What is a BDSM Top Vs a Dominant? Learn the Big Difference

I’ve been on the kick lately of looking at BDSM terminology – mostly because it can be confusing to some people, especially those new to the scene. So, today we will look at the difference of a “Top” versus a “Dominant”.

Why?

Because this one is particularly tricky…

WHAT’S A DOMINANT?


Let’s start with the easier of the two.

A dominant is someone who receives the power in a power exchange. The submissive or bottom will hand over power to the Dominant.

But, for some people, it doesn’t end there…

It can also include taking responsibility for the welfare of the person you’re controlling, having your choices and pleasure in the priority, and/or expecting obedience and compliance.

Being a Dominant means you’ve placed yourself in the BDSM community and are considered to be kinky to some degree.

WHAT’S A TOP?


This one is the hard one to explain. Perhaps the simplest version first…

All Dominants are Tops but not all Tops are Dominants.

Being a Top can be about being in control, but it doesn’t have to be related to BDSM or being kinky. Some people equate it to being the captain of the ship or being the one who takes the initiative and guides someone through the encounters.

It can also be about who is “giving” during sex – one example being a woman who pegs a man (anal sex with a strap on), the woman would be the top and the man is the bottom, but pegging doesn’t necessarily have to be about control or kink.

You can also look at it with same-sex couples – one might don the strap on or engage in “giving” while the other receives.

SIDE NOTE: If the couple goes back and forth, it’s simply “switching”, although some people can have a preference of being the Top or bottom.

Another example is looking at it on a session by session basis. A Dominant’s power can go past the play session, but a Top or bottoms can be solely within the time they are playing with someone.

If I’m tying someone up (I do Shibari), I’m the top and my model is the bottom. I can tie people up with sexual motives or I can do it purely for the art – it depends on who I’m playing with. I’ve been a Top that was a Dom but I’ve also topped without any domination.

HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT YOU ARE?


Finding out who and what you are sexually (BDSM or not, and even without sex) can be a long journey for some people. The best way is to experiment and communicate with your partner(s) and slowly find what works for you.

Want more useful articles? You might like these…

Any other differenced you want to add? Share in the comments!

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