|In the terms of BDSM scenes or interactions, a bottom refers to the person who takes on the submissive role for the duration of a scene. This term is associated with being on the receiving end of bondage, discipline, and sadism. (Note: this term has significant connotative differences from submissive or slave.) They may be involved in such acts as bondage, flogging, humiliation, or servitude from the top.|
The term originates from a more general use of the word, especially among the gay male community, to mean receptive partner. See bottom (sex) for this meaning.
A bottom is not necessarily submissive, and vice versa.
At one end of the continuum is a submissive who enjoys taking orders from a dominant but does not receive any physical stimulation. At the other is a bottom who enjoys the intense physical and psychological stimulation but does not submit to the person delivering them.
It should be noted that for bottoms who are not submissive, the bottom is most often the partner who is giving instructions — the top typically tops when, and in the manner, requested by the bottom. Failure to choose a trustworthy top can be very dangerous (see safeword), and even a trustworthy but overzealous top can inflict severe pain or injury by failing to pay attention to the bottom.
In BDSM sex, some partners switch roles from one encounter to the other, depending on mood and preference, a practice known as switching.