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Femdom Pet Peeve: Submissive Men, Topping from the Bottom

By Ms. Courtney of Cock Control

What is "Topping from the Bottom?"

Topping from the bottom is a related BDSM term, meaning a person who's to be dominated (the submissive, or "bottom") but simultaneously directs the "top" (or dominant) to do it according to their wishes.

"Topping from the Bottom": Two Schools of Thought

In the BDSM community, there are, in essence, two approaches to addressing this phenomenon. One is very extreme, in that it is seen as totally unacceptable, and, if permitted, then the Master or Mistress is deemed not worth his or her salt. As one submissive admitted, "The only way to avoid topping from the bottom is to find a top who won't let you do it. If your top lets you get away with it, so that you find yourself forced to prevent it on your own from happening, that in itself is topping from the bottom." This extreme view of "topping from the bottom" works both ways. There are Dominants who will not tolerate any such behavior. As one Dominant suggested, "Just tell your slave 'You can walk out on me any time you . Other than that, you can't say no.'" He goes on to say, "With an edgy rule like that, there's no topping from the bottom. The power dynamics get interesting. It's fun to push your slave's buttons, perhaps get him a little scared or angry. Make him do things he doesn't like. Get him angry, scared, and aroused. Then take him hard." Yet another dominant deals with topping from the bottom in a similar way, "I will allow you to crawl out as far on that limb as you , just know that eventually, I will shake the hell out of it." This kind of extreme domination sans communication can lead to topping from the bottom at best, or to the very demise of the submissive and/or the relationship at worst. This radical, nonsensical intolerance is often a symptom of a syndrome called "Top's Disease" which is explained in-depth in the book Consensual Sadomasochism, by William A. Henkin, Ph.D., and Sybil Holiday, CCHT. The site, defines "Top's Disease" as "An unwarranted attitude of superiority taken by a dominant. Believing that bottoms are somehow inferior and treating them so in either obvious or subtle ways. Usually a sign of insecurity or ignorance."

Communication, Context and Timing: A Recipe for Avoiding "Topping from the Bottom"

In order for a pure power-exchange to take place, there must be clear communication and an opportunity to establish ground rules for both the top and the bottom. Every person has limits--tops, bottoms and vanilla folk alike. While it is the job of the top to push the bottom past his limits, often this can lead to disastrous results without good communication. Just as important are the timing and the context of such communication. As one Mistress put it so aptly, "I'd lose all lust and focus and concentration if a sub decided to start "hinting" mid-play with me, just when I was getting into it. But if he talked with me about that fantasy, that idea, in general, 'Hey some time this might be really exciting,' over a meal some time or while cuddling, then I am free to take the idea, mull it over, and take ownership of it by doing it on my time, in my way, and with my flavor." She goes on to say, "If he brings that up right in the middle of something {a scene} I am doing, for me, it tweaks my "femdom" rush -- it's the emotional/sensual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard."

Tools to Avoid the "Topping from the Bottom" Phenomenon

Many Mistresses have an initial meeting prior to working with a submissive in which they establish one another's s, needs, desires and limits. As one Mistress quipped, "I met a fair number of sincere submissives who didn't know what they ed. Oh, they had ideas, but it was a chicken/egg issue: 'I don't know what's available, I have things that are in my fantasies, I don't to top from the bottom, I to be assertive, she's the Femdom so I can't tell her what I and I'm not sure what's even available.'" Her approach is to meet with her potential submissive candidates at Starbucks. During the first coffee meeting she draws out three columns on a napkin:

1. Things I really to do.
2. Things I am not sure I to do.
3. Things I absolutely will not do.

In this way she is able to determine, given the submissive's secret fantasies, what it is that he hopes to gain in their sessions. In addition, she is able to determine if he is a good match for her. Often times, she says that she must suggest different kinks, play, scenes, and such. She says that many novice submissives have no idea what is out there and available. This process is very revealing--his eyes and body language speak volumes regarding his receptiveness or repulsion when presented with different BDSM play ideas. She further adds, "It's too bad that more submissives can't have those discussions with responsible experienced folks." She makes a very compelling statement, "You can't order from a menu written in a language you don't speak."

Jumping into a Dominant/submissive relationship without this kind of discussion is like taking a trip without a road map. It can be exceedingly frustrating, and unappealing for a Mistress to hear a potential submissive candidate say, "I will do anything to please you, Mistress." Oftentimes, those candidates are politely walked to the door. However, those submissives who welcome and engage in a healthy discussion regarding the path forward, even if that means saying, "I'm not really sure what I ," are far more likely to be chosen as a BDSM play partner. As one Mistress explained, "'I at least have a place to start; I can ask, 'OK. Does X sound more appealing to you than Y? How about Z, does that have any appeal at all?'" With the submissive who "just s to please you Mistress," she adds, that's about as useful as being told, "Oh, yes, Mistress, I to go on a journey, to whatever city you like, without a roadmap, and I don't care by what mode of transportation -- but I better wind up liking it when we finally arrive there."

There is a wonderful tool available online, called "The Submissive BDSM Play Partner Check List." This questionnaire was developed by the late Tammad Rimilia, a pioneer of the BDSM community, who wished that this list be part of the public domain. This checklist can be found at Similar to the Starbuck's napkin technique previously mentioned, it is an extensive list of potential scenes and play, commonly used in the BDSM community.

One Dominant uses index cards with his submissives in order to keep them from "topping from the bottom." He says, "My playmates are allowed to write play suggestions/desires down on index cards and place these cards in their own special "rewards" boxes. When my playmates highly please me and during special occasions they are allowed to pick one or more of their suggestions from their own special "rewards" boxes. When really outstanding in their play performances they are allowed to peek at their cards in order to pick out exactly what they rather than the usual random "draw a card, no peeking" method." This is very clear cut and creative way to make sure that the submissives' needs and desires are met, without allowing him to direct the scene.

Topping from the Bottom—Conclusions

While some Dominants are highly intolerant of "topping from the bottom," many define it as honest communication and negotiations, to find what works for both parties. As one Mistress agrees, "My style of topping and domination includes open communication and negotiations with my partner as to her likes, curiosities, dislikes and range of limitations and consensuality; I have one Dom colleague who thinks if a bottom is allowed choices that is allowing topping from the bottom. And, it can be fun to allow a bottom to negotiate provided the top retains final control of the play." If you follow the logic that the Dominant is always in control, then topping from the bottom is impossible by definition. If the bottom is engaging in certain behavior it must then therefore, be acceptable to the Top. One bottom even went so far as to say, "If your top is unable to prevent you from doing whatever it is that you are doing then he is not the top, you are. So you are actually bottoming from the top."

Tops and Dominants are not clairvoyants or puppet masters. As one Mistress added, "They are, however, people who can and do administer consequences for incorrect behavior. But the bottom/sub is still ultimately responsible for their own behavior. The idea that bottoms cannot top from the bottom is ludicrous. Dominants are not omnipotent. I agree that if a top does not recognize and call out inappropriate behavior, the bottom has no way of knowing that they're doing something wrong. But once they are made aware of that, they are responsible for changing their behavior or facing the consequences." She goes on to say that, "Every sub will try to top from the bottom at some point. Guaranteed. It's part of the sub getting their emotional needs met. They're checking to see if you love them enough to yank them back into line. And let us not forget, that every now and then, strange as it may seem, bottoms have good ideas."

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