Switch (BDSM)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the triskelion, one of the symbols of BDSM, the tripartite top-switch-bottom can be found again

Switch ( ger .: change, swap, switch ) in the designated BDSM a person for the duration of a game scene (session), within a relationship or to various partners, both the active and the passive role can take. The other person is referred to as top or bottom , analogous to the selected role of the switch . Both switch, bottom, or top can be male or female; the term only says something about the chosen role.

In the German-speaking area, in addition to Switch , the variant Switcher , which does not exist in the English -speaking area, is also common.


The essential content of the various forms of BDSM practiced is a distribution of roles, since one partner lets himself be consciously inflicted, disciplined (e.g. bound and / or chastised ) and / or controlled by the other. The differences in the various role-playing games , practices and life models have developed a separate name for the two play / life partners for each species, for example in pet play one speaks of pet / owner, in D / s of dom / sub, in femdom often of mistress / slave . The boundaries are fluid and the use of the word pair Top / Bottom is only an aid to remove the conceptual barriers between the different types of game. As a value-neutral word pair, the use of top / bottom in BDSM-related discussions has established itself. It is believed that the terms developed in the various English-language BDSM newsgroups and spread over the Internet with the increased communication between BDSMers. For those who can identify with both roles, the word switch is used; within a game scene, however, the switch takes on the name corresponding to its current role.

Understanding of roles

The term “switch” describes a person who can identify with both roles within the distribution of roles in BDSM. Furthermore, the term does not contain any valuation, does not describe any character trait or type of variation. For example, a switch as a top can act as a sadist within a scene, but also have no interest in dominating his passive partner or treating him like a pet. Conversely, it is just as possible that as a top he only feels a dominant tendency, but in some role-playing games the bottom orders to perform sadistic practices on his top.

The reverse also applies to the role of the bottom. At one end of the spectrum there are submissive partners who enjoy receiving and carrying out commands, but who are indifferent or even disapproving of receiving physical stimulation. At the other end of the spectrum is the masochistic bottom, who enjoys physical and psychological stimulation but has no interest in submission.

Which of these roles the Switch assumes for itself and in which proportions it would like to embody the various aspects of the role-play varies greatly from person to person and can also be influenced by the gender of the other person. For example, a bisexual woman is more likely to empathize with the submissive role of men, while she is more likely to perceive herself as dominant when playing with women, or vice versa. Changing roles within a session is not common; Whether the role is swapped with the partner often depends on whether the partner also switches or prefers a defined role.

Subculture and the role of the switch

Sometimes there is a lack of understanding of switches in the BDSM scene, as a clear and exclusive definition of roles is expected for one of the two roles: top / dominant or bottom / submissive. As a result, switches occasionally experience rejection or discrimination within the subculture.


See also