Below, you’ll read about the 19 most common types of dominants and their styles of domination…along with a lot of kinky examples of what they can do to dominate their submissive. Whether you’re into BDSM for the kinky sex or the whole shebang, including the lifestyle and community, you’ll come across some common terms. Dominant and submissive as among the most common.
What is a dominant? – Dominant refers to the personality and title of someone who plays the more active role, providing their partner with stimulation and potentially pain. Giving orders and doling out punishments are also within the realm of the dom’s responsibilities.
Now, you might imagine a leather-clad dominant holding a whip, and that’s certainly one flavor of dominance. However, it’s just one of many types of doms that we discuss below.
The BDSM community uses some common labels to help differentiate between these different types of dominants. You’ll also find labels such as “gentle dom” or “gentleman dom” that aren’t really in use offline but are gaining traction on social media.
Submission guide: How to be submissive during sex
What Types of Doms Are There?
Without further ado, here are the different dom types. For many dominants, their type is not strictly one type of dominant, but rather a combination of two or three or even more.
1. Daddy/Mommy Dominants
Mommy and Daddy doms are quite common. Daddy and Mommy dominants are usually seen as caring and protective and make good partners for submissives who are vulnerable, sensitive, or otherwise need that care. Nurturing doms often like subs for their playfulness, cuteness, and innocence or even naivete and take responsibility for their sub’s wellbeing seriously.
5 Examples & Ideas For Dominating As Daddy/Mommy Dom
- Scolding – when subs make a mistake
- Spanking – when they step out of line
- Reassuring – cuddling your sub and telling them they are a good girl or boy
- Protecting – their submissive’s feelings
- Praising – their partner for listening and obeying (great if you’ve got a praise kink)
Although “Master” or “Mistress” could be a nickname used in any D/s relationship or BDSM scene, a couple that goes as “Master” and “slave” frequently engages in 24/7 power exchange, which is also known as total power exchange (TPE). It’s common for a TPE dom to be called a master or mistress and not a dominant.
In TPE, the power exchange never ends; instead, it permeates the couples’ entire lifestyle, with the master or mistress taking control of all or most aspects of their life together, potentially removing the slave’s ability to argue or decline.
3 Examples of a Master or Mistress
- Providing permission – for the sub to masturbate, eat, use the bathroom, touch themselves, or speak, for example
- Administering discipline – when orders are not followed accurately
- Taking responsibility – for the slave’s physical, mental, emotional, and financial wellbeing
3. Brat Tamer
As you might have guessed, a brat tamer is the counterpart to a brat, a submissive who is known for being rebellious and hardheaded. Brat tamers must be equally strong to earn a brat’s submission and understand the nature of this behavior.
When a brat tamer uses discipline or force on their sub, that attention ultimately makes the brat feel desired, cared about, and even safe.
The patience and even temper necessary to be a successful brat tamer aren’t traits possessed by every type of dom. Some prefer subs who won’t talk back. However, many brat tamers find the challenge/behavior of the brat amusing.
5 Aspects of Brat Taming
- Physically restraining and overpowering – if the brat resists; bondage can help
- Giving orders – which may be ignored or resisted
- Providing punishment – when necessary but without losing their temper. These 16 BDSM punishment ideas should help.
- Showing strength – in response to bratty behavior; backing down or appearing weak is not what the brat wants
- Remaining patient and respectful – showing the brat that they are not too much to handle and are cared for
4. Rope Top/Rigger
In BDSM, a rope top or rigger is a dominant who is especially or only interested in rope bondage. They might dabble in everything from suspension to chest harnesses to hogtying, to name just a few.
Riggers can sometimes be found at play parties, dungeons, or conventions, and their partners can even be fully clothed. Serious rope tops often take photos of their hard work, which can include ties they’ve invented themselves.
5 Responsibilities of a Rop Top
- Preparing – rope and accessories such as carabiners
- Focusing on their sub – discussing any injuries or issues before starting, focusing on bodily reactions while tying, etc
- Carefully tying – so that rope sits without twisting or chafing; without pulling rope across the skin or letting loose rope hit the sub
- Ensuring the submissive’s safety – checking that rope isn’t frayed, suspension can hold their weight, avoiding pressure on the organs/pressure points, listening to safe words, and quickly untying or letting down subs in times of emergency
- Practicing – tying knots can include watching videos, reading books or sites, and attending workshops
This type of dom is the counterpart to a finsub (sometimes known as a paypig). “Fin” stands for financial, but financial power exchange shouldn’t be confused with traditional sex work where the sex worker provides sexual stimulation in exchange for money.
Instead, a findom controls their submissives money in some way. Knowing that someone else controls their finances is part of the appeal for finsubs.
Because the finsub’s money and not their body is controlled, these arrangements work well for long-distance relationships.
4 Aspects of Financial Domination
- Restricting access to money and accounts – including credit cards, bank accounts, etc.
- Giving access to money – ie an allowance
- Receiving money from a finsub – for services
- Humiliation play – such as verbal humiliation (a big component for some but not all findom relationships)
6. Service Top
If you’re the type of dominant who enjoys giving sensation and stimulation to your partner to fulfill their needs, you might be a service top. Service tops may not find that being dominant is part of their personalities; instead, they take the active role during BDSM scenes because they enjoy servicing people.
This role ends when the scene does, and their ideal partners may be bottoms but not necessarily submissives.
Serving topping can be seen as the counterpart to topping from the bottom.
Read More: What is Topping from the Bottom?
Some professional dominants, including prodommes, to be a type of service top.
6 Examples of Service Topping
- Binding the sub – with rope, cuffs, blindfolds, or other bondage implements
- Performing impact play – such as spanking, caning, paddling, flogging, etc
- Providing stimulation – temperature play, blades, hitting, electricity, etc
- Assisting other dominants or tops – with punishment, etc
- Negotiating with bottoms – before scenes
- Heeding safe words – during scenes
Some subs play as pets–dogs, cats, and horses, to name just a few. Their dominant partners are often owners. Together, these couples replicate the relationship between an animal and its owner with behaviors depending on the specific animal. For example, pony play probably involves more training and manual labor than other types of pet play.
Pet play creates many opportunities for unique accessories and sex toys, including collars, muzzles, leashes, tack for ponies, and more.
4 Examples of Owner Dom Behavior
- Training – their pony, pup, kitten or other pet
- Securing accessories and gear – collars, tack, muzzles
- Grooming their pet – brushing and bathing
- Providing other care – such as water, food, and attention
“Domme” is just the feminized version of “dom” so this refers to a female dominant and is pronounced the same. That’s really the one difference when it comes to dominant v domme. Technically, a Mommy dom is a misnomer because it would be a Mommy domme.
Prodomme – You’ll sometimes see “domme” added to other words as is the case with prodomme, which simply means she’s a professional. But not everyone considers this a type of femdom because it’s work and not a lifestyle.
Dominatrix – Some people refer to a professional domme as a dominatrix, while others use that description for any female domme, which can cause confusion.
Femdom – “Femdom” can refer to the woman or activities/relationship and is a common label for porn featuring women in charge. However, some people describe power exchange relationships between a domme and male submissive specifically as femdom.
Gender doesn’t necessarily describe the way a person dominates. A woman can be any type of dom on this list. Aside from prodommes and Mommies, there usually aren’t as many types of dommes as there are doms.
4 Examples of Female Domination
- Providing stimulation and sensation to a partner – pleasure, pain, sensual domination, bondage, etc
- Giving orders and punishment – can include humiliation or sissification or assigning submissive tasks
- Caring for a partner’s wellbeing – physical, mental, emotional
- Pegging – anal penetration with a strap-on, which can stimulate the prostate
Check out these femdom ideas to get inspired.
9. Primal Dom
A primal dom is into wild and animalistic kink and BDSM, which can be considered edgeplay (riskier kink) by many. It’s quite unlike the behavior exhibited by a gentle dominant.
Primal behavior can be triggered by clawing, scratching, biting, or other actions by the partner, sometimes known as the prey. Some primal doms prefer physical strength and their bodies over bondage and other tools.
Occasionally, some primal doms play with other primal doms or alphas, and power exchange flows back and forth, which is less common for other dominant types.
4 Common Actions of the Primal Dominant
- Chasing – and pinning the sub
- Having rough sex – biting, scratching, hair pulling, etc
- Making animalistic noises – including growling
- Using the senses – especially smell
10. White Knight Dominant
The White Knight is a type of dom who views themself as the rescuer of their submissive, righting wrongs and battling foes. Many see themselves and are seen as altruistic. Chivalry is often a cornerstone of their beliefs and personality.
White Knights can become frustrated when encountering problems that they cannot fix and may focus too much on saving people–opting for vulnerable or broken partners.
This type of dom is often male.
3 Examples of a White Knight Dom
- Solving problems – especially for their submissive
- Protecting – their partner and family
- Doting on a submissive – who is the princess (or prince) while the dom is the king (or queen)
A sadist is the type of dom who loves to cause pain. They delight in coming up with unique ways to cause pain to their partners. This pain can be physical or psychological as would happen with humiliation and degradation.
Of course, we’re still talking about BDSM and consent is a must, so this isn’t an actual sadist who would cause pain that really harms their partner. Remember, in BDSM and kink, you hurt without harming. Someone who gets angry takes their aggressions out on their partner, or ignores their sub’s wellbeing isn’t a safe dom.
2 Ideas for a Sadist Dom
- Causing pain – physical and psychological (humiliation)
- Providing aftercare – to deal with sub drop and physical injuries caused during play
12. Leather Dom
This type of dominant is part of the greater leather subculture, which arose among members of the military and primarily consists of gay men. Because of this, some leather doms (and subs) may not consider themselves part of the BDSM community or as having D/s relationships.
3 Examples of Leather Doms
A leather dom’s kinky activities can include any in this guide but also often include community engagement, which we’ll focus on.
- Portraying masculinity – through leather outfits (tops are known to wear Muir caps), personal style, and engaging in motorcycle clubs
- Participating in leather events – parades and competitions like Folsom Street Fair
- Practicing traditions – usually based on military protocol
13. Pleasure Dom
This is a relatively newer term that appears to have taken off on TikTok and isn’t really used in person. A pleasure dominant gets their sexual gratification from filling their partner’s sexual needs. The more pleasure they can give, the better. Sex toys and blindfolds are commonly used by pleasure doms.
Pleasure doms are typically male and their subs are female.
Some disagree that this is a type of dominant because there may not be any power exchange. Pleasure dominance might be considered an aspect of service topping.
3 Ideas for a Pleasure Dom
The following examples mostly fall under the greater umbrella of orgasm control.
- Edging their partner – bringing the sub close to orgasm before backing off repeatedly with edging
- Denying orgasm – through physical actions or spoken commands, potentially ruins orgasms
- Torturing with orgasm – stimulates their partner to have as many orgasms as possible, even after it’s uncomfortable
A top is the active participant in a scene and the counterpart to a bottom. They aren’t necessarily a dominant and might only play the active role during a kinky scene, perhaps to please their partner, without having a dominant personality or engaging in true power exchange. It’s kind of like the opposite of a TPE dom.
You won’t really hear someone described as a “dom top” because of this difference. However, you could think of them as “bedroom dominants” only, similar to bedroom subs.
4 Examples of Topping
- Spanking the sub – or engages in other impact play
- Binding their partner – with rope, gags, blindfolds, or other tools
- Respecting safe words – pausing or stopping play when used
- Knowing their tools – to use them safely and correctly
This is definitely a less common dom type. Feederism is a very specific fetish in which people get off on eating (or feeding someone else) to the point of discomfort. The “feedee” or “gainer” is the one who eats, while the feeder participates by providing food.
2 Traits of a Feeder
- Feeding their partner – including preparing food and encouraging eating past comfort
- Fetishizing the (fat) body – as it becomes bigger; can include body worship (especially involving the stomach)
A dominant mentor isn’t so much another type of dom as it is someone who is dominant and experienced in the lifestyle and potentially community, which allows them to guide people who are new to these things. Submissives can also be mentors.
When it comes to mentoring, some dominants mentor other dominants to help teach them the skills they’ll need to guide their (future) submissives. Some submissives seek out sub mentors for the same reason. However, a dominant could mentor a sub to provide information and expertise about BDSM that subs don’t have access to.
A dominant mentor and submissive mentee do not exchange power in the same way as in a D/s relationship. A person who uses mentorship to prey on new submissives might be more of a fake dom (see below) than anything else.
6 Ideas for a Dominant Mentor
- Listening to the mentee – vents, concerns, questions
- Giving advice – whether in response to specific questions or more generally
- Displaying patience – with someone new to BDSM/kinky sex
- Teaching – how to use tools, communicate, read body language, etc
- Providing structure – through tasks or assignments if it helps the mentee learn
- Helping – the mentee find their own flavor of dominance or kink instead of pushing their dominant type on the other person
17. Gentle/Soft Dom
A soft or gentle dominant might not like to play with brats or other types of subs who are more rebellious. Some soft doms avoid anything that causes pain entirely while others incorporate light activities, ie spanking.
4. Examples of Soft Domming
- Nurturing partner – instead of expecting obedience to strict rules for their submissive or punishment
- Encouraging growth and self-love – in their partner
- Discussing sternly – instead of punishment
- Emphasizing aftercare – after a scene
Note that some people might call themselves “soft doms” to indicate they’re not super dominant.
There doesn’t seem to be a consensus about the use of this term within the breeder fetish community, which can be a bit confusing. Some people are incredibly turned on by the idea of becoming or getting someone pregnant. This may stay in the realm of role play where dirty talk and unnoticed birth control are used. However, some people take it all the way to actually getting pregnant.
The two common definitions of breeder include anyone into this fetish or the person (man) impregnating someone else. When it comes to getting someone else pregnant, there can certainly be some domination.
- Discussing the fetish – saying how much they want to get someone pregnant
- Penetrating and ejaculating – without a condom/protection (which can lead to STIs as well as pregnancy)
- Fetishizing – their partner’s pregnant or fertile body (perhaps enjoying sex during pregnancy), potentially viewing it as their property
19. Fake Dom
We end with a type of dom that many don’t consider to be a real dominant. You see, a fake dom is all about getting their needs met without caring about their partner or taking the responsibilities of a dominant seriously. Few people would call this dom type a caring dominant.
They may focus on sex more than other aspects of intimate power exchange, ignore safety precautions such as aftercare, expect submission from any sub, and not respect that it takes time to get to know a potential partner, whether you’re kinky or not.
Never ignore these 8 BDSM rules that keep things safe!
A real dom respects safety and your boundaries and understands if you need to take things slowly or want to vet each other before play or getting into a relationship.
Now that you’re more familiar with the different dominant types, which one do you think suits you or would make a good partner? Perhaps you’re more than one type of domme or you don’t really see the type of dominant you are on this list, and that’s perfectly okay! After all, BDSM is all about creating the experience you want! Remember that existing terms change and new ones pop up all the time.