Top and bottom in sex and BDSM

A submissive (or "sub")(or subservient) is one who enjoys having a submissive position within a relationship based upon dominance and submission (D/s). This enjoyment can spring from a simple desire for submission or an enjoyment of the interplay of wills involved in such a scenario.

Top, Bottom, and Switch

These terms are used by several groups, including gay men, lesbians, BDSM practitioners, and some opposite-sex couples that are not involved in BDSM (for example, the act of pegging involves a female top and a male bottom). Interpretation of these terms may vary across subcultures, or even between different individuals within the same subculture. The definitions below provide several common interpretations.

These terms may be used simply to describe roles for the duration of a sexual act or BDSM scene, or may be used more broadly as a psychological, social, and sexual identity, as well as indicating one's usual preference.

Top

"Top" is a relatively broad term, which can include any of the following:

The top need not be physically on top of the other partner, though this is often the case. "Top" can also be used as a transitive or intransitive verb meaning to sexually penetrate (someone).In BDSM, top means:

Bottom

"Bottom" is a relatively broad term, which can include any of the following:

"Bottom" can also be used as an intransitive verb meaning to be sexually penetrated by: to bottom for someone.

In BDSM, bottom means:

A bottom in BDSM does not have to be the receptive partner; for example, a female dominant may command her submissive to penetrate her.

Switch or Versatile

Switches are very common; partners may switch roles based on mood, desire, or to allow each partner to experience their preferred activity. Commonly, both in sex and BDSM, a switch may be someone who is in a relationship with someone who shares the same primary preference to top or bottom as they; so switching provides each partner with an opportunity to realize their own needs.

It is also common for people to switch with different partners, such as when a person acts exclusively as a top with one partner and exclusively as a bottom with another.

The act of "switching" may also refer to a spontanaeous reversal of roles, initiated by the bottom, who then takes control.

A person who engages in self-bondage can be viewed as taking both roles simultaneously.

Similar Terms

Active and Passive

These are not necessarily the same as "top" and "bottom" -- a bottom is not necessarily inactive, or less active than the top. For example, a top may direct a bottom to perform the majority of actions in a given encounter (making the bottom the active).

In some languages, like Spanish, Hebrew, Hungarian and British English, it is still common to use the term "active" and "passive" to refer to "top" and "bottom" respectively; this is however a rare usage in modern U.S. English.

Slang and related terms

Common slang terms in some gay communities include: pitcher (top), catcher (bottom), and switch-hitter or flip (versatile). In some languages "passive" and "active" are also used, rather than "bottom" or "top". Some dislike the term "bottom" as they feel it has negative connotations, and prefer not to use that term or the corresponding "top".

Power top refers to a "top" in a sexual relationship. The "power" in the term refers to the great stamina or special topping skills. Contrast with power bottom.

The term total top is used to describe one who exclusively tops.

These terms, while reflecting a "do" vs. "done to" distinction similar to top and bottom, are more narrowly defined as the giving and receiving of pain perceived as such. In both sex and BDSM activity, the boundary between what very painful and what feels absolutely wonderful can be very hard to find. The sadist and masochist deliberately stay on the clearly hurts side of that boundary, whereas the top and bottom seek the other side.

Handkerchief codes

Beginning in the 1970s, in some American contexts, "tops" would identify themselves by wearing a set of keys on the left side of the belt or a color-coded handkerchief in their left rear pockets; "bottoms" would wear the identifier on the right side. In this system the top did not always penetrate the bottom nor was he always the "active" partner, rather the "top" role would be different from act to act. This practice, called flagging, began in the gay male subculture.

BDSM

There are indications that submissive males currently outnumber dominant males. Submissive and others are proving there is a strong and ever growing market for submissive women in the same sense there is a market for professional dominants. Professional dominants provide stimulatory services (which may or may not include sex) for submissives unable to find a compatible partner for this activity.

There are some indications that preference in D/s activities follows a 'compensatory' pattern, with people who have much power and responsibility in real life often preferring a submissive role; no hard scientific data to either confirm or reject this hypothesis seem to exist, however.

See also

Resources

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This article is based on "Top and bottom in sex and BDSM" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Top+and+bottom+in+sex+and+BDSM&action=history