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redeyechicago.com

Want to be more dominant in bed? Here's how

Anna Pulley, @annapulley

RedEye's sex columnist

1:24 PM CDT, August 30, 2011

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So here's the thing. My boyfriend is very dominant in the bedroom. I love this about him. He knows exactly what to do, what feels good to me, always takes control and is very manly. He has great intuition in the bedroom, always switching it up, making sure we are both having a good time and achieving the best climaxes possible. He's down for sex games, pretty much anything kinky he will do. I really do like this as well and I want to get more involved with it.

The only thing is that he wants me to be more dominant, to tell him what to do. I really want to, I just don't have the bedroom confidence, nor do I really know what to ask for. The problem is everything he does FEELS GREAT! Like he doesn't need room for improvement at all but he wants me to give him orders. I really want to return the favor but I don't really know what to say to him because he does everything correctly.

Please help!


First off, kudos to your boyfriend for being the kind of partner who feels good about communicating with you and exploring your desires. And for being a magical sex unicorn, apparently. It's curious to me that you like every single thing your boyfriend does in bed, but you can't articulate any of it verbally. This is going to sound very after-school special, but you need to have a sex talk—with yourself. If you can't express what you want to yourself, then you'll never be able to do so with a partner either. So start now. Get out a piece of paper and write down 10 specific things you like, either when you're masturbating (and I really hope you are masturbating because that's one of the easiest ways to figure out what feels good), or when you're having sex with your boyfriend. Some examples: "I like to have my arms pinned down," or "I love fingernails raked down my back," or "I want to be called Shockra, Mistress of the Dark." You don't have to share this with anyone; sometimes simply writing down our desires makes them feel less vague or intimidating.

Once you've got a short list of things that make you hot, then you're in a better position of putting those things into practice. Dominance in bed involves some technical skill—you can't just grab a bullwhip and start swinging, for instance—but really, it's mostly about confidence. There have been recent studies (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/01/25/jane-mcgonigals-reality-is-broken-how-videogames-change-the-world.html) that showed when people took on the role of a powerful or attractive avatar in a video game for 90 seconds, their confidence levels were boosted for the entire day, and they were more likely to flirt with other people they were hot for. The takeaway is not that we should all be playing more video games, but that doing things that make us feel confident have a lasting effect on our confidence in general. If you're having trouble communicating what you want in bed, do something beforehand that makes you feel competent and rawr, whether that's dancing to TLC, completing a really hard Sudoku, making a soufflé, etc.

One trick that's worked for me is to make small, authoritative requests in nonsexual situations. Buy me a drink. Carry my purse. Farmboy, fetch me that pitcher. These kinds of playful commands can serve as foreplay as well, depending on the mood you're in and how far you want to take it.

A friend and professional dominant in Chicago had these tips to add: "Dominance is posture, attitude, and language. Put on something that makes you feel powerful and sexy. Speak with command. You don't need to yell or call your boyfriend names, but speak with authority. Say what you want and expect it to be done. Own yourself and your desires. Hold yourself with confidence. Don't slouch.

Start small and basic. Commanding your partner to go down on you and how will get you comfortable with being in charge without venturing off into things you may not yet want to try. Try repeating some of your favorite sexual encounters, but with yourself in command. That way, you have a ‘script' to work from, but the novelty of role reversal makes it exciting. I'm biased, but getting a professional involved might be exciting. I love to top a man while his girlfriend helps me."

Ultimately, the best way to learn anything is to just f**king do it. You can start slow. No one's going to expect you to suddenly snarl, "Sit on my face, bitch!" But the more you practice a "pull my hair" here and a "tease me" there, the easier it gets. And don't forget to ask your boyfriend for patience and encouragement. Like training for an Iron Man or getting knocked up on purpose, it's always better when you have someone else rooting for you to succeed.