Exploring a Kink Relationship Safely (Part Two): Important Questions and Conversation Techniques

In part one we discussed how the Scene has changed positively with the past couple of generations coming in, and how popular media has also changed things, not always for the positive. We discussed abusive dynamics and the damage they can cause to your future relationships.

You can find the whole article here: https://kessilylewel.com/2023/01/06/exploring-a-kink-relationship-safely-part-one/

Now we’re going to discuss important questions you should be asking in the very early stages of talking with a potential play partner, as well as how you should be bringing up these questions to get the most honest results.

The last thing you want is to fall for an abusive or wanna-be Dom who will hurt you before you have a chance to even explore kink. Remember, the best way to minimize relationship trauma is to avoid it from the start. So, what we aim to do here is help you steer clear of big old red flags.

First, I’d like to take a minute to clarify some terms. A wanna-be Dom is one who is pretending to be a Dominant specifically to attract subs. They know very little about being a Dom outside of what they saw in a movie and are using those fictional trappings as a mask they can hide behind.

Some of them are looking for power. Some are looking for a sex slave. The idea of a sub who has to submit to their every dirty demand in the bedroom is hot and they’ll pretend to be whatever to get that.

That’s absolutely abusive. They are abusers, but that is a different kind of abuse from a Dominant who does know the Scene, does know what they are doing, and has chosen to force submissives to follow his very narrow and unhealthy ideas of what a sub should be.

The second type of abuser is often harder to identify. You can’t trip them up easily by asking simple questions. They know the correct answers and will give them, and only change their tune later once they’ve reeled you in.

I do not consider Master/slave dynamics, or TPE dynamics to be abusive by nature. No matter how heavily the power is weighted on the Dom side, I do assume that this is something that was fully discussed, agreed on, and wanted by the submissive/slave.

But the Dom/Master/ etc should not pretend to want a milder form of kink, only to flip things around once you have formed a relationship. Sure, sometimes things can go deeper and get more intense gradually in a D/s dynamic, but saying “Oh, yes safewords and aftercare are so important” and then later “You’ll get what I give you, slave!” is bait and switch.

The intensity of Master/slave and TPE dynamics is not something I would ever recommend for someone new to the scene. It is a lot. I’ve lived it and it’s hard. No Master should be courting a brand new submissive and trying to push them into a role that is so constricting.

And there are those who prey on new submissives who don’t have any experience or understand what their options are. They accept what they are told because it sounds exciting. And then later are not sure what to do when everything gets darker and colder than they had expected.

These Dominants specifically target the inexperienced (and sometimes younger) subs for this reason—because an experienced sub would understand that they have rights, and if they agree to something and don’t get it, then they will leave. An abuser Dom isn’t going to tell you what rights you have and if you don’t know that’s better for them.

So, your first defense, as a submissive, is going to be learning. And don’t just go to one blog, or read one opinion on things. There are so many ways to kink responsibly, and you need to know that you have choices in everything.

Get out there and investigate the world of kink from an education perspective before you actually try playing. If you have friends involved in the Scene, talk to them. Ask their opinions and listen to their experience.

Join groups and watch the conversations. Look around and learn before you dive into anything. And then wait, take your time. You have your whole life to play, so make sure your first experiences are healthy and safe.

That’s going to be hard, maybe the hardest part. Kink is seductive, especially when you’ve had fantasies for years and are finally on the verge of getting to explore them. But my best advice will always be to take your time and don’t jump in before you’re ready.

It will also help if you have a good idea of what you want and need to start with. Your want list will probably change as you experience and grow, but if you know what your own needs are, the things you must have in a relationship, that will help weed out the abusers right from the start.

And when you do begin talking to Doms and considering relationships, what you want to do is ask questions and listen—more than you talk. This is going to be important, because an abuser will simply agree with your needs. They’ll nod and smile and say ‘of course, that’s important! I always do that with my subs,’.

That’s what you want to hear, of course, it sounds perfect. So ask them first. Get their own thoughts, and not what they think you want to hear in order to get to you. You’ll learn a lot more that way.

Phrasing it like a rapid-fire pop quiz, is probably not the best way to handle the question phase either. If they know they are being tested, they will just lie. So, instead, work things into the conversation. You’re super interested in their wise Domly thoughts, and you will simply be guiding the conversation to the important areas.

During that tim,e you can slip in the questions now and then, casually. They will probably ask you questions too, and be interested in your answers, but whenever possible try to keep your answers brief while drawing them out to talk more—this is just in the beginning, until you get a sense of who they are.

Listen to what they are saying, not what you want to hear. Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt on a dodgy answer, instead, press them gently for more information if you are worried about something.

There are dozens of questions you can ask, and even more variations on those to make them apply to you specifically. This is just a few, very basic, ideas, but you should come up with your own list, and write them down before you get interested in someone.

Your brain works better when it’s in logic-mode and not in sub-mode. Stick to the script going in.

Questions to ask a potential Doms:
1. Have you had a submissive/Little/bottom/brat/ etc before?

Being new is fine, but being honest about inexperience shows you a lot about a person’s morals and ethics. You can learn together, but not if they are going to pretend to know what they are doing.

2. How did those relationships go? What was your favorite part?

This gives them a chance to highlight some of their experience without making it sound like a job interview. It will also allow them to discuss problems they had, and things they really enjoyed, which will help you to know if you’re compatible.

3. What kind of Dom are you?

They could answer with a type (Daddy, Master, Brat Tamer, etc) or they could answer with an intensity level (Soft/Hard/) or even with some vaguer adjectives (Caring, loving, strict) all of that would help you to get a feel, and then you could clarify if you wanted different info.

4. What do you like about being a Dominant?

Again, a question that will tell you a lot. If all they have to talk about is how sexy and hot it is, etc, then you know that this is a bedroom Dom. Is that what you’re looking for?

5. What do you think a Dom’s responsibilities are to their sub?

This will give you a good idea if they are the Dom for you. It’s a very specific and defining question and it will tell you how much they expect to do in a relationship.

If they start talking about protecting, educating, expanding your horizons, setting up rules– anything like that then this is a Dom who is expecting to impact your whole life, not just your sex life. It’s important to know what sphere of influence a Dom wants to have, before you get involved because it’s about basic compatibility.

6. What are some of your favorite kinks? BDSM activities?

Are you compatible in the things you want to explore and try? It’s entirely possible for two kinky people to be together and have kinks that don’t align, but when you’re in the early stages and you are looking to them to help you explore, you need someone who is interested in the same basic kinks.

7. How do you use safewords?

Do they like individual words? Do they like a stoplight system? Do they let the sub decide?

I am a believer in RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and if you’ve followed me for a while, you know we’ve discussed safewords a lot. And you know that not all D/s dynamics involve safewords, as a mutually consented decision.

But a new situation should always have them on the table. Even if you’re both experienced but the relationship is new, you should have them. If you are new, and with someone new the conversation of safewords must come up.

Additionally, the decision of an experienced player to not use them, in certain situations, with people they trust and know well, should always come from the bottom, not the Top. The bottom is the one accepting the physical risk. So, if you’re talking to a new Dom and they don’t think safewords are necessary and important… that will tell you a lot about your safety in their hands.

This is one of those situations where you want to walk away.

8. What do you think is important for aftercare?

They might give you a list of things. They might just say they go by what the sub needs, both of those are fine. If they seem blank and don’t really have an answer, then you should press deeper.

9. Is kink and domming only sexual for you? Or is it a lifestyle?

Very important for compatibility. Are you looking for a Dom or are you looking for a Dominant kinky lover? Big difference.

10. What would you like to see in a sub who belonged to you?

Do you match their expectations? Do you want to give the things they will expect?

11. Are you looking for a relationship beyond kink?

In the world of romance books, we mostly see sub and Dom fall in love, and have a monogamous relationship that ends up in marriage. In the real world plenty of people just want play partners. Or maybe they only want one partner in kink, but that doesn’t mean they want a romantic relationship aside from it.

This is a very basic compatibility question. And it’s okay to start with kink and see where things lead too, so they may not have a definitive answer on this, but you do want to know what the possibilities for the future are.

12. Important sex questions: Will sex be part of this relationship? Will sexual things be done as part of scenes? What do you consider sex?

I almost didn’t add this one, only because I knew it would get long, but it’s such an essential question that I really couldn’t leave it out, so I put it last instead. It’s a popular misconception that BDSM and Kink couples always have a sexual relationship, they don’t.

These questions don’t always need to be asked. It’s the kind of thing that will often come up fairly early because people who want sex with kink often can’t help talking about what a turn on the conversations are and what they want to do to each other because of it.

But if it doesn’t come up on its own, it’s probably something that needs to be discussed very early on. If you aren’t compatible on this issue, then it’s usually pointless to continue discussing a future.

There are plenty of people on the Ace spectrum who still love kink. There are Doms out there who want to dispense discipline but aren’t looking for sex. There are people who will have D/s dynamics with genders that don’t attract them sexually. (I’ve had gay Doms.)

There are subs who are looking for a parental kind of Dom to help them, but don’t want a kinky lover. And on top of that there are people who are already in romantic relationships. They are looking to have a very specific need filled and sex isn’t it.

They might get turned on during kink. They might like certain aspects of kink that border a sexual line, like: buttplugs, ginger play, orgasm denial, pussy spanking, and nipple clamps but don’t consider them sex.

They might consider those things to be discipline, not sex– while for you they feel very sexual. It’s a very basic compatibility issue and important to discuss.


Again, these are just some basic ideas for things you should ask. A lot of them are vague on purpose to offer multiple paths of conversation. And there are no wrong answers (most of the time), there are just answers that are not right for you.

If the Dom says they are only in it for the sexual thrill and keep their domming to the bedroom, but you are a service sub who needs a discipline relationship with rules and structure… well, that’s not going to work for you. For another sub, who prefers to only be dommed in the bedroom, that would be perfect.

The purpose of asking these questions is to find out if what they have to give is compatible with what you want in a kink relationship, while also being sure that they do know and understand a kink lifestyle and aren’t pretending to be more experienced than they are.

And another good reason to work the questions in slowly as you chat is that it’s easy to fake answers to a quick list of questions, but harder to fake it throughout long conversations. Anyone who is claiming to be an experienced Dom should be able to give you some decent answers to these questions and they should open up topics to discuss.

Now, while you should encourage them to talk in the early stages, and keep your own answers somewhat brief, that is just for a short time. Once you’ve started to confirm that they know what they are talking about and gotten a sense that you’re possibly compatible then you need to start offering more.

The Dom also has a need to learn about you. They will have their own questions and will be looking for answers to make their own judgment on the possibility of moving forward.

It does feel a bit one-sided at first, because you are trying to protect yourself, but realistically, again, abusers who are attracted to BDSM are mostly going to present themselves as Dominants. That’s where the obvious appearance of power is in a kink dynamic.

A caring and responsible Dom will understand you taking precautions and needing to protect yourself by moving forward slowly. If they keep pushing you to open up immediately, to spill all your ‘deepest fantasies’ before you’ve even gotten to know them, that would read as a red flag to me.

And speaking of red flags… that deserves a whole chapter of its own. So, we will be visiting that topic next in Exploring a Kink Relationship Safely (Part Three): Red Flags

We’ll probably skip next week because I’ll have other things to post and I’ll aim at going live with part three at the end of the month. Until then, stay safe out there!

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