Some femdom really is harsh and cold or may appear harsh and cold to outsiders. Sometimes, it’s paid femdom that’s provided by pro-dommes, women who are financially compensated to dominate men and cater to their fantasies. It’s also often the kind of femdom you’ll usually see presented in porn. But some women and men do get off on being cold and demanding and physically or emotionally sadistic to their partners, for their mutual enjoyment. And there’s nothing wrong with this if both parties are consenting adults.

However, maybe you’ve secretly harbored fantasies about worshipping a woman for years. But these fantasies are more loving. More affectionate.  Maybe you’ve wanted to give your partner all the oral sex she wants while she lies back and enjoys, and you expect nothing in return. Or you’ve wanted her to take charge during sex, be on top and direct you to do what she desires. Or perhaps you’ve fantasized about taking control of your boyfriend or husband, slowly and lovingly teasing him until he’s a desperate pleading mess of hot man in your hands. Sexy, right?

There’s a name for female domination that has this loving, affectionate quality to it. It’s called gentle femdom, or GFD for short.

There’s a lot of debate about what gentle femdom is and isn’t, and that’s because the term is subjective. For example, some submissives would feel very loved by a domme if they were given the honor of licking her boots or barking like a dog for her.  And some dommes would lovingly call a submissive a degrading name if they knew his limits and that he derived pleasure out of it. So, it’s not that only gentle femdom can incorporate elements of love and affection.

There’s a lot of debate about what gentle femdom is and isn’t, and that’s because the term is subjective.

However, usually gentle femdom is just that—gentle. It tends to steer away from degradation and humiliation and instead places a woman in a caring, kind and trustworthy seat of power where she can feel free to guide, tease, treat or even her punish her partner in an affectionate way. With a few exceptions, it’s not so much that the activities gentle dommes and subs participate in are that different from what you would see in traditional femdom. It’s the way in which they participate in those activities that might differ.

For an example, in a less gentle femdom relationship, a woman might put her partner in chastity for a period of time, telling him that he’s not good enough to be useful to her for PIV sex. Therefore, he will stay locked up in a chastity device until he proves otherwise—which might be never. She might mock his size or stamina as part of the dynamic. Some of the eroticism in the scene is likely the mocking and the pain.

And to be clear, as long as both people enthusiastically consent to this kind of play, there’s nothing wrong with it. All BDSM should be consensual and rely on clear communication about limits and boundaries.

A gentle femdom relationship could also incorporate chastity. But it might look very different. For example, instead of using a chastity device, the couple might simply agree that he will refrain from orgasming until a set period time has passed or until she allows it. Instead of mocking her partner about size, stamina or usefulness, a gentle domme might praise his patience and willingness to deny himself to display just how much he wants to please her.

In both examples, the couples are playing with chastity and denial. It’s just that the ways they play with them are different. But, ultimately, the labels are really only defined by the people in the relationship.

There can be benefits to gentle femdom for both men and woman. Often women are introduced to the concept of femdom by a male partner who admits he has sexual fantasies he’d like her to help fulfill. But the more typical illustration of femdom women are exposed to through porn can seem unnerving or unappealing. Women might feel they have to act “mean” to give their partners what they want. Or they might feel they need to display a harsh kind of confidence and pretend to be demanding.  And that can be a big turn off for a lot of women.

Exposure to examples of gentle femdom can show women that they can take control in a loving way. They don’t have to put on an act or pretend to be cruel. They can just be assertive and playful as themselves and get what they want in the bedroom while also turning on their partners.

Exposure to examples of gentle femdom can show women that they can take control in a loving way.

Conversely, some men might enjoy the idea of having a woman take control, treating her like a queen or a goddess, pleasuring her or allowing themselves to simply receive sensations at their partner’s pace—something that men aren’t encouraged to do in a sexual culture that values bigger, faster, longer. But that doesn’t mean necessarily that they want to be degraded or humiliated, or even mean that they are masochists and enjoy pain. Gentle femdom allows men to free themselves from control and experience the loving dominance of a woman through praise and approval.

If you do more reading or researching, you will likely hear other definitions of gentle femdom. Some people feel that certain acts can’t be gentle while others believe that no act does or doesn’t define GFD, and that it all has to do with the attitude of the people playing with the power exchange. But if you’ve been curious about BDSM and had fantasies about women taking charge, gentle femdom can be a sweet and sexy introduction to the wild, wide, wonderful world of kink. 

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