The Unneeded Hard/Soft Dom Division

Perceptions from a Daddy Dom are essays, instruction pieces, and sometimes rants. I write and even text, like I talk in real life and I’m here today speaking from the heart. I offer my opinions and insight that I have gained from fifteen years of experience and through trial and error. I offer insight from the mindset of my Dominant philosophy, which is primarily that of Daddy Dom. I use the pronouns I am comfortable with, but please swap your pronouns where you feel comfortable. The lifestyle welcomes all of you. Welcome to Wonderland.

To begin with, I am a traditionalist. I am not Old Guard and I don’t consider myself to be New Guard, though I guess I’m closer to that than the alternative. I am definitely not New Generation. I see a lot of value in what the Old Guard laid out for us and value their traditions. It is due to some of these traditions that I find so interesting, you will always catch me with a black handkerchief in my left pocket. If I am at an event, it will be in my back left pocket, proudly displayed. Even if no one else understands, it’s a small thing that makes me smile. In the old days, this would have signified to the community I was a sadist. It is a nod to the old ways.

I see it a lot and you’ll catch me commenting on these posts rarely. “I need a hard Dom.” “Only a soft Dom gets blah blah blah.” I try to avoid these most of the time, but occasionally, someone says something that really grinds the gears and I can’t just leave it alone. Using these TNG terms, I present to you that a good Dom is both hard and soft. I’ve spoken on this before, but haven’t used the terms: A good Dom knows when to use the firm hand and the soft hand. I would argue that even the term soft Dom was created by the brat crowd to emasculate their Doms, but this isn’t a rant on brats. That is a particular fire I wish to steer clear from for this writing.

Let’s explore some of these newer ideas. If you wander over to Reddit, you can find so many interesting definitions. They say that “a soft Dom praises and coddles to get what they want.” “Soft Doms are less likely to punish.” That one I find puzzling, but okay. We’ll get to that later. WiseHarsh, says that soft Doms aren’t sadists or into humiliation and refers to them as the gentlemen of the BDSM realm. One user on Reddit broke this down further:

Soft Dom:

  • asking you to obey rather than making you
  • push your boundaries but in a cumulative way
  • may be more about the play, less about the aggression or ownership
  • when playing hard check-ins are gentle but consistent
  • may be more focused on pleasure without involving pain
  • may give soft commands knowing that you can fulfill them
  • may be more encouragement based

Hard Dom:

  • they want to make you obey
  • may even enjoy making you obey
  • may give harsh commands knowing that you cannot fulfill
  • may use degradation rather than encouragement
  • might be okay with you not being in pleasure the whole time
  • pain may be a big goal for them
  • may do check-ins while staying in dom mode, might focus more on visual and behavioral cues than asking

There were some moments, guys, that I’ve really been scratching my head at the division of the hard/soft Dom split as I researched this more and there’s been more than a few times I’ve been completely dumbfounded and gritted my teeth. I stand by my original assertion that a good Dom exhibits both soft and hard tendencies. The Dominant will have their preferred approach and it will very based on what is negotiated with their submissive. Let’s break it down.

Anyone asking their sub to obey isn’t a Dominant. I do not ask my submissive to obey. I don’t want to make her obey either. She should want to obey. It is expected. Through vetting and negotiation we establish our needs, wants and desires. I gain her submission through the four pillars of BDSM: communication, honesty, trust and respect. When we fully build the pillars around us, through power exchange she is able to submit and I am able to Dominate. They’re referred to as pillars for a reason, they are built upon the foundation built through vetting. They support the dynamic. They’re pillars, they are not fences. Either person can leave if at any point in time they feel like the dynamic isn’t working. Anyone praising and coddling to gain submission isn’t Dominant either. That is plainly manipulation. Do I praise my submissive? Absolutely. A good job deserves recognition. Especially if she has a praise kink.

A good Dominant will know their submissive and how they respond best. If she needs humiliation and degradation over praise, those are the tools that will be used to reinforce the dynamic and structure. If she doesn’t respond to degradation and humiliation, then you use praise. It’s all in what is negotiated and communicated. It’s okay to have either as a limit. It’s okay for a Dominant to have them as limits too. A Dominant gains this insight through vetting, talking to their sub and clear negotiation. We’re not mind-readers, but as I’ve said a lot recently, a Dominant is able to sometimes appear to be a mind-reader because we’ve intimately bonded with our submissive and to the point that we are often able to anticipate needs. Needs that have already been negotiated and discussed.

In regards to pushing limits, this is something that has to be discussed with your submissive or Dominant. What are your hard limits? What are your soft limits? Is it okay to push soft limits? A good Dom will respect your boundaries. As one of my favorite lifestyle memes says: “My relationship with my submissive is like a coloring book: she draws the lines, decides how she wants the picture to look. Within those lines, I can do anything I want. If I want purple skies and red grass, that’s my prerogative, but I ALWAYS have to respect those lines.”

Circling back to punishment. Even as a sadist, I do not want to punish my submissive. If there is a punishment, it is because there has been an infraction to the agreed upon rules. Rules that were negotiated for and agreed to. I don’t want to have to punish because those rules protect the integrity of our dynamic, but I will punish. It’s not something to be reveled in. As a sadist, I do enjoy our scenes, but enjoying an actual punishment isn’t something that we do. It’s something that has to be done because it was again, negotiated and agreed to maintain. A good Dom is consistent and will hold his submissive to the same standards he holds himself.

Implying that a Dom doesn’t do check-ins during play is both harmful and duplicitous. While I am getting to know a new submissive, I will do regular check-ins because I don’t know her responses yet. It is the responsible and correct thing to do. Once we have gained intimate familiarity, check-ins will be less frequent because I am attentive and I know how she responds and how her body will react. You always remain mindful and listen for the safeword to be called, but unless negotiated, once familiarity is established, you don’t need to constantly check-in to see how she’s doing. Want to pull her out of subspace real fast? Keep asking how she’s doing while caning. Can you imagine that? Swish! Thwack! “You doing okay?” Swish! Thwack! “How about now?” Yes, that’s a jest, but you get the idea.

I feel like a lot of this split revolves around sadomasochism. It’s okay for a Dom not to be a sadist. It’s okay for a submissive not to be a masochist. It’s okay for a Dom to switch for a scene, to bottom and to be a masochist. It’s all in the play that the two of you want. There are labels being applied to things that already have labels. Maybe they’re scared of the words? Sadist. Masochist. I don’t find them scary. I may be sadist, but I assure you, I’m one of the biggest teddy bears in real life. Most of the sadists I have the pleasure to meet are the same way.

No Dominant worth their salt is going to give their submissive commands they know they can’t fulfill, unless it’s roleplaying and in a scene. That’s domineering and being a dick. The role of a Dominant is to lead the dynamic, to take initiative, to be self-aware, mindful, respectful, supportive and giving. The Dominant is akin to a benevolent king receiving their power through trusting consent. I’ve not met a single Dom, Daddy Dom or Master that wants to see their submissive fail.

It all comes back to what’s been vetted and then negotiated. Negotiation is just a fancy BDSM term for talking about your needs and meeting common ground. A good Dom will know how to respond to you because he gained that insight through vetting and negotiation. He and you would have communicated how you best respond. If it is a romantic dynamic, love languages would be discussed. Through the insight gleaned from open and honest communication, the perceptive Dom will know when to use the firm hand and the soft hand. Sometimes, we’ll make mistakes too. That’s okay. We’ll own the mistake and make the necessary corrections. We as Dominants are not infallible gods resting on laurels.

4 thoughts on “The Unneeded Hard/Soft Dom Division

  1. My husband and I have gone through so many transitions in the years we’ve been together that it’s made me realise that it’s almost impossible to put people in boxes with this stuff. When we just started out, we did a lot of very physical dominance and submission, spankings, whips etc. As we’ve grown together, our styles have changed, we’ve begun to be much more psychological. My submission to him is such a strongly conditioned part of who I am that I can enter subspace just from a look, and our play centres around that intense level of obedience. This was another interesting and insightful post, I really hope you’re reaching as many people in the community as possible, aspiring Doms and subs could learn alot from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I cross post into a few Facebook groups. I stay away from the large ones nowadays. It’s not worth the arguments. I was recently convinced to start my own group and it’s growing slowly. The BDSM Advocate just wrote an amazing article too about the stages of relationships and how they evolve. If you’re interested, I’ll put the link below. I am reticent to accept the role or title of educator. I’ve had a few people try and introduce me as such and I really dislike it. I don’t see myself like that. A sub in my group referred to me as such and I told her, “I will never come at this as trying to educate. [She is] on the same playing field as me. That’s how I will always see it. I’m sharing experience. That’s all. Nobody came into this lifestyle knowing everything.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fantastic post!

    Its incredible how such simple, clear, powerful, and useful positions have to be relabeld, split and divided simply to support somebody else’s narrative

    There is a Dom they have a role to fulfil, there is a sub they have a role to fulfil, both partied have come together because one fulfils the others needs through an agreed upon dynamic.

    What that dynamic looks like and 0lays put like is theirs to define and no one else’s.

    Keep creating magic

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words. I don’t understanding redefinitions. A sub commented in one of my groups that she found the extra definitions to be helpful due to her anxiety. When I tried to pry into it more, she clammed up. I will admit, it was midly disappointing to be able to find out more.


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