It all boils down to respect: both for yourself as well as the people you play with. A common mistake bad tops make is thinking that they should never make a mistake - or admit to having made one. A good top, on the other hand, will not just check in a lot with their playmates, but also freely admit that things aren’t working out ... and even apologize.
As the old saying goes: mistakes happen, but what happens afterward is what’s really important.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, as with submissives, being a dominant can often be a process. You might have a really old fantasy, one that really gets you off, but when you try and make it a reality, it just doesn’t work. There’s nothing wrong in this. In fact, it’s all part of the process.
A lot of great tops didn’t just appear on the scene. Rather, they tried this, tried that, hated this, loved that, and slowly but surely put together a style of topping that worked for their needs as well as the people they play with.
As the other old saying goes: it’s not the destination that’s important, it's the journey.
With that out of the way, here’s our playful look at just a few types of dominants that you might be or that you might encounter. Again, this isn’t set in stone. It's a range of unique play styles. Who knows, you might find inspiration in them for creating your own style of BDSM domination.
The Pure Sadist
Here’s a story that kind of perfectly encapsulates The Pure Sadist. At a kink party, there was this perky young bottom kneeling before a potential top. “What shall I address you as?” the submissive asked, all eager and bowed.
The answer? “Whatever you want just as long as I get to hit you.”
The Pure Sadist is just that: someone who doesn’t necessarily find pleasure in the emotional domination of another person; they're into delivering intense sensations. They don’t want, or need, a title or protocols for behavior, just a warm bottom (quite literally sometimes) to have fun with.
The Leather Classic
Here is someone for whom being a dom is not just a fun thing now and again but is about being part of the deep culture of BDSM rites and rituals. These are the kinds of tops that know each and every hanky code, the history of the leather community, and sometimes have even won the sashes and honors to prove it.
Becoming a bottom to this kind of top can often involve not just physical play, but knowing the codes of behavior and respecting How Things Should Be Done. Because of this, it’s also common for these dominants, and the people they play with, to not just enter into play but to enter into the leather community as a whole.
Here is a top that finds pleasure in not just inflicting intense sensations on a bottom, but also becoming a positive force in their lives. They might take on the role of a teacher, showing what it can be like to be a bottom or a top. It can even extend to things like guiding a submissive in exercising, eating well, and managing their spending and income.
The Mentor is also usually very tuened into their submissives. They need to know not just their play style and desires, but who they are as people and how The Mentor can help them live to their fullest potential. Consensually, of course.
A form of The Mentor can also appear in age-play scenes in the form of a parental figure: a top that spanks, changes diapers, or otherwise babysits their changes.
While it might be more common to use the term "gentleman" or "gentlewoman," let’s use Royal instead since it's more in line with being all-gender inclusive. The basic idea here is of a top who is cool, elegant, controlled - and often wonderfully as well as terrifyingly intense.
A great example of this, minus the whole killing and eating people thing, would be Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a smoothly polished statue that burns with barely restrained intensity.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is a top that is all about (on the surface, that is) losing control. These tops might be regular people when they're walking the streets, but put a crop in their hands and they turn into howling beasts: ferocious and very, very hungry.
Yet, don’t think this is actually about dropping safety, security, or respect for the people they play with. Rather, their style is to slip off their own chains, but never so much that they can’t be snapped back to reality when they - or their bottom - needs it.
Finally, we have the dominant that wants it all. They might encompass every type on this list plus the hundreds of different types that didn’t make the cut. For them, being a top isn’t a casual thing. It is complete and total ownership of another human being.
This might involve living with their property or not. It could include everything from orgasm control to supervising their diet and exercise. While a common fantasy, the reality is that this involves a lot of work and a lot of communication. Putting it simply: it’s not for everyone.
Read: A Day in the Life of a 24/7 Submissive
Always Be Your Own Type of Dominant
As with our other article, the key here isn’t to look at this list and think “I can’t be a good top because I’m not represented here,” but rather to view it as an inspiration to create your own type of domination.
Maybe it’ll be a touch of Mentor plus a smidge of Royal with a dash of Leather Classic? Whatever form your topping takes, keep those lines of communication open, respect yourself as well as those you play with, and never forget that accidents will always happen. Act with kindness and courtesy when they do.
Do all of this and, before you know it, you’ll discover your own special brand of dominantion and open the door to a wide, and really hot, world of adventure!