Definitions of Switch

Again, I’m not picking on any one role or kink. I’ve been working through a variety of things within our culture that are broken. In a previous post I mentioned some of the ways a popular BDSM Test has caused problem within our lifestyle. Today I want to talk about how that test influenced the role of Switch in a very negative way, suggesting the role to people who likely aren’t a Switch and redefining what the role of Switch actually is.

I realize this kind of education doesn’t make me popular. It’s a difficult pill to swallow that perhaps the identity you think you are, because you were told you are, isn’t your real identity. It isn’t my goal to cause you an identity crisis. Rather I want to tell you who you really are so that you can get the most out of BDSM. My intentions are positive, I’m not trying to keep people from being a Switch; there is no gatekeeping taking place in this post.

While a Dom is a Dominant and a sub is a submissive, there are actually two definitions of a Switch. One is more common and the other is rather rare:

  1. Switch — common use: someone who enjoys being either the Top or the bottom; enjoys giving or receiving physical SM stimulation. Among Leathermen, activity switches are sometimes referred to as versatile.
  2. Switch — less common use: someone who is willing to take either the leadership or subordinate role in a relationship depending upon the chemistry or connection within that particular partner. When used this way, a person is referred to as a psychological switch. Psychological switches would have relationships wherein their roles are different — dominant in one relationship and subordinate (not necessarily submissive) with the other.

It is very rare that a Switch is both dominant and submissive within the same relationship. Functionally that would be chaotic for most people and very difficult to maintain. This is where most people get it wrong! A radical redefining of the Switch role has caused our culture to throw out the common definition and try to convince most people they can be both Dom and sub within the same relationship.

Most people who are actual Switches are in Power Neutral relationships where both people are autonomous and power is shared equally. They only switch between what kinks they enjoy giving and receiving. This isn’t any less than a Dom/sub dynamic, it is simply a different dynamic. No one should feel the pressure of being a leader or follower, they simply need to educate themselves on the proper techniques and safety involved with giving and receiving kinks. Should they desire to roleplay during scenes they might temporarily act dominant or submissive to properly set the mood and give a convincing scene.

Other than redefining the role, the BDSM Test gave people who were merely exploring kink the results that they are a Switch. The test diagnosed interest in different kinds of kinks as Switch. If you really didn’t know yet what you liked and didn’t like, you were told you are a Switch. You were simply exploring, you shouldn’t have been assigned a role! People who are exploring BDSM are “Exploring” they are not both a Dom and a sub!

They may try to Top and find they don’t like it. Or they may try to bottom and not like that. They may find they always like to Top or always like to bottom. If they explore and eventually come to the conclusion they like to Top one or more kinks and bottom one or more kinks… then they properly fit the role of Switch. If they explore D/s relationships and turn out to be a Dom to someone and a sub to someone else… then they properly fit the role of Switch. If they are one of those rare, mythical creatures who can Dom and sub within the same relationship… then they too properly fit the role of Switch.

So a lot of people in our BDSM lifestyle who self-identify as Switch are currently Exploring. Others are trying to do something difficult/rare and are having less than positive results. If you are a Switch try being someone who enjoys either the Top or the bottom; enjoys giving or receiving physical SM stimulation. You will more than likely find the most fulfillment in it. Relish the freedom of a Power Neutral relationship dynamic. And throw out that rubbish BDSM Test!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.