Hello everyone! I'm new to the forum, having spent the last two weeks roaming I've decided to join and come out with some questions of my own. Many of you are very generous with your advice, but I'll try not to misuse that and give fresh spin on familiar questions that have been asked over and over and over. For starters, I'm a guy in my early 20s, and recently discovered my dominant urges with my current girlfriend, a naturally submissive woman. So far we haven't explored bondage too much, but pain play and humiliation are big for us. The big issue I've been having is one of control - each of us has a "demon", so to speak, that makes it difficult for us. I'll start with mine. I was the happiest kid you've ever seen until puberty hit and I withdrew completely. My shyness was because I was too smart for my own good, and extremely sensitive or empathic. I couldn't handle other people very well and self-consciousness/doubt ruled me. I took to traditional Kung Fu training in its original, militaristic form and it has since empowered me to break out of my prison and become a driven, energetic person who loves life and isn't afraid to be myself. Then, 8 months ago, I had CNS inflammation which temporarily paralyzed me from the waist down. I've since recovered, but my sexual ability has been compromised and as a result my heart/mind feel clouded with doubt again. I still believe it will all come back, it's just a matter of acceptance and patience in recovery for me. My girlfriend, long story short, has had problems with male figures in her life that make her very wary of certain forms of control. At the same time, she needs a strong male figure in her life to be understanding as well as firm. She gets off on being wanted, on being used, and feeds off of that energy. However, sometimes the fear takes hold and she responds like a firecracker, becoming very defensive. She isn't good with communicating what she likes and doesn't like, and relies heavily on me to help her discover that. I take it as two ways: Either she's a natural submissive who can't come to terms with it fully yet, or it's something she craves only in certain points in time. Hard to know when! Okay, thanks for reading all that background context. Get to the fucking point! Haha. The point: We are, first and foremost, in love outside of any BDSM activity, but the integration of it has brought the most amazing, cathartic moments of closeness when it is realized fully. But, sometimes we get in the way of ourselves and as a result don't always know how to go about getting "in the zone". She is afraid, and I have something I've come to call "dominant's remorse" - if I'm unsure of total permission, I become ashamed of myself in asking for what I want. I wonder - in a certain moment - should I go forward, be the dom, take control? Or should I wait for approval, for the green light that may be a red light? We have a system of her wearing a black collar to signal yes, but she associates it with complete control and she's afraid to put it on despite my assurance that her limits are always respected. Do you have any advice? So far, BDSM has been an amazing thing in my life and I walk around with a smile that only flogging your lover can bring about. Other times, I walk around in doubt of myself, my desires, the way I implement them. I feel like I need constant reassurance that this is okay! Thanks for reading this.