Bottom as an umbrella term

Author: Marina
A to Z | Roles


An umbrella term that indicates status

The term refers to the passive part in a BDSM session, usually someone who physically or mentally submits to the other partner. As with its counterpart Top, Bottom describes the general status as an umbrella term rather than a specific character trait or style. The spectrum of possible types of submission can be very wide – from the desire for purely psychological dominance to the other end, physical masochism with no interest in mentally submitting to the other person or being humiliated.

The status of top and bottom can also change within a session, for example if the submissive part is asked to perform actions on the top person, who in turn becomes the bottom.

Also like the opposite term, top, “bottom” is gender neutral in the BDSM context. It originally comes from the male homosexual scene and refers to a recipient of anal sex.

What roles is Bottom related to?

The transition to other submissive roles is fluid. Starting with the physically emphasized roles such as masochist and spankee, through serf, sub, baby boy, baby girl and toy to roles with the desire for strong psychological submission and humiliation such as degradee, cuckold and cuckqueans, the term bottom can almost be used as an umbrella term become. Bottoms with a penchant for bondage art are related to Rope Bottom or Bunny.

Who fits in?

Bottoms with a tendency toward obedience may work well with a Dom, a Master or Mistress, and maybe even a Mommy or Daddy. If the emphasis is on the more physical component, top players such as handlers, sadists and disciplinarians fit. If there is a desire for psychological humiliation, a bottom is in good hands with degraders or a cuckol dress. A bottom with a penchant for bondage should look for a rigger.

How do I know if I’m a bottom?

If you feel a general desire to surrender to another person’s control: congratulations! The role probably suits you. Since the boundaries are fluid as described, the term is well suited for someone who generally likes to play at the bottom, but is not completely fixed or who sometimes takes the other side as a switch.

As a bottom, it is important that…

…you know yourself and your wishes, needs and limits and communicate these clearly to your top counterpart. Even as a bottom, you are responsible for communicating exactly what you want from a session, what you don’t want, how long it should last and what practices you want. You should also communicate your safe word and be assured that it will be adhered to. As a submissive part, you are just as responsible for the success of a session as the executing part.

Last but not least, you should be aware that the bottom role is also a giving one. So be open to feedback and stay curious about new things. And have fun.

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