In creating Dom Sub Living I’ve met many great Dominants, but I’ve also come across a lot of fake doms. I have also heard from many submissives about their scary experiences with bad doms. I eventually realized that a “Fake dom vs Real Dom” article was necessary. Keep reading to learn the warning signs, red flags, and behaviors. This article will also help Doms who want to avoid bad dominant traits and qualities, and gain their submissive’s trust. Be sure to take our How to Spot a Fake Dom Quiz:
DISCLAIMER: This article is just a guideline. It can help confirm your suspicions if your instincts are telling you something’s a red flag. However, just because a Dom has one of these characteristics doesn’t mean they are “bad” or a “fake dom”.
I am also fully aware that there are a lot of bad subs out there too. So many of these points can correspond to them as well. As always, all of my articles apply to both female Dommes and male submissives.
For a fast and easy assessment, take our Ultimate Fake Dom Quiz
How To Spot A Fake Dom: 9 Warning Signs & BDSM Red Flags
1. They’re not dominant in their own life
To me, this is the biggest indicator if a Dom is ready to have a sub. After all, if they can not control their own life, they are not going to be able to control someone else’s. Of course, they do not need to be a CEO of their own company or be a “Christian Grey”. However, they should be self-disciplined and successful in their own realm.
Put simply, a Dominant needs to have their life together and be responsible. Then they can be responsible for someone else.
2. They are new to the BDSM lifestyle
I’m not saying that a good Dom can’t be new, but definitely exercise caution if someone has little or no experience in the lifestyle. It’s been my experience that a lot of fake Doms are overconfident newbies. They just assume they are Dom, because they like to control people and want someone to have sex with whenever they want.
A lot of times they are also just basing their knowledge on what they’ve seen in porn, vs actual reality or through mentoring. A real Dom though, even a new Dom, will see this lifestyle as a huge responsibility and a lot of work on their part.
3. Uses honorifics or pet names
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been called “Princess” by guys I don’t know. Using pet names like Princess, Sweetie, or Kitten before they know the person isn’t just a red flag in BDSM, it’s hugely disrespectful. So is a Dominant referring to themselves with honorifics like Daddy or Master and expecting the other person to use those terms too.
Pet names and honorifics should only be used when you’re in a relationship or both parties are comfortable with using them. When in doubt, ask permission first.
4. They’re “polyamorous“
Polyamory and other legitimate and ethical non-monogamous relationships are a lot of work, and should not be taken lightly. Unfortunately, many fake Doms put out there from the very beginning that they want more than one sub. They may use the lifestyle as an excuse to sleep around. They may say things like, “I’m not like other Doms, my needs are very high and I need more than one sub to fulfill them.”
A sub should never feel pressured to go along with a polyamorous relationship. A Dom needs to prove they can take care of one sub before they expect to take on another.
5. They need money or gifts
These are usually scammers or “catfish” types. For example, fake doms may really want to come visit, but need money for the plane ticket first. Or they outright ask for money or expensive gifts for the sub to continue their “training” or prove their submission. (I’m not talking about ethical financial domination, which usually comes after a long history of trust.)
Just remember that it is usually the Dom’s role to support the sub, not the other way around. This is true even if the Dom makes less than their sub. In those cases, they are still in their dominant role. They can allow their sub to work, to handle the bills, etc., but it is the Dom who is the Supporter, through their approval, encouragement, assistance, and backing of their sub.
6. Lies, cheats, or has other bad dominant traits
Lying or cheating are childish traits and not signs of someone with maturity and self-control. If the dom is in a relationship already, and their partner doesn’t know they’re seeing someone else, this is a huge BDSM red flag. It’s selfish, and many will justify it because they believe they’re not getting their needs met. A real Dom is more concerned about giving than receiving though.
They may say they have tried telling their partner they are unhappy, but have they told their partner they are so unhappy that they have started cheating? A fake Dom avoids facing responsibility for their actions, and it will be very hard for a sub to trust a dom who lies or cheats.
7. Doesn’t know or address BDSM basics
Many fake doms will say they’re experienced but don’t take the time with a sub to go over BDSM limits, safewords, BDSM contracts, or training. They may not even know what any of these terms involve. They might even make the excuse that since they are “experienced” they know what they’re doing and don’t need to go over limits, etc.
This is disregarding the foundation of BDSM, that everything be safe, sane, and consensual. Every new relationship should at least have a discussion of the basics, and every sub has the right to speak up. Read my guide to a safe BDSM lifestyle for more information.
8. Focuses only on sex
This is probably the most common red flag in BDSM. A fake dom may seem only interested in sex, or focus mostly on sexual training. They may ask for nudes or sexual tasks right from the beginning for the sub to prove their worthiness.
This isn’t to say that it’s wrong if a BDSM relationship is only sexual, or if a couple is only Dom/sub in the bedroom. But if a submissive is constantly wanting more than just a sexual relationship, it’s time to reevaluate things.
Other warning signs that the dom is only interested in getting their sexual needs fulfilled are if they give little or no aftercare.
9. A fake Dom uses intimidation with the sub
This can happen even in vanilla relationships and is a sign of abuse. If a dominant keeps the sub from their family and friends, or tells them they aren’t a “real” sub if they don’t do something, this is dangerous manipulation.
A sub should also never be made to be fearful to use their safewords, and discipline and submissive punishments should never be given out of uncontrolled anger. Remember: a real Dom is dominant, not domineering. Make sure you know and can spot the difference.
Other Fake Dominant Red Flags
There are other warning signs that someone is a bad or fake dom, such as:
- Stops communication or pulls away without giving an explanation
- Uses the sub as a maid so they don’t have to pick up after themselves (a sub is not their parent)
- Always mentions they are an “experienced” Dom (they are probably trying to make themselves seem better than they actually are)
- Extremely sadistic and takes scenes too far
- Sends d*ck pics or other sexually unsolicited images
How to Spot a Fake Dom
A fake Dom can range from a sleazy person or oblivious newbie to BDSM, to a severely abusive individual. The easiest way to spot one is to get them to talk and see what they’re thinking. A good idea is to ask them, “What does being a Dom mean to you?” Or “What does your training involve?”
Another thing a sub can do is ask for references from other subs or members in the BDSM community. If a Dom refuses to give references or just says their past sub is “psycho”, that’s a red flag that they may be hiding something.
Take our Ultimate Fake Dom Quiz
Fake Dom vs Real Dom Graphic
To make it easier for you to know how to spot a fake Dom, I created this graphic. Feel free to share it to encourage others to know the signs of a fake dom vs real Dom.
Unfortunately there are a lot of bad or fake doms out there, but the good news is that there are a lot of real Doms too! I hope the biggest takeaway you get from this article is to use your instincts and trust your intuition.
Submissives: please remember the warning signs to look for and don’t be afraid to speak up. You don’t have to settle, and you don’t deserve to.
And Dominants: know that being in this role is a big responsibility, and commit to being a good example for others in the community.
Please click the social icons below to share this article, and together we can start a healthy discussion and promote safety and awareness.
Now take our Fake Dom Quiz and see where you or your partner ranks:
Want more? Sign up for my newsletter and get BDSM tips on the regular.