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Bottom (BDSM)

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Male bottom held on a leash by a female top

In BDSM, a bottom or submissive is the partner in a BDSM relationship or a BDSM scene
who takes the passive, receiving, or obedient role, to that of the top or dominant.
A bottom can, for example, be subject to acts such as flogging, servitude or humiliation and
can be physically restrained by bondage, which can itself be painful. A person who submits
control of a large percentage of their day-to-day life to a dominant partner, or who submits
within a formal set of rules and rituals is sometimes referred to as a slave to that of the
master or mistress.
The term bottom originates from a more general use of the word, especially among the gay
male community, to mean receptive partner. (See bottom (sex))


1 Terminology
2 Limits to submission
3 See also

4 References and further reading

[edit] Terminology
The behaviors of bottoms and submissives are similar, and in many cases overlap. For this
reason, the terms are used interchangeably in some discussions, although there are
differences between the two. Behaviors of submissives and bottoms often overlap, with the
bottom also being submissive, but this is not always the case. Someone who is "topping"
may be doing so at the request, or even the direction, of the bottom partner(s). In such a
case, the dominant's function would reside with the bottom(s). Tops who act within this
kind of relationship dynamic are sometimes called a service tops. A bottom who has

dominance over the activities or the relationship is said to be topping from the bottom, even
though they are really expressing dominance from the bottom.
Within communities of lifestyle BDSM devotees, there exists a widespread prejudice
against both service tops and bottoms that top from the bottom. Both are considered by
many to be failing to achieve a "proper" BDSM relationship dynamic especially if the
partners are purported to be trying to achieve dominant-top/submissive-bottom relationship.
Bottoms or submissives who are also comfortable assuming a top or dominant role are
referred to as switches.

[edit] Limits to submission

The acceptance of a bottom or submissive role in a BDSM relationship, is seldom absolute,
often operating within a set of defined limits.
A common means by which a bottom or submissive can signal to a top or dominant partner
that their limits are being approached, pushed, or even crossed is the use of safewords;
Extreme forms of submission or the practice of edgeplay can remove the safeword option
from the bottom or submissive, although, this somewhat risky situation is entered into with
the consent of the bottom or submissive.

[edit] See also

Dominance & submission

Female dominance
Male dominance

Top and bottom in sex and BDSM

Switch (BDSM)


Top (BDSM)
[hide]v d eBDSM

Bondage and
B&D or B/D

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play Female dominance Female submission Feminization Male
D&S or D/s
dominance Male submission Master/slave Medical scene Rape
fantasy Rubberdoll Servitude Sexual slavery Submissive
Sadomasochism Caning Cock and ball torture Erotic asphyxiation Erotic
S&M or S/M
electrostimulation Erotic spanking Impact play Knife play Play

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Wax play
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Day Fetish

[edit] References and further reading

Dossie Easton, Janet W Hardy. The New Bottoming Book. Greenery Press, 2003.
ISBN 1-890159-36-0.
Jay Wiseman: SM 101: A Realistic Introduction. Greenery Press (CA) 1998, ISBN
Phillip Miller, Molly Devon, William A. Granzig (Vorwort): Screw the Roses, Send
Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism. Mystic Rose
Books 1995, ISBN 0-9645960-0-8
William A. Henkin, Sybil Holiday, Consensual Sadomasochism : How to Talk
About It and How to Do It Safely, Daedalus Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1881943127.
Different Loving: The World of Sexual Dominance and Submission ISBN 978-067-976956-9
Breslow, Norman: SM Research Report, v1.1, 1999
Janus, Samuel S. / Janus, Cynthia L., 1993 The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior,
Wiley, New York
Thomas S. Weinberg: S&M Studies in Dominance and Submission (Ed.),
Prometheus Books, New York, 1995 ISBN 0-8797-5-978-X
Robert Bienvenu, The Development of Sadomasochism as a Cultural Style in the
Twentieth-Century United States, 2003, Online PDF under Sadomasochism as a
Cultural Style
Charles Moser, in Journal of Social Work and Human Sexuality 1988, (7;1, P.43-56)
Gloria G. Brame, BDSM/Fetish Sex:Overview and Study, online
[hide]v d eSexual slang


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