What is “Switching”?
Switching in BDSM takes place when a person or player is able to enjoy and fulfill both dominant/top and submissive/bottom roles. Switching involves exploring, sharing and recognizing the opposite dimensions and aspects of the roles and identity of each player.
A History of Switching Roles in BDSM
When a player switches, it can be done with the same partner or with a different one. Historically, switching was looked down upon by a vast majority of the BDSM community. It even posed a risk for switches to even find a decent and committed partner.
The idea is that, if a person is a Dom or sub, that is the role that befits them the most. The embodiment of their role was viewed as absolute. Displaying tendencies of the opposite of one’s stated role was considered a weakness or lack of commitment. A sub or a bottom can only exhibit obedience and should not be able to take on leading roles. Inversely a Dominant should show no weakness or submissive nature.
Over time the community became more receptive to the idea that many are capable of taking on both roles. In modern times identifying as a switch is both common and acceptable. Being switch does not mean one has to be 50% Dom vs. sub. It can vary by person, scene, and mood.
Relationship Dynamics Between Dom’s & Submissives
In reality, switching is a behavior that varies by individual. Most subs have a fixed idea in mind that their Dom can and should only be able to fulfill the role of being a top. At the same time, subs who are unable to switch believe that changing from a dominant to a submissive role and vice-versa can only complicate the direction of the relationship.
Since switching is not an everyday or run-of-the-mill scenario for most BDSM partners, communicating the possibility or tendency of leaning towards switching is the first and most important step. Communicate what each other’s expectations and apprehensions are, and then taking time to understand things from each other’s perspectives helps encourage sincerity in the relationship.
Communication likewise aids in the creation of rules and contracts for when partners decide to switch.
Related Practices & Fetishes
Topping and bottoming represent the two most prime roles in a BDSM scene. A person who does the “topping” is the one who usually performs most of the action in a bondage or SM play. A bottom, on the other hand, is the person to whom the top performs the BDSM acts. Acts performed on a bottom are done so with the latter’s consent and an existing contract between the two performers involved.
External links /References /See also