I’m a cis gay man in his late twenties living in a large and pretty kink-friendly city on the west coast. My boyfriend and I have been together a little over a year. I’ve subbed on kind  of a sliding scale for a while now. He knows about my past experiences and we’ve played with BDSM a little but are vanilla about 75% of the time. He wants to get better at domming me and I definitely want him to too, but he’s at a loss of how to do it. And so am  I! A lot of times when we’re having sex things will start out fun and kinky then suddenly drop and I’m left feeling judgmental of him. I don’t want to hurt his feelings by being overly critical, but it just isn’t working and I want it to since I really like him in every other way. How can I help him be his dommiest self without being too bossy?

I, like you, am not a switch. So I’ll leave the domming to the Doms and address your concerns, little sub. You’re afraid of “topping from the bottom” as they say, and I don’t blame you. It kind of defeats the whole purpose of being able to give over control and lose yourself in the scene. And when your boyfriend unexpectedly drops the kinkiness, it can leave you feeling abandoned. Be clear with yourself about whether your judgement of his abilities as a Dom would go away if he were to improve his technique, or if there’s something about him as a person or the way your relationship has been up to this point that would make it hard for you to submit to him. Because there’s a big difference.

Assuming it’s just technique based, here’s what I’ve developed to side-step the whole topping from the bottom issue - the art of the sexy suggestion. If you want something from your Dom but don’t want to feel like you’re forcing him into it, bring it up during pillow talk. If you already have a good aftercare regimen where you talk to each other, that can be a great time to tell him about this fantasy you have where he ties you up with jute rope and makes you kneel in uncooked rice while he spits in your face - or what have you. If he doesn’t know how to tie you up, then this is a great time to suggest doing a class together. Do a little googling together and find something in your area. Many big cities with kink scenes have classes to be found. Whether it’s a shibari workshop or a good old domming class, maybe this will set him along the path to doing a little more research. And along the way, you’ll have plenty of fun watching him discover this. It’s an adventure you’re both on. Enjoy it.