For me, sexuality has four distinct aspects, and I can combine those aspects in almost any way. I am dominant and I am submissive and I am sadistic and I am masochistic, and all these things are true.
I can be a sadistic top, and I’ve come to realise recently that many of my fantasies are not in fact submissive, they’re sadistic dominant – they’re just based on the receiving character because I love reactions, the reactions are the hot part.
I can be a masochistic submissive. We all know what they are.
I can also be a masochistic dominant and to some extent usually am. My neural wiring is such that some sensations which are techically painful are also intensely pleasurable to me. That fact is a constant and in my case is what masochism means – some pain is pleasurable, in its own right. So even when I”m topping, those kinds of pain are fun and with my boy I’m pretty shameless about that. There’s been times when I’ve been domming him, and there’s been no doubt that I’m in charge, but I haven’t tied him up because I want both his hands free for scratching with. If I were playing with someone for whom forceful application of their fingernails to my back could not be a submissive act then I wouldn’t require them to do it, but I have no automatic link between masochism and submission.
I can also be any of those four things on their own, with one exception which I’ll come to later. Sometimes I’m submissive, in that I want the power exchange and I want to obey and I want to be restrained but I don’t want pain. My headspace at that moment doesn’t mesh with being hurt, but I want to submit. Conversely, sometimes I’m dominant, but I’m not feeling sadistic. I don’t want to hurt you, I just want you to do everything I say.
Sometimes I’m masochistic and that’s all I am, in that I’m not interested in a power exchange. And those can be really lighthearted and playful sessions because there are no roles being played. It’s more like my boy is giving me a lovely egalitarian massage, only he’s using a belt to do it. That tends not to be sexual for me. I’m not horny, I don’t want to play with power, I just really want to be hit with things. So I’m just feeling masochistic.
The one automatic link I do have is between sadism and dominance. If I am going to hurt you, then I am going to hurt you either because you are mine and you will do as I say, or because you can’t stop me. I can be dominant without sadism, but I cannot be sadistic without dominance.
The one combination I cannot make sense of in my head is sadistic bottoming. I cannot figure out a way to make that work. Masochistic topping, sure, bring it on, because for me enjoying my own pain is a purely sensation-based thing, it’s got nothing to do with power, but enjoying someone else’s pain? That’s got power woven right into it and I can’t be sadistic without also being dominant.
In conclusion, I can seperate out four distinct strands of my sexuality and enjoy them seperately or in any combination, except for the dominant nature of sadism. That’s how my sexuality works, and that’s why I identify as a switch.