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Whenever we’ve encountered different Dominants within the real-time community and we get together regarding the topic of being a Head of Household, it causes me to do a bit of inventory on my own thoughts, and those of my Beloved’s, when it comes to becoming and being an HOH.

After much thought and reflection, I believe we have come up with a bit of a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to be a Head of House, broken down into bulleted form. This, as with anything else, is a matter of subjective acceptance, and there may be other things that can be added or omitted to suit the needs of the Dominant in question.

Acceptance:

There is the time-honored cliché of “know thyself”, and this definitely comes into play with acceptance. Far too many times, we’ve run into Dominants, regardless of gender, who have said that they have had problems accepting certain aspects of being on the left side of the slash. Acceptance of self is a vital cog in the ability to lead, which means knowing and accepting faults, fears, insecurities, and weaknesses and doing the work to overcome them. Acceptance of self also means knowing your desires and necessities and embracing them as a part of self, protecting against compromising those core aspects in the interests of “having someone under foot.”

From a D/s or M/s perspective, acceptance also means accepting the limitations of your charge(s), the one(s) who made the decision to surrender to your will and control. The ability to accept that person for who they are, as they are, and helping them to do the work to be the best self they can be for you. Mastery is not micromanagement (unless that is something that you as an HOH enjoys); the more you are able to empower your charge(s), the more invaluable they will be to you.

Communication:

It’s been said on so many countless occasions, it feels like it’s redundant to speak on it here. Communication—effective communication—is an integral part of being an HOH. Being able to articulate your House’s vision, construct, and how you plan about executing that vision is something that cannot be taken for granted.

Effective communication—the key words of transparency and honesty come into play here—is the hallmark of a capable HOH. As much as expectations of your charge to be transparent are warranted, such is the case with an HOH. Consistency is as important as being effective, and it goes a long way toward building trust and capacity for understanding on both sides of the slash. Also, doing due diligence to avoid engaging in emotionally-charged conversations is another component of effective communication; we are expected to be the cooler head, fair or unfair.

Compassion:

As an HOH, the ability to see and attempt to understand the different emotional aspects of your charge is another important concept to aspire to master. Sometimes, that compassion goes a long way in the emotional, physical and mental development of your charge. Compassion is a matter of being able to be astute enough to aid in times of stress and challenge that will arise on a day-to-day basis. Above all else, whether Dominant or submissive, Master or slave, we are all human.

Courtesy:

Courtesy, etiquette, manners, whatever you want to call it, part of being a responsible HOH is having the capacity and ability to be cordial and maintaining a measure of decorum. This is important, irrespective of station; you, as an HOH, have a responsibility to maintain a space of respect and congeniality. You don’t have to “like” the people who enter into a public forum; maintaining a respectful atmosphere should be paramount.

Honesty/Transparency:

The ability to be transparent in word and action cannot be stressed enough. As an HOH, withholding information or practicing “truth by omission” is tantamount to abject failure before things even get started. Deception should never be at anyone’s disposal, much less someone who has made the decision to take on a leadership role within a House. Honesty is the base component of building trust; without trust, the foundation of the relationship is already cracked and destined to bring the whole House down.

Humility:

The human component—recognizing that you, as an HOH, are fallible. Instilling that in your charge is equally important. We as Dominants are not demigods; we are not omniscient or omnipotent or omnipresent. Mistakes will be made, perfection is impossible. Room for growth, and more importantly, recognizing that there is the capacity to learn more, goes a long way toward long-term sustainability. No one likes a know-it-all; it’s okay to be astute enough to understand that there might be a subject that you don’t have a complete handle on, leaving room for someone else to give a more comprehensive answer. Through that allowance, it helps an HOH to expand their own knowledge base.

Intelligence:

The ability for an HOH to learn, and respect, different aspects of control and authority, and by extension, the handling of different implements and toys is something that should be expressed. Practical intelligence, and emotional intelligence, fall into this category. The willingness to learn and research, to be open and receptive during fireside chats and classes during conferences and munches, even observing different conversations that may occur on social media, all can help shape an HOH’s KSA (knowledge, skills and abilities) and can help them understand the nuances of an authority transfer or power exchange relationship. The more they expose themselves and their charges to the educational atmosphere, the stronger the House can be over the long term. If an HOH takes on a charge, it is incumbent upon that HOH to not only learn and understand the physical aspects of their charge, but their emotional and mental aspects also, even if it means learning from others who might be more learned on the subject that is being tackled.

Self-Control/Discipline:

We have spoken these words on so many occasions it feels redundant: A Dominant must control self before controlling others.

From emotional outbursts to responsibly handling sexual urges and libidos, it is on an HOH to do their due diligence to mitigate and minimize anything that would be considered “unbecoming of a Dominant” in a manner of speaking. We are not robotic; under the right circumstances, anyone can lose their cool. However, if and when those things happen, it is best to minimize the collateral damage, especially when it comes to your charges.

Also, when dealing with your charges, there is power in the word “no”. Having the self-control and self-discipline while providing guidance to your charges, especially in those situations where kinks and scenes may come into play, is needed. Sometimes, reminding them that the golden rule of “protect the property” isn’t always meant to restrict fun. We may sometimes have to see around the bend, not only for ourselves, but for those we control.

Responsibility:

Being responsible for self, being responsible for charges.

That’s a lot of responsibility!

It is something that cannot be taken lightly as an HOH.

An HOH should have the ability to responsibly handle themselves in an appropriate manner. Also, it is important that HOHs have protocol in place to ensure that they and their charges are handling themselves in a manner that will keep them as safe and secured as possible. Taking responsibility for actions, good or bad, and thinking before action is taken are marks of responsible governance.

Service:

Service as a Dominant is a completely different paradigm from service as a submissive. As an HOH, service to the real-time Leather and kink communities can take on many forms, from volunteering and presenting classes at conferences, to hosting or participating in panel discussions at local munches, to learning how to, and subsequently volunteering, as a dungeon monitor at the local dungeon for various events being thrown. To be Leather is to serve, regardless of station. Leading by example from a service aspect will allow your charges to freely follow suit and, perhaps, may enhance their service to you.

In Leather,

Pharaoh Khaf-Ra & Empress Nahara

House Kemi-Nesew