When I imagine the Dominants in my stories, they aren't chest-pounding, I'm-in-charge, frying-pan heroes/heroines.
Let me explain. In my mind, and from some of the conversations I've had with people not familiar with the lifestyle, there is a preconceived notion that dominants are also domineering. In my view, this is incorrect.
According to the good old Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of dominant is: controlling or prevailing over all others; overlooking from a high position; exhibiting genetic dominance. While the definition of domineer(ing) is: to rule in an arrogant manner; to be overbearing.
Big difference for me. And hopefully the characters I write.
In my opinion, domineering people tend to have very little control over their own emotions and behaviors. Therefore, they seek to control everyone around them in order to feed the belief that if they have power over others, they then have power over themselves. Their primary concern is focused on proving how much power they can wield over those around them.
This slots these people into my definition of a frying-pan character (mainly reserved for heroes, but there have been a few heroines who deserve the title). Namely, a hero/heroine who needs a quick smack (sometimes repeated on a daily or hourly basis) upside the head with a cast iron frying pan.
They tend to posture and gloat about what profound, important "I'm in charge here" people they are. Remember, Dominants aren't just men. There are many women who assume the role.
Dominants, in my definition (and in my books) are men and women who exercise a level of self-control that exemplifies them in whatever career field they pursue. They also tend to exude an aura of calm that draws people to them.
They are the quiet leaders who command respect without ever raising their voices. Those they love have no doubt that these people will do everything in their power to protect and care for them. Bbut very few are willing to cross these people, for they make a deadly enemy.
In fiction, especially romance, this person is usually considered an Alpha. If you move this person into the Dominant/submissive realm, command is second nature. And the relationship with the submissive is entered into as a means of safely leading the submissive in an exploration of his/her sexuality and ability to gain control of themselves.
Dominating another isn't a power trip for them. It is the gift of sharing lessons learned in managing one's body and mind. Of disciplining one's self to maintain power over their needs. They will work with their partner to guide them into realms they've never explored in order to show them the pleasures that await them there. In many cases the dominance can take varied forms and every one is discussed with the submissive before proceeding. At least, that's how I see it.
For the domineering personality, their pleasure is solely self-focused. It is all and only about them and no one else. For the Dominant, it is a pleasure shared with their submissive.
This is all my opinion, so feel free to disagree.