The Gender Gap

BelasariusIn my safe word survey I asked people about their attitudes to various things BDSM people like to do. This article isn’t about safe words, it’s about the different dynamics men, women, tops/dominants, switches and bottoms/submissives have. or, at least, it is about the results reported by the people who responded to the survey.

The first chart, “the gender gap“, shows broad differences in approach to BDSM by men and women. What I did was take the score for “essential to me” (see Background, below) and subtract from it the score for “I don’t do this”.

The 524 men and women who responded to this were, clearly, different. For example, women (surprisingly – at least to me) were much more likely to characterise sex as “essential” than were men.

The_Gender_GapMen are slightly more into the physical elements of BDSM (Pain, Bondage), whilst women revel in control, service and ritual to a far greater extent than men. In fact the men who responded actively dislike ritual – something a few women find essential to their dynamic.

Women had negative scores for both humiliation and exhibitionism – some men find humiliation essential.

I found it interesting that more men than women said they found fetish essential. I associate fetish with dressing up and thought that more a female thing. I may enquire more.

How orientations shape dynamics.

The next two charts are specific to gender and show differences in approach to BDSM according to whether the respondents were tops/dominants, switches or bottoms/submissives.


It can be seen that, in many respects, males and females in the same orientation group have a similar outlook on BDSM. There are differences of course. Male tops/dominants have more interest in physical BDSM than do women Рand female submissives and switches are much more interested in sex than dommes. Male tops/dominants are more interested in sex than their female  counterparts.


Control is interesting too: Switches of both sexes and male bottoms/submissives have a moderate interest in control, whilst For female bottoms/submissives, and tops/dominants of both genders it is the characteristic seen as most essential out of them all.


In this case the charts are based on data from 524 people.

The question asked them to look at each of these things:

  • Pain
  • Bondage
  • Humiliation
  • Exhibitionism
  • Fetish
  • Sex
  • Ritual
  • Service
  • Control

And then asked them to rank each of these as follows:

  • Essential to me
  • Important to me
  • Neither important or unimportant
  • I dislike this
  • I don’t do this

To make the data in this article as stark as possible I only used the “Essential to me” and “I don’t do this” scores.

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