*Switch: A person who vacillates between dominant (I’ll also use topping) and submissive (bottoming) roles within relations.
So at the GRUE (conference/event), one of the most engaging things to me was a conversation about switching. It was looked down a lot, kind of the way bisexuality is at times: being too flighty to pick a side or not really knowing which side to choose rather than a valid choice and natural instinct.
In my new state, a lot of people identify as switch, by far the majority from what I’ve observed. Once in room full of people, the presenter asked how many identify as a switch and everyone but the presenter raised their hand. It’s a bit odd, but at the GRUE it made for an excellent conversation. Such topics were:
How do you switch with another switch? My ex husband and I were both switches (to an extent, he was always a service top if he topped). Our dynamics were always very clear to us – there was no mistaking our role for whatever the occasion – a very strange and special knowledge of knowing each other so intimately. He would voice if he needed me to top him, otherwise the dynamic was he would top me. At times we would go for more of a primal, fight to be on top, role but that was even clearly telegraphed in an unspoken manner between us.
In speaking and listening to others at this conference, I realized just how rare and special that dynamic was as there was little conflict in just knowing what the other wanted and being so attuned as to grant it.
Mr. Texas and I are switches, and while we haven’t been together nearly as long and are no where near as attuned to each other, the agreement is for the most part he tops. We do have a few of these complications that others discussed of two switches being together; for example, sometimes it’s unclear who wants to bottom – I top far more than I ever did with my ex. We will also sometimes switch mid scene. The rule that is keeping us the most satisfied in this dynamic is regardless of who is on bottom at first, I cannot go from bottoming to topping. I just cannot get my head space right to submit and then dominate, whereas he can because he can only take so much pain, which brings me to my next topic that was discussed…
Many of them had triggers that would flip the switch. This shocked me to hear, as many of them discussed how mid-scene they would grab the implement they were being hit with and hit the person topping them. I have never felt this urge, it would not even occur to me. To me, that’s a consent violation unless it was agreed upon. I addressed perhaps a need to disclaim that in part of the negotiations to my fellow switches, as a collective group we were trying to come up to some solutions to some of the issues of being a switch.
Mr. Texas and I, prior to the GRUE, did not switch mid-scene. He would ask me to mid-scene after he topped me for awhile, but I always declined (again, can’t do the head space) until we came the agreement that the order could be reversed (I could go from top to bottom). What began as a negotiation and honest communication with what made us tick has worked to our benefit, as Mr. Texas doesn’t necessarily have a trigger that makes him flip roles – it’s more of a pain threshold that he can no longer tolerate but doesn’t want to call an end to. I am really having fun exploring my more sadistic side with Mr. Texas in a way that was unforeseen, but Mr. Texas is not a masochist (we both love each other’s reactions in this dynamic) so once he’s done but too stubborn to color, he simply grabs me and flips me under him, often with a hand around my throat – a simple and consistent action that always gets me in a submitting headspace.
What I have also discovered since the GRUE is that Mr. Texas does have a sensual trigger that makes me want to top me: when I am not obviously topping but being more playful, I will sometimes straddle him, tease him with my body, have the tip of his head right at my entrance and deny him, press my breasts against his chest, and nip at his neck. It’s really the nipping at his neck that triggers him, his moans turn into growls and he begins to grip and grab at me to position certain ways. This tends to turn into a fight for top but only briefly (nowhere near the savage intensity my ex and I played at, which I am fine with).
What’s the difference between switching and bratty.
*Brat: Within the BDSM lifestyle, the term brat is usually applied to a person of a submissive nature who acts up or causes trouble in order to attract attention. This is generally frowned upon as it is classed as topping from the bottom and trying to control the situation.
I am not sure if the group ever could clearly define this question posed. Bratty also tends to have a negative connotation in the BDSM scene. I know that I am not bratty with Mr. Texas (except once when he asked for a picture while he was at work), but that I was occasionally bratty with my ex husband. Bratty is almost a challenge in my mind and Mr. Texas is new to this role so I try not to challenge him as he needs to gain confidence in it. I was a brat with my ex whenever I wanted his attention, most often when he would tie me and was more focused on the rope than me – a common occurrence. I have not been bratty to The Wanderer – again our dynamic has always been firm in roles, though I am playful at times to get him away from his serious nature, but never in a challenging way or to gain attention. I don’t know if I will be clearly defining the difference but switching is a role and bratty is a mood to me.
The need to address the things done incorrectly. How we know both sides of the coin and will invariably meet up with people that we’re more knowledgeable but will bottom for. It’s somewhat inevitable that the longer someone is in the lifestyle and educates themselves, that they will know more than the person topping them. It’s the case with Mr. Texas, as he knew nothing so I topped from the bottom as I taught him (which wasn’t the case with everything, some things he just instinctively knew), and I teach him what I do know. Sometimes it’s with demonstrating on him, sometimes it’s talking him through something, and sometimes it’s going to educational events with him. Regardless, it revolves around honest and authentic communication – something anyone with any amount of knowledge should do with the person they are engaging with.
*Terms defined by Urban Dictionary