I wrote the following as a way of working through some thoughts I cobbled together while explaining to someone why I was denying their request for my mentorship. I share it here because the ideas I write about are largely universal.

When I took my first steps into leather and kink, I was lucky to have quickly found the guidance and mentorship of self-aware people who understood that calling myself a Dom was not a license to get away with whatever I wanted to do. I was taught from the start that domination is a responsibility to present myself in a way that would make people want to find for themselves the contentment and happiness that I found.

It’s easy to want to run away from your problems by handing the reins to someone else, but if you want me to be in control, I’m going to insist that you work hard to become the best version of yourself you can. That is more important to me than getting what I want in the moment, because supporting people in becoming healthy, stable members of this community is what really matters. Sure, that’s not as sexy as ordering you to your knees to service me, but it’s just as important to the longterm well being of our community.

There is significant overlap between my approach to domination and power exchange and my work with addiction and recovery. I want everyone to be well and whole. Subbing for me in real time isn’t all fantasy and scene play. There is fun, but there is homework and accountability, neither of which are always enjoyable. The fantasy of mindless slaves only works for me if I know the person living the fantasy is putting in the work to achieve and maintain wellness for themselves.

I want to know you’re offering yourself to me because you respect me as a Dom, not because you want me to fix you. If you respect me as a Dom, you don’t want to create work for me, you want to hand over someone who is whole on their own who has goals, who owns up to their shortcomings, who treats everyone with respect.