Domination and submission

A Bushel of Dominants: What Kind of Top Are You?

Published: DECEMBER 27, 2022
There are countless dominant types in BDSM. But all of them keep open lines of communication, respect themselves and those they play with, never forget accidents can (and will) happen and never fail to be kind and courteous when they do.

There are countless kinds of dominants.

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So, to match to our article "A Parade of Submissives: What Kind of Bottom Are You?", we're exploring a few domination styles to help you budding tops discover which one you might be.

For those already experienced in the giving side of BDSM, our list might even inspire you to try something new -- or maybe learn who you truly want to be as a top.

But before we dive into the different kinds of tops out there, let us remind you: BDSM should be respectful and inclusive. Domination cannot always be "safe," as participating in edgier kinds of play is -- for some-- an alluring element of the taboo surrounding kink. However, following Risk-Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) principles can help ensure everyone involved is aware of the hazards that come along with certain BDSM activities and consents to participate despite them.

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READ: BDSM 101.

With that in mind, here are a few dominant types to explore:

The Sadist


The Sadist is a person who doesn't necessarily find it pleasurable to emotionally top another person. Rather, they're into delivering intense sensations.

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They don't want or need a title or protocols for behavior. They're merely after a warm bottom (quite literally sometimes) to play with.

The Leather Dom

This is someone who respects the history and traditions of BDSM leather culture.

READ: Why Leather Belongs In the Fetish Hall of Fame.

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They're well-versed in the hanky code, know proper boot blacking techniques and revere the long-established rules of order for the proper wearing of a cap, a vest, or a pair of chaps -- and might even have the titles and sashes to prove it.

Bottoming to this top often involves not only physical play but the ability to recite codes of behavior as well as correctly cleaning and maintaining their dominant's leathers.

It's also fairly common for these dominants, along with those they're involved with, to consider themselves proud members of the leather community -- and not merely casual players.

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The Mentor

This dominant finds pleasure in improving their submissives' lives.

This may or may not involve physical play -- though it almost always includes an aspect of striving to be a positive force in their bottom(s)' lives, using consensual power exchange to help guide and further motivate their bottoms.

This can include monitoring their diet or finances, encouraging exercise or a healthy sleep regimen while providing emotional support.

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Needing to understand their desires and who they are as people, Mentors tend to be especially attuned to their submissives.

This dominant can also play a pivotal role in age play as a caring parental figure or affectionate nanny -- spanking, changing diapers or babysitting their little(s) while wearing a kind smile.

The Nobility

Though "gentleman" or "gentlewoman" can be used, "Nobility" is inclusive of all genders.

Noble tops are refined, elegant, reserved and perhaps terrifyingly intense dominants. Think Dr. Hannibal Lecter (minus the whole killing and eating people thing): a perfectly polished, thoroughly restrained top who's also burning with barely restrained ferocity.

READ: Erotica: Yes Mistress.

The Wild Thing

The Wild Thing is a top who's all about losing control. They may look remarkably unassuming -- but put a crop in their hands, bid farewell to Dr. Henry Jekyll and quiver in your submissive boots as Mr. Edward Hyde takes the stage.

Despite the ferocity of their play, how much they relish being freed from society's civilized restraints, it's never at the cost of their bottom's safety. Wild Things are instantly able to snap back to reality when they, or their bottom, needs it.

The Owner

Finally, here's a dominant who wants it all: the complete and total ownership of another human being.

Like the Mentor, they may supervise their submissive's diet and exercise -- but the Owner enjoys taking it to a whole other level.

The title "Owner" is a fairly new one in the world of kink/BDSM and was introduced to replace "Master," which is triggering due to its associations with chattel slavery. For the same reason, submissives to "Owner" dom types are called "property."

A popular fantasy of tops and bottoms alike, the reality is this level of control requires constant communication, a willingness to renegotiate the dynamic when necessary -- with both partners remaining aware of the a huge difference between two real people playing together and a fictionalized Owner and their idealized submissive are depicted in fiction.

READ: A Day in the Life of a 24/7 Submissive.

Conclusion: Be Your Own Dominant

As with our article on the many different kinds of submissives, please don't look at this list and think, "I'm not any of these; I can't be a good top."On the contrary!

Consider this list a passel of possibilities, a bunch of interesting ideas or a heaping helping of "what if?"s to jump-start your domination imagination. Who knows -- perhaps you'll become a Mentor mixed with a smidge of Royal and a dash of Leather Classic?

Whatever form your topping takes, keep those lines of communication open, respect yourself and those you play with, never forget accidents can (and will) happen and never fail to be kind and courteous when they do.

Do all of this and, before you know it, you'll be well on your way toward discovering your dominant personality!

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M. Christian

M.Christian is an author who has been published in science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, and even nonfiction, but it is in erotica that M.Christian has become an acknowledged master, with stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and in fact too many anthologies, magazines, and sites to name. M.Christian's short fiction has been collected in many bestselling books in a wide variety...

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