The Switch. Adding this component into understanding of the community is often similar to adding a dose of confusion or chaos. In addition, many within the on-line community have chosen to malign people who identify themselves as switches and they tend to be made to feel uncomfortable within the two easily identified groups of Dominant's and submissives. This is unfortunate and very wrong. When any group becomes polarized or elects to ostracize or exclude people who express themselves differently they inevitably weaken the whole. Being a Switch does not make the individual any less a member of the community.
There is some evidence that the Switch community may actually be the largest and fastest growing segment of the community. It is true that within the real life community that a large percentage of both Dominant's and submissives have at some point switched orientation. There is also a tendency, primarily in the online community, to believe that a Switch is not a Dominant or submissive at all but instead a Top or a bottom. While this is true sometimes, it is not true all the time. In general a Switch can be looked at in three ways.
A Dominant/Switch, a submissive/Switch and a split/Switch. The vast majority of Switches fall into the first two of these three groups. The individual will have a primary orientation of either Dominant or submissive and a secondary orientation of the opposite. This means simply that they tend to express the majority of their personality or aspects in either the Dom role or the sub role.
Many Switches are lifestyle BDSM people with strong belief's, feelings, hopes, desires and dreams, just like everyone else. Often Switches will live with or be happily married to a D/s partner who may or may not be a Switch. They will spend the 'majority' of their time in their primary orientation and the minority of their time in their secondary orientation. In many ways coming to grips with or fully understanding the complexities of living as a Switch is perhaps one of the most challenging tasks in all of D/s. Making sense of the confusion coupled to a desire to belong somewhere forces many Switches into choosing one side or the other. There is a tendency to believe that being a Switch means that the individual has avoided 'being' a Dominant or submissive, that they may be weak, afraid or lacking in personal conviction. As if there is a rule somewhere that says you must be totally Dom or sub or you cannot be part of the community. Choosing or naming yourself something that does not fully address your reality is a recipe for future problems and extensive personal grief. If you attempt to 'force' yourself into 'performing' as just one side or the other then a part of your self will remain unaddressed. Eventually this can lead to bursts of energy release which can be enormously destructive. In some cases the individual may be with a person who believes that their secondary aspect needs to be destroyed. This can lead to language such as 'breaking'.
Attempting to rid a submissive/Switch of their Dominant aspect through 'breaking' is fundamentally wrong. Mental and emotional battery designed to destroy a part of another human is absolutely wrong, cruel, non-consensual and most often reveals weakness within the perpetrator than anything else. The need to 'break' someone is usually driven by 'fear' of that aspect. A Dominant/Switch who attempts to hide or mask their desire and need to occasionally experience the opposite of their Dominant role may actually transfer personal frustration onto the submissive they are with. This can manifest as momentary episodes of lack of control, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and even physical non-consensual abuse or battery. Maintenance of good mental and physical health are essential in preventing these types of destructive events. This is done through healthy choices. It is all about keeping a balance, addressing all sides and attempting to neglect or ignore nothing. Being honest about your needs is essential. Switching from one role to another is not simple. In many ways it can feel like moving from bright daylight into total darkness, everything needs to adjust. Adjustment takes time. And, being able to shift back at will doesn't come instinctively or easily for many people. This is especially true if a person has denied freedom for their Switch side for a long time due to attempts to 'fit' into one of the more acceptable roles. In a sense the Switch aspect can fear future denial and attempt to cling on or maintain itself. Learning how to move easily and comfortably between both roles takes time, a sense of personal understanding, emotional security, and a lack of fear in how either side will be viewed and interacted with by those who are important in the individual's life. Anything which impairs this sense of personal security can make the Switch aspect feel threatened and defensive. It is my personal opinion that all humans have contradictory sides which in most cases they attempt to hide thorough fear of appearing 'weak' or too 'strong'. Failure to be open and honest about these sides leads to secrets, closed communication and feelings of personal frustration. Which can in turn lead to destruction of relationships.
The third type of Switch is a split or neutral Switch. Essentially the individual does not appear to favor either a Dominant or submissive role but can openly and freely enjoy both or express both, also moving between roles with no apparent difficulty. I have found this type of Switch to be far less common. The majority of these types of Switches tend to identify themselves as Top's and bottom's. They prefer to have relationships which are quite similar to standard vanilla relationships in levels of equality and sharing and express their passion for D/s and BDSM almost exclusively in-scene. There are no right's or wrongs to where you may find yourself within the community. Traditionally Dominant's were trained first as submissives in order to show them through personal experience all aspects of the lifestyle. Moving from one aspect to another is not uncommon and many believe that a full range of experience is the best way to learn about your opposite. Living as a Switch brings with it the full challenges of both sides of the coin. Expect to struggle, expect to change more. Enjoy!
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