A Switchy Girl’s Guide To … BDSM Roles and Labels

When you first venture into the kink community, whether that’s by going to a munch or by joining something like Fetlife one of the first questions you are likely to be asked, in form or other, is about how you identify in terms of a BDSM role. For many people the role or label they adopt within the kink community or within their specific dynamic is extremely important to them. It’s not just about BDSM it’s part of their identity as a person and as such it is a wonderful way in which they can express part of who they are.

Then there are people like me, who stumble into the kink scene with a vague idea of what they’re into, assume a label that compliments that and then find after a time that something doesn’t feel right. For me that label was submissive, after all I wanted to be tied up and spanked, what’s not submissive about that? In truth there is plenty about those things that aren’t submissive.

I am a terrible submissive, don’t get me wrong I’m an awesome bottom, but a terrible submissive. Why? Because it’s not who I am, what I crave or in truth what I was ever looking for. What I do love is being sexually submissive, and that is not the same as being a submissive in a D/s dynamic. I also love being spanked, and I like being manhandled, bitten and having my hair pulled. I love those things because I’m a masochist. Once again, masochist does not equal submissive, the two are often seen as interchangeable, but while they compliment each other well, they are in fact independent of each other.

In truth a large amount of people in the kink community require more than one label to fully explain who they are as a kinkster and that is absolutely valid.

There are many people who will try and define you by their own interests or own beliefs about how BDSM should be done. Likewise their are awesome people who will support you to do what works for you, unfortunately though it’s the former kind of person who seems to make the most impact on new people. Perhaps because they shout the loudest and have often have less than ideal agendas.

When it comes to choosing to let other know what your BDSM identity it, there is no need to feel rushed or under any pressure. If someone doesn’t want to play with you because you’re ‘just’ a kinkster or happy to explore submission but don’t want to be ‘submissive’ then that is perhaps their issue to deal with, not yours.

Another perfectly acceptable thing to do is change your mind. I’ve gone from submissive, to refusing to choose any BDSM label, to Kinkster and to where I am now, Switch. At the times I chose each of those different roles to identify my interests my thoughts surrounding that choice made sense. It was only as time moved on and I experienced more things that I came to see how some of them weren’t right for me. Even with Switch, it is a fairly accurate indication of my interests, but it really doesn’t cover the nuances. Which is why I actively encourage getting to know people first rather than trying it on with someone because their label fits your idea of what you want.

It’s also okay to try things out, and see if they work for you. Some of my non-kink interests are My Little Pony, Harry Potter, unicorns, glitter and dressing in a fashion style I like to call ‘toddler chic’. This has led to many people pointing out to me that I am a little or a babygirl. Now I’ve thought long and hard on this, in part because I love littles and babygirls, so perhaps there’s some truth in what I’ve been told about myself.

Here’s the thing though, I’ve played with the idea of being a little, or at least embracing it as part of my identity, but it just doesn’t fit. I love those things because I always have, they make stressful days calmer and the add an element of fun to my otherwise very sensible and serious personality. I’m not offended by the suggestion I might be a little, I actually get why people would think that. However it is no one else place to ‘tell me’ I am and that I’m in denial. Insinuating I am in denial suggests I would find an element of shame in that role, and I absolutely wouldn’t. I know myself well enough to know that it’s just not something I currently identify as. I say currently because never say never, as I’ve said, it’s always okay to change.

That isn’t to say I don’t think we should be open to dialogue with other people about our own kink identity. I absolutely think conversations with others can be really valuable. Especially people who don’t have a vested interest in our label suiting them. Your BDSM identity should be about you. It should only ever be about someone else if that is your choice and a choice you have made freely because you want to.

If you’re reading this thinking ‘I really couldn’t give two hoots about using a kinky label to identify myself’ good for you, just be kinky, be awesome and have all the fun.

On the other hand if you’re reading this and you are eager to find a role that suits you and are upset that you aren’t sure which fits you, that’s okay too. Keep exploring, keep talking and one day you will find the role that is perfect for you.


If you would like to talk further about this is in private and without judgement you are welcome to use the contact form to email and I’d be happy to discuss any aspects of this post that affects you, or any other kink enquiries I can help with. 

This is the fifth instalment in my ‘A Switchy Girls Guide to Kink, Fetish and BDSM’ series of posts. The next instalment is coming soon and is titled ‘Gender and Sexuality’.  If you would like to hear more of my thoughts you can tune in to the #ProudToBeKinky Podcast, or you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram or you can send a friend request on Fetlife through _Floss_.

If you enjoy the content I provide both here and as part of the #ProudToBeKinky Podcast and you would like to support that, then likes and comments are joyful to receive and you can also click below to support me through Ko-fi.

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