The terms "top" and "bottom" are also used: the top is the instigator of an action while the bottom is the receiver of the action.
Bottom and submissive are widely used for those partner(s) in the relationship or activity who are, respectively, the physically receptive or controlled participants.
The interaction between tops and bottoms—where physical or mental control of the bottom is surrendered to the top—is sometimes known as "power exchange", whether in the context of an encounter or a relationship.
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.
BDSM actions can often take place during a specific period of time agreed to by both parties, referred to as "play", a "scene", or a "session".