Being dominated in bed is a super common fantasy and turn on for women and other feminine-presenting people. In fact, one 2014 study from researchers at University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières found that 64.6 percent of women had fantasized about “being dominated sexually.” That’s a clear majority — and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that other studies or surveys have come back with even higher numbers.

We could spend weeks discussing why that fantasy is so pervasive — hundreds of thousands of words have been written on the topic at this point. Is it cultural conditioning? Pervasive gender norms? Eroticization of a taboo? Something biological? The 50 Shades of Grey effect? (Answer: Probably a combination of some or all of the above.) But regardless of the reason(s), we can all agree that a lot of ladies and other feminine-presenting people like being dominated in bed.

But…what does that mean? For some people, domination means whips and ball gags and extreme bondage. For others, it means having their hands held down above their heads while having penis-in-vagina sex in missionary position. Between the two, there’s a huge range of activities that fall under the “domination” category.

For example, some people like sweet cooing in their ears during lovemaking. Others like to be called names — slut, whore, bitch — while they’re being fucked. But while denigration can certainly be a part of domination play in the bedroom, it doesn’t have to be. And if one partner can’t get into that aspect, then it’s time to figure out ways to work domination play into the bedroom without denigration. 

Start thinking in a more nuanced way 

Sometimes we go for the most obvious paths to arousal because, well, they’re obvious. And if you’re into domination — and maybe a little denigration — then it’s easy to go to the face-fucking and dirty-talking and forced submission. But when you’re faced with a partner who’s just not into that stuff, you’re forced to start thinking a little more creatively.


Even domination has nuance. Ask yourself: What is it exactly that gets me off about this? Is it the denigration? Or is it the loss of control or the passion or some combination of all of those elements? Once you pinpoint the nuance of your arousal, it becomes easier to adapt to slightly different behaviors.

Let your partner take physical control  

A lot of denigration play is about words, so if you’re trying to figure out domination without denigration, cut out the denigrating words. A person can still be physically in control — holding you down, fucking hard, biting, even bondage — without incorporating any of the denigrating words. 

And if the denigrating words are part of what gets you off, but your partner just isn’t into it, then that’s where your biggest sex organ comes into play: Your brain. You’re absolutely free to run a script of the nastiest things you can think of while your partner is attending to your physical needs. 

Get spanking! 

Spanking is an awesome way to incorporate domination play that doesn’t have to include any words or denigrating positions at all. There’s no denying the submissiveness of a bare bum turned upward for a spanking and there’s nothing inherently denigrating about it. (Unless you want there to be, of course.)

All of this is not to say that there’s an inherent problem with denigration or denigration play — far from it. If that’s what you’re into and your partner is into it, too, then don’t hesitate to dive in. But if they don’t? And you need to do a little adapting for each other? Then I hope this helps. Have fun!