You may have heard words like “sub” and “dom” before in the context of sex. Often, the main context of this is BDSM. The two words are becoming popular in many circles thanks to the general rising popularity of BDSM and how it pertains to a person’s sex life. However, there does seem to be a lot of confusion as to what the two terms actually mean. That’s why we’ve written this quick guide to discuss terms like “submissive” and “dominant” and help you understand the concepts behind them.
Submissive and Dominant… Or Are They?
It would seem that the two terms are pretty self-explanatory. Submissives or “subs” are there to act as a servant to the dominants or “doms”. They are there to answer their every call, heed their every whim and do exactly what they say. On a very basic level, this is most certainly true. However, subs and doms depend entirely on context. For example, a person may be considered “sub” in one context and “dom” in another.
In BDSM, these roles can also be reversed. Traditionally speaking, the “dom” is the master and the “sub” is the slave. The master will command the slave to do whatever it is he or she wishes. The slave will have to obey. If they do not, then they will be punished by the master. In this particular context, however, the roles can be reversed. The dom, being in control, can decide to be the “slave” and command the sub to take on the role of “master”.
This means that the sub is pretty much the ruling party now. However, they are only acting as a master because the dom has decreed it. The dom is still in control, even though it may look like the sub has taken the reigns. The moment that the dom decides they no longer want to be a slave, the sub will have to revert back to their subservient role.
Some people are complete “doms” and some are complete “subs”. Much more have a tendency to switch: this usually depends on the people they are with. Different BDSM relationships may also have different dynamics.
Individuals who switch are generally those who don’t have a specific preference for being a dom or a sub. Many of them will go along with the situation at hand, however, they may have more of an inclination towards one or the other now and then. Switches are therefore one of the more versatile types of player and can be very useful to have around. If for example, there is a situation whereby only one person can be a dom then a switch can revert to the other role.
These terms don’t necessarily have to apply to BDSM. You can also apply them to normal sex. Of course, if this is something you’re doing with your partner then the two of you ought to discuss it. Switching between dominant and submissive should always be clear and communicated well.