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Switching Roles Within an Established Dynamic

By CAGE Staff​(staff)     April 15, 2023

You're the dominant - and they're your sub. Or maybe you're the slave - and they're the master.

Whatever the case, if you explore the world of power exchange, you and your scene partner(s) probably have established roles. For many couples, that's how their power exchange functions - some people are the established leaders and others are the established followers.

But what happens when you want to try things from the other side?

It's Totally Normal!

First off, it's totally normal to want to switch roles! Humans love novelty, and what's more "new" than doing something you don't normally do?

It's also totally normal to want to try to be in charge of - or experience! - a kink that you don't normally do. It isn't a mark against your domliness - or your submission - that your brain and body wants to try new physical sensations. It's totally normal!

Remember: it's just sensations and they're just activities. Sensations and activities have as much bearing on your ability to be a good dominant or submissive as your preferences for spicy food do.

If anything, think of it as strengthening your partnership. Relationship experts agree that new and novel experiences, undergone as a couple, can help us bond and bring us closer together.

If you needed another reason to try switching...

It Increases Safety

You and your partner can better communicate about any given activity if you're both on a similar page. Think about it: it'd be much easier to have a discussion about what rope bondage you want to accomplish together if both partners know what each tie feels like and how the body will feel while in that tie.

Of course, sensations will vary by individual person, but in general, knowing how things feel to your partner can help with determining pace, knowing how to modify things based on their requests, and more.

So if you're on the fence about switching on a sexual level, consider the benefits from a safety level as well!

Okay, We're In! How Do We Switch?

Talk about Your Expectations

No half-assed negotiations here. Negotiate your scene like you haven't played together before - because you haven't played in these roles before!

This will help you both be clear on your roles. The dominant partner (now the bottom) will know what activities they're going to be experiencing while the submissive (now the top!) will have a general idea of what types of activities they should be performing.

As you both are familiar with aspects of kink, be sure to include any specific requests you have. Maybe rope work feels too complicated for the submissive to want to try, or the dominant is uncomfortable with the feeling of a blindfold over their eyes.

Now is the time to make sure your upcoming switching goes as smoothly as possible, and that best happens with a thorough negotiation.

Remember That Your Relationship Roles Still Exist

The dominant in the relationship doesn't stop being the "dominant" just because they're wrapped in rope bondage. The submissive doesn't stop being the "submissive" just because they're leading around the dominant on a leash.

The physical activities you are doing do not have the "define" the roles the two of you have to one another - but that can be a hard mental assumption to break.

While you're both exploring new roles, consider discussing a few "rules" to put in place to help you both still feel secure in your usual relationship roles. This might look like the dominant being able to "command" the submissive to do something mid-scene - or the dominant being able to control what clothing the submissive wears. This might look like the submissive being able to request the dominant tell them what to do next - even when the submissive is taking charge of the scene.

Think about what would make you still feel comfortable in your usual role - even while doing something new and unfamiliar - and try to negotiate a way for it to be included in your experimental scenes.

Forego the “Scene” Aspect for Awhile

You both might find it hard to get into the "headspace" of an unfamiliar role - and that's okay! You've spent a long time in your established roles, and tossing them upside down can be weird.

Instead, don't worry about the "headspace" for awhile when switching it up. Focus on the activities themselves. Feel free to talk through the activities like your everyday selves.

Not only does this give you a low-pressure environment for learning new activities, but it takes the pressure off of feeling like you need to "feel" like your role. Instead, it gives you a place to explore the sensations, and if you find that the headspace starts crawling in while you do that, that's awesome!

If you'd do it for a beginner submissive or beginner dominant, that's likely a great idea to do here while switching your roles - because you probably are unfamiliar with these new roles!

It Might Be Awkward at First

Do you remember the first time you did kinky things? It might have been hot as hell, but it also probably felt a bit awkward. And that's totally normal! Doing new, unfamiliar things can definitely feel a bit weird, and this is definitely new and unfamiliar.

Add in the fact that you and your partner are used to doing things in a specific way, and you have a recipe for things to feel a bit awkward.

Recognize that it's probably going to feel awkward, laugh about it, and move on. You may consider taking the above advice to forego a “scene” and the “headspace” for awhile to remove additional pressure to be "in character" while you're switching.

Help! I Didn't LIKE Switching!

Okay, you gave it a try - and you really, really didn't like it. However, your partner had an amazing time, and it sounds like they'd like to do this again in the future. I'll admit, that's not ideal, but you do have some options here.

Express Your Disinterest

First off, open communication is a pillar of any kink relationship, and this is no different. You should not be doing things you don't like just because someone else tells you to - and again, this is no different. The first step is to be open about your preference - and talk about why you didn't like it. This can be the first step to changing things around so that you might be more open to trying it again - or at least helping your partner understand why this isn't a good fit for you. It might as simple as skipping an activity next time – or changing where you place the ropes!

The backbone of all relationships is a bit of compromise. We can't expect to get to do what we want 100% of the time (even as dominants!) when there's another person involved in this partnership. Your interests will never be 100% the same.

That is not to say that you should do something you hate. That's how you breed resentment. However, if you're lukewarm about the idea - but your partner is really interested, you might consider giving it a try sometimes as a way to strengthen your relationship and share in something they're excited about. Some ways to help make this more approachable include:

Negotiate a Detailed Scene Outline: I find most bottoms dislike topping because they don't know what to do - and most tops dislike bottoming because they don't have control. If either of those are the case, come together and craft a detailed scene outline. This gives the top a stress-free plan to follow, and the bottom a way to relax because they know what's coming.

Request a Detailed Scene Outline: Maybe you're not really that interested in putting the time in to negotiate in your switched roles. If you're okay with it and your partner primarily has the desire to do it, consider simply asking them to give you an outline of expectations for your "role". This way, you can ensure you're doing exactly what they want out of the experience while minimizing any uncertainty on your end.

Give it as a "Gift": There's nothing saying that you have to switch things up on a daily basis. Instead, you both might consider a swap as a "gift" sometimes. Just like how you might go with your partner to a movie you're not into - or to a restaurant you're not into - just because they want to experience it, you can "gift" your partner with a scene swap on occasion.

Stick to a Specific Activity: There's no rule that says you must include a specific activity (or even a specific headspace!) to your scene. If you liked the feeling of rope - but disliked being "commanding", consider taking out the aspects you disliked and sticking to the ones you did. You can totally tie up your partner while politely requesting they move - or ask your partner to give you the specific way they want to be tied and then simply tying them into that position. You can pick and choose the activities that sound nice to you.

Mistress Kay lives in the world of sexuality and kink. With a house that's quickly running out of space for things that aren't sex books and sex toys, she spends what free time she has writing femdom help articles (, trying the latest and greatest in sex toys, and exploring the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World (

MadamHoney​(switch female)
I think its a good idea to switch rolls from time to time give it that extra spice keep it fresh so nothing feels routine
Jun 16, 2024, 4:33 AM