Submissive, Fetishist, or Bottom – How do they Differ?

fishnet stocking and high heels

In the world of BDSM, there are various roles and identities that individuals may wish explore or take on. Three terms that are common and that can cause some confusion are submissive, fetishist, and bottom. While they may seem similar at first glance, each has its unique characteristics and nuances. In this blog post, I will briefly explain the differences between being a submissive, a fetishist, and a bottom, aiming to shed some light on their distinct qualities and roles within the realm of BDSM.

Understanding Submissive Dynamics

Being a submissive involves willingly handing over control and power to a Dominant partner. Submissives find pleasure and fulfilment in surrendering their autonomy, wanting their dominant to guide and direct them within defined boundaries. The power exchange is consensual and rooted in trust and communication. Submissives may engage in various activities such as role-playing, discipline, domestic service, or obedience training. The preferences of their Dominant, as well as their own expressed wishes and the negotiated terms of the relationship, will guide this. A characteristic of the relationship between a submissive and a Dominant is that it involves a psychological component.

Woman trampling man laying on floor

Embracing Fetishism

Fetishism revolves around specific objects, materials, or body parts that trigger intense sexual arousal and desire. These fetishistic interests can range from leather or latex clothing to footwear, and really to any object. Role-playing scenarios and body modifications can also be subject to fetishism. Fetishists may incorporate their chosen fetish into their BDSM practices or explore them independently. It’s important to note that fetishism is often deeply personal, and individuals may have different preferences and triggers. Being a fetishist can overlap with being a submissive or a bottom but doesn’t have to involve either.

Netting, stockings & crop

The Role of a Bottom

A bottom is someone who enjoys receiving physical sensations, often within the context of BDSM play. They may engage in activities such as impact play, bondage, or sensory deprivation. They derive pleasure from the experience without necessarily identifying as submissive or fetishist. A bottom will be at the receiving end in a scene, for example they may be flogged or spanked. The person who is giving or facilitating the sensations, for example doing the flogging, is referred to as the top. The top may be the Dominant partner. However in this type of dynamic the psychological component of submission and domination is absent or less apparent.

Bottoming can be both a physical and emotional experience, Clear communication and negotiation with tops or Dominants are essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable encounter.

Flogger on fur


In conclusion, understanding the distinctions between being a submissive, a fetishist, or a bottom can help when navigating the diverse landscape of BDSM. Submissives willingly relinquish power and embrace a power exchange dynamic. Fetishists find pleasure in specific objects or scenarios, Finally, bottoms enjoy receiving physical sensations.

While there may be overlaps and individuals who identify with multiple roles, appreciating the unique characteristics of each identity allows for a deeper understanding and exploration of one’s own desires and boundaries within the BDSM community. If you identify with one or more of these roles, it is important that you communicate this when applying to serve a Dominatrix. For example, psychological domination could be a frightening and uncomfortable experience for someone who is actually not interested in that.

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