Your responsibility as a Dominant is great: you and only you are responsible for both of your safety during scene! In essence, it’s like having a small child dependent upon you. To better handle this responsibility, never stop learning. The best way to learn is to practice bottoming yourself. Every few weeks or months, switch with your partner. The next best way is to communicate: after every scene, ask your submissive what she enjoyed and what she didn’t, and don’t get defensive or egoistic about the things she didn’t. Your sub’s feedback is your best learning tool. Also, read sex books, learn about BDSM, and join online communities. Books and chat groups on BDSM are going to keep your Dominant skills honed and keep your sub from getting bored.
BDSM is not something that should be done “on the fly.” You’ll both have more fun if you plan. Topping is hard work! You need to have a mental list of what you want to achieve. Have a general idea of activities you can try, and always plan for way more than you’ll actually have time for; this way, if something you planned goes wrong, you can move on smoothly to the next one. No one wants you to be left standing there, whip in hand, looking foolish. If toys are involved, have them out, cleaned, and ready. Same with lighting, whips, restraints, costumes, lubricants, and aftercare materials (water, snack, warm towel or blanket). You don’t want to lose momentum of a great scene to go grab a condom or hurriedly have to search for, find, and clean a particular toy. Your sub will appreciate you much more if you come prepared.
For those of us who aren’t in a 24/7 relationship, knowing when to sub and not can be confusing. It is good to have some sort of signal so both of you know when a scene begins. You can have a specific code word, play certain music, or change the lighting and music to start the mood. You can touch or look at your sub a particular way that she will understand means you’re starting the scene now. Or, you can have a particular ritual that lets both of you know the scene is beginning and to help you get into your roles: having the sub get out and arrange the toys, gently tying your sub down, or having your sub kneel, kiss your feet, and placing a collar around her kneck. Something concrete, like having the sub put on a specific corset or wear a collar, can be a powerful symbolic moment that lets you both know when play has started.
Having a definite end is even more important. Your sub can’t read your mind, and often have no idea when you’re winding down. You need to make it obvious! . It is too difficult to switch straight out of “scene” on your sub. We need time so we know you are winding down, and can begin to slowly transition out of subspace and back into real world. Never just stop suddenly and say, “Okay, we’re done!”
A gradual transition is necessary. You can have a certain activity that you always do last, so when you move to it, your sub knows to begin transitioning out of subspace. Some Dommes tell their partner, “Okay, you can pick one last toy for me to use on you,” or “Pick a number between 1 and 10, I’ll give you that many swats with the paddle, and then we can be done.” This lets your sub know the scene is winding down without shocking them with it mid-scene. Subs need lots of time to recover from scenes, so make sure you have a definite space for winding down and then a concrete ending!