Facts & Info

BDSM Definitions: Dom vs Domme

Dominatrix in Leather

When I began writing for Kink Lovers, I didn’t know so much about bdsm, either intellectually or experientially. Recently, after searching through the internet for terms related to the role of a dominant, I found there was more consistency in definitions than opinions of when and where they should be used. The site BDSM Terms is a comprehensive site that provided the following definitions:

DOMINANT: one who asserts control or authority over another; the person in charge of a scene or play. A title for a Top, declaring a role one takes or wishes to take in a BDSM scene or sexual act.

DOM: a Dominant. Most often used as the title of a person engaging in or wishing to engage in an act where he or she takes on the role of the Dominant.

DOMINATRIX or DOMINA: a Dominant, most often female. Often used as a title of a Pro-Domme.

DOMME: a female Dominant. It is mostly used as the title of a person engaging in or wishing to engage in an act where she takes on the role of the Dominant.

Most kinksters wouldn’t disagree with the above definitions but rather how they prefer to use them in referring to themselves and others. I found this to be true more of women than men.

Many dominant women want only to be referred to as a dominant or dom for short. They feel the word domme is often mispronounced  as dom-meee or dome. They also didn’t see a need for the distinction, especially on bdsm dating sites where gender is specifically stated along with photos. If the word submissive is always referenced as a sub regardless of gender, does it not make sense to only use the words dominant and dom? I wondered, is this a feminist issue?

And what about the word mistress, the equivalent of master in the bdsm world. Does this word get people angry because it also refers to, in the vanilla world, a woman engaging in an extramarital affair with a married man (and wait, does the man have to be married or can he merely have a girlfriend?) And could she not be a mistress mistress, with both definitions applying to her at the same time?

What bdsm terminology or definitions do you have issues with, and why? 

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