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Insertive Partner

Updated: AUGUST 3, 2020

An insertive partner is usually someone who inserts their penis or a sex toy into a receiving partner during sex. The term insertive partner usually identifies a person’s role in anal or oral sex. It is most commonly used in the LGBTQIA+ and BDSM communities.

The term is often used interchangeably with the word top. However, insertive partner is a clearer term. That's because it makes clear the person’s sexual role isn’t linked to their physical position during sex. Insertive partners can lie under their receiving partners. The word top does not make this clear.

Active partner is another name for insertive partner. However, this word can also be misleading. Insertive partner takes a more passive role in oral sex than receiving partner.


Pitcher is another common synonym for insertive partner.


More About Insertive Partner

During anal sex, the insertive partner is the one who inserts a penis or sex toy penis into their partner. During oral sex, the penis or sex toy is inserted into the mouth.

In BDSM circles, insertive partner also denotes someone who inserts something sexually into a partner. Normally the insertive partner is also the dominant partner. However, the dominant could flip these roles if they want penetration.

The term insertive partner is rarely used to describe the sexual roles of straight couples outside the BDSM community. That’s because the anatomy of men and women defines their sexual roles. However, a female penetrating her partner with a finger, a strap-on, or another sex toy would be the insertive partner.

Insertive partners typically have a strong preference for this sexual role. Many are aroused by what is usually a more dominant role in sex. They may also prefer the physical sensations that go along with this sexual role. Some people, known as versatile partners or switches, have no such preference. They enjoy being insertive partners sometimes, but will happily be reactive partners. They might make their decision based on their partner’s preferences or their desires at the time.


Insertive partners are less likely to contract sexually transmitted infections than their partners. However, there is still some risk. Insertive partners should still use condoms and dental dams to protect themselves and their partners.

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