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Individuals who can change between top/dominant and bottom/submissive roles—whether from relationship to relationship or within a given relationship—are known as switches.The precise definition of roles and self-identification is a common subject of debate within the community.
The abbreviations "sub" and "dom" are frequently used instead of "submissive" and "dominant".
Sometimes the female-specific term "domme" is used to describe a dominant woman, instead of the gender-neutral term "dom"; both terms are pronounced the same when spoken.
Given the wide range of practices, some of which may be engaged in by people who do not consider themselves as practicing BDSM, inclusion in the BDSM community or subculture is usually dependent on self-identification and shared experience.
and is interpreted as a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism).
BDSM is now used as a catch-all phrase covering a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures.