What kind of Dom/Sub Are you?
We think in terms of Dommes, subs and S/switches, and the truth is, these are only the most general of terms. There are types of Dommes, and types of subs and each type matches up well with some types of the opposite and not so well with others. Learning about yourself and about those you play with ensure a far more harmonious relationship.
Before we start, let's understand that when we speak about human behavior, attitudes and personality, we are speaking about one of the most complex subjects in the universe. Billions of people in this world with no two the same in terms of their attitudes, personalities, motivations, values and behaviors. And although generalizing and categorizing people and behavior is useful in terms of educating us, it must be pointed out that there are ALWAYS exceptions and nothing is absolute. For every generalization and statement I make below, you and I both can likely come up with a half dozen exceptions. However, it is essential that we learn about ourselves and our partners and these categorizations can be a first step, if only to allow you to determine how you and your partners correspond or how you are different. Understanding is the key.
When we speak about the BDSM scene, we frequently interchange BDSM with Dominance & submission. However, these two groupings refer to totally different subjects. Before we can begin to categorize types of people. Let's define the terms:
BDSM refers to the scene activities and action that players of BDSM partake in. An as example, bondage, corporal punishment, CBT, and trampling, are all activities within the BDSM scene. In a typical session, the active player who takes the initiative is the TOP, and the more passive individual who is acted upon is the BOTTOM. Now it is important for me to note here that I am not talking at all about personality here. I am speaking about the roles which are played within the session. Any number of personalities may be able to successfully emulate either a top or a bottom within the play session.
Dominant and Submissive refers to how an individual prefers to love and prefers their relationship to be. Once more, this has nothing to do with the ability of one to be either Dominant or Submissive in other areas of their life. It has to do with their preference of role within a relationship, and this may also have nothing to do with sexual activities or BDSM play.
One would naturally think that a BDSM top would be a dominant and a BDSM bottom would be a submissive, but this is not always the case. As you know many professional Dommes, especially House Dommes, begin as a bottom, and train to become a TOP in the dungeon, but yet prefer to be submissive to a master (or another Domina), within their personal lifestyle.
Switches: First of all the definition of switch has changed, because the classical definition was not very useful. A classical switch is a person who has the versatility to be a top or a bottom / a dominant or submissive dependent on the circumstances and players involved. However, the truth is that anyone who is well adjusted is able to change according to the circumstances. For example: A mother may be very dominant with her children, and yet submissive to her own mother. Or later in life when her mother becomes elderly, adopt the dominant mother role herself in that relationship. A man may be dominant in the workplace to his employees and secretary, yet submissive within his domestic household.
The modern definition of a switch is an individual with no preference between being a TOP / BOTTOM or being Dominant/submissive, and this is a more practical definition since most of us have definite preferences. You may hear of a true switch couple whom actively tradeoff between the roles. Which Is a sign of a switch .
A relationship based on Dominant/submissive roles is going to be hard pressed is something changes that dynamic. Take a Daddy Dom and little relationship. She may look to her Daddy Dom for companionship, strength and financial protection. If stress and financial problems shift him into a submissive/vulnerable state, she loses her protection and may freak-out endangering the overall relationship.
Lastly to finish our background on the subject, let's speak of the difference between a submissive and a slave as it is used in this community. A submissive is an individual who freely consents to acting submissive in a relationship and in the various activities that occur in BDSM scenes. He comes to the relationship with clearly defined limits. A slave is one who is willing to give up various amounts of his consent. He authorizes the Dom/me to take liberties that extend beyond the slave's limits and consent.
Now that we have covered this background, let's speak of types of Dommes and types of Subs. Once more, these Domme and sub types are general and individuals are likely blends within these categories. Professional Dominants learn to emulate multiple dominant roles, although some will be far more natural than others.
The Sadist is an individual who derives pleasure by putting the submissive into either physical or emotional pain. Most dommes enjoy causing a little playful discomfort, but true sadists take this far beyond. There are two dimensions that determine the degree or classification of Sadist according to the medical community. Those dimensions have to do with consent and lasting damage. A stage 1 sadist has sadistic impulses but doesn't act on them. A stage 2 sadist acts out his impulses but only with consent. The stage 3 sadist acts out without consent but will not injure his victim. Meanwhile, a stage 4 sadist is defined as one who never has consent and causes irrevocable lasting damage, such as many of the Hannibal Lector serial killers in history. Obviously a sub should want to play with only stage 1 and stage 2 dom who will always have their consent in what s/he does. A slave may serve a category 3 sadist. Hopefully everyone will have the common sense to run from a stage 4 sadist!
The FemDom or Domme, or Domina is exclusively a role adopted by women. This type of domme either believes in or plays a role of "misandry," which means a contempt (again real or acted) for men. In BDSM sessions such misandry is realized through bondage (to render the male vulnerable), cbt (to punish male genitalia), feminization, (to cure the sub of his "maleness"), humiliation and strap on sex as a form of role reversal. Many femdoms will play with subs in terms of BDSM sessions, but form relationships with slaves in their personal D/s dynamic. The main focus and attraction for most FemDoms is that of Power exchange as realized in various ways. A skilled femdom has enough emotional intelligence to empathize with her submissive, so that she understands what he feels and can lead him towards their relationship objective.
For the Professional FemDom, Their career depends on providing quality BDSM sessions. In these sessions, she can assume session roles which can mirror various Domme styles: The Governess (Nurse ,Nanny, or schoolteacher) with the purpose of inflicting corporal punishment; The Queen, who extracts domestic Service while frequently feminizing her subs; the Amazon who binds the session sub to ensure vulnerability and then overwhelms and punishes him, and the Goddess who requires various forms of worship. Men are generally more goal oriented and a femdom who understands and plans a growth journey for her client will enhance her success and repeat session requests. This journey may be to increase a sub's pain tolerance, to increase his submissiveness, the degree of "her" feminization, or perhaps the abilities of the sub to provide domestic and other services to the domina.
A newer subset of the femdom is the Fin-dom. The Fin-dom typically lives in the online community and preys on the male "piggy" to drain him financially in exchange for attention in an online session. Most fin-doms are younger and there are dozens that are coming and going from this scene. Not too long ago, I tried to utilize a young college-coed turned fin-dom for a photoshoot. This young lady told the story of how another in her college dorm was bragging about being successful with this role and how other young college ladies were trying to jump on this bandwagon of free cash through being a "meangirl." Few of course, can succeed in this role, Pay Piggies have a fetish to continuously financially support a findom for little in return or simply just for some Attention from a beautiful Girl. Females who attempt to stay with fin-dom, typically migrate into full femdom sessions first online sessions and then real-time. I attended a seminar from a successful fin-dom who explained her business practices, and there was very little difference between her version of fin-dom and moar fem-dom sessions. In other words, in this instance the domme is attempting to provide value for the financial recompense. There is a lot of controversy about how ethical fin-dom is, and that element of providing value is what is key. If a fin-dom preys upon lonely and socially handicapped individuals and then demands him to cough up levels of cash which puts him in serious risk, then yes, the activity is certainly not ethical.
The Beardom is a category of dom which is present in the gay community. Whereas the femdom promotes the supremacy of the female, the Beardom is all about the hyper-male. The BearDom is generally a large "bear of a man" who is hairy. He chooses either regular looking or ultra feminine (twink) gay males as his submissives. The Bear Dom is common in the leather scene.
The Gorean Master: A subculture that has existed since the 70s is one revolving around the books of Gor. This is a highly ritualized form of D/s where the Dominant is practically always male and the submissive is female. These subs are always considered slaves and have little choice of their own. It is common for these practitioners to live within a community and for the female slaves to be traded to other masters within the group. The female slaves or Kajiras as they are called have little choice concerning their service and punishment for disobedience is severe. Service is demanded in a very ritualistic manner with serious protocols. The community bears a resemblance to a Middle Eastern harem combined with a sword-sorcery fantasy.
The Collector Domme: The collector domme is frequently a younger male who is just discovering the world of BDSM and within the online community tries to collect as large a following of subs as he can in order to make himself feel powerful and to brag to his friends. Frequently, he is attempting to collar subs at first meeting. He is confined to the online community since in real-life he would be unable to offer his subs what they desire.
The Goddess/lesser God: For the Goddess, her role is based upon worship even up to a degree of religious reverence. The Goddess' ego is paramount and she is likely self-absorbed and frequently narcissistic. It is often said that a Goddess is one who has bought into her own marketing hype. She is dogmatic about her role and is unique in that she doesn't care about the protocols, traditions or processes in either BDSM or D/S.. BDSM activities may be of no or little interest to her. She frequently enlists many followers as she wants a group to worship and support her. A lesser goddess wants no resistance to her decrees and therefore insists on having slaves versus worthy or wealthy subs. The God/Goddess is ruled only by the laws and decrees she sets. She is the law unto herself and is not limited by ethics or morality. A Goddess/God has little interest in the details of dominance and therefore generally has a slave "priestess or priest" who is a personal slave who helps the Goddess with day to day details of managing her flock who tend to be sycophants by nature who don't dare to be totally truthful when she is excessive or steps over the line, something that can happen more and more frequently.
Daddy and Mommy Dommes love the role of paternally guiding and caring for their submissives (not slaves). Their role of protector and guide is primary and if they are harsh, it is from the position of "tough love." BDSM activities may occur, but the lifestyle elements of this role are almost always present. In other words, the Sugar-Sub-Daddy or Mommy domme offers protection to the overall lifestyle of his sub. Age play is an important element of this domination. The relationship dynamic is very important and the Domme craves the complete trust of his submissive.
The White Knight Domme: He only wishes to have princesses. He chooses to be the provider and protector for the princess that he plays with. His standards are very, very high in terms of his Queen. He tries to be the "all" in his partner's life and slay dragons for her. His weakness is seen when he comes across a problem he cannot solve. At these times, he can lose face as well as the confidence of his mate. But His goal is to slay the dragon which may be in his princess' Path and raise his princess to the role of queen. Values are very important to him, and this role comes with protecting the queen.The Ineffable Domme: Whereas both fin-domes and collector dommes are generally young, Ineffable Dommes tend to be mature within the scene. They most always start with one or more of the other domme styles, but through experiences have begun to borrow skills, techniques and behaviors from the other types of Dommes. As such, they become very hard to read and understand since they are demonstrating characteristics of so many others. For instance, an Ineffable domme may get together and play with a sub, initially forcing him into a Gorean-style protocol, demanding the worship rituals of a Goddess, then bind and whip the sub as a femdom would do, only to tie the sub up and use the skilled CBT techniques of a true sadist. The Ineffable Domme is known for her great skill set and versatility. They tend to be professionals, as only a professional is likely to acquire the necessary experience. The confidence they have built allows them to shed any element of pretentiousness which other dommes may be afflicted. they are down to earth and emotionally solid. If you become a slave to an ineffable domme you are likely to be beginning a very wild ride!
The Masochist or Pain-Slut pairs up with the Sadist. The Masochist loves to endure pain. Again whereas most Dommes have some sadistic tendencies, and most subs have some masochistic tendencies, there are few subs who are full masochists that enjoy pleasure from serious pain. I remember a party I attended at Mistress Pandora's in Los Angeles. There was a true Masochist at the party. He was tied and Mistress Gemini proceeded to whip him with the force and to the degree I had never seen before. Most could not stand 3 minutes of this abuse and he went on and on. I have also seen a guy used in many videos who can withstand horrendous ballbusting. He can sustain kicks which would lay out the majority of subs. It is important to note, that in reality, there are very few extreme sadists and extreme masochists around.
The Domestic Service Slave can match up with the femdom, lesser goddess, or sadist. He is there to provide housekeeping, chauffeuring, gardening and other services to his domme. More so than the other subs, the domestic is often expected to provide sexual services to his domme and sometimes to his domme's guests. Humiliation role play is frequently a significant portion of the tone of play. Feminization is also frequently combined with domestic service and the slave may be required to perform his work or even to be the hostess at parties while dressed as a maid. A true service sub, though, truly enjoys making his Dom happy and the service itself is important to him, and not merely a means of obtaining kink play, where his preferences tend to be the craving of oral servitude, ass worship and even showers.
The Piggy is paired with the fin-dom. This is typically a submissive who has a very a low opinion of himself and looks for the relationship to reaffirm this self-image of unimportance. A fin-dom relationship it is mostly online, but if a piggy meets a real time domina, he will frequently crave acts of humiliation and degradation. The fin-dom/piggy phenomena is a new one, and it may very well grow from the increasingly virtual world that the newer generation lives in. With less social contact and more virtual contact, the young male can grow isolated and lonely, and to my admittedly limited experience in this category, many piggies are paying tribute for merely the opportunity to have communication with a pretty young girl.
The Kajira slave is a female who has been trained in the ritualistic ways of Gor. She is dressed in silks and is trained to service and please her master and all those whom the master wishes to pass her to. She is a slave in the truest sense of the word and has little free choice and cannot exercise consent. Any resistance on her part will bring severe discipline. She is trained to dance and entertain her master and his guests.. And as mentioned before, it is common for a Master to loan his Kajira out to other masters in the community. I once came to know a "house-dominant" friend of an owner whom I served. Her name was Venus and she was gorgeous. It was only after getting to know her that I became aware that she was actually submissive and a Kajira within a Gorean community. There are some male slaves which are called karire. Sometimes a Kajira has been trained by a gorean master and has left the community and is now found with other types of dominants. The life of a Kajira is very hard. They have no rights, and can own no property. They must offer blind obedience to masters whom they may not even care about, and may be sold, or loaned out on the whim of their master and cannot voice any disapproval. Some subs who are attracted originally to the lifestyle for its pageantry and role play will move to a more realistic lifestyle relationship which is easier to blend with real life, than the Gorean one.
The novice is the counterpart of the Collector Dom. She has recently discovered the lifestyle and badly wants to be a part of it and then frenetically goes about it in a rush, sub-frenzy. The efforts frequently end in miserable failure, but it can be even worse for her if she succeeds, finds an incapable dominant, who abuses and then dumps her. A series of fast and bad relationships can cause her to leave the scene, angry at the bad experiences she had and badmouthing the bdsm scene as a whole.
The acolyte is the submissive who serves the Lesser God/Goddess. In an almost religious way, the acolyte worships his or her Dom/me. An acolyte rarely comes into the relationship as one, but is instead converted into an acolyte by his Lesser Goddess owner. The acolyte is in the greatest danger of any other type of submissive because frequently his love and dedication is absolute, but he is worshipping a selfish goddess who may have no need to be governed by rules of morality. When things are great between them, the relationship is amazing, but when things go badly, they go very badly. The relationship can break down when either the acolyte is broken externally by being put into compromising situations by his owner, or else the Goddess/owner slips and loses his or her standing and authority, causing the worship ritual to be broken and for the acolyte to see the God/Goddess in a more realistic light. The relationship breaks when either the sub fails to serve the Goddess to the degree that she demands and she discards her slave, (an easy thing to do for a god/goddess) or else her actions prove to the acolyte that she has no love or compassion for him and he leaves from hurt.
The brat, little, adult baby sub matches to the daddy/mommy domme. A brat is generally well behaved but who makes disobedience and teasing a large part of her dynamic with her daddy/mommy. It is important to note that this playful disobedience is condoned by the Domme. The Little is frequently role playing an earlier age and loves to act like a child, dressing and performing in a child-like way. Sometimes there is sex involved, but not necessarily. The little and her Daddy Domme find comfort in the relationship. For most littles, they can slip in and out of the role at will. Whereas brats and littles tend to be female, the adult infant baby tends to be male, gravitating towards a Mommy-Domme. Infant play can touch upon humiliation, diapering, and bondage within a crib. It should be noted that few Dom/mes are attracted to the nurturing role of the Daddy/Mommy domme and many are not crazy about changing the diapers of the Adult baby. As such Littles/Infants have a challenge finding their dominants, and the online community is where many of these subs end up playing. When I arrived in San Francisco, I went to a new club/dungeon to attend a party and I witnessed a Dungeon that was set up with a ABDL specialty. The whole place looked like a day care center with play rooms, and nurseries.
The Pet plays the role of an animal and is able to slip in and out of character as needed for their life. The animals are generally, kittens, puppies and ponies. Kittens can be sexual and independence, puppies are playful, dedicated and sometimes mischievous and ponies which can be used to pull a carriage with their owners, or else they can be a show pony which is all about the dressage. Meanwhile hybrids is the name used for submissives who can change between the various animal roles. Pet play can be non-sexual in nature and is sometimes the first role that a novice sub adopts.
The Warrior Prince/Princess: The Right Hand is a unique sub. He is one who wins battles throughout his life and will only serve a superior domme… a Queen. The Warrior Princess matches up closest with the more noble of the Queen, Femdoms and Goddesses. The Warrior Princess is moral and righteous and will come into conflict even with her domme herself when the latter might act improperly or immorally. The Warrior Prince will fight tirelessly on behalf of his Queen.
Pseudo-submissives: A pseudo-submissive is one which is trying to play the role of the submissive. In many cases he is a kinky guy who loves kinky sex and he knows the only way he can fulfill his kink is to play the role. As soon as he gets off, he reverts quickly to an intractable non-submissive guy. Some of these types are fetishists who have connected their kink with an object. I know of one slave who had a cashmere fetish and would provide tight cashmere sweaters to his Dominant. Many cross-dressers and toilet subs are similarly attracted to Dommes and therefore must play the role of submissive in order to fulfill their kink. Their challenge is that their role-play submissiveness is not consistent and can cause great conflict when they come out of character. I can give countless examples of people on Collarspace or Fetlife who will submissively and respectfully contact a Domina to request favors, but as soon as he is put to the test, he turns nasty and insulting.
But it is also important to note that there are others who honestly want to learn to be Dominant or submissive and needs a Dom/Master to train them. Our society teaches a man to be dominant and submission may not be natural for him. A Domme/Master is needed to guide a willing Submissive in training. Although this process is commonly needed, not many Dommes today are willing to offer that service. The trend with Dommes is to want submissives who are naturally submissive without needing any training from a Domme. Unfortunately this is short sighted, as there are many very capable and valuable subs who could become outstanding slaves sufficient time and effort was invested in them.
Note: I'd like to thank the sources of much of this information. Michael Makai and Mistress Lorolei.