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In BDSM culture, a Dom (sometimes called a dominant or top) is someone who has the active role in a relationship with a sub (or submissive). A Dom is often understood as the master (or mistress) in a long-term BDSM relationship with a slave (or submissive). While a Dom is a more controlling partner, the agreed-upon terms of a BDSM relationship vary from partnership to partnership. A Dom will control the physical and psychological components of the relationship––which can include bondage, discipline, humiliation, and servitude. Some Doms switch roles in long-term BDSM relationships, but this is far from universal.


Charles had been dating Sheena for a few months before he sprung his proclivity for BDSM on her. She knew a little bit about the lifestyle but wanted to take things slow. As a Dom, Charles explained to her what he normally enjoyed and how to establish clear limitations. She liked the idea of being submissive and Charles understood her boundaries. Together, they entered a new phase of their relationship as Dom and sub.