Signs and Red Flags of a Bad Dominant LB024

Kayla Lords hosts this week’s episode and discusses the common signs and red flags of a bad Dominant, when it’s abuse and not D/s, and what you can do if you find yourself in a bad D/s relationship.

In this episode:

  • Kayla’s back in good health and ready to rant. This week is based on a question she answered for Submissive Guide where every line was a red flag of a bad Dominant.
  • This week’s episode is based off a popular post written in 2015 along the same lines.
  • Not trying to bash all Dominants and a similar episode about red flags and submissives is coming soon.
  • This list geared towards male Dominants but if bad female Dominants have their own red flags or do any of these things, Kayla wants to know.
  • What are those red flags?
  • Demanding a title not earned.
  • Introducing himself with a dick pic or orders to be obeyed.
  • Sending unsolicited instructions.
  • Ignoring hard limits.
  • Ignoring safewords.
  • Lying.
  • Thinking only of his own pleasure, never yours.
  • Making you feel bad about yourself.
  • Isolating you from friends and family.
  • Telling you you’re not a real submissive because you have your own opinions, don’t agree, etc.
  • Requiring that you research and learn how to be a “true” submissive on your own.
  • Some red flags are clear signs of abuse and even rape.
  • Ignore the idiots online, report online harassment, and unfriend and block anyone you don’t want to deal with.
  • In person, get out of a bad relationship. Get help if you need it (links to domestic violence information in the reference link section).
  • It’s better to be alone than in a bad relationship – regardless of flavor.

Links from the show:

Are Dominants Supposed to Act This Way – Submissive Guide

Top 10 Signs He’s an Asshole, Not a Dominant

Porn Star Stoya Accuses Her Ex-Boyfriend James Dean of Rape – Jezebel

National Domestic Violence Hotline (U.S)

National Domestic Violence Hotline (UK)

Sub Frenzy – Submissive Guide

Follow Kayla on Twitter

Stalk John Brownstone

Subscribe on YouTube

Become a patron on Patreon

Support the show

Postcard Project

Kayla Lords on Fetlife

John Brownstone on Fetlife

Contact us!

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Full Transcript:

You’re listening to Loving BDSM podcast: episode 24. Hey, everybody. Kayla Lords here. Today let’s discuss the red flags of a bad Dominant and what to do about them. Welcome to the Loving BDSM podcast. If this is your first time listening, glad to have you! If you’re back for another week, welcome back! Loving BDSM is produced every Friday for your kinky pleasure and education and show notes are found at Come back often and feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. If you love what you hear, we’d love a good review on iTunes to help other kinksters find us! You can follow me on Twitter @KaylaLords or stalk John Brownstone at All links are in the show notes.

Does your business cater to the kinky – with toys, videos, products, or services? You should sponsor the Loving BDSM podcast. Contact me, Kayla Lords, to learn more. Now on with the show.

For everyone who follows the show regularly (hi! You can’t see it but I’m waving at you!! Because I’m a goofball!) you may have noticed that last week there was nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Actual radio silence.

Well, for once, it wasn’t me who was sick, it was John Brownstone – the man who gives you intro and outro (yes that’s a term) music and reduces as many awkward pauses and strange noises as possible in every episode. When I say sick, I mean, he was in the bed for 48 hours unable to breathe through his nose, talk, or stand up without staggering. My job was to keep him hydrated and medicated. Asking him to prop himself up to edit an episode just seemed wrong somehow.

So if you noticed we were gone for a week, never fear, we’re back. Or at least I am. And if this episode has the music, then you know John Brownstone is back too. Which reminds me, I really need to pin him down and bat my eyelashes until he records another episode of his own. If you have suggestions for what you’d like this my Daddy Dom to discuss in an episode, send them my way! I’ll make sure he sees them.

Anyway, as always, this week’s podcast was inspired by other things. Actually, it was inspired over a month ago but I never could pull it together.

A few weeks before this episode, I wrote a bit of advice for Submissive Guide’s “Ask Anything” column, and I knew I had to share with all of you. This person sent in a letter to the site in which nearly every line of her message about her Dominant was a big, gigantic, awful red flag. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I rarely give concrete answers on how to do the D/s thing. There’s almost always a caveat about personal experience and preferences. Personally (and professionally), I always try to find a shade of gray (pardon the pun) and I don’t like to give black and white answers. In my view there’s almost always an exception to a rule. Except consent, of course.

My reply (and yes, I’ll link to it in the show notes for you) was for her to run as far and as fast as she could.

This isn’t the first time red flags and bad Dominants have caught my attention. I wrote a blog post for it in 2015 and it’s still one of my most popular pieces. Why? Because it happens all the time.

Because this is such a huge issue, I want to address it here on the podcast. For two reasons: so you know the red flags if you’re a submissive and can (hopefully) avoid them. And if you’re a Dominant (or you want to be one) and you recognize your own actions in this list you can become more educated and stop that crap right now.

Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, I’m going to do an episode on the red flags submissives give out to Dominants in the next couple of weeks. So no, this isn’t a Dom-bashing thing. Really, if you think about it, it’s a moment to bash assholes, wannabes, posers, and anyone who can’t bring themselves to become educated about what it means to be a Dom.

You’ll notice my list is directed at submissives with male Dominants. When anyone mentions the bad acts of a wannabe Dominant, they are exclusively men. It’s not that I think female Dominants can’t be bad, it’s just that I’ve never heard of women doing these specific things. If they do or if there are other traits, actions, and characteristics of bad female Dominants, please share with me in the comments on the show notes page or by contacting me. The more information we share, the better we are as a kinky community. And if female Dominants are out there acting as predators, I want to know about it so I can help people who come across them.

He demands that you call him Sir or Master or some other title from the moment you meet. First of all, you’re a submissive, not his submissive. I advocate being respectful until he gives you a reason not to be, but anyone who demands a title before it’s earned needs to be ignored. This guy isn’t your anything, Sir or otherwise, until you decide that he is.

He starts out an introduction online with a dick pic or an order to please him. No good Dominant is going to send you this without some sort of agreement between the two of you. It’s just not going to happen. This is a question of consent, and if this is how he’s introducing himself, he’s clearly not worried about your consent.

He sends you unsolicited instructions of how to please him or orders to obey. Did you talk about this list? Was there communication and consent? If not, this is just another poser. And no, you aren’t required to follow this list just because you think his avatar online is hot or you really want a Dominant partner. You really can tell this guy to fuck off. It’s okay. It doesn’t make you less submissive.

He ignores your hard limits. Don’t just walk away from this loser, fucking run. Ignoring your clearly identified and communicated limits is the sign of an abuser. A Dominant will push your limits, sure, but not without first talking to you to gain your fully informed consent.

He disregards your safe word. Yes, some Dominants out there claim not to play with a safe word. I find that dicey but I try not to be to judgy about it. If you use a safe word, though, it should be respected no matter what, just like a hard limit. Ignoring this is just more abuse. And frankly, what happens next after your safeword is ignored, especially during sex, amounts to rape.

He lies. I know some people will say that everyone lies. White lies to save face or feelings. Most Dominants I know are honest to a fault. Meaning they will tell you things you don’t even want to hear sometimes. Think about it. How can you communicate openly and honestly if you’ll lie about things – big or small? He can’t earn your trust if he’s lying to you. How can you trust him with your mental, physical, or emotional health in the middle of kinky play if you can’t trust the things he tells you? Guess what. You can’t!

He thinks more about his pleasure than your own. Caveat: if you’ve negotiated a relationship where this is acceptable to both of you (yes, that’s possible), that’s okay. Not my kink, but okay. I’m referring to the jerk who gets off and then ignores you or doesn’t listen when you tell him your preferences. Or tells you that you’re required to be at his sexual beck and call but he can’t have all the partners he wants, and you’re not allowed to question him. Okay, again, if this is a kink of yours or the way you want to set up your relationship – maybe it’s an open relationship – that’s okay as you long as you both agree and you are both comfortable with it. However, when you’re told this is how it’s going to be, that’s not okay. That’s not good Dominance. That’s selfish assholery.

He makes you feel bad about yourself. I’m not talking about a humiliation fetish in the middle of a scene or even as part of an on-going relationship. Again, that’s something different and has to be negotiated, communicated, and discussed thoroughly. As a side note, humiliation play needs to be dealt with very carefully because you never know what may be triggered. But no, I’m talking about the soul-sucking, self-esteem shattering bullshit that makes you feel less than human and unworthy of love and affection. D/s is supposed to build you up, not tear you down. This is about helping you fulfill certain needs or desires or being the person you’re meant to be. If after a conversation, a scene, or just a random moment with this person, you feel awful about yourself because of what he’s saying to you, that’s a problem. A big one.

He separates you from family and friends. Okay, let’s be honest here. Some people are just bad for us. They make us feel bad about ourselves and doubt our self worth. I don’t mean those supposed friends and family members. A good Dominant will probably encourage you to eliminate those negative people from your life or help you deal with them in healthier ways. No, I’m talking about a Dominant that tries to isolate you and is jealous of  your relationships with your friends and family. This is more than a case of an uneducated or bad Dominant, this is the mark of an abuser.

He tells you that you’re not a “real” submissive because you have your own opinions. In a D/s relationship, how you express those opinions will vary based on your consensual, negotiated agreement but you should always have your own opinions. The other flavor of this one is that you’re not a real submissive because you’re too independent, aggressive, or (best of all) not willing to do what you’re told by someone you just met who claims to be a Dominant. (Insert big, fat eyeroll.)

He tells you to research and learn on your own what it means to be a “true” submissive and that if you can’t figure it out, he can’t be with you. Wait, what in the actual fuck? You know what that tells me? That says he doesn’t know jack shit about this, and he’s expecting you to figure it out and let him know. Look, D/s is a learning experience for everyone involved, no matter how experienced you are. You learn what each other likes. You learn dislikes. You learn patterns, behaviors, temperament. And there is no such thing as a quote true submissive. There’s no mold that we’re all supposed to fit into or some sort of litmus test we’re all supposed to pass before we get to label ourselves submissive! I didn’t take a test, answer some questions, or ran an obstacle course to earn my submissive badge. You know what I did? I gave my partner control over portions of our relationship (okay in my case all of our relationship). That’s it and then ta-da like magic, I was a submissive. Hell, even using a title like “Daddy” or “Sir” is optional.

You will learn something about D/s every single day – either about yourself, your partner, the lifestyle, what you like, what you don’t like, how the other person reacts, how you react, you name it, and it there’s to be learned. So even before I knew a damn thing about how I exchange power with a partner, I could call myself a submissive. Why? Because I’d made the decision to submit and so therefore I was submissive. So yeah, that whole “true” submissive thing is bullshit and learning on your own as a requirement is total crap.

Whew, okay, I need to calm down before I pop a vein. Okay, so what do you do about these so-called Dominants?

Assuming you’re online when these things occur (and they usually do), I also think you can be proactive in dealing with these men. First of all, you are under no obligation to reply to a message that includes anything you find offensive. If you tell them to stop or to leave you alone, you can and should ignore them. You don’t have to continue following or being “friends” with these people online. The unfollow, unfriend, and block features are all there for a reason. Use them. If it crosses over to harassment, you should absolutely report them to whichever site you’re on.

Once you’re in a relationship, you must remember that you’re free to end it. You are allowed to withdraw your consent. If he doesn’t listen, he’s no longer acting as a Dominant. Now he’s an abuser. And he should be treated as such – even if that means getting the law involved. Your physical, emotional, and mental well-being truly are that important. Don’t think you’re stuck in a bad relationship because you consented to the power exchange. The relationship only exists as long as everyone involved consents to it.

Now I’m not saying leaving would be simple. Hell no. It’ll probably be hard as hell, and if he’s a creepy, crazy guy, you may need legal action, big burly people to help you, and whatever you need to do to protect yourself. But first you have to realize that your right to be safe and healthy don’t end because you call someone your Dominant. They’re only your Dominant as long as you’re willing to submit to them.  

If you find yourself in a D/s relationship where you’re dealing with some of these red flags or you feel like something isn’t right, you need to speak up and take action, even if that means walking away. I know you may feel that overwhelming need to submit – especially if you’re new to BDSM and have just discovered your submissive self. That need, known as sub frenzy, is very real and very powerful. Don’t let it overpower your common sense. If you wouldn’t stay in a vanilla relationship with someone who behaved this way, there’s no need to stay in a D/s relationship either.

And yes, whether you believe it or not, it’s better to be alone than stuck in a bad relationship – no matter what flavor it is.

Okay, I’m done ranting..for today. To all my Dominant listeners, you know I love you – assuming you’re not a poser, wannabe, abusive asshole. And no, I don’t enjoy Dom-bashing. But if we as submissives aren’t educated about the bad Doms, we won’t recognize the good ones when we find them. But have no fear, your turn is coming because there are some things submissive get wrong too, and I’ll definitely talk about that in an upcoming episode.

Keep it kinky, y’all, and we’ll see you next week!

6 Responses

  1. ChinaDoll320 says:

    Great episode! Thank you so much for doing this podcast!

  2. Luke Crew says:

    A couple of years late I know but I started over again at 1 and listening up.. Learning lots.. Thanks

  1. October 24, 2018

    […] huge red flag that we caution new submissives against is when a “dom” says something like, “I […]

  2. January 30, 2019

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