"HARNESS" column for Beefyboyz.com - March 2004
What's the difference between a slave and a bottom?
"I met a hot Top in a leather bar and offered to be his slave for the night. He replied: 'Don't you mean bottom?' What's the difference?"
There are no hard and fast rules for the titles we give each other during leather play. If you meet someone who is happy to call you "slave" for the night there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you haven't found the right partner yet then there are some generally understood definitions on the leather scene which might help you while you are cruising:
There is no value attached to these titles: it is no better to be a MASTER than a DADDY, or a TOP than a BOY. The key thing is to understand what you are, describe yourself honestly and try to find someone who is looking for what you have to offer. That way you are not leading someone on by claiming to be something you're not - and hopefully you'll have more successful sex as a result!
- SLAVE - someone who is extremely submissive and wishes to enter a relationship where they have no say at all, other than the choice to terminate the relationship and walk away. Slaves (or "collared submissives") usually wear their Master's collar as a sign of ownership and may have signed a contract specifying the length of time the relationship will last (usually months or years). Any negotiation about limits is done before the contract is signed. Very few people are true slaves and if you wish to pursue this lifestyle you will need to know what the local laws in your area have to say about it.
- BOY - this is someone who wishes to be submissive in and out of the bedroom, but not to the point where they have no say at all. Instead, the relationship between a Sir or Daddy and his boy is similar to mentoring. One day the boy may have learned enough to become a Sir himself. A boy can have more than one Sir, (for instance if the boy regularly spends time in different cities), and Sirs can have more than one boy.
- BOTTOM - someone who is submissive during sex, but probably not at other times.
- 'PUSHY BOTTOM' - someone who claims to be submissive, but actually attempts to dictate the way the scene plays out. It's not usually a compliment to be called a "pushy bottom" unless that is what the Top is looking for!
- VANILLA - someone who's not into SM sex at all.
- SWITCH/ VERSATILE - someone who can be both Top and bottom.
- TOP - someone who is dominant during sex, but probably not at other times.
- 'SERVICE TOP' - someone who is allowing the (pushy) bottom to lead the scene.
- DADDY/ SIR - if you identify as a Daddy or Sir then you are probably dominant the majority of the time. "Sir" is a slightly confusing title, because it can also be used on the leather scene as a mark of respect towards anyone who is older, more experienced or more dominant than you.
- MASTER - a very dominant Top, who is looking for (or owns) slaves, collared submissives or a "stable of boys" etc. In the Master's household his word is law and there is no answering back or negotiation.
Have fun, and look after yourselves and the people you play with.
International Mr Leather 2003