When it comes to activities and relationships in BDSM, it’s common for participants to take on complementary roles that involve power imbalances, making it critical that both partners give their informed consent. The terms “dominant” and “submissive” are frequently used to distinguish between these two types of relationships (“sub”). Both top and bottom are used to describe a person or thing; the top initiates an action, while the bottom receives it. However, the meanings of the terms are slightly different: for example, someone might decide that they want to be the bottom of someone else’s pecking order by being whipped or ordered to massage their dominant partner strictly for recreational purposes without any psychological implications. The bottom does the work, and the top gets the reward, but their roles haven’t necessarily switched.