How is a Top actually defined?

Author: Ginger San
A to Z | Roles


The role means that you execute? Not quite…

A Top is the executive, active part in a BDSM session and is the direct counterpart to the Bottom. The term is often used as an umbrella term for most dominant roles, as the spectrum of top types can range from psychological dominance to purely physical infliction of pain. Top refers more to the general status of a player.

Sometimes the term is used synonymously with Dom, which is not entirely accurate. In such cases, a sub who actively pleases the Dom through services becomes the Top, while the Dom, although temporarily acting as the Bottom, still maintains control. In such a scenario, it’s referred to as a Service Top.

Like its direct counterpart bottom, the term is gender neutral in the BDSM context. It originally comes from the male homosexual scene and refers to the active part of anal sex. In the BDSM context, however, the term does not contain a specific character trait or type of play, but rather describes the general status as an umbrella term.

Which roles are related to a Top?

Since the roles of a Top can vary greatly, there are overlaps in execution with most other dominant roles such as Dom, Daddy/Mommy, Master/Mistress, Sadist, Rigger, Spanker, as well as occasionally with Cuckoldress and Bull. These are all roles of Top players.

Who matches with a Top?

Whether permanent or temporary, depending on personal tendencies, a Top harmonizes with submissive partners who enjoy receiving and carrying out commands or who want to be stimulated by physical pain. Depending on disposition, this can be another undefined Bottom, or Sub, Serf, Masochist, Spankee, Rope Bottom, or Bunny, up to Little, Toy, Sissy, Cuckold, or Cuckquean.

How do I know if I’m a Top?

If you feel the need to be active and executive in a session or relationship, you’re probably a Top. Since the boundaries are fluid as described, the term is well suited for someone who generally likes to play at the top, but is not completely fixed or who occasionally takes the dominant side as a switch.

As a Top, it is important that…

…you are aware of your responsibility for the Bottom. Ask your Bottom about his or her wants, needs and ideas and encourage him or her to express them clearly. Also ask about boundaries and agree with him or her on a safe word or other clear sign that can be used to stop the game immediately. And most importantly: respect boundaries, wishes and taboos.

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