“Me and my husband are in a open relationship going on 8 years now. We met a guy who introduced us to the world of BDSM. He wanted a Dom and I did have fun playing the part. But the problem is I keep wondering what it would be like to be a sub. I seem to always be the guy in control during sex or relationships but I have recently been fantasizing about being controlled by a strong man. Can you be a part of this community and flip flop like that?”
The term for people who play both sides of the Dom/sub fence is “switch.” A switch will have the skill and knowledge to be on either side in the scene. The side they choose usually depends on their partner at the time; other times they will seek out specific partners that will fulfill the side that they need to express at any give time.
Usually when you are in a long term relationship with someone who has an established role, you tend to engage most often in the complimentary role. However, there are always exceptions, some established submissives have been known to demonstrate their abilities as Dominants when they are introducing new submissives to the scene, or playing with a dedicated submissive. I have also noticed a phenomenon that I call “Situational Dominance” wherein a group of submissives form a pack, a group, or a club and in the absence of a dedicated Dominant or Top, they will take turns topping each other.
None of this should be confused with a Dominant who chooses to assume the bottom role in a scene to gain first-hand knowledge of the bottom’s perspective to become a better Top in that particular scene, or with a particular set of skills.
There are some traditionalists who believe that once established, a leather person’s role should not switch. While we have an obligation as members of the community to respect the people who say “My role is Dominant, and I don’t switch” or vice versa; we also have an obligation to recognize that the role “Switch” is a valid form of self expression.