Her Power, Your Plea­sure

What a dom­i­na­trix can teach us about com­mu­ni­ca­tion, con­sent – and de­sire

Men's Health (Australia) - - Advantage+ - BY HUDSY HAWN

Thir­teen years ago, I was newly divorced and lonely, work­ing days as a singer at Dis­ney­land and spend­ing nights with men from Craigslist. One time, I drove to a stranger’s house ex­pect­ing a one-night stand. I wound up hav­ing my first ex­pe­ri­ence with a “dom­i­nant”. I sought more in­for­ma­tion about BDSM (role-play­ing, bondage, dom­i­na­tion and sub­mis­sion), first from books and then by mak­ing friends in the BDSM com­mu­nity. And through be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional sub­mis­sive, I learned about safety and grad­u­ated to dom­i­na­trix, or “domme”.

To­day, as re­ports of abuse and ha­rass­ment emerge in the #Metoo move­ment, I re­alise BDSM taught me vi­tal skills: how to com­mu­ni­cate de­sires and how to bet­ter read and un­der­stand the giv­ing or with­hold­ing of con­sent. Some news sto­ries – like the one about the New York at­tor­ney gen­eral who sug­gested his “role-play­ing” ex­cused his vi­o­lence against women – give con­sen­sual kink a bad name. But the an­swer isn’t ab­sti­nence or in­hi­bi­tion; it’s open­ness and hon­esty. Whether you’re tra­di­tional, kinky or some­where in be­tween, the ba­sic con­sent prin­ci­ples of BDSM can lead to healthy con­ver­sa­tions and bet­ter sex. Don’t bury your de­sires – com­mu­ni­cate them.


Want hot­ter sex? Ask what turns her on. This is BDSM 101—talk first.1 The ben­e­fit for you: giv­ing a part­ner per­mis­sion to be emo­tion­ally vul­ner­a­ble and to share deep de­sires cre­ates a space for your con­fes­sions, too.2

For each of my clients, I make a kinky spread­sheet – it in­cludes all the agreed-upon fan­tasies, turn-ons and hard lim­its. And I keep

words, right? In BDSM, they’re manda­tory. Say­ing “stop” or “no” while play­ing can be con­fus­ing – those words might be part of your im­pro­vised script. For many peo­ple, say­ing “no” can be dif­fi­cult, be­cause we don’t want to hurt our part­ner’s feel­ings. Agree­ing ahead of time on a word that will al­ways mean “stop” al­lows you to say “no” even in the heat of the mo­ment.3 I like the traf­fic-light sys­tem: red means “stop”; yel­low means “slow down”; green means 4 “more, please.” Do­ing this builds trust, and trust means bet­ter sex.


In BDSM, we use the word play. It’s not nec­es­sar­ily sex; it’s adult play­time.5 Gen­i­tal sex is op­tional.6 One fond mem­ory in­volves a boyfriend and spaghetti. I loved be­ing at his feet as he served my din­ner in a bowl by his chair. I knelt eat­ing (good puppy!), and he stroked my hair and kissed pasta sauce off my messy face.

You can art-di­rect your bed­room into a play space. De­clut­ter. Set the mood with pil­lows, soft light­ing, and a comfy room temp.

Sound­track? Mu­sic can be nice if it’s in­stru­men­tal; lyrics can pull away your fo­cus. (Spo­tify is full of tantric beats.) But I also love blind­folded si­lence. In that quiet dark­ness, my other senses come alive. The smell of his skin. His breath on my neck. The an­tic­i­pa­tion of what might hap­pen next is all the am­bi­ence I need.


So you’ve re­viewed your safe words and your dos and don’ts and agreed on your roles. You’re play­ing out a scene and she’s su­per turned-on. But then she asks you to do some­thing you didn’t agree to. She’s beg­ging for it, in fact.

Stick to the script. You earn re­spect by stand­ing your ground. Noth­ing makes me hot­ter than a man who con­trols his li­bido and fol­lows the rules we set up. I’m putty in his hands.

The uni­ver­sal take­away: slow down!7 A woman is like an oven: she needs time to warm up be­fore she’s ready to cook. For all the em­pha­sis on the phys­i­cal, BDSM is re­ally a men­tal game. For me, few things work bet­ter than tease and de­nial.8 A grad­ual, evolv­ing in­ten­sity can be a huge turn-on.


Even the most will­ing masochist needs to re­set. That’s why we have “af­ter­care”. It’s like stretch­ing af­ter a work­out. In my busi­ness, we watch for the “sub drop”, mean­ing a post-play de­pres­sion some­times felt by sub­mis­sives. The en­dor­phin rush drops so fast that you both need some sooth­ing.

Every cou­ple should talk about what makes them feel good af­ter play­time.9 It could be back rubs, hair ca­ress­ing, cud­dling or writ­ing in a mu­tual di­ary. Just en­joy the post-sex bliss in each other’s arms. You can talk shop later.

The next day, talk about what worked and what didn’t. Calls and texts pro­vide help­ful feed­back.10


You can do that lit­er­ally if it’s your thing. But what I mean is to try to un­der­stand your part­ner’s po­si­tion. I also en­joy be­ing sub­mis­sive, and that’s made me a thought­ful dom­i­nant.11 These days, it can only help you to learn to think like a woman. How? Sub­mit to one. You may find sub­mis­sion free­ing, a va­ca­tion from so­ci­etal mas­culin­ity. I had a client once, a CEO, who called his weekly ses­sion with me his “spa visit”. He would call me God­dess, wor­ship my feet and of­fer his back as a foot­stool. It gave him a much-needed break from be­ing the boss.

To an out­sider, the dom­i­nant may ap­pear in con­trol, but it’s the sub­mis­sive who holds the power. The sub agrees to, or re­jects, any new ideas, and ei­ther party can stop ev­ery­thing with the mere men­tion of a safe word. When a sub hands over power to a dom, he or she does so will­ingly. Mu­tual trust is key, and ben­e­fits you both.

If you want some­one to sub­mit to you, you have to show that per­son re­spect. That means you never push non­con­sen­sual ideas. You give your part­ner what she wants, and to know what your part­ner wants, you have to ask.

Hudsy Hawn is a writer, sex ed­u­ca­tor, and BDSM coach in L.A. She founded from­vanil­la­tokink.com

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