Skip to content
🌎 100% discreet worldwide shipping! 🌏 Free shipping on orders over $150CAD to Canada and USA!
🌎 100% discreet worldwide shipping! 🌏
Free shipping on orders over
$150CAD to Canada and USA!
Let’s Talk Switching: Why I Can’t Always “Get There”

Let’s Talk Switching: Why I Can’t Always “Get There”

I’ve always identified as a sub. 

Even from before I started having sex, I remember being turned on by submissiveness - or the idea of submissiveness, perhaps. I was, and still am, seduced by the idea of giving my body over to someone I trust. I find such tenderness in power play. 

I remember watching my first porn, before I even knew what to search for, and always finding myself watching some sort of bondage, loving the idea of receiving orders and commands, of being a good little slut for my dom. The more restraints the better.

Throughout all of my experiences having sex with cis men, I was rarely asked to, or encouraged to, enter a more dominant role. Traditionally, it was always assumed that the man would occupy the “dom” space, and as the cis woman I should submit. I was happy to do this, finding it extremely natural and enticing to let my partners fill the dominant, “masculine,” role, and I was comfy and quite happy in being referred to as, and knowing, that I was assumed to be the bottom as a femme. 

I have often been referred to as a “power bottom” actually, which I feel quite seen by. But I’m not sure historically, if this was simply because I never had the confidence back then to express my true desires of full domination and therefore took it upon myself to guide my partner physically, or if it was another part of me peaking through.  

As I began to lean further into my queer identity however, I found more space and expansiveness in exploring a shy, yet wildly curious, dominant side in me. 

I began having different types of sex with different types of people. The more experiences I entered into that were outside of the cis-het, gendered sex I had been having, the more I found myself on the other side in positions I thought I knew so well, the more I felt myself becoming fluid not only in my gender but also in my sexual expression. 

The more I had sex with different types of people, the more I could feel myself opening to different roles, different ways of entering the dialogue of a sexual experience, and the more I could feel myself expanding beyond the comfort I had come to know in subspace. 

Quickly, my curiosity toward domming grew as I had more partners that expressed interest and desire for me to assume this role in our sexual relationships. I’ll be honest, I really wanted to get there for them, but I was just so damn intimidated.

The Block

My partners and I would have lengthy conversations about our wants and desires. I would inquire about how they wanted to be dommed, and I would feel such excitement while we talked to show up for them in this way - it really did turn me on to picture myself in that role, and I truly wanted to bring switching into our relationship. But when it came down to it, when I could sense that they wanted this while we were actually having sex, I just couldn’t do it. There was such a block there. 

I wanted to meet this blockage within me with tenderness and compassion, while also remaining curious about it. Why was I blocked when it came to domination? Why couldn’t I get there? What were the tools that could help me move through this to get to the place I knew I wanted to be?

My partner at the time was very much a switch, and I found it so fascinating how they could switch so fluidly from one role into the other, mid sex. Both of their dominant and submissive sides would show up as equal parts of them, working in tandem like the sun and the moon, expressing so differently and yet so effortlessly fluctuating one into the other. I wanted to be able to move fluidly with them in our play, I wanted it to feel effortless and connective, like partnered improv. 

I knew that a large portion of my resistance to domming was due to my socialization and identification as a girl and woman for the majority of my life. How I had been told time and time again how “unladylike” it was for a woman to be demanding or assertive; to simply use her voice. I knew this could only be unlearned with patience and practice, and supportive, safe lovers that were open to venturing on my gender unpacking journey with me. But I still wanted to push myself a little bit, so I started to explore some ways of entering into dom-space that felt accessible to help me get there. 

The Armour

I have always been a performer, so I started experimenting with my attire. 

I started associating my dominant persona with certain textures and tones; things my everyday self would never wear, things that made me feel powerful. I have a very specific pair of big black boots that, when I put them on, immediately make me feel like I’m in control of everything around me. I call them my “stomping boots,” and I absolutely love them.  

Immediately, when I decided I could look at my dominant side as a role to “step into” rather than something that had to come directly from me right away, unprompted, I felt a switch. Domming became a mode, or a character, that I could enter into. They were something separate, something other, and because of this I felt less intimidation or fear of “getting it wrong.” Also, weirdly, this character became much more femme than me. The blockage that had caused my struggles with domming was due to my socialized femininity, and yet in finding my inner dom I reached for femininity as a reclamation of it from a place of power, on my own terms. 

Further, because I had come to access my inner dom through a type of “stepping into the character” experience, I decided that to help with my confidence, with my fear of “getting it wrong,” just like anything else, I just needed to learn the skills. If I didn’t know a certain dance move or a ceramics technique or a language, the only way to gain confidence performing that action is to properly learn the skills. Why should sex be any different?

Seeking Guidance

I sought guidance from sex workers in my community, and as I received direction from professionals, naturally my confidence grew to a place where I felt I could bring my learnings home to my partner. 

We are not taught how to do sex the way we are taught how to count and read, and yet we expect ourselves to be skilled at a professional level inherently, without ever seeking support. Domming didn’t come naturally to me, but I wanted to learn, and so I went out and I found a qualified teacher.  Let me tell you, it made a world of a difference. 

I would love to say that now I am in a place where I can easily switch naturally and fluidly during sex with my switch-identifying partners just as easily as the person I described above, but I’m here to be honest, and honestly that is still not the case. 

I definitely identify as a switch now, because I feel seen and find joy and pleasure in both roles, and I do love the expansiveness that comes with moving across the spectrum that is my sexuality with equally resonant sensation. But I don’t think I will ever be able to switch from one into the other without any sort of preparation. 

Weirdly enough, domming to me feels like skiing - maybe it’s the Canadian in me, eh? Hear me out. 

Domming Is Like Skiing

I love skiing, I have since I was very young. But I only ever go a couple of times a year. If I’m to do other physical activities that I love, like going for a run, or yoga, or a dance class, it requires little to no preparation. I can throw on my running shoes and go out the front door or set my yoga mat up in my living room, and both are accessible and easy and right in front of me. I can work it into my daily routine relatively effortlessly and I don’t have to think too much to get myself there.

To go skiing, I have to prepare. I have to suit up to face the elements, put on my armour, and I have to strap myself into the proper equipment; skis, boots, helmet, goggles, gloves, hat, scarf, snowsuit. I have to be properly suited. Then I have to get to the mountain and face the cold, and if I haven’t been in a while, I always worry I’m going to fall getting off the lift, even though I’ve done it a thousand times. 

But once I’m on the mountain, once I’m gliding down, feeling the air on my face and soaring through the snow, I’m in ecstasy. Every single time I get going, I am so grateful I did. It feels so good, and I’m actually quite good, and I’m so glad I went through the process of getting myself there, because once I’m there it’s incredible. 

This is how I feel about domming. 

I can’t necessarily just casually get there any time without any preparation. I have to put on my armour, literally and/or metaphorically. I have to have the proper equipment and quite literally strap myself in; I have to make the mental switch. And every time I’m getting into it, I have a moment where I feel like I’ll fall before I just send my body over the top of the mountain and start soaring. 

But once I get there, it’s ecstasy, and I’m so glad I did. 

Intentional Learning

With sex, I think we so often fall into a trap of believing that if it doesn’t come naturally it’s just not meant for us, or more often, that there’s something wrong with us. We forget that our sexuality is so inherently linked to our socialization, and all other aspects of our identity, so unlike anything else, we accept our inferiority before we simply get out there and give learning a solid try. If it requires more effort, more preparation, more intention, we shy away because we never want to admit that we may just not know what we’re doing. 

But it’s okay to not know, no one ever taught us. 

If my grandparents had never taught me to ski as a child, of course I would be intimidated, because of course I wouldn’t know what I was doing once I got to the top of the hill. And I absolutely would fall. And I would probably be scared to try again. Maybe I wouldn’t try again, and then I’d never know the feeling of gliding down the hill with the air on my face on a crisp, sunny winter day. 

When I switch, it requires intention and preparation, but it doesn’t mean I’m not a switch. It just means I access it in a different way. And honestly, sometimes I don’t have the energy, and I just can’t get there, and that’s okay. 

I also don’t understand Japanese, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn, and it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to speak and express in that language. 

When I dom, I get there on my own terms. I get there with intention. And even if I don’t get there as often, it always feels so good when I do. 

About the writer

Taylor Neal

(she/they) A Canadian multi-disciplinary artist, writer, yoga instructor and sex worker's advocacy support worker, Taylor strives to dive deeply into the endless complexity that is raw, authentic human experience. They are committed to an ongoing exploration of intimacy, sexuality, and how humans can foster loving relationships with their bodies, and they strive to offer this space with their teachings, art and writing. Practically, Taylor combines their background in dance and performance, their passion for the written word, and their curiosity within contemporary visual art and photography, with their studies in Communications, Art History, Feminist Theory, Design for Theatre and Fashion Design. Their cumulative work and practice comes together as a holistic exploration of identity, movement, sexuality, and how the embodied subject navigates space and the natural world. To connect with Taylor, you may find them at their website, on Instagram @nzzltea, or through their podcast, Full Bloom Pod, on Apple Music and Spotify.

Check this out! Sex and Masculinity
Have you read? Our Top 10 New Sex Toys of 2023

Leave a comment

Comments will be reviewed and approved before being published.

* Required