Sex & Relationships

How To Dominate Your Dominant Partner

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We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: how to dominate your usually-dominant partner.

Q: “So, my partner is the dominant one in the bedroom, and generally that works really well for us. The thing is, I think a part of him would like to be submissive on occasion. And as much as I love being submissive, I'd like to mix it up and try being dominant. I've tried getting on top of him and pinning him down, but it doesn't work. We just start laughing because he's so much stronger than me. He can toss me aside in an instant. How can I dominate him if I don’t physically have the strength to do it? I don’t want to do anything too crazy, just be the boss. Are there things I can do to surprise him in the moment, or should we talk about it beforehand? We’re pretty good at talking about sex, but I worry that telling him beforehand would take all of the sex appeal out of trying to dominate him.”

A: Thanks for the question! It’s great that you and your partner have found a dynamic that works for both of you, but I think you’re right that it can be hot to try shaking it up every once in awhile. The most important thing for you to know is that domination doesn't have to mean physical domination. You can be dominant without putting a finger on your partner.

In terms of whether or not to talk about it beforehand, it really depends on what you want to do. Some of the ideas below are things you could try out in the moment, while others are more involved. If you think your partner wouldn’t take your attempts to be dominant seriously in the moment, I definitely recommend talking about it beforehand. Say something like, “I love the dynamic we have, but I think it could be really hot to boss you around every once in awhile. You think you can handle me?” In general, I don’t think that talking about sexual stuff beforehand takes away the sex appeal. I think talking about what you’re going to do together can be an unbelievably hot tease!

Here are nine ideas for dominating your dominant partner.

The Straightforward Approach

Perhaps the easiest way to introduce the idea of dominating your partner is to simply tell them, “I’m going to be the one in control tonight.” You can do this in the moment itself, then take control. Or you can introduce the idea when your partner is being the dominant one, by saying something like, “you’re in control tonight babe, but I’ve got a surprise coming for you tomorrow night.”

Use Authoritative Language

If you’re not going to be dominant physically, you have to convey your dominance in other ways. Language is one of the best examples. Tell your partner what you want, directly, with no apologies or explanations. Use a clear, firm voice. As women, we’re socialized to be polite and careful with our language, so it can be really fun to throw all of that caution to the wind. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to pull this off in the moment, try practicing on your own or in front of a mirror.


Another simple way to dominate your partner is to initiate sex when you want it. After all, there’s nothing more dominant than stating what you want, with confidence. This is also an easy thing to do in the moment, without any planning. Grab your partner and say, “get into the bedroom right now.” If you want to be really bossy, try saying, “I won’t take no for an answer.” (Of course, this will only work for couples who have had conversations about boundaries and consent, and who have a safeword.)

Give Them Commands

From there, keep the dominance going by telling your partner, “You’re going to do what I tell you to do, and only what I tell you to do.” You can give specific directions like, “take off your clothes” or “go down on me.” You can also give your partner boundaries or rules. For example, you can forbid your partner from touching you, or you can make them ask for permission before doing anything specific.

Dole Out Punishments

If your partner doesn’t obey your directions, you may want to punish them. Most people think of whips and paddles when they hear the word punishment, but you can be much tamer if you’d like. For example, if your partner does something they’re not supposed to do, you could stop touching them, move your body away from them, or put some of your clothes back on.

Make Them Earn It

You can also make your partner do tasks to “earn” your attention. You can always tell your partner about this beforehand, by saying something like, “you know, I think I’m too easy on you. I need to make you work a little harder to get into my pants. Maybe tomorrow I’ll make you really earn it.”

Or you can do it in the moment. Try this — when you and your partner are both at home, secretly slip into a sexy outfit. When your partner sees you, say something like, “before you get to play with me, I have a few things I need you to do.”

Use Dominant Positions

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Sex positions can be another great way to play around with dominance. You don’t need to physically overpower your partner, but there are plenty of positions where you’re in control of the movement. Try Cowgirl or Reverse Cowgirl. If your partner starts trying to take the lead, stop and say, “No, I’m in control here. You be still.” Another idea is to have your partner lay flat on their back and straddle their face. Talk about a power move.

Control Their Orgasm

Another hot way to be dominant is to take control of your partner’s orgasmic timing. You can go down on them, and once you feel them starting to get close, stop. Say something like, “I don’t think I’m going to let you do that just yet.” Then take a break and give them a few minutes to cool off. Repeat as many times as you dare.


If you have a hard time being naturally dominant, you can always try playing a different persona. Maybe there’s a character from a book or movie that you both love. Or you can simply pretend to be a dominatrix. Roleplaying can make it much easier to channel that dominant energy. You can tell your partner about your new alter ego in the moment, or you can send them a text letting them know there will be a special guest later that evening.

Have fun!