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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Topping from the Bottom vs. Needs

Omega came to me before leaving for work yesterday and told me to have the draft of my assignment ready last evening before bed and if it met with his approval, I could finish it up and post it today. I agreed and asked if there was a particular subject. He explained that he wanted me to post about the differences between expressing a genuine need or desire and topping from the bottom.

My first thought was, does he think I do this? Try to top him from the bottom? Me? Yes, my slave insecurity came bubbling to the surface. Omega reading my expression kissed my forehead but said nothing more just that he'd see me when he got home from work and told me to have a good day.

Have a good day? Now? I went about my morning chores and then left for work myself pushing, for then, the topic out of my mind. Yet, throughout the day if I passed Omega's office I would think about it. Seriously, was this post about me? I needed assurances from him it wasn't. I wasn't getting anything. Suddenly I had this thought, was my needing assurances from him topping from the bottom?

I regret greatly that when we first began I did a good deal of topping from the bottom in this relationship*** see note at bottom***. Not telling Omega about my issues surrounding sex was the reason, but fear was the motivation. Fear and lack of trust on my part. Anytime I freaked out over something I was in fact telling to him to stop, and topping him from the bottom. I wasn't happy and I think he was very confused by me. I would hide my lack of arousal by lying and using KY jelly, another way of topping him from the bottom. Whether or not my fears were valid, or my need to self-protect was well founded is irrelevant.

It's a conundrum with no clear and well-defined answers. Topping from the bottom is more like an emotional response and something I think we're all guilty of from time to time. When you moan like a whore because you love the what your Master is doing, it's a form of topping from the bottom, as is being silent when something is going on that you don't enjoy. Those are very subtle and mostly forgiven because we're just human.

But it can be a greater problem when a sub or slave withholds her submission. For example, if we're in the middle of play and Omega brings out the violet wand, and I safe-word because I simply don't like it; I'm withholding my submission from him. Or in other words, I'm not trusting him. I have no "limit" regarding use of the violet wand, I just don't like it or I must be in the right frame of mind to accept it. If I'm truly afraid of being injured then that's a totally different issue, however if I'm just not in the mood to accept it, I am topping from the bottom.

So, what if I have a need or desire to have done to me? Like what cutesypah would call a maintenance spanking or in my case a whipping how can I make that known to Omega without topping him from the bottom? Or if I just need to be held and talked to gently?

My problem is with the former, I don't always know or understand what I need--I don't see those signs that I need to be whipped or I feel neglected that way. I get upset easily over trivial matters, and blow-up, because the chicken is dry. If allowed to continue, I will act out until I'm punished for it (yes, getting the whipping). Thankfully Omega reels me in long before that happens. He will instantly diffuse the situation by putting me in my place normally by telling to be still. If it continues then he will simply dismiss me, possibly for the entire night which for me, also means not being held. Yes, I might get that whipping I was craving but it won't be the way I want it. It will be done in a cold manner which leaves me feeling sad, or emotionally distraught afterward.

If I understood it, I could go to him, ask permission to speak, and try to explain it to him and leave it to him. Which is generally what I do when I need to be held or cuddled outside of our bedtime cuddles which can be brief. That need I address very clearly, and very often he will agree to it. Sometimes he doesn't though and I have to accept that rejection.

I think from my own experience, topping from the bottom to me shows a strong lack of trust. I need to trust more that Omega has my best interests at heart, but that doesn't mean that the real world can't get in the way. It doesn't mean that he can't become distracted or forget about my needs. After all Masters are only human too. I have to approach it in a non-confronting way and let it drop. For us it starts with a permission to speak, it is a clear signal to him that I need to talk about something lifestyle related. I must then wait for permission to be granted, which might not be right away; I need to be patient and not pester him. Once in a great while, he's actually forgotten that I needed to speak with him. Normally though when we go to bed, we'll start talking, and I'll ask him again for permission to ask him a question or talk to him about something lifestyle related. I'm careful not to make to demands, or structure the sentence so it sounds like that. It might just start by pointing out how busy he's been lately and see what his reply is. Generally he knows what I'm thinking if I mention that. I find he'll direct the conversation either toward or purposely away from it. He might ask if I'm feeling neglected, which I'd reply yes. He might after that say something like soon or for me to be patient. Or he might just say, "good."

However during that conversation he will not remove himself from me, he won't roll over and put his back to me (he never does that unless I've made him angry). He will continue to hold me which in some way lets me know that everything is okay or will be soon. If I continue after that to pester him about it, then a case can be made that I'm topping from the bottom, however, if I show patience and understanding I'm generally rewarded. I have to trust him, I must trust that he hasn't forgotten about our talk or that I need to be whipped hasn't slipped his mind.

Generally speaking he understands my needs before I realize I have them which seriously keeps my need for that behavior which he says is highly unbecoming, a slave under control.

***After reading selkie's excellent and well-written post Leap- Protection, I have to say I'm not sure if I was actually topping from the bottom as much as I was self protecting myself from what I perceived as harm.***


  1. ahh, the big fear - like yourself I DREAD becoming one of those "submissives" that are actually tops in sub clothing. But frankly, from what I've read (obviously I don't "know" you-but based on your insights and words that you've shared)- I think it highly unlikely you would do this - quite frankly, anymore than I do.

    Although now you have me thinking ... passivity I suppose COULD be interpreted as a signal... but I guess I think of topping from the bottom as more proactive, i.e., the acting out you mention to get a flogging or something similar.

    but one thing which resonated was flesh on flesh - I NEED touch. D. was just pointing that out the other day- without it I wither.

  2. Like I wrote I think we all do it to some degree, and mostly those small instances are normally just let go.

    Yup I need touch everyday too, and when Omega withholds that as punishment I go crazy.


  3. Thank you, that was enjoyable to read. Your insights are very much appreciated.

  4. I'm a curious why in all the things I have read about topping from below it always focuses on the sub. By that I mean you may only top from below if I as the Dom relinquish some control. Therefore it would seem to me that topping from below is a Dom issue.

  5. Mouse,
    I am trying hard to wrap my head around a lot of these things. I really like your explanations - somehow in trying to reason things out for yourself, you manage to express things in a very concrete, comprehensible way.

    I do have a question about part of this post. I understand that "topping from the bottom" is a form of manipulation. Certainly giving someone feedback, explicit or more subtle, about how you do or don't enjoy what they are doing to you is a form of manipulation. But isn't some feedback essential, and wouldn't it be dishonest to not give any feedback?

  6. kitty--Thanks

    J Sir-- I think that's partly true, but also if a sub/slave should use a safeword as way of topping from the bottom, could you as a Dom just say too bad?? Or would you stop that type of play. Which is why I gave the example of me when Omega brings out the violet wand--it would be so easy for me to just use the safeword, and yes I understand that would cause other issues with trust, etc., but that's what topping from the bottom essentially is. It's about I want this but on my terms.


    Absolutely feedback is important, and yes like I wrote some forms of topping from the bottom is very subtle, like moaning like a whore...and those are easily forgiven. Omega doesn't really see that as me trying to direct things as much as he sees that I'm really enjoying something. Now if he stops doing that pleasurable thing and I turn cold because I didn't want it to stop...that's a problem.

    I always talk to Omega after I've recovered from a scene and tell him what I loved and sometimes didn't like about it. Now that doesn't mean that he will ONLY do things that I enjoy because he's got this strong sadistic bent, but I will accept what he decides.


  7. I've always been told that topping from the bottom is a very deliberate thing. It's just an attempt to control the situation. Maybe sometimes it's done out of fear, but can that really be considered topping from the bottom... or is it more self-protection?

    I think all sub/slaves are going to attempt it at one point or another, especially in the beginning of a relationship or when you take your submission to a new level. It's just a way of testing boundaries and as far as I'm concerned it's a perfectly normal human thing to do.

    So I agree with Sir J... if the sub/slave gets away with it then it's the Dom/Master's fault. I've attempted it, and I never got away with it, so it stopped really fast. And to be honest, it gave me a sense of security in a weird sort of way. I think I would have been greatly disappointed if Master did let me get away with it.

    Sometimes when we're just goofing around, I do it on purpose, but that's just to get a laugh. I still don't get away with it, but we both get a good laugh and it's good stress relief. :)

    I don't feel that reacting to pleasure by moaning or whatever is topping from the bottom. I know my Master loves it when he elicits those responses from me and then uses the situation to try and make me blush by admitting that I'm enjoying it (I have issues with accepting pleasure too... like it somehow makes me a bad person).

    Now if you're purposely moaning even though your not enjoying it just to get something from him, that's a completely different story.

    And it's the same with sharing what you like and don't like... if you're doing it with the intent of just sharing the information for him to use as he sees fit, that's not topping from the bottom. But if you're doing it to "direct" him, then you are.

    So I suppose the bottom line is it's not the action or behavior that determines whether you're topping from the bottom, but the intent/reason behind it.


  8. spirited one,

    Topping from the bottom, I think, is a more of a submissive issue. If it does happen in a M/s or TPE type of relationship, then I agree the dom is to blame.

    So, again, what is a sub uses a safeword when it's not really needed? Should the dom decide that oh she's just playing? And ignore it? Or would should he err on the side of caution and stop the play?

    The moaning is a much more subtle and normally not reacted to unless they stop when the Dom stops.

    **********I guess I also need to say that I don't actually do any of this with Omega because one it could damage our trust, and two because he'd never let me get away with it. He is well aware of where my limits are and is moving forward in demolishing all of them.************


  9. I never really considered the safeword issue. I suppose because I would never consider using it in that kind of way. It's the whole "cry wolf" thing. It would break trust and I can't bring myself to consciously do anything that would break trust with Master.

    I think my issue there would be fearing to use it because I'm not sure WHY I wanted to use it... if I ever felt compelled to do so.

    So yeah, I can see how in that way it would be the subs fault. I mean, it would be reckless at that point for the Dom to make an assumption like that and continue just because the sub might be playing. I just honestly never looked at it in that way.

    But like you said... if in the way the sub gets away with doing things like that, then it is the Dom's fault she gets away with it.

    Thanks for pointing this out to me... sometimes I have problems seeing things from the point of view of others when in my mind... I would never do this, so why would anyone else? It's a bit naive I suppose, but I'm weird that way.



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