What Type of Dominant are You?

Mature handsome dominant male with a beard and wearing a navy suit reclining in a leather ottoman drinking a spirit

In kink & BDSM circles, the Dominant is one of the main personal identifiers from which many other roles flow. And even though there is no problem with putting yourself out there as a Dominant, people will come to you with questions about your label – How do you dominate? What kind of Dom/me are you?

It’s one thing to call yourself a Dominant – it’s another to embody the role. So let’s take a look at some of the most common Dominant roles you might be exploring.


Let’s start with the most common archetype, and a role that many Dominants aspire to. Traditionally, the term is used to describe those whose personal self-mastery is such that they can take on the responsibility of mastering another through ownership. The Master/Mistress is generally someone who lives a BDSM lifestyle 24/7, and their drive is exploring power dynamics. The goal is to own a willing slave.

You will also see Master/Mistress titles commonly used for pro-Dominants, and the title is sometimes bestowed upon well-respected and knowledgeable Dominants within an established scene.  


Not everyone who has a dynamic based on ownership wants to be titled as a Master/Mistress and take on the responsibility of a 24/7 power exchange. Where a Master/Mistress is most commonly associated with owning a slave, the Owner is generally associated with other submissive roles, like pets (or cute animals in general – dogs, ponies, cats), sluts, toys, or brats. Owners aim to give their possessions an ongoing sense of belonging and curate the experiences for the submissive's roleplay. For example, an Owner would feed their human animal from a bowl that fits their specific roleplay. In other instances, they might take their toy to a party and invite other people to join the shenanigans. 

Service Top

Not always Dominant by nature, Service Tops are people who serve others by taking on a Dominant role, be it physical or psychological. Don’t confuse Service Tops with pro-Dominants; they are in it to serve rather than perform professionally. In a scene, a Service Top will be aiming to please the bottom. They are not fixated on their own sensual or sexual experience, as simply being of service to the submissive is their end goal. It not unique for Dominants of other identifiers to enact Service Topping from time to time – a Master/Mistress is certainly able to session just for the submissives benefit, but in those dynamics, it is very rarely the goal. And as much as there is debate as to whether Service Tops are ‘True Dominants’, it’s a silly debate that relies on the existence of the ‘True Dom/me’.

The True Dom/me

This fiction from another era still finds its way into conversation from time to time, but its days are numbered. Head into almost any kink forum on Dominants and there’s sure to be some content – even if it’s just derisive laughter. The True Dom/me is the idea that there is one way to Dominate, and any deviance from that denies you the ability to be Dominant. Much of the True Dom/me identity is built from the high protocol BDSM that came out of the 1950’s, and like many ideals of the 50’s, it depends on unquestioning nods and sheer ignorance. Nuff said. 

The Fake Dom/me

Unfortunately, this one is not a fiction and something we need to be aware of. But if any of the terms on this list are indicative of ‘not really a Dominant’ it’s this one. As the name suggests, the Fake Dom/me is not a Dom/me at all. Rather they are people who play at being Dominant to attract submissives who might allow them to do whatever they want. Fake Dom/mes have no understanding of negotiation, and rarely care about consent. The quickest way to identify one is to ask questions. Fake Dom/mes get impatient quickly, and rarely have the self-control to hide this. And if they can’t control this aspect of themselves, how are they going to control a submissive? 

Mummy/Daddy Dom

These are roles mostly associated with age play, however that is not always the case. Mummy/Daddy Doms are caring Dominants who take charge in order to teach and nurture their submissive. Littles (the submissive age players who take on childish personas during play) are often in need of a special touch, and quite a bit of aftercare, including cuddles, treats, and quiet time. Not all Dominants are interested in this space, and it takes a particular kind of Dominant to engage in it effectively. This is not to say these Dom/mes can’t or won’t play sadistically or sexually – they absolutely do. But their goal is to ensure their little feels safe, protected, and able to learn through the shared experience. 

Sadistic Dom/mes

The main goal for the sadist is to inflict pain, both physical and psychological. They are best partnered with a receptive masochist. Most sadists have particular skillsets, and implements they are especially fond of, but the most common ways to inflict pain are with impact play, sharps, and extreme hot or cold. Bondage is also fairly common as sadists can bind their partner in ways that cause discomfort, or display specific body parts. But pain is not just physical. Some of the common psychological torture Sadists will inflict includes teasing, name-calling, shaming, public humiliation, degrading demands and ignoring their sub.

Kink is always evolving, and so are the roles within the play. Here are some of the lesser-known, and more specific Dominant types:

  • Rigger: a specialist in rope bondage – Kinbaku or Shibari. The top in a rope scene with the submissive referred to as a ‘rope bunny’.
  • Tamer: in some ways they are almost like a sadistic Mummy/Daddy Dom/me. Tamers works specifically with bratty submissives and SAMs (Smart Arsed Masochists) using sensation play and pain to control their brats.
  • Trainer: similar to the Owner, Trainers work mostly with petplayers, using discipline to modify the behaviour of their submissive.

As with everything kinky, these terms are often interchangeable, and used as self-descriptors that the player finds fitting, and many cross-over in terms of typical traits. Part of your kink journey is finding the title that best fits your personal drive, identity, and sensual passions. This content is a basic guide only and will not fit every person or persuasion, but it will be a good guide for those new to kink or those who are evolving their erotic lifestyle. Do be sure to read through the linked articles for more information – knowledge is power.


Have your say! Login to comment.
  • hornylad247


    More than a month ago

    Had the experience of a fem Dom wanna be half my age.
    Instant compliance when she was told to get down there and suck Daddy's cock
    Loved the sound of her gagging clutching her hair when she was all rigged up good and tight
    Got no more 'I'm a Dom' nonsense out of her after that. Learnt her place quick smart, loved the lash.

  • erynne


    More than a month ago

    Have to say I'm very surprised that you didn't bring up anything to do with a 'switch', and what their role is in the BDSM realm.

    I can definitely say I'm a switch though!! My mood definitely plays a part in what role I'll switch to, but for me, it also depends on the situation and the person I'm with. Will admit that the times I've switched and played both roles in the same night with 1 person is rare but extremely arousing and enjoyable. 2 switches together can definitely play off each other 🤤 😏😉

    • AMM.Editor


      More than a month ago

      We've written about switching in the article: BDSM Basics: Shining a Light on Kinksters who Switch

    • erynne


      More than a month ago

      😍 awesome. Everything ive learnt about being a switch is from either other switches or people within the BDSM community. I'm gonna have a read now as I'm always interested in others opinions.. Thankyou

  • Blue262


    More than a month ago

    "The main goal for the sadist is to inflict pain, both physical and psychological. They are best partnered with a receptive masochist."
    No, no, no, NO and NO WAY.
    Masochists derive meaning from their suffering and more often than not have detailed scripts, they can be more controlling than any tyrannical tourist pretending to be a Dom. Masochists can also be very draining, they usually feed on the attention they receive and dealing with them can exhaust a person.
    Sadists want to inflict suffering, not necessarily pain, or just pain. The order, meaning and attention craved by the masochist will be instinctively denied by any sadist, replaced by chaos, stupidity and isolation.
    The idea that sadist and masochist are polar opposites in a transactional pain exchange is way too simple.
    People who try to act that out will feel less than charged by it. I have met people who have acted out exactly that drama for years with nobody involved being particularly masterful or submissive, just silly people playing with props and terminology.
    Go to the kitchen and pour me a Jameson's, do it quietly.....and do it now.

    • Photos in private gallery


      More than a month ago

      I thought the definition of a sadist is someone who won't hurt a masochist??

    • Blue262


      More than a month ago

      Yeah, that high-school joke relies on the "Masochist likes pain therefore no pain for you" logic. There's more to it, though, as a sadist can bore a masochist but do just enough to keep them in the situation.

    • MisKnickers


      More than a month ago

      Imma gonna assume you didn't read to the end of the Sadistic Dom/me paragraph where it states:
      ' But pain is not just physical. Some of the common psychological torture Sadists will inflict includes teasing, name-calling, shaming, public humiliation, degrading demands and IGNORING THEIR SUB'. (My caps.)
      Your strong denial that a sadist is not best partnered with a receptive masochist is troubling for a couple of reasons:
      a) if a sadistic is playing with anyone who isn't receptive, that could lead to problematic and coercive play, and coercion is a form of abuse.
      b) if a sadists isn't playing with someone who enjoys pain (and yes, the suffering that is part of it, be it emotional, mental or physical) then their sadistic inclinations won't be sated.
      It may seem 'way too simple' to you that sadists and masochists are opposite sides of the pain play coin, but that doesn't make it untrue. It literally IS that simple, just as D/s is. It's the individuals engaging in these binaries that bring about the beautiful complexities, which can not be covered in a 101 entry-level article about Common Types of Dominants.

      I also take issue with the disrespectful and dismissive way you portray masochists. If you've found them draining, that's on you.

    • Blue262


      More than a month ago

      Clearly you think all these labels are more meaningful than they are useful, your assertion that anything i said is troubling or 'on me' is without information.
      Sometimes any discussion of BDSM and all the attached lingo strikes me as sex for people with autism, the obsessive detail and need for exactitude seems designed to kill both imagination and spontaneity.
      A lot of people here really confuse dom/sub with master/slave, navigating the ignorance involved requires a soft touch and understanding.
      Your wordy reply boils down to "nuh uh".
      Read what I wrote again, carefully, try to find something in it that's useful or worthy.

  • Sxcplayeh


    More than a month ago

    Thank you so much for an excellent article! It's basic but very insightful for a dominant - a rope bunny can be a visual amuse too)))

  • badthoughts63


    More than a month ago

    Interesting. I’ve never heard of service top before. I think I just might be one. Actually I’m a switch.

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