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Bdsm Tops and Bottoms: Conflicting Views

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My bdsm education continues . . . I’d never heard the terms top and bottom until recently. I figured a top was a dominant and a bottom a submissive. But there’s a little more to it and some overlapping terms that may cause confusion to beginners. Let me explain.

A kinkster who is administering activity or controlling another in a scene is called a top, or a dominant. If it extends to inflicting pain he/she may also be called a sadist. The recipient of the activity or control is known as a bottom. If they receive pain he/she may also be called a masochist. Simple enough, right?

I wrote a post on switches, tops and bottoms that engage in role reversals. I think it’s fine to try both roles, especially if you’re new to bdsm and trying to figure what feels best to you. Others in the community don’t approve of switiching and say things like, “he’s not a true dominant” or “she’s not a real submissive.”

Disapproval of this versatility in roles extends to the terms “topping from the bottom” and “service top”. Topping from the bottom refers to a submissive who exercises power in the relationship even though they are a bottom. This term is also used to refer to a sub who refuses a command or contradicts a dominant’s decision. Service top describes the dominant who enjoys his partner’s switch of behavior.

Check out these conflicting views on role reversing in bdsm:
5 Ways to Recognize Topping from the Bottom
BDSM Roles, “Topping from the Bottom”, and “Service Top”

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