Rika’s Lair – Finding the Potential Dominant in Any Partner

I hope you have been enjoying Rika’s Lair, my monthly column dedicated to thoughts and experiences regarding power dynamics in Service-Oriented D/s relationships. Look up “Ms. Rika” in the search box for links to all of my articles in KinkWeekly! 

This week, I’m going to discuss a topic that, I recognize, has been done to the hilt. I’m talking about finding a dominant when you’re a submissive. There are dozens of articles and even books on the subject. I run the risk of saying the same old tired things about “getting out there”, “being yourself”, or “go to munches; get involved” – all of which are obviously good things to do and I recommend you do them. But for this week’s conversation, I want to share some ideas that you might want to consider once you’ve done all of that, and are now face-to-face with a prospective partner. What are you looking for? How do you determine if this is a long-term partner to whom you can submit? 

Since we’re talking about long-term relationships, my first piece of advice, is that you don’t look at this person as a dominant, and look carefully at them as a relationship partner who also enjoys dominance. 

The façade of “Compatibility” The problem many submissives face is that they approach a partner with a preconceived notion of what submission means. They’ve already determined what kinks they want to pursue and they believe that the “right” partner is the one who wants what they want and defines submission the way they do. They think that this is “compatibility” and they search for it. Sadly, they don’t find it very often, mostly because they have narrowed their search criteria to such a tiny target. 

When these submissives meet and discuss the possibility of establishing a power dynamic with an actual partner, they probe to find that specific definition of compatibility, and when it isn’t there, they assume the partner isn’t “into it”, “doesn’t know how to dominate”, or “just isn’t dominant”. 

Sometimes, they’ll find a partner who is willing to play the role of “dominant” for them, but that fades over time for a variety of reasons, usually because that role is not their natural personality. The professional domination business is founded on this…giving clients exactly what they believe dominance is and creating the illusion that their fantasy exists naturally (as long as they pay for it). 

To make it worse, most dominants have imagery of what D/s and BDSM is. This imagery is formed by the media’s sensationalized portrayal of sick and damaged people who live to hurt others. When they approach a prospective partner and start a discussion about dominance and submission, that imagery kicks in – and the prospect is repelled by it. You tell a prospective partner that you have a “deep bondage fetish”, and they don’t imagine the fun of patiently exploring someone’s body when they helplessly can’t influence the direction you take, they imagine torture and evil…they imagine that they must be bitchy and screaming and out of control bull whipping until they are drawing blood. I’m not saying there aren’t dominants out there who would enjoy that…but there are far fewer than those who would really get off on a partner who wants to fulfill their natural preferences and who would really enjoy tying you up and overstimulating you with sensations. 

If you’ve been reading my column or have read my books, by now you know about my “Dominant- Centric” methodology for establishing D/s dynamics in relationships, in which submission is defined by the preferences of the dominant and the submissive’s goal is to provide for what the dominant truly 

feels is FOR the dominant. This may, or may not entail things that are done TO the submissive. The approach is driven by INTENT: Why the sub does something is far more important than what is done. Submission is found when your intent is to serve a dominant as their submissive. Submission becomes the active role. Rather than laying back and being “done while helpless to resist”, the submissive is actively PROVIDING the things that the dominant feels serves them. These may or may not be “kinky”…but when your INTENT is to serve and your partner acknowledges that intent and receives it from a position of dominance, it’s kinky no matter how mundane. 

So…as a submissive looking for a dominant, your challenge is to determine if you could be happy serving a dominant the way they want to be served, even if it isn’t what your current imagery thinks it “should” be. If you would be up for that, then your next challenge is to approach a potential partner in a way that helps them introspect and determine what truly serves them – putting away the imagery that they invariably has already formed regarding this type of activity. You want to help them define what your submission to them looks like. What will they truly find makes them feel naturally served? What does submission to this unique person look like, if they’re NOT playing the “ROLE” of dominant, rather, how does one submit to the person they are, not the image of a role they’re playing? 

What this mindset does, is it opens the doors of possibility to ANY partner…not just those who have identified as “a dominant”, or worse, a dominant who enjoys ‘x’. It implies that you should find a partner with whom you connect first, and THEN determine how the D/s will work for you two. Together, you define the UNIQUE service that you will provide, customized to the dominant’s preferences and in total lock step with who they are as a person naturally. No games…just a lifetime of power dynamics. 


Ms. Rika (Ms_Rika@hotmail.com) is a lifestyle dominant, educator, and author; living in the suburbs of NYC with her husband/slave. She has written several popular books on her approach to adding Dominant-Centric, Service-Oriented D/s to relationships. You can find her books (in both print and eBook formats) at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/msrika), or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iStore, Books-A-Million, Kobo.com, or anywhere books are sold. Search for “Ms. Rika”.


  1. mistressmoon says:


  2. well-written and very well organized too

  3. stubsub says:

    i take exception to the following passage from this article:

    “The façade of ‘Compatibility’The problem many submissives face is that they approach a partner with a preconceived notion of what submission means. They’ve already determined what kinks they want to pursue and they believe that the ‘right’ partner is the one who wants what they want and defines submission the way they do. They think that this is ‘compatibility’ and they search for it. Sadly, they don’t find it very often, mostly because they have narrowed their search criteria to such a tiny target.”

    i understand from this passage that the author considers that compatibility applies only to the interpersonal aspect of a relationship, and not to its D/s aspect. In other words, compatiblity matters only in interpersonal relationships, not D/s relationships. Accordingfo the author, viewing the D/s relationship as “Dominant-Centric,” means then that it is entirely up to the Dominant to determine all aspects of the D/s relationship.

    While i agree that it is the Dominant’s prerogative to do this once a relationship is established, and i agree that, once in a relationship, the sub must recognize this prerogative, it behoves a sub to know what the Dominant’s view of a D/s relationship is before entering it. This is because i believe D/s compatiblity matters in a relationship. Yes, we all do have “a pre-conceived notion of what submission means,” and, yes, this notion. varies from person to person. Here the problem is that our notions aren’t going to go away. Dominants can’t just tell their subs to get over it. It doesn’t work that way. Subs do, and will continue to seek D/s compatible partners and find such partners.

    Concerning this, there are all kinds of D/s compatibility issues that need to be addressed for a D/s relationship to succeed. Among these are: Is the sub amenable to switching? Does the relationship involve discipline and punishment? Is the Dominant a hands-on or hands-off manager? Does the sub have a fetish?

    Both Dominants and subs have D/s needs to be met. For example, a sub who will not switch will be D/s incompatible with a Dominant who switches, unless the Dominant is willing to find another partner to switch with. Both Dominant and sub must be into discipline and punishemt for a relationship involving these to work. A Dominant could be a hands-off manager, but a sub could need alot of guidance. Subs may have fetishes that they can’t or won’t put aside.

    In short, a sub may have D/s needs that a Dominant can’t just ignore without imperiling a relationship. Consequently, i believe D/s compatible relationships are the norm, as a result of prospective D/s partners realizing the importance of D/s compatibility and seeking D/s compatible partners. Certainly, no D/s partner will be D/s compatible in all respects, but seeking a D/s compatible partner will help a D/s relationship succeed and may prevent it from failing. Certainly, it may be hard to find a D/s compatible partner, but doing so may be well worth the effort.

    • I think you’re missing the point of this piece. She is saying that, what some people think of as compatibility is a list of kinks. The relationship is what matters. The power dynamic can take on so may forms – but the only one that will satisfy a submissive as being actually submissive (rather than self-serving) is one that actually serves the dominant’s preferences.

      I’ve seen you argue with Ms. Rika on Fetlife – and she always seems to right you with the same point, but it doesn’t seem to stick for you: Needs vs. Wants is a big difference. Both people’s NEEDS must be met in a relationship or the relationship fails – that’s a starting point and a given for relationships of any type. When you choose to submit to someone, you’re committing to satisfy their WANTS as well. They are not submitting to you, so they are not necessarily doing the same thing. Then she has also pointed out to you that dominants can CHOOSE to give subs what they want as well – because they are in a relationship with that sub and care about them. She calls those gifts and treats. However, dominants are not OBLIGATED by your submission to provide for your wants. They do so because they care about your happiness. I’ve seen her tell you all of this before.

      I interpret this article to be saying that compatibility is about NEED and not about WANT. I need to submit to a dominant woman in a way that makes her feel dominant. I may or may not get what I want in that process. She may choose to give me what I want, but that doesn’t impact that she’s allowing me to have what I need.

    • Totally agree with you

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