A Glossary of Power Exchange, pt 2

In my previous post, I offered a simple glossary of terms for common terms used by kinksters. This post is going to continue that by offering terms for some of the different types of kinksters. The variety of terms for various kinksters can get confusing, and just as with the general terminology, there isn’t a completely standard set of terms. But I think most kinksters would agree with the following definitions (although they might quibble a bit with a few of the details).

Note: I am far more familiar with the gay end of the Kink community, and may be leaving out a few terms employed by hetero and lesbian kinksters. I make no claims that this is an exhaustive list, merely that these are terms novices are likely to encounter.

In the following list, words that are capitalized have an entry in this glossary. However, words for submissives (such as slave or gimp) are often not capitalized, as a way to indicate the submissive’s inferior status.

AB/DL: Adult Baby/Diaper Lover: A Submissive (more commonly a man than a woman) who role-plays as an infant or who wears a diaper.

Alpha: A newer term for a Dominant. The term is often used to emphasize the dom’s physical superiority or arrogant attitude toward his subs. Alphas often assert that they are naturally superior. Alphas often employ verbal abuse as part of a scene. Often used by Findoms. Alphas are less likely to part of traditional kinky society or Bdsm practice and more likely to do their playing online. Alphas are often served by Faggots.

Baby Girl: A female Submissive who role-plays as a child or teenager. The male equivalent is a Baby Boy, although they are more often AB/DLs.

Boiwife: A Submissive man who is partnered to a Dominant man, typically a Daddy, in the homosexual equivalent of a 50s Household. A Boiwife may have elements of being a Sissy.

Bottom: The opposite of Top. Originally, in gay slang, a Bottom was the receptive partner in anal sex. Kinksters (including gay kinksters) have adapted it into a very broad term meaning the receptive or submissive partner in any kinky sex act. For example, one who enjoys getting flogged can be called a ‘flogging bottom’. ‘Bottom’ refers specifically to the one receiving the action, not the one deciding what sort of sex acts are going to happen. Thus is it possible to be a Dominant Bottom.

Boy: Sometimes also ‘boi’, to avoid the suggestion of pedophilia. 1) A general term of address for any Submissive who possesses personhood. 2) Generally speaking, a Boy is a Submissive who is not engaging in TPE. Boys typically have Sirs or Daddies rather than Masters. Unlike a Slave, who generally seeks to have as little power as possible, a boy may have considerable choice and autonomy in his relationship. His Sir or Daddy may give him advice rather than commands, although during scenes he may be expected to surrender most of his control. Contrary to the sound of the term, Boys typically have adult personas, and may be older than their Sirs.

Brat: A Submissive who enjoys resisting and being forced to submit or who is otherwise rebellious to a Dominant. Brats are essentially a type of Boy or Girl.

Daddy: A Dominant man who engages in some degree of power exchange but not to the extent that a Master does. Daddies typically have Boys, Girls, or Pets, rather than Slaves. Daddies often have a paternal quality to their dominance, often being quite affectionate, although they can also be quite strict or aggressive during sex. The term can also be used for a male Eominant in an age play relationship.

Dominant: Also ‘Dom’ for short (‘Domme’ is the female equivalent, but is pronounced the same as ‘dom’). A Dominant is the one in charge during kinky sex, the one who receives power from the Submissive. In contrast to ‘Top’, ‘Dominant’ describes the one making the decisions, not necessarily the one doing the sex act. While most Dominants are also Tops, it is possible to be a Dominant Bottom. Dominant is a very broad term, the most general category of those who receive power. Someone who occasionally enjoys spanking their partner, for example, might reasonably be described as a Dominant, even if they don’t engage in very extensive power exchange.

Faggot: 1) An insulting term for a gay man. In general social interactions, the term is unacceptable, but the term is commonly used in play to intensify the power exchange. 2) A gay man who adopts an abjectly inferior position in relationship to another man, particularly to an Alpha. Faggots find service and pleasure-giving to be extremely satisfying activities and may offer to do a Dom’s chores or buy him gifts as a form of power exchange without explicitly sexual activity taking place. Faggots are often, though not inevitably, Finsubs.

Findom: A Dominant who engages in Findomming. Also called a Cashmaster.

Finsub: A Submissive who engages in Findomming. Also called a Cashslave, a Pay Pig, or a Human Atm. Finsubs are often, but not inevitably, Faggots.

Footrest: A Submissive who is used as a piece of furniture by a Dominant, most commonly as a footrest or ashtray holder. Footrests sometimes experience social death, being regarded as an object rather than a person.

Gimp: A Submissive who wears a gimpsuit that strips away their identity and humanity. Although gimps are a type of Slave and may perform chores, they typically experience social death, meaning that they are not treated as a human being during play but are regarded as an object to be stored away in a cage or closet when not actively in use. Also called a Drone.

Girl: The female equivalent of a Boy. Girls typically have Daddies.

Handler: A Dominant whose Submissive is a Pup or Pony (or less commonly a Kitten).

Kajira: The male equivalent is Kajirus. A Kijira is a female Slave who operates in the Gorean sub-community.

Kitten: A Submissive (more commonly female) who role-plays as a cat.

Leatherman: The female equivalent is Leatherwoman; sometimes Leatherfolx is used collectively to avoid excluding trans and non-binary people. One who dresses in leather clothing, such as jackets, shirts, vests, pants, chaps, and boots, for erotic purposes. The term does not designate a specific role as Top or Bottom, Submissive or Dominant; sometimes Leather Daddy, Leather Master, and Leather Boy are used to indicate more specific roles.

Master: 1) In a very general sense, a synonym for Dominant. Some Submissives like to use this as a term of address for a Dominant, especially one they are doing a scene with. 2) More specifically, a Dominant who is engaging in fairly extensive power exchange, both in and out of the bedroom. Typically, Masters own Slaves, so they can be considered at the extreme end of the dominance spectrum. Masters often impose rules on their partners, controlling their grooming, daily routine, and even things like career choice and finances, although not all Masters go that far. Masters are often seen as engaging in 24/7 or TPE.

Mommy: The female version of a Daddy. The term is also used specifically for a female Dominant in an age play relationship.

Owner: 1) A Dominant whose Submissive is some form of Slave or Pet. 2) A dominant whose Submissive is some form of dehumanized property, such as a Gimp.

Pet: 1) A general term for a Submissive who has a Daddy or Mommy. 2) A Submissive who role-plays as a Pup or Kitten. Pets typically have an affectionate relationship with their Dominant. Pets often have Owners or Handlers.

Pig: Among gay men, a Bottom who enjoy aggressive play, especially with multiple Dominants. Pig Play often involves messy activities such as piss play, cum play, and fisting. Although sometimes the pig will jokingly make pig noises, Pigs generally do not role-play as animals, in contrast to Pups, Ponies, and Kittens. While Pigs may be Submissive, they are often Dominant Bottoms.

Ponyboy/Ponygirl: A Submissive who role-plays as a horse. Ponies are often ridden with a saddle or used to pull carts.

Pup/Puppy: A Submissive who role-plays as a Dog. Pups tend to be playful, in contrast to Slave Dogs.

Service Top: One who plays the Top or Dominant role primarily because it pleases a Bottom or Sub rather than for its own sake. A Service Top may well be a Submissive Top.

Sir: A respectful form of address for any male Dominant. Originally the term was not used as a noun, but by the 1990s it was sometimes being used that way. (“If you need to speak with him, my Sir will be here around 7pm.”) Although the term is masculine, it is sometimes also employed for lesbian Dominants and other leatherwomen.

Sissy: A Submissive man, more commonly heterosexual, who enjoys being feminized by being ordered to wear dresses, skirts, panties, high heels and other traditionally feminine attire. Homosexual Sissies may be Boiwives.

Slave: 1) In a very general sense, a synonym for Submissive. Sometimes used to describe a Submissive during a scene. 2) More specifically, a Submissive who is engaging in fairly extensive power exchange, both in and out of the bedroom. Typically, a Slave is owned by a Master, so they can be considered fairly far toward the extreme end of the submission spectrum. Slaves often have rules and protocols that control things such as groom, daily routine, and even things like career choice and finances, although not all slaves go that far. Slaves are often seen as engaging in in 24/7 or TPE. Slaves are typically seen as being the property of their Master or Owner, but are usually accorded some degree of personhood.

Slave Dog: A Submissive who role-plays as a dog. The emphasis is on dehumanization and humiliation, in contrast to a Pup.

Submissive: Also ‘sub’ for short. A Submissive is the one who is being controlled during kinky sex, the one who is surrendering power to the Dominant. In contrast to ‘Bottom’, Submissive describes the one surrendering power, but not necessarily the one receiving the sex act. Although most Submissive are also Bottoms, it is possible to be a Submissive Top, especially if the Dominant wants to receive a particular sex act. Submissive is a very broad term, the most general category of those who surrender power. Someone who occasionally enjoys being spanked, for example, might reasonably be described as a Submissive, even if they don’t engage in very extensive power exchange.

Top: The opposite of Bottom. Originally, in gay slang, a Top was the active/insertive partner in anal sex. Kinksters (including gay kinksters) have adapted it into a very broad term meaning the active or dominant partner in any kinky sex act. For example, one who likes to tie guys up can be called a bondage Top. Top refers specifically to the one doing the action, not the one deciding what sort of sex acts are going to happen. Thus is it possible to be a Submissive Top.

Rubberboy: Also Rubberboi. A Sub who enjoys wearing rubber clothing for erotic purposes. While a Rubberboy may dress similarly to a Gimp, they typically do not experience dehumanization and social death and may be only moderately submissive, or even not submissive at all.

Urinal: A Submissive who enjoys piss play. In contrast to Footrests and other Objects, Urinals usually enjoy some form of personhood.



Ultimately, any kinky pair will have to find the terms that they feel best describe them, so individual usage will sometimes vary.

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