What is a BDSM test, and what do your results mean?

Bondage and discipline, domination and submission (D/s), sadism and masochism. Over the past few decades, BDSM has become more and more popular. Blame it on 50 Shades of Grey, loosening sexual norms, or horny millennials. Regardless, kinkiness is in vogue. And it’s easier than ever to get started if you’re interested in doing some play yourself.

That’s where a BDSM test comes in. Quizzes, checklists, surveys, and exercises can help you safely gauge your own interests as a play partner. Whether you’re a dominant, a submissive, or something in between, taking a BDSM test will help you on your road to self-discovery.

What is a BDSM test?

Why you should take a BDSM test

Which BDSM Test Quiz declarmat/Shutterstock (Licensed)

Figuring out what you’re interested in is difficult. BDSM quizzes let you think about your tastes and preferences in an environment where you can sit by yourself and think carefully about your desires without pressure. Especially if you’re just experimenting with kink, the first thing you need to understand is yourself. Learning how to tie rope can wait.

BDSM tests also expose you to myriad scenarios involving D/s play, master and slave scenarios (M/s), and fetishes like pet play and watersports. Reading through these scenes and figuring out whether they do (or don’t) turn you on is a great way to better understand your sexual desires. Just remember that you know yourself better than an online test. Don’t let it constrict you.

Which test should you take?

What Is A BDSM Personality Test Aleksandr Rybalko/Shutterstock (Licensed)

The most well-known (and arguably best) BDSM test is called, simply, The BDSM Test. The website has been around for a number of years now, and it’s one of the first online stops newcomers visit to learn more about kink, fetishism, domination, and submission. The test comes in two versions. One offers a full palette of questions, and another is built for a fast, quick result. Users can also choose to skip prompts aimed at dominants, sadists, submissives, and masochists. We recommend taking the full test for the most accurate assessment possible.

There are additional kink and sexuality quizzes out there that can help you round out your kink profile. The Beiter Sexual Preference Indicator, a 90-question sexual personality survey by psychologist and therapist Dr. John Beiter, gives respondents a profile of their sexual roles and how they experience arousal. Dating site KinkMe offers a fast, 15-question BDSM test that lets users figure out what D/s role works best for them. And for subs, Submissive Playground hosts a quick personality test. All of these quizzes are great supplements to The BDSM Test, especially if you feel conflicted with the results.

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What do my BDSM test results mean?

The BDSM Test spits out two different pages: a quick summary of kinks and roles sorted in descending order, and several graphs showing the user’s kink profile. There are 25 personality types and roles in The BDSM Test, split into three subsections: dominant/top, submissive/bottom, and miscellaneous archetypes.

Here’s what the results page looks like when you’re done.

BDSM Test Results Ana Valens The BDSM Test

The PDF version turns these percentages into spider graphs and compares your results to averages among male and female dominants, submissives, switches, and miscellaneous roles. Sadly, this BDSM personality test doesn’t label responses from nonbinary people.

The BDSM Test Results Graph The BDSM Test

The BDSM Test provides a full list of definitions of terms used in the test. While it isn’t necessary to familiarize yourself with all 25 types, here are some the most important terms to keep in mind:

  • Dominant/Dom or Domina/Domme: The person who wields power and control over the submissive in a D/s play scene.
  • Submissive: A person who consensually surrenders some level of power, control, or autonomy to a dominant during D/s play.
  • Switch: A person who enjoys playing both dominant and submissive roles in D/s. Sometimes this involves switching with the same partner, but not always.
  • Total Power Exchange (or TPE): A D/s relationship in which a submissive gives full power and control over to their dominant. This is common in Master/slave (M/s) relationships. TPE is a mutually consensual relationship.
  • 24/7: A form of BDSM (usually associated with TPE) that involves a mutually consensual power exchange that lasts at all times. For instance, a slave who lives with her mistress.
  • Master or Mistress: Definitions vary based on context. These terms may be used as proper titles for a dominant during D/s play, titles referring to professional dominant practitioners, or honorifcs bestowed upon experienced community members. Most commonly, this term is used for a Master in an M/s relationship.
  • Slave: Definitions vary based on context, but slaves are generally considered sexual servants within an M/s scenario (which may or may not involve a TPE).

The closer your results are to 100%, the more your responses match said role. Generally speaking, anything under 50% most likely correlates to a “Maybe” or “No” on your end, while roles with 75% or higher are a good match for your interests.

Granted, BDSM terms are somewhat fluid and have different meanings to different people. One person might identify as a “sadistic top” but prefer using fear, degradation, and spanking to torture their subs. Another may consider herself a “mommy domme” but avoid engaging in ageplay. Some masters and mistresses refrain from total power exchanges or 24/7 play, while others delight in it. Because the BDSM community is wide and varied, every sub, dom, master, and slave will have their own unique relationship with the words they enjoy using.

The most important thing about The BDSM Test is just that: It’s a test. It isn’t a definitive take on what your BDSM interests are like, and its definitions aren’t the end-all, be-all to kink and fetishism. It’s more like a working guideline for further introspection, one that may change over time. So if something seems off, trust your gut. You know what you like best.

Where to find more BDSM resources

Sunstone BDSM Test Reading Stjepan Sejic/Twitter

Thanks in part to its growing popularity, there is an extensive (arguably overwhelming!) library of BDSM videos, books, talks, workshops, guides, and websites out there for newcomers and veterans alike. Start with BDSM Wiki, which offers an extensive 101 section for everything to do with fetishism, domination, submission, and more. The site’s FAQ tackles plenty of difficult topics, and its Best Practices page is a must-read for maintaining safe, sane, and consensual play.

If you’re interested in learning more about dominant and submissive roles, The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy are incredible. For more general kink knowledge, Tristan Taormino’s The Ultimate Guide to Kink is a fantastic dive into all things BDSM. Lastly, for a fictional, realistic depiction of BDSM, consider Sunstone, an erotica graphic novel series following two queer women in a D/s relationship.

Ana Valens

Ana Valens

Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.