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More like guidelines and a lot less like definitions.


In BDSM, the top is the person doing the thing or action to someone else, and the bottom is the person receiving that thing or act. Both terms refer more to the active role, not the physical role. This means, as one example, a slave could be physically on top of their Master, yet mentally the Master is still in control of that scene, so, the Master is still the Top and the slave is still the bottom (even though the slave is physically on top). Bottom is an umbrella term that includes, but isn't limited to, submissives, masochists, prey, slaves, needle bottoms, rope bottoms, etc.

In gay male or male-presenting sexual play, both kinky and non-kinky, a bottom is usually the one being penetrated, anally or orally. Bottom can also be used to describe a person who prefers receiving penetration more than penetrating.

Related Terms

Sometimes a prefix is used to describe what level of stimulation a bottom prefers:

  • Heavy Bottom: One who prefers receiving intense stimulation during kinky activities, often in the form of extreme amounts of pain.

As a LGBTQ+ community role

In the gay community the term is also used to describe the person who prefers to be receiver in gay sex - see Bottom (gay culture).

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