An Intro to Domspace: What Every Dominant Should Know

What is domspace?

Domspace is to Doms what subspace is to subs, with a few key differences. Domspace is an altered state of mind that a Dominant person may feel during a BDSM scene. The main difference between subspace and Domspace is that Domspace is described as intense, with amplified sensations and a kind of out-of-body experience. Meanwhile, subspace has been described as a euphoric kind of “high” or a trance-like state. 

This may be a good difference, though. Submissives often trust their Dominant partner to care for them while they are in subspace, as the sub may become extremely suggestible during their almost hypnotic-state of subspace. Dominants, on the other hand, must remain in some form of control during the scene to both protect themselves and their submissive. 

How do I get to domspace? 
Reaching domspace (similar to reaching subspace) is a unique experience. There is no ‘one formula’ for experiencing domspace, and domspace is going to feel different for everyone. 

Some things that may help you on your way to domspace are: 

  • Getting into the mood with your submissive, role-playing, sexting, dirty talk, etc 
  • Physical foreplay with your submissive (spanking, teasing, orders, etc) 
  • Meditating before play, letting outside stresses and daily worries fade away 

Can domspace be addictive? 
Yes, domspace (again, similar to subspace) can be an addictive experience. People who experience domspace explain that they feel a kind of “high” by being in control and having ‘power’ over their submissive. (I use quotations there because all things D/s are consensual and have been previously agreed to by the submissive, so the Dominant doesn’t have total control). 

What happens in your brain when you experience domspace?

While a bit more research has gone into subspace than domspace, there are some obvious things that happen in the brain during arousal and sex that can play into how one experiences domspace. 

For example, the endorphins released during sexual intercourse help decrease pain and increase feelings of calm and relaxation. Nor-adrenaline, a neurotransmitter that is released by pain-controlling neural pathways in the brain, is also released during sex. This could also factor into a person’s decreased pain sensitivity. 

In the case of sadomasochism or pain play being inflicted upon the submissive by the Dominant, popular online publication Deviance and Desire (a site that often offers neurological/behavioral perspectives of all things BDSM) has a theory. The Dominant could potentially experience a substantial release of nor-adrenaline (which could provide a lesser reaction to pain and a kind of out-of-body experience) by inflicting pain or unleashing orders on their submissive which then makes them feel empathetic. This could hypothetically strengthen their focus and control on the scene and their submissive. 

BDSM terms you should be familiar with as a Dominant 

While many people reading this will already know these terms, some won’t - and it’s always important to go into any BDSM scene with as much knowledge and eagerness to learn as possible. You can never be too sure about these things. So, here are some terms you should know as a Dominant. 

Dominant 
A Dominant (that’s you!) can be referred to as many things, some of the most common including titles such as Sir, Master, Dom, and/or Daddy. You’re a person who will take the superior role in a BDSM scene or relationship. A female Dominant is commonly referred to as a Domme or Mistress.

Submissive 
A submissive can be referred to as many different things as well (the most common being sub, slave, and/or slut). A submissive is someone who willingly gives up some or all control during BDSM play to their Dominant partner(s). 

Switch
The term “switch” refers to the personality type of someone who is able to feel comfortable in both Dominant and submissive roles during BDSM play. They may switch roles when they want to, in certain situations or with certain partners. Someone who is a switch may be more submissive or more Dominant leaning, or it may just entirely depend on their mood or situation. 

Safeword 
A safeword is something that you and your partner agree upon before any scene. Most couples or partners have agreed upon safewords that mean certain things. For example, some use the “traffic light” system (red means stop, yellow means caution or check-in, and green means go). Alternatively, you should also have a backup safe “gesture” - this is something one can do if they are unable to speak (through a mouth gag, etc). This could be something like holding up two fingers or pinching your partner. 

You can learn more about safewords (and gestures), including some fun new ideas, here

Aftercare
In the BDSM world, aftercare is an extremely important ritual that should take place after every BDSM scene. This is the part where partners attend to each other’s physical and emotional needs. This can be drinking water, tending to wounds inflicted during play, reassuring each other, and/or cuddling. Every person will require different types of aftercare, and each scene you engage in may require additional aftercare as well. 

Domdrop (top drop) 
Domspace can be quite intense, both emotionally and physically - Domdrop is what happens after a scene has ended. A Dom might experience this after-effect of Domspace where they feel low, guilty, depressed, and exhausted.

Subdrop (bottom drop)
Subdrop is an intense post-play experience for submissives. It can include feelings of depression, exhaustion, jitters, and/or the feeling of being a bit “lost” from reality. 

What does domspace feel like?

While more research has been done into subspace and what that is, there are some theories about what domspace is, what it feels like, and how to get there. According to multiple sources, there are “six phases” of Domspace, which include normal space, pre-dom space, test-space, domspace, primal-space, and high-space. 

1. Normal space (reflecting their daily behavior of a person acting as a Dom in a scene). 

2. Pre-dom space, sometimes referred to as being “on the fringes” (assuming the role of Master or Mistress, amplified attention is paid to the division of roles between the Dom and their submissive). 

3. Test-space (the events of sinking more into the Dominant persona, a “letting go” of your surroundings, intense focus on the scene and/or your submissive). 

4. Domspace (the level of being a Dominant that clearly radiates to their submissive, they are very attentive, hyper-aware, and focused on nothing but the scene and their submissive) 

5. Primal-space (an animalistic, primal state - sinking deeper into domspace). 

6. High-space, sometimes referred to as Godspace (surpassing animalistic and dominant feelings to reach a euphoric, entirely powerful state of being where the dominance feels as if it’s flowing to every cell of the body, has taken over entirely). 

It’s important to note that Domspace will look different for everyone. Not everyone will experience all six “phases” of Domspace - some may not even experience domspace at all. This could be the result of a dysfunctional/unhealthy D/s relationship, lack of confidence and trust, and/or self-esteem struggles on the part of the Dominant. 

The dangers of domspace…

Domspace can be an intimate place to visit during a BDSM scene with a submissive, but it can also be extremely draining, exhausting, and intense. There are quite a few things you should always keep in mind when playing with your submissive, even (read: especially) when you’re in domspace. 

You always have to remain in control. Your submissive is counting on you. 
While there is always some kind of duality in D/s relationships (equal say in what happens, equal say in how you’re both addressed, etc), the truth of the matter is that during playtime, your submissive is counting on you to remain somewhat in control. Losing yourself entirely and losing sight of your submissive’s safety and desires can be catastrophic when it comes to D/s relationships. Think of it as if you’re a police officer - you may get lost in the case, but your duty, above all else, is to protect. 

You’re allowed to use safewords and pause if you need to. 
The thing that’s often overlooked (and I’ll be bookmarking for an entirely separate article) is that Dom/mes need aftercare, they need reassurance, they need to be able to express if things aren’t going the way they’d like in a scene. Safewords and submissives go together like hummus and crackers - but Dom/mes can use safewords, too. In fact, they should! 

There are a variety of reasons why a Dom might use a safeword - maybe they aren’t in the right “layer” of domspace for what the submissive would like to do, maybe they need to take a break and do a mental check-in, maybe they just need some water. No matter the reason, Doms are allowed to (and absolutely should) use safewords when they feel they need to. 

Domspace can be emotionally and physically exhausting. 
Aftercare between lovers is important, but self aftercare is important, too. Along with checking in with your partner and tending to them, you should communicate how you’re feeling and what you need, too. Whether that be snuggling in bed after, reassurances that you did the right things, or just a few moments to yourself to level out once the scene is over. 

Being a Dom/me can be an emotional experience, and needing reassurance from your partner after a rough play session is totally normal. 

Let’s talk about “leveling out” of domspace...

How do you “level out” of domspace? How do you return to reality from such an intense, out-of-body experience? While aftercare might help in leveling you out, there are also a lot of different things you can do to bring yourself back down from this high. 

Reassurances
One of the most helpful things when coming out of domspace is to know that you did things right. To know that your partner was happy with the things that happened and to be reassured that you’re a good Dom/me. This can be particularly helpful if the scene was physical (impact play) or psychological (degradation, etc). There can be a lot of guilt felt when you level out because the things you do during play can feel foreign to you once you leave domspace. 

Communicating with your lover about certain reassurance phrases that you like beforehand can help the aftercare part, but it can also help you level and return back to reality. 

Separating your Dom-self from yourself. 
Being a Dom/me is like having an alter-ego, in many ways. Sometimes they sound different than you - they act differently. They may even hold themselves differently. Learning how to unleash that part of yourself and then leash them back up afterward can be a bit of a struggle - but you will get the hang of it. Eventually, it will become easier to understand the kind of separation between who you are as a person and a partner and who you are as a Dom/me. 

Physical sensations help ground you to reality. 
This is a trick I personally use as a submissive, but I know my Dominant has used this technique as well after we play. Doing something physical (such as getting something to eat, stepping outside for fresh air, etc) can help level you out of domspace and back into reality. 

Can you experience domspace during solo play as a dominant?

Similar to how submissives can experience subspace “solo”, Dom/mes can too! This is something, as I mentioned in my subspace explainer article, that isn’t commonly talked about but might be commonly experienced, especially in the online BDSM community. 

There is one main way for a Dominant to experience a kind of Domspace while playing solo: playing online with a submissive. This can include sexting, phone calls, skype calls or even making audio porn for a submissive (or the public). 

Online play with a submissive
The easiest way to experience Domspace is to play with a submissive (of course!), and one of the ways to do that if you’re engaging in online play is by skype, sexting, and/or phone calls. This is a big thing within the online BDSM community, as many people have online D/s relationships. There are also loads of toys that can help you with making this a more realistic experience for both you and your partner. 

Your partner, if they are female, can use a toy like the Lovense Lush2. You, the Dom/me, can control this toy remotely. Your partner, if they are a male, can use a toy like the Onyx2 from Kiiroo, that actually remotely pairs with the Pearl2 from Kiiroo, making it easy for you both to have fun at the same time. Using toys like this can help you feel more connected to (and in control of) your submissive while playing online. 

Creating audioporn
Another way to experience a kind of Domspace is to make audioporn that is set to a scene where you and a submissive are engaging in play. Many Dominants who are in online D/s relationships end up making audios for their submissive partners, especially with conflicting schedules and all that. Alternatively, some Dominant personalities even get into voice acting and become regular contributors to platforms like Literotica or Reddit, where masses of submissives can listen to your content. 

How to keep yourself (and your sub) happy, healthy, and safe while you’re in domspace 

Exploring dom (and sub) space with or without a partner can be a magical, wonderful, intense, and emotional experience for everyone involved. There are some things you should know, as a Dom/me, to ensure everyone stays happy and healthy during your playtime. 

Trust is everything. 
Trust, in a BDSM relationship, is everything. Gaining a submissive’s trust (which I’ll talk about more below) isn’t about just being a good Dom/me, it’s about being a good person. It’s about being a good friend, a supporter, someone they feel comfortable with, in all of their states. If you don’t have trust in a D/s relationship, things will turn toxic and scary really quickly.

You don’t just get their submission...you need to earn it. 
As a Dominant, you don’t just “get” a sub’s loyalty and submission - that’s something you earn over time. It’s something they give to you, not something you take from them. Earning a submissive’s trust is an incredibly powerful thing, and if done right, it can lead to a very intense and intimate bond. 

Setting up safeguards (safe words, etc) is essential. 
Playtime is exciting, but safeguards are essential. Communicating with your partner before playtime is absolutely mandatory, especially for D/s dynamics that are new or casual. As the Dominant, you need to preface your interactions by gaining the submissive’s trust, establishing safewords, and communicating boundaries (and truly hearing/acknowledging their boundaries) before anything even begins to happen. 

If you’re playing solo, prepare to level out alone. 
Exploring these places is possible alone, but doing so alone also means coming back to reality alone. While doing things like phone sex are wonderful, leveling back to reality as a Dominant when your partner isn’t there for you to physically interact with can be hard. If you’re playing online or over the phone, be sure to communicate lots with your partner about how you’re feeling, how they’re feeling, and try to guide each other back out of it safely. 

Being a “toxic Dominant” is definitely a thing, and you’ll want to make sure you’re not one.
While I think many toxic Dominants know exactly what they are doing, it’s entirely possible that your actions are toxic without you even realizing the damaging impact it could have on a submissive. Remember: submission is a fragile, beautiful, intimate thing that they are gifting you with, and being aware of how your words and your actions can impact your sub is part of being a good Dom/me. Check out the difference between a good Dom/me and a bad Dom/me here

Record your thoughts while in domspace, and listen when you’re level again. 
When you level back out and your ordinary self takes over from your Dom/me self, it can be quite a transition. It’s hard, sometimes, to understand what exactly you’re feeling in those spaces (dom or subspace), and something I found particularly helpful was to record some of my thoughts when I’m in subspace and listen back to it again once I’m regular old me. This is like a peek inside my alter-ego, a way for me to get into her head and see what she really feels like when I let her take over. It’s quite interesting, and a fun activity to do with your partner if the time feels right. 

Explore the online BDSM community, make friends, and learn more about BDSM. 
One of the most beneficial, important things you can do as a Dom/me is to continue learning. Learning to do everything you can to better understand the world of BDSM, your submissive, your Dominance, and how it all pieces together. To do this, I find it really helpful to get involved in the BDSM community online. Twitter, Reddit, Quora - there are tons of BDSM forums and threads you can join where real Dom/mes and submissives are talking about real things (the good and the bad) that happen when we explore Dominance and submission. Learning is sexy, so why not dive into it!