A brief overview of relationship dynamics in the leather lifestyle.
The contemporary leather community has nearly as many relationship dynamics as it has individual members. There are, however, three generally recognized dynamics commonly found in the community. The top/bottom dynamic is often a play-based relationship dynamic. The dominant/submissive relationship dynamic is a relationship of minimal power exchange and constant negotiation. The master/slave dynamic is a power exchange relationship built upon negotiation with consent to the relationship rather than the activities of the relationship. Many relationships in the leather community build on aspects of each of these dynamics and some relationships even progress through the three dynamics in a process beginning with play and ending with day to day relationship dynamics. This progress is not, however, necessary for any relationship. There is no value judgment in these definitions. One dynamic is not better, fuller, or more real than the others. Rather, they are simply different ways to interact.