FA 023 BDSM Roles Demystified

Feral  Attraction
Episode 23 - BDSM Roles Demystified 06/14




  • These are archetypes; your relationship role will likely have some flexibility (not like selecting your class in an RPG)

  • Feel free to call your partner whatever makes the most sense within your relationship

  • Remember to ask, “What does that mean for you?”

Dominant Roles

  • Dominants

    • Catch-all term for those who like to be in charge

    • Asks self, "What would please me now?" and makes it happen.

  • Master/Mistress

    • Receive complete control over the life of their submissive (usually, a slave)

    • Power exchange is more extreme than a mere dominant, usually 24/7, and in all aspects of the submissive’s life (except for negotiated exceptions)

    • Responsible for perfecting their submissive and creating a safe and stable environment for submission

    • May have connotations with old-guard Leather community

  • Daddy/Mommy

    • Dominants who take on a caretaker role, seeking to guide, instruct, and shape their submissives (often boys/girls)

    • More caring approach to domination

      • Focus is on positive reinforcement, less on punishment

      • Iron fist in a velvet glove

    • Often pairs well with ageplay or intergenerational relationships

  • Owners

    • Take 24/7 responsibility for a submissive (usually a pet)

    • Mix of traits of the Master/Mistress and the Daddy/Mommy

  • Brat Tamers

    • Dominants who enjoy working with bratty submissives (often, brats)

  • Primal Predators

    • Dominants who enjoy the feral aspects of sex and enjoy acting on feral instincts, such as biting, scratching, and vocalizing

    • Tend to be less interested in bondage and toys

  • Trainer

    • Dominant who enjoys breaking in a pup

    • Often hands a well-trained pup off to a Handler (or becomes a Handler)

    • Similarities to Daddy, Brat tamer

  • Handler

    • Dominant who handles a pup

    • Tends not to display canine traits; is otherwise similar to an Owner/Master

  • Alpha pup

    • Dominant who handles a submissive pup while also displaying canine traits

    • Similarities to Owner, Trainer, Master, and Predator

  • Sadists

    • Enjoy inflicting pain (consensually)

  • Bondage top

    • Likes to tie up and restrain partners

Submissive Roles

  • Submissives

    • Catch-all term for those who like to follow

  • Slaves

    • Give over full control to a Dominant (usually, a Master/Mistress)

    • Power exchange is more extreme than a mere submissive, usually 24/7, and in all aspects of the submissive’s life (except for negotiated exceptions)

    • Have few limits; their mind and body are mere resources for their dominant’s use

    • May have connotations with Old Guard Leather community

  • Boy/Girl

    • Mix of submission and childlike innocence / freedom from adult decision making

    • Can be a bit of naughtiness / sexual curiosity / shyness

    • Seek nurturing and guidance (often from Daddy/Mommy)

    • Often pairs well with ageplay or intergenerational relationships

  • Pet

    • Gives 24/7 responsibility to a dominant (usually an owner)

    • Mix of the traits of the slave and the boy/girl

  • Brat

    • Naughty submissives

    • Tease and disobey in order to experience punishment/correction

    • Still ultimately submissive

  • Primal Prey

    • Submissives who enjoy feral aspects of sex

    • Like being chased, subdued, bitten, scratched

    • Tend to de-emphasize use of toys / restraints

  • Pup

    • Submissive who takes the role of a puppy or dog

    • Like being handled, crave the headspace of a pup of being affectionate and receiving attention

    • Often does not focus on humiliation

  • Masochists

    • Enjoy having pain inflicted on them

  • Bondage bottom

    • Likes to be tied up / restrained

Relationship OTPs

  • Dominants with submissives

  • Masters and Mistresses with slaves (also brats, boys/girls, pets)

  • Daddies/Mommies with boys/girls (also brats, pets)

  • Owners with pets (also brats, boys/girls)

  • Brat tamers with brats (also boys/girls, pets)

  • Predators with prey

  • Sadists with masochists

  • Bondage tops with bondage bottoms

What am I?


  • Hello. I've recently started dating out of the fandom (which is the first time in a while) and I met this really nice guy. I really like him, and we've been dating for a little while but I think he doesn't like furries. I haven't told him that I am one and I am scared about what he might say/do when I tell him. What approach should I take when telling him? Also, do you have any advice about how I can educate him on what exactly a "furry" is?

  • Received via email (name withheld)


Meow! I’m a lion from the UK. And I have an interesting life, with a homophobic mother, single parent, trans mate, and many close furry friends. I like your site and podcast, but I find that names, and categorizing a relationship can be trapping sometimes. I have a few friends that I love in different ways. All of which are different. And while clarification about your relationship is important, as well as good communication with all involved, I generally feel putting yourself in a box is a bad idea. (Unless it’s cardboard, that’s the best XD). The same for my orientation.

I don’t have any questions,

But thanks for the podcast. Keep up the good work ^3^


Labels should be a conversation starter and not the end of a conversation and should also help with finding common ground as a communication heuristic

With labels, always ask "What does that mean for you?"

Aesthetic and Identity: a label is an aesthetic, whereas your identity is entirely separate and self-determined


  • Next week’s topic: Kink Fantasy vs Reality (and how to talk about kinks with your partner)  

Metriko Oni

Metriko Oni is a former government environmental disaster mitigations expert with a focus on outreach, education, and policy writing. He now works with computers. He has been active in the fandom since 2013 and has been an advocate for transparent lines of communication. His interests include philosophy, media, futurism, and speculative fiction.