One common thing I’ve seen, especially in beginners, but sometimes with the seasoned players as well, is a confusion among the BDSM roles/labels and what their responsibilities are.. and unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a comprehensive guide anywhere either. Below I’ve compiled just a few of the terms generally used to refer to different roles in the BDSM community.
By Jessica Cocker
Dom/Dominant– Male head figure that creates rules and dominates other partners.
Domme/Dominatrix– Female head figure that creates rules and dominates other partners.
Sub/Submissive-Male or Female bottom. They obey rules set in place by their Dom/Domme, but the terms of the contract are negotiated and can be adjusted according to either partners needs. The sub always has the ability to say “no” or use a safeword during play.
Master– Dominant male figure to a slave. Usually have complete control over the slave’s daily activities and/or certain aspects of their day.
Mistress– Dominant female figure to a slave. Usually have complete control over the slave’s daily activities and/or certain aspects of their day.
Slave– I always think of a slave as the extreme submissive. They generally have a negotiated contract beforehand but the terms are not adjusted unless there is an extreme circumstance (sickness, pregnancy, etc).
Switch– A player that switches between dominant and submissive roles depending on the chemistry with their partner.
Top– Partner who takes the dominant role in a relationship or play (sometimes referred to as topping)
Bottom– Partner who takes the submissive role in a relationship or play (sometimes referred to as bottoming)
Daddy/Mommy– Sometimes called the “Gentle Dom”, cares for a Little in parental manner.
Little– A partner who has child-like tendencies or role in the relationship (includes any personality under the age of 18). Littles can also be broken down into Babygirls/boys, Littles and Middles depending on their Little space “age”.
Sissy– A male who desires forced feminism.
Cuckold– A male who desires to see his partner with another partner (usually referred to as a “hot wife”), usually a cuckold is also in chastity and may include some form of humiliation.
Cuckquean-Female version of the cuckold. A woman who enjoys watching her partner with others.
Pet-A submissive or slave who takes an animal role (pony, dog, cat, etc)
Mentor- An experienced member of the community who offers his/her knowledge to beginners, generally outside of a relationship and without any sexual encounters. This can be a hands-on or hands-off experience.
This is a work in progress list, so please comment if you have a suggestion. Thanks!