I’m 31 years old, female, and am subbing for the first time with a Dom I met on Tinder. He’s great and we get along, but when we get back to the bedroom I get the sense that I’m not as advanced as other subs he’s played with and it makes me really insecure. Like sometimes he’ll casually suggest things that I consider to be really extreme, like putting clothespins on me, and when I call my safe word he seems a little surprised. How do I deal with feeling like a wimp??

Every. Sub. Feels. This. On some level. If you don’t, hit me up. I want to put you in a cage and study you. But trust me, even the subs who are doing biweekly subdermal needle play are thinking to themselves - shit, there’s probably some sub out there who’s really good at dealing with an open flame. There’s always going to be some “the sub is always tougher on the other side of the fence” scenario. It’s important to remember that every sub is a snowflake, with his or her own unique set of kinks and limits that make them special. It’s the play that emerges from figuring all this out that’s fun. D/s isn’t about applying the same exact pressures to every sub, it’s about finding a way of playing that suits the particular Dom (and sub) at that moment in time. It’s psychological. So if getting hit with a riding crop catapults you straight into sub space, be excited to know yourself well enough to know what works.

Furthermore, some Doms go to extreme lengths to find subs that are different from each other. If they’re all the same, what fun is that? I’ve heard of Doms who have specific subs for specific needs, such as an “ass girl,” etc. Try to focus on your strengths. Maybe you’re great at giving head. Maybe you love getting paddled. You could be paddle girl and not even know it. Revel in being wanted, don’t criticize yourself for imagined shortcomings. You’re great.

Also a P.S. - plenty of Doms and subs meet on Tinder. If you saw that and raised your eyebrows, know that “tinder” isn’t shorthand for some kind of shitty situation anymore.