Top (BDSM)

In BDSM, a top or Dominant is a partner who takes the controlling role in sexual play (such as in flogging, bondage, servitude, humiliation). The top performs acts such as these upon the bottom.

A top filling the dominant role is not necessarily a dominant, and vice versa. The top may sometimes even be the partner who is following instructions, i.e., he tops when, and in the manner, requested by the bottom. A person who applies sensation or control to a bottom, but does so to the bottom's explicit instruction is a service top.

Topping from the bottom is a related BDSM term, meaning a person who wants to be dominated but simultaneously direct the top to do it according to their wishes. Topping from the bottom is often considered poor practice amongst lifestyle BDSM devotees, although fairly common amongst the "BDSM curious" or newcomers who have had submissive fantasies but lack experience with a sexual dominant.

Contrast this with the pure dominant, who might give orders to a submissive, or otherwise employ physical or psychological techniques of control, but might instruct the submissive to perform the act on him. Also, a top in BDSM need not be the 'insertive' sex partner; for example, a female dominant may command her submissive to penetrate her.

Note that in BDSM sex, some people like to switch roles from one encounter to the other, or even during a single encounter, depending on mood and preference.

See also

References and further reading

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