If you read last week’s blog, then you learned about how to be a great bottom. In honor of reciprocity and equal responsibility, this week’s blog will be on How to Be a Great Top! You will find the similarities astonishing.
Like the term “bottom” and “submissive” people conflate the terms “top” and “dominant” – which are distinguishable terms. The noun is a “Top” and the verb is “to top”. These are terms originally derived from gay male culture that connote a sexual positioning preference, generally meaning the one who is the giving partner (as opposed to bottom, see last week’s blog post), and for our purposes today indicates the person giving physical sexual/BDSM activity. A Dominant is more of a service-oriented directive position that may or may not be fully a Top. I, for example, am a little bit of a switch, and I am mostly Top and Primarily Dominant. For the sake of our discussion here, we will focus on the term and our meaning of Top.
The 10 ways that I have focused on are not necessarily in order of priority, although I have identified what I believe to be the logistical order of what needs to be in place for another aspect to occur and so forth. So, without further ado, here are 10 Ways of Being a Great Top!
Be Active/Assertive. I know, I know, this seems like a no brainer, especially given what I said above, but the reality is that some people who self identify as tops simply are not very assertive with the bottom. This is not to say that Tops should be scary, aggressive assholes, but that they need to show, at the very least through words, that they desire activity with the bottom. Actions also can speak louder than words, especially if there is overt consent.
Know What You Want. Sometimes Tops get so excited to be playing with fresh meat, they overlook the obvious, be sure you know what type of bottom you want to play with: a pet, a toy, a slave, a masochist, etc…or some combination thereof? Need to to learn more? Try reading “The Topping Book” by Dossie Easton.
Know your Limits. Tops need to know just how far they can go safely and readily without causing harm just as much as bottoms do. What if the bottom has more experience and you go to try one of the intense forms of play they desire, but cannot “go there”? The Top has every right to call their safe word and stop the scene.
Be Communicative/a Clear Negotiator. We use the term “negotiate” a LOT in BDSM, but you will not be able to negotiate without having the above qualities intact. Communication, whether through words or bodily expressions, is key to insuring a great play for all/both parties. Starting with a discussion around your and your bottom’s desires will help find parity, boundaries, and potentially deeper hotness. Continuing to communicate throughout the scene and following up will continue the dialogue and help create even more intimacy!
Be Present. After all of the above, you may be ready to start the play! Part of communicating and continuing negotiating without stopping scene is to be fully present and closely observe your bottom’s responses and reactions. If you are both new to play, you will want to go slowly enough for check ins but push enough to potentially hit a safe word. There’s no shame in hitting a safe word. It gives you both a compass from which to work. And not everyone plays exactly the same way all the time.
Be Consensual/Ethical. Consent is a term that is widely bandied about in BDSM, and it can be very difficult to determine where that edge of consent/non consent lies sometimes. Luckily, if you are fully engaging in the ongoing negotiation process with your bottom, it should be clear where you may bump up against their limits in healthy and sexy ways and where that edge of consent is simply “no”. NO means no, right now. So back off or stop whatever you’re doing when the safe word is called and move the scene into another direction. If the scene must be stopped, stop it.
Have a Sense of Humor/Be Compassionate. So the scene did not go as planned. You didn’t get what you thought you wanted or the bottom is not happy. Either way, shit happens. Find it within yourself to laugh at your faux pas (provided no one got unerotically hurt), and have compassion for yourself and your bottom. We are humans. We make mistakes. Admitting to the mistake and even having a bit of fun around it is so much more sexy than pretending nothing happened or haranguing yourself or your bottom for not doing what you wanted is not. Disclaimer: I am not advocating for abuse here. As I stated above, consent/non consent can be difficult to determine at times. Be honest and open in your communication. It will all work out!
Be Adventuresome/Change it up. Sure, I had to give you all kinds of warnings, before I then say: Push ahead! Take risks! Have Fun! The truth is, most bottoms do not want the same ol’ every time they play, and if they do, they are not playing with personal growth by bumping up against discomforts as much as they’re looking for a bit of fun. Know the difference and know how to continue to feed your creativity and enjoy the play. Change it up a bit!
Take Care of Yourself. You want your bottom in good health and, although healthy is a relative term, being the best you can be indicates that you know how to look after yourself and have more energy for others. Part of being a great Top means that you don’t act out of anger or fear, that you are in check with where your emotions lie for the most part and that your health is the best it can be and you insure your bottom is safe as well.
Find Community. Being kinky can be scary and being a Top can be isolating (we’re supposed to know it all!). You need to find resources in order to not feel lonely or isolated. BDSM has definitely exploded since the advent of the internet and the results of spreading the word that many other kinky people exist is comforting. However, I also suggest you seek out resources outside the inter-web. Staying online for cybersex or internet porn can lead to more isolation and disillusion around what real BDSM looks like. If you want to start online perhaps try a social site like fetlife.com or a politically groundbreaking site like http://makelovenotporn.com/. To go further, BDSM and kink classes may exist in your area, do a search for that! You may also be surprised to find a public place space that you can go to find like-minded people. Also, you can seek out professional assistance by working with a kink/BDSM coach or provider. Do your homework first and make sure they’re reputable. Finally, if you do require a kink aware professional in the realm of mental or psychological help please check out TASHRA.org or the NCSF.org website for professionals who are aware of, and possibly even practice, kink or BDSM.
Being a Top does not mean being a domineering tyrant. It’s a great way to practice your mental and physical BDSM skills while deepening connection with your bottom. It’s also a wonderful place to practice compassion for yourself and for others. Like any personal growth process, being open, honest, flexible, and communicative helps you better explore yourself as the beautiful “work in progress” you are – so that you will have the confidence to go out to the world and find others who will want to play with you and continue to grow!
Domina, Presenter, and Kink Coach, Eve Minax delights in proliferating carnal knowledge. She acts as Lead Staff Instructor for the Cleo Dubois Academy of SM Arts since 2002 and has exercised her pedagogical skills at a variety of conferences around the United States. Minax is a certified Sex Educator (SFSI), Urban Tantrika, and Bondassage Practitioner. Among other distinctions she recently co-authored “Bondassage: Kinky Erotic Massage Tips For Lovers” with Jaeleen Bennis. Previously, she wrote a regular column and hosted a kinky video program on Carnal Nation. Minax works consistently with SeriousBondage.com and self produces her own videos. Other studies include an MA in Cultural Studies focusing on Sexuality, NLP, NVC, DBT and she speaks French fluently. Always exploring, Minax maintains a loving and extended leather family throughout the world. You may find more information on her websites: eveminax.com, mistressminax.com, and you can follow her on Twitter and on Facebook