I'd commented on a thread recently on the topic of what makes a good dominant here on fetlife and I've been thinking about it a little more since then as I have had personal experience of both good and bad doms first hand and from stories and the experiences of friends also.
Of course not everyone has the exact same requirements of what they want as we are all different and are our reasons for wanting to enter into a D/s relationship will be different but I think there are a few characteristics that may exist in common, a lot of which are often found in a good 'normal' relationship too!
Compatibility and shared kinks
When you first meet someone or first start talking to them I think it's a good idea to get some sense of whether you are wanting the same things, or at least a good chunk of the same things. For example, there would be no point me ending up with a Dom who wanted poly as it's not something I would ever be comfortable with. I think compromise is important, but if there are some issues like that where compromise cannot be reached then perhaps it isn't going to work.
Being a good listener
I think it is important to have communication in a relationship from the very start in both being able to feel as though you can express yourself to the other person but in listening too. I think for a Dominant to be a good listener is just as important in a casual relationship such as for play at a fetish event as it is in a permanent relationship, in fact possibly more so because they aren't used to how you might react to things. I think it's all very well having safe words but if a dom can't listen to a concern or a worry then having a safe word is a waste of time if they just muddle on without listening to what the submissive is saying either before, during or after play.
I have to be honest in that I wasn't always the best at communicating with my dom, and I found it difficult to express myself and so the fact that he did take on board what I did manage to express meant all the difference to me.
Being a good friend
I think a Dominant should be a friend as well as a partner, owner, and sadist. My Master is really most undoubtedly my best friend in the world and has been for a very long time. I feel as though I have known him my whole life and yet it's only actually six years lol. I like having someone that I feel I can tell anything and who will not judge me and who will support me in times of trouble. He has supported me through a couple of family bereavements and other times that have been hard for me, and I have done the same for him.
I think it is important for a Dom to be that shoulder to cry on in bad times and a friend to laugh with in the good.
A good Dominant needs to be able to control himself before he can control someone else as in being able to manage his own anger.
lunaKM adds: What other self-control aspects do you think a good Dom should have?
Experience and a willingness to learn
The main attraction for me in my Master was his level of experience and that he looked more than capable of being able to do the things I wanted both when it comes to the sort of physical BDSM and the more cerebral aspects.
Not everyone's level of experience is going to be the same and of course, there are always going to be Doms who are new and fresh who have a great deal of potential.
Lately, this girl has noticed a lot of people locally who go and get 'trained up' because they want to be a pro Domme or something and yet after being 'trained' all they can do is whack a paddle about and pose in thigh boots. It's not something you can learn in an afternoon or in a week or get a diploma in. It takes a while to learn your own techniques and your own way of getting into the head of your submissive.
I think it's important that a Dominant has the willingness to want to learn how to do things right and to the enjoyment of their submissive rather than just going blindly into it.
Even experienced Doms still new things they can learn about BDSM and D/s sometimes from books or the internet, sometimes by the experience of exploring BDSM with someone and so yes, they can learn even from their submissive lol
I think it's also important for them to want to learn how to bring out the best in you and to make you happy and confident.
The right one for YOU
Ultimately they need to be right for you, not everyone is going to be a good fit. I know for a fact that my Master would not be right for other people say those not into the same kinks, and I certainly probably wouldn't be the right sub for many men! It takes time and getting to know people to find out if there is enough in common to make a go of it and the most enjoyable part of the whole thing is learning about all the kink stuff together with one special person you can share it with.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and what makes a Dominant good for you :)