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A Little Look At Labels & Titles
In BDSM, it's quite often that you'll meet lots of different people who refer to themselves as Dominants, Sadists and Tops, or submissives, slaves, pets and bottoms. On this page, we're going to talk you through some of the more commonly used labels, as well as some frequently used titles that you might use to address them.
Dominant - A Dominant is someone who likes to lead within BDSM. They may have rules and instructions that they expect their submissive partner(s) to follow.
Master/Mistress- A Master or Mistress is usually quite strict and 'owns' a slave, or slaves, they may also believe in strong punishments to reinforce their rules and expectations. While nobody in the BDSM community legally owns anybody, it is said as such because that is the way that these dynamics operate consensually. Masters, Mistresses and slaves are frequently into the Gorean subculture, though not always.
Sadist - A Sadist is someone who enjoys particularly inflicting pain and sensation. They may or may not be into other forms of Domination as well.
Top - A Top is someone who is usually only in control of a session and not outside of it. Once the session has ended, a Top usually absolves themselves of all responsibility to their play partner, unless they choose to play with them again. Many Dominants in LGBTQ+ relationships also refer to themselves as Tops, to indicate that they are the leader in their relationship.
Submissive - A submissive likes to surrender control to their Dominant partner. They like to accept the guidance and leadership of another, for sexual pleasure, stress relief or both.
Slave - Like a submissive, a slave surrenders control to another, but on an altogether deeper level. A slave may waive some of their rights to their Master or Mistress, such as their ability to speak without permission and their right to choose their own outfit, or even wear clothes at all. Like Masters and Mistresses, slaves are frequently into the Gorean subculture.
Kajira - As above, but kajiras are only found in the Gorean subculture lifestyle and typically adhere to Gorean rules and slave positions. Kajiras are typically female, although this is by no means exclusive.
Bottom - Like a Top, a bottom is usually only a bottom for the purposes of that BDSM session and has no responsibilities to the Top afterwards. Submissive partners in LGBTQ+ relationships may also refer to themselves as bottoms, particularly in gay relationships where the bottom is usually the receiver.
Switch - Switches are people who like to be both Dominant and submissive, either to different people or to the same person. Sometimes seen as 'greedy' in the BDSM community, switches are usually just easy-going, fun-loving kinky people!
Brat - Brats are naughty submissives who posess little to no desire to do as they are told. Some brats refer to themselves as "Sammies" (from "SAM, or Smart-Assed Masochist). They're naughty, they're cheeky and they're fun! Brats usually don't want a partner who wants to tame them completely, they want a partner who can handle them and can accept them, exactly as they are.
Brat Tamer - Brat Tamers are a bit of mystical creature because while many exist, most of them simply refer to themselves as Dominants or Sadists. Brat Tamers enjoy brats, they enjoy the challenge that owning and handling a brat can bring. They know it won't be easy, but that doesn't keep them from trying!
Break-Me - In a sense, Break-Me's are an interesting half & half between submissives and brats. Break-Me's enjoy putting up a challenge and resisting dominance, but underneath it all, they really just want a Dominant partner who will break them and turn them into the submissive partner they know they can become. However, not all Brats are Break-Me's. Some Brats have no desire to be broken, and that may even be a hard limit for them.
Rigger - Riggers are rope Dominants. They enjoy using rope as their predominant or sole means of play.
Rope Bunny - Robe bunnies are rope submissives, they enjoy being bound in rope and may or may not enjoy and partake in other elements of BDSM whilst bound in said rope. It is a dark inside joke, but it was once said that Rope Bunnies are called such because they are for the riggers to "experiment" different techniques on!
Daddy Dom/Mommy Domme - Daddies & Mommies are Dominants who enjoy providing a more caring role to their Little submissives. They usually have rules that include personal care and bedtimes. They may or may not enjoy submissive partners who act younger than what they really are.
Caregiver - For non-binary parent-style Dominants or caring Dominants outside of Daddy Dom/Mommy Domme roles, Caregiver is a commonly used title.
Little (& Middle) - Littles and Middles are submissives who enjoy mental regression, usually (though again, not always) as a form of stress relief, rather than for sexual pleasure. In a world that seems consuming and scary, Littles and Middles like to be able to switch off for a little while and feel cared for
Babyboy/Babygirl/Baby - Like a Little, but babies tend to have a much younger regression "age", typically to that of an infant.
Diaper Lover - Similar to the above, Diaper Lovers find a comfort in the wearing and using of a diaper. It is sometimes a sexual fetish, though that is not always guaranteed.
Owner - Owners enjoy being the Master to submissives who are into pet play. They enjoy treating their submissives as a pet, such as a cat or a dog, rather than a human being. Some Owners may impose seemingly harsh restrictions on their partners, such as no talking. After all, dogs can't talk!
Pet - Pets are submissives that enjoy being treated as pets. They may enjoy eating and drinking from a bowl on the floor, sleeping in a cage, walking on a leash and so on. For pets, acting as a pet is another great way to shake off all responsibilities for a while.
Doctor (Or Nurse) - Most curiously, whilst doctors and nurses exist, there hasn't been an agreed name for their submissive partners as yet. Doctors and nurses are typically Dominants who take great pride and delight in medical play. Doctors and nurses vary, and while some want to help you live out your wildest fantasies, others like to help their partner's relive very realistic experiences where having an accidental orgasm is finally allowed!
Lolita - Taken from the novel by Vladimir Nabokov and not to be confused with the Japanese Lolita fashion industry, Lolitas enjoy dressing with a child-like innocence, but with a typically sexual twist to their dynamics. However, Lolitas are hugely controversial in the BDSM community, given that the novel features acts of paedophilia.
Fetishist - Fetishists don't necessarily have a preferred role within BDSM, however, they do have a strong desire for a particular feature or activity, for example, feet, shoes, watersports etc. Some may prefer giving but not receiving, or vice versa.
Exhibitionist - Exhibitionists enjoy being naked and/or having sex where other people may see them, either accidentally or intentionally. There are not usually roles within exhibiitionism, and both Dominants and submissive partners can be exhibitionistic.
Voyeur - Voyeurs enjoy seeing others naked and/or having sex, either with or without them knowing. Just like exhibitionists, there are not usually any assigned roles.
Who Am I? Titles In BDSM
Just like there are numerous roles to choose from, there are numerous names that you can use, too. Some of the more popular ones might include:
Master/Mistress - For a Master, Mistress or Owner generally, but for anyone else who would like to be addressed as such, too!
Sir/Madam - Would you like something that sounds a little more elegant and classy? These are options for you.
Mister - Some people prefer Mister to Master as it sounds a little less aggressive.
Daddy/Mommy - Do you have a bit of a Daddy kink? C'mon, admit it, you've thought about it...
Doctor/Nurse - You could be into medical play, or then you might not be. Do you just want to tie somebody up and do very not medically approved things to them? That's all on you.
King/Queen - It's rare, but then why not have them treat you with ultimate respect, Your Highness?
Lord/Lady - Do you fancy something with a Game of Thrones edge? I'm just putting this one out there...
And for the submissives...
Pet - There's something very diminishing about calling someone a pet. They're almost immediately dehumanised with one simple little word!
Slave - If you like playing rough, this is one for you to consider. Absolve them of their name, this is all they are to you from now on. Alternatively, you could use it as a prefix to their name, or any other name you choose to give them.
Fucktoy (or just "Toy") - You really can't go wrong with some verbal humiliation...
Puppy/Kitten - Whether you're into pet play or just looking for a really cure pet name, puppy or kitten has something very soft and affectionate about it.
Whore - See "Fucktoy".
Babyboy/girl - Similar to puppy or kitten, if you want something a bit softer, it's another one for you. Be careful not to growl it though, lest you end up sounding a little too Don Massimo for their liking...
Can't Find Anything You Like?
Don't worry about it! Just like the people within it, every relationship is individual. If none of these names work for you, feel free to explore other ideas and find something else that works for you. Whether you create alter-egos or simply use your given names, what's important is that this works for you!