I am a Switch, something I am perfectly happy and comfortable as. However, this particular orientation seems to cause confusion and claims that switches cannot be happy in long term Dominant/top or submissive/bottom roles neither can we be authentic in those positions (an argument that has been made directly to me).
What is a Switch? A Switch is a person who can engage with either top/Dominant/Master or bottom/submissive/slave positions. The degree to which each Switch can engage and embrace these positions varies between individuals. I think some definitions are required at this point, at least, how I define these terms.
Top and bottom. These are physical positions. A Top applies sensation to the bottom. These positions have nothing to do with power exchange and a Top can be submissive to the Dominant bottom. For example, a male sub may pleasure his female Dominant by bringing her to orgasm with his mouth, thus applying a sensation to his Domme, but in no sense has the power exchange been affected. Top and bottom scenes usually involve some form of sadism and masochism, but not always.
Dominant and submissive are positions within a power exchange relationship. The Dominant takes a leadership role and the submissive acquiesces to the Dominants lead. This power exchange can take place for the duration of a scene, at particular points in a relationship or be 24/7. D/s is completely separate from sadism and masochism and its incorporation into the dynamic depends on individual choice. Negotiation is a key part of the D/s dynamic.
Master and slave (I am being non-gender specific here, Masters can be male or female) dynamics take the power exchange to another level and are usually 24/7. M/s is a subset of the D/s dynamic and the positions are Dominant and submissive, but instead of solely relating to the relationship between the two individuals, the Master also takes on the position of mentor, teacher and guide, controlling all aspects of the slaves life that He/She wants and needs to control. M/s relationships may or may not involve a sexual component/attraction and range from married couples through to a power exchange relationship where there is no sexual interest from either party. There is often a contractual agreement between Master and slave that is periodically renewed and protocols that reinforce the dynamic.
How can a Switch be drawn to any one position? Would we always not long for what we do not have?
I can only speak for myself and from what I have observed in others. It comes down to communication. I don’t think that any one person can fullfill the needs of any other, which is why we have friendships and close relationships with more than one person. It may be entirely possible to find a partner that would also want to switch, or find a partner that is ok with having open or some form of poly relationships, the latter being my situation. It may also be possible that the switch can be happy in a relationship with one dynamic and gain satisfaction from job or activities with friends or casual scenes. The switch may not even need to express the other side of themselves. One thing that is clear, communication about desires and a ruthless honesty with oneself is necessary for both sides of the partnership, in that way everyone is informed and can make the best decisions.
Can we be authentic in any one particular relationship position? Yes, absolutely. In the same way any individual can be authentic.
What determines what position we make take?
This varies, I think, but for me the side of the dynamic depends on the interaction I naturally have with any particular individual. That is the best way I can express it. It is not something I deliberately chose, with some people I naturally am more submissive and with others I am Dominant. I do not switch with individuals, once the dynamic is in place it does not change. I cannot submit to someone I feel Dominant towards, but I may be able to bottom to them.
In our lives we all take on numerous roles and have a variety of relationships. I think it is almost impossible to find someone who is a slave to everyone they encountered or is Master to everyone they encounter. We all have bosses that we must obey, with the consequence of losing our job. If not bosses, there are law enforcement officers, medical Doctors, flight attendants, security guards all of whom we must obey. Parents cannot be submissive to their children, at some level they must take charge. It is no different to how I perceive more intimate relationships. Some people will only accept the dynamic in one direction for their romantic relationships, and that is their choice. If the preferred dynamic is not in place they are not interested. Others, us Switches, are comfortable with either dynamic in our personal lives. It does not mean we are less a sub/slave/bottom or Dom/Master/Top than anyone else. We are just happy either way.
Skeptical kinkster musing on whatever takes my fancy!