That is the question. How the heck can having two Doms in your life work? (For purposes of this article I am using “Dom” as reference to a D-type regardless of gender identity.) We are all used to seeing the Dom with more than one sub. Minus the complications and issues that sometimes come along with the poly aspect of that situation, the “one Dom, two subs” (or more) makes sense to us. It’s a structure with one leader, one person calling the shots. So how can it work to have two leaders in control of one mutual partner? Here we are back to that good ol’ thing we call communication. Plus a good dose of negotiation and a dash of compromise.
Let’s start with a few less even situations. One sub has two Doms, but is married, cohabiting and/or maybe has children with one of them. Typically in this type of situation the other Dom would yield authority when it interferes with domestic or family situations. Perhaps one is a Monday thru Friday Dom and the other is a weekend Dom – for example, they negotiate power exchange for parties plus perhaps they are allowed a certain number of tasks to be given throughout the week. Maybe one Dom is only interested in domestic service and so they have certain days that the sub spends time doing those domestic services for them – cleaning, errands, etc.
It can become a bit more difficult when there isn’t a more clear distinction between the two Doms like in the above examples. So consider it a situation similar to a poly situation where the sub has two people they are involved with. Except now – add the power exchange. In my opinion it can become very confusing very quickly if clear boundaries and expectations aren’t discussed from the start. One simple way to look at it is similar to how poly couples divide their time. Figure out days that work for the sub to be with each Dom and each Dom respects the other Dom’s time with the sub. Perhaps a rare, yet not impossible, situation is when you have more of a triad dynamic with two Doms. The two Doms working together within the power exchange. Perhaps they all play together, have a physical relationship that includes all three, and the two Doms assign tasks and lead the sub as a joint force. How much, of course, depends on how much of a power exchange has been negotiated.
I’ve given you a handful of possibilities as far as how to go about the “two doms, one sub” relationship. Not that this will be shocking to most people – but there are probably one hundred more variations of how this might work for people. The key is for everyone to be on board and be willing to talk and figure out what works best for all involved. It also helps for the Doms to not get too caught up with issues of ego or pride. A good healthy relationship between the Doms (even if it’s not a triad) does not hurt in these cases. So, no, it’s not impossible to have more than one Dom. Just like with anything else it simply takes a bit more energy and a willingness to embrace the possibility!
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.