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Want to be a Better Dominant?

Learn to Seduce your Sub

By Marla Renee Stewart, MA

Let’s talk about it: There’s nothing more irritating than a finicky sub who cherishes the ground you walk on one minute and ghosts you the next. 

I find this scenario to be all too common amongst some of the kink clients I coach who have a hard time keeping an s-type around. Finding a good sub is not an easy task, but when you happen upon the right fit, it can be mutually fulfilling for years to come. 

A lot of us dominants love consistency. We love when we know a person’s body and the limits they have in regards to pain, pleasure, and kinky practice. We can also be simple sometimes; we love power, we love control, and for the sadists, we love to consensually punish and inflict pain. This is what gives us pleasure. And when our sub is in a mutual space, benefits from the exchange, and shares in that pleasure, the bond is magical

The issue with D-types is that sometimes we become too eager and want to skip the kinky foreplay. We jump directly to what feels self-gratifying and that’s the problem. We can’t skip the foreplay, it’s essential. It’s the part that helps us build trust, safety, security, and can help our sub get emotionally ready for the scene. Being emotionally present helps us get psychologically and physically present. I believe there’s no better way to do this than with thoughtful erotic intention and brazen sensuality.

This starts with seduction.

But before we get to the juicy stuff, it’s worthy to note what is anti-seductive. Although this can change from person to person, in general, there are some broad-stroking traits that are typically seen as anti-seductive, like being self-absorbed, being judgmental, and being a total opposite of the person that you’re interested in. Even though we may have negative qualities that we don’t like about ourselves, that we see as anti-seductive, or that others have told us are anti-seductive, these things are often subjective. What might be anti-seductive to you might be seductive to another person, so this is something to be aware of when you’re negotiating play with your potential sub.

D-Type & s-Type Explained

Definitions of specific BDSM roles and titles vary from person to person. They can be fluid too, meaning, it’s possible for someone to be a Dominant who bottoms or a submissive who’s a sadist. This subjectivity is why these umbrella terms for Dominant/submissive (D/s) roles come in handy. 

Sometimes referred to as the “left side of the slash,” D-types generally identify with dominant kink roles including Dom/Domme, Owner, Master/Mistress, Top, Sadist, Mommy/Daddy, etc. 

Those that identify with the “right side of the slash” are called s-types. They typically include obedience-oriented roles like submissive/sub, pet, property, slave, masochist, or bottom.

What is Seduction?

Seduction in Latin means “to lead astray.” It is the art of teasing, pleasing, and getting someone to do what you want them to do via the tactics you use. But this isn’t about pick-up artist type of seduction. The seduction I’m speaking about is a consensual, mutual connection through the use of various strategies that pertain to your sexual assets. Basically, use what you got to get what you want.

That means there is no one great way to be a good seducer. We all can be great seducers, but our strategies are going to differ. 

So get your pen and paper out and write down the answers to these questions to help you gain clarity and insight about why subs would want to pick you out of a Dom line-up:

  • What are your kinks?
  • What do you specialize in?
  • What are your assets when it comes to kink? What are you good at?
  • When people respond the way you want them to, what are you doing?
  • How are people attracted to you when it comes to play?
  • What are the things that have kept subs coming back to you for more play?


Now that you have those answers, it’s time to figure out more about yourself. Understanding your Seduction Learning Style© will help identify what your sub should be doing to connect in more meaningful ways with you. Learning these tactics will also help you better seduce your sub.

After taking the quiz, you’ve figured out a style that describes how you get turned on – visual, auditory, or tactile. Now let’s talk about your sub, or potential sub, and how to turn them on!


Visual Seduction Learning Style

If your submissive is mostly visual, connect with them in these ways:

  • Make prolonged eye contact during your scene and pre-scene.
  • Make sure that the place that you’re doing the scene in is neat and everything has its place. If you have a lot of tools and toys, have your sub lay them out neatly. If they really adore order, direct them to put them in the order they would like. To impose some psychological sadism, ensure that you don’t actually use them in order! This will heighten their anxiety, but talking about it in aftercare may ease that tension and rekindle that trust. 
  • When you’re negotiating a scene, talk very descriptively about what you want to do them. The goal is to paint a picture in their mind’s eye. Use plenty of adjectives and vividly describe the scenes with colors and the types of objects that you’ll use.
  • Make sure that you dress the part! Fashionable attire and accessories are sexy to visual subs and make for excellent memories!

"We can’t skip the foreplay, it’s essential. It’s the part that helps us build trust, safety, security, and can help our sub get emotionally ready for the scene."

Auditory Seduction Learning Style

If your submissive is mostly auditory, you can connect with them in these ways:

  • When you’re talking to them, talk slowly and in low, soft, deep tones. Make them hang on to every word you say.
  • Get in tune with your kink talk. Whether that’s talking dirty, or praise kink, give them soundbites that will have them craving your attention over and over again. Remember to use inflections, broaden your kink vocab, and veer towards words that have multiple syllables. You also will want to ask them questions and give them feedback for any behaviors during the scene. You can do this while whispering in their ear and letting them hear your deep moans or breathy tones.
  • Make sure that your kink playlist has all their favorite songs. If it’s someone new, ask them if they like a type of genre with their kink and make them a playlist accordingly.


Tactile Seduction Learning Style

It wouldn’t be surprising if your sub was tactile, as a lot of kinksters tend to lean in this direction. You can connect with them in these ways:

  • When you touch them with your hands, you want to make sure that you use a variety of touches. Include feather-like touches, as well as pressurized touches using the palms of your hands and your fingertips. You can also use other types of body parts to press against your sub so that they can be present with you and be receptive to your direction.
  • Keep your sub active! For instance, if you’re doing rope bondage, use the rope to move them around and play. Or if they are a service sub, always have something that they can do to keep busy. If you are doing some impact play, have them move into different positions and places to keep their mind stimulated and present.
  • Use varied objects on their body. From a stingy rubber flogger to a thuddy wooden paddle, the possibilities are endless when it comes to kink accouterments. You can engage in temperature play, wax, or even use different objects of varied materials, from silicone to glass to stainless steel.
  • You also will want to create erotic tension. One way to do this is by using a soft push paired with a hard pull. Doing it on various parts of the body such as the neck and hip is sure to draw and keep their attention on you.


Kink Seeds & Extended Emotional Foreplay

Now that you know about your submissive’s Seduction Learning Style©, it’s important to continually emotionally engage and set yourself up for success. You do this by planting a sex/kink seed. Find out what they would like to try on their kink list and then play the long(ish) game. 

For instance, if your sub wants to try blindfolding and they are a tactile person, plan some quality playtime with them on a Saturday, but start the foreplay on Monday by planting the kink seed. You could buy a few different blindfolds with different features (fuzzy, silky, satin, mesh, elastic) and ask them to touch them to see which one they like the best. Do this in a casual manner (during a shared dinner or on the couch), so that there’s no sexual or kink pressure, and then take them away just as casually and put them in a place where they wouldn’t look. On maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, you take the blindfold they like and put it somewhere they can see it; in a conspicuous place so they take notice and it gets their mind ready to experience something new.

This also helps with creating dialogue throughout the week plus gives you the opportunity to be creative with your long game. 

Ask yourself: What are the ways that I can create a visual kink seed? What are the ways that I can create an auditory kink seed? What are the ways that I can create a tactile sex seed?

Here’s the thing – diversity and unpredictability make you more alluring and increase the probability of your sub responding favorably to your seductive propositions in the future. This means adding something new to each and every experience that is pleasantly unexpected. What can you do creatively that would add more depth and value to your experience with one another?

To keep them coming back for more, you always want to give them more than what they anticipated; that way, they’ll look forward to the unexpected. This, my friends, is one of the keys to getting the brain activated, the hormones flowing, and can lay the groundwork for a meaningful, mutually beneficial kinky relationship.

Cheers to your kinky success!

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Marla Renee Stewart, MA

Marla Renee Stewart, MA (she/her) is a professional sexologist, intimacy/relationship/sex coach, speaker, and author. She is the owner of Velvet Lips, a sexuality education company, as well as Contract Liberation, a company focused on research for non-profit groups. As a faculty member at Clayton State University, she teaches Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies. As the Co-Founder of the Sex Down South Conference, Marla aims to bring diverse groups together to learn and share their experiences in the essence of being authentic and fostering sexual liberation across communities.

Marla has studied human sexuality for over 20 years, has educated over 20,000 people in over 13 years, given over 500 workshops, and has served over 100 clients in her private practice, all around the world. She has had her influence in the media, as well; she has written over 200 articles, featured in over 20 magazines and books, and has been on over 60 podcasts and independent television shows. She was featured on Netflix’s Trigger Warning with Killer Mike, VH1’s Love & HipHop Atlanta, and filmed as a sex expert for GPB’s Personal Injury Court and Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club: Atlanta. In addition, she also sits on the Boards for SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW! and the Diverse Sexualities and Research Education Institute.

She co-wrote her first book, The Ultimate Guide to Seduction & Foreplay (2020) with Dr. Jessica O’Reilly and wrote a chapter and co-edited An Intersectional Approach to Sex Therapy, which debuted in December 2021.


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