Power dynamics in BDSM

Stepping in the world of kinks may be overwhelming with the multitude of different power dynamics and relationship roles: sexual, non-sexual or a mix of both.
Here are the main types to help making the first steps into a kinky relationship.


The Dominant is in charge. They control, lead, direct, make the rules, provides structure and takes on the responsibility for both parties of the relationship. Responsible Dominants takes care of their submissives. They strive to maintain a balance so that both parties get what they need of their relationship. Dominants usually apply punishments for not accomplishing their commands accordingly. Domination may be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or a combination. Dom is a short replacement used for Dominant. Domme (usually pronounced dough-may) indicate a female Dominant.


The person who agrees to give power to the Dominant is a submissive. They give the decision making over the Dominant, abide by the rules, agree to do the service outlined to them by their Dominant. Even sometimes shy and subdued, the submissives are actually leading what is happening in the relationship and are not weak in any way. Dominants who treat their submissives as doormats, may find themselves without a submissive!


A switch may reverse rolls. Not every person likes to be a dominant or submissive all the time.Switching gives the opportunity to for partners to enjoy new sensations but more, higher levels of trust in one another. Sometimes, a person can be submissive to one person and dominant to another.


A bottom, usually played by a submissive in BDSM, usually gives up control and/or receives physical sensations from a Dominant also named a Top. It is also possible that a Dominant being a bottom, is ordering pleasure from a submissive who thus becomes the Top.

Mistress (female) or Master (male)

A Master has more significant meaning in a Master/slave (servant) relationship, especially in no limits ones. Similar to a marriage, these partnerships are often long-term, both parties willing to commit to them. Much more than a wedding ring, the collar is used as a symbol of a slave’s commitment to their Master/Mistress. Sometimes there is a collaring ceremony to formalize their joining. Synonyms are: Owner (owns a human being), Dominatrix (professional Domme, who offer domination for money).


Deity is a Master treated like a god in their home, and worshiped. For His slave, her Deity means everything, is her entire world, she is totally dedicated to serve and please her Deity. As an earthly god, Deity has greatness and generosity, care and forgiveness for His slave.


The decision to become a slave/servant is not to be taken lightly: often involves completely giving up control of every aspect of their life. It is suitable only to those willing to be fully controlled, sometimes with no limits. A slave/servant may give up all rights by signing a Master/slave contract. Such contract is not legally binding as legally, no one can own another human being, but contract works between the two partners and has a strong symbolic meaning. slave must be subservient to the Master, ask permission for everything and be available for sexual sessions whenever is asked to. Frequently, leading up to a Master/slave relationship dynamic is a period of consideration and of slave training.

by sclava

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