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What’s a Switch in Bed? Don’t Make Me Choose, I Want It All!

What is a switch in the bed? Switches take on many roles. Top, bottom, Dom, and sub — there’s more to these bedroom transformers than meets the eye.
Editorial team
June 3, 2024
June 22, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Wondering what a “switch in bed” is? Let’s head to the “library.”

In her 2007 treatise Blackout, Dr. Britney Spears, PhD, provides a textbook example in her enlightening anthem, “Gimme More.” If you aren’t sure what a switch is — sexually or otherwise — look no further. Just as that bad bitch Britney sings, being a switch is about getting (and giving) more. From the top, the bottom, or the side — if you’ve got their go-ahead, put them in a crazy position.

Or let them put you in a crazy position. Or a little bit of both. Being a switch is all about all of the above. Some people prefer Domming or subbing; switches love a little bit of everything and enjoy it from every angle. 

What is a switch? Sexually flexible!

Put simply, a switch is someone willing to be submissive or dominant during sex (usually not at the same time). Now that you’re primed with the basics, let’s go deeper. 

First, “switch” isn’t a sexuality or a strict sexual preference, but it does communicate something about how one prefers to have sex. A switch’s desired role may depend on their mood or the sexual situation. They may even enjoy changing roles mid-fuck. Sex with a switch is many things, but it’s never dull.

Often, switches are also very attentive sex partners and get a lot of pleasure from satisfying their sexual partners. Switches can certainly be selfish, but it’s generally a green flag.

Like gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, and drink strength at various gay bars, switch sex also exists on a spectrum. Some days, they might feel like a bratty bottom. Others, like a soft Dom top. They may lean toward one role but mix things up on special occasions. Regardless, if you find yourself in bed with a switch, it’s unlikely things will get boring anytime soon.

Switching and BDSM

Like so many other fun terms, we have the BDSM community to thank for the term switch.

We know there’s a lot of terminology to keep track of in the world of gay sex, so here’s a primer for the uninitiated: In the BDSM or kink community, Doms are dominant people who like to take control during sex, and submissives (or subs) like to be controlled. The Dom/sub relationship dynamic is more formalized and nuanced than many people realize, making it even more impressive that some people can do both.

One day, a switch may want to tie you up and show you who’s boss. The next day, they might ask you to punish them for being so bold. Like other roles in BDSM, a switch isn’t limited to one sex position; anyone can Dom from the bottom or sub from the top. It’s all about who’s holding the power. How do you figure that out? With communication and explicit consent.


Switch vs. vers

You may have heard switch being used interchangeably with vers. So, what’s that all about? Is being a switch the same thing as being vers? Not exactly.

“Vers” describes a person who is willing to top or bottom during sex. They’re happy to give or receive a pounding. For gay men, that means penetrating or receiving penetration.

Can you see where the confusion comes from? Many associate bottoming with submission and topping with dominance, meaning switch and vers sound like synonyms. Although some switches might also be sexually vers, it’s not a blanket one-to-one crossover.

Confusing these terms can perpetuate misleading generalizations — namely, gendered ideas about sex that don’t apply to LGBTQ folk (or open-minded heteros). There are lesbian switches, bi switches, queer switches, top switches, bottom switches, and yes, even straight switches. The LGBTQ glossary is vast, but knowing these terms is essential.

Turn on or turn off: Am I a switch?

If you’ve made it this far, chances are you’re a little switch-curious yourself. The good news? It’s never too late to find out. The even better news? The only way to find out is to try it. The best news? You try it out by having sex. 

If you think you might be switchy in the top/bottom way (aka vers), you can obviously experiment with a partner, but(t) toys are also a great option. Have fun, get to know your body, and figure out what feels good.

If you think you might be switchy in the sexually Dominant/submissive way, find a partner you trust and start experimenting with what feels good to you. Maybe you’ll figure out you’re definitely not a switch or that certain kinks aren’t for you; that’s OK, too! There’s no shame in knowing your sexual preference and sticking to it. But if you want to expand your sexual horizons, get out there and explore. 

It helps to call ahead: Communication for switches

Whether you’ve always known you’re a switch or are just dipping a toe in and starting to explore, the most important step is communicating openly and honestly with your partner(s). Surprises during sex can be fun, but only if they’re within the bounds of an agreed-upon, consensual scenario. If you’re unsure how to broach the topic, here are a few helpful tips: 

  • Make time: Conversations about sex, especially involving kink, can be interesting for couples. Ensure you have ample time to talk so no one feels rushed. 
  • Come from a place of abundance: Sometimes, people interpret a desire for change or sexual exploration as a criticism of the current situation. Try starting with an empathetic opener like, “Because I feel so safe with you, I want to try…” or, “It really turns me on when you… Can we…?”
  • Make it fun: At the end of the day, fucking is meant to be fun. Asking for new things in the bedroom is only inviting in more of a good time.

Switch it up on Grindr

No matter your preferred role or sexual position in the bedroom — whether you’re the world’s greatest service top or the best power bottom around — we’ve all got a thing or two we could learn from switches. Change can be hard, but a welcomed change might make you even harder. Sex is more exciting when we’re open to new things — kink or otherwise.

Want to explore a new dynamic? Find the Dom, sub, or switch of your dreams on Grindr. Download the Grindr app and turn on every switch in town.

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