Bottom topper

The other day, I asked for suggestions as to how Belle could approach her freaky-deaky husband as a woman who did not share or otherwise “get” where he was coming from with regard to his freaky and/or deaky proclivities. I did this for Belle and with her understanding because I prefer to think of this blog as a two-way street where I can dump info but also pick it back up from others.

As I said in that post, the deal was she had tried to do a little sumthin’ for me even though she was tired and probably should have just gone to sleep. I didn’t enjoy it and she figured that out and then we were left with the stale smoke of confusion and hurt feelings hanging over the bed all night.

The prevailing thought of those who left comments seems to be that I, as the submissive side of the couple, was topping from below by 1) saying that I wasn’t enjoying what she was doing, and 2) suggesting that she needed to enhance her repertoire of Thumper-centric activities. I honestly don’t understand that POV.

Let’s assume that I, not really being in the mood for nipple clipping and ball smacking, hadn’t made my discomfort known. Then, let’s assume she escalated the activity to include even more intense play, all the while I was suffering and really not enjoying myself. Then let’s say I was forced to use my safeword. Is that topping from below? Can calling an end to a scene that’s not going well for me seriously be considered the most egregious thing a sub can do?

This kind of thing has happened before.

I understand the position I’m in as the submissive. I get that I’ve ceded control over what happens to her. I like that. But surely I haven’t abdicated all responsibility for giving my partner feedback as to what things I like and what things I don’t. I do intuitively understand the difference between those things that are uncomfortable, painful, and push my boundaries but are still on the right side of a healthy dynamic versus those that aren’t. Is anyone suggesting I should just take it all, no matter how it feels to me?

The other night was just a bad idea. She wasn’t all that much invested in the scene. To me, it felt like she was just going though the motions because she was obliged to do so. That turned me off and made it impossible for me to enjoy it. I know it’s complicated and I know that to Belle this could be perceived as mixed signals. I don’t know what to do about that. I can only say how I feel and trust that we’ll figure it out (as we have in the past).

I’m not writing this post to drop the smack-down on my readers who left their opinions. I want those opinions, even if I don’t agree with them or understand where they’re coming from, because it’s only through this kind of dialog that I can form my own.

12 thoughts on “Bottom topper

  1. I don’t see what you’re doing as topping from the bottom. There is a difference between being honest (“This scene isn’t working, neither of us are in the right place”) and topping from the bottom (“Okay now smack my ass and call me Shirley. Yeah like that.”). Going along with it when you’re not in the right place just ends up hurting everyone more later — I say you were totally in the right.

    This is a struggle my wife and I have too — how do I tell her when I’m not into it (stressed from work, or even just need some non-kink intimacy with her) without making it feel like I’m shutting her down when she wants to play, and how does she tell me she just isn’t in the right place to play without hurting me? It’s hard, that’s why communication in this sort of relationship is so important.

  2. Would you really be questioning yourself at all if you had just had normal plain ole vanilla sex and you wouldn’t have felt good because Belle didn’t seem that invested in it. I think it’s a healthy response to react to the other one’s lack of enthusiasm with cooling down. It doesn’t matter if she’s not really into sadism or topping or what have you, but it should be done in a space that’s similar to sex where both are as enthusiastic, because for you – that’s what it is.

    I have to add, though, that I’ve grown to hate that phrase topping from the bottom. It’s not a crime, you know, and most of the time it only seems to be an accusation of sorts and imply that subbies should never be allowed to ask for everything. And that just goes with the restrictive, poor and pretty deluded idea of submission that you and May are out to break anyway if I understand right. (Not in a mission, maybe, but by showing things through your eyes.)

    Of course we need to communicate about what we need and do so with our partner every breathing second. I like ice cream, too, but sometimes I just don’t want it.

    Also, have been trying to figure out something to help you and Belle, but I’m in the same bind myself, so. Not much luck with that, yet. And by same I mean the difficulty in communication and fulfilling each other’s need just right, not exactly the non-BDSMer thing.

  3. Alright you, you know as well as I do that I very clearly support, in general and very specifically in my response to your aforementioned post, your right and responsibility to communicate, advocate for what you want, and participate in determining what should happen, so don’t even begin trying to position your argument as if I was, or am, in opposition to that.

    I will try to state it again more clearly; you attempting to encourage something in your wife which is incredibly complex and puts her in conflict with societal messages as well as her personal inclination (as you represent it) and what I am telling you is that I can definitely see an angle from which it seems you want your cake and want to eat it too. You want her in control, but you also want to control how she does that.

    Can you honestly NOT see what I am talking about??

    You want her to do these things, but you want her to do them in very specific ways when you feel a particular way about them, and you perceive that SHE is feeling a certain way about them.

    Honestly, I have no pressing concern for you in this situation; I am thoroughly convinced you have the ability to nagivate this and the motivation to do so. You are clearly willing and able to speak up for your self, your enjoyment,your safety, your emotiona well-being, etc. I am not telling you to shut the fuck up, and take what you get. You KNOW that. But from a dominant woman on the outside of this situation I see elements of YOU controlling the situation.

    You do not have to be issuing orders to be controlling a scene.

    If she were to say, “I’m taking that tube off, you get over here, and fuck me as vanilla as June Cleaver, and that is what we are doing all this week.”

    I rather get the impression that wouldn’t really ring your bell, but if that is something she really wants, and you are submitting to her, what then?

    What if she does want to make you earn your steelheart by sexing her HER way for a while. Are you going to dive in?

    It seems like you have some very specific ideas about how this should work, and it’s about what you want more than what she wants.

    You want her to domme you, and you want her to hurt you, but it seems (from here, granted a position WELL outside the situation) that you have a very specific set of criteria about how she should do it and how she should be feeling about it when she does it. I definitely agree that you have rights, absolutely, but, and I say this with some trepidation about how you will receive it, but here goes; THIS dominant, kinky woman reads your blog and can’t help but think, you say you want to submit to Belle and yet when I look through your archive and read your posts I see a lot more evidence of Belle submitting herself to what you want sexually than vice versa.

    1. You very nicely summarized the entire point of my first post on this matter.

      How am I, a man interested in submission and masochism and bondage and all the rest, supposed to express my needs to my otherwise non-kinky spouse *without* being accused of controlling her? I mean, please, tell me because once we figure this shit out we’ll make millions selling the solution to all the other SOBs in my position.

      I totally reject the notion that by communicating to her what I want and how I want it that I’m topping from below. I’m *communicating*. Before I brought any of it up, she had no interest in dominating me, causing me erotic pain, or controlling my orgasms. If all I had said to her was “I want you to dominate me, cause me pain, and control my orgasms” how do you think that would have worked out? Pretty damn bad, I bet. If I don’t plant the seeds and explain how it’s supposed to work, how will she know?

      And I don’t think it’s at all fair to look back and say that her indulging me these things is the same as her submitting to my sexuality. You’re suggesting it’s a zero sum game and if she does what I want then she’s not really topping me. Remember, *none of this was her idea*. She does it because it makes me happy. The very foundation of our dynamic is based on the fact that she’s just not wired the same way I am.

      Also, I think there’s a difference between tactics and strategy. The tactics are “I like to be hurt thusly”, “I like to be tied up like this”, etc. The *strategy* is all in how she brings those things to our relationship. Frankly, she sometimes phones that in (like the other night because she was tired – it would have been better had she done nothing). I don’t want her to tactically engage with me (clamps, slapped balls, etc.), I want her to be invested and interested in the bigger picture. To feed me emotionally as well as physically. But by even asking that am I controlling her actions?

      So my question remains. How does one help an otherwise non-kinky woman do that? And, based on your POV, am I even *allowed* to be part of that conversation without being accused of trying to dominate *her*?

      Do you not see the circular logic here?

      1. I am having the experience I pretty much anticipated in my opening remarks. You are responding to my remarks again as if I somehow encouraged you to marginalize yourself, your desires, and all you hold dear, WHICH I AM NOT DOING.
        It feels like we would benefit from a little exercise in, “This is what I hear you saying.”

        I very much get the impression you are refusing to understand what I’m saying and just want to continue banging away on your theme without acknowledging there is value to what I’m saying.

      2. This is what I hear you saying:

        THIS dominant, kinky woman reads your blog and can’t help but think, you say you want to submit to Belle and yet when I look through your archive and read your posts I see a lot more evidence of Belle submitting herself to what you want sexually than vice versa.

        I think that misrepresents our relationship and our mutual motivations.

        We will have to agree to disagree.

      3. Thumper, at no time did I attempt to represent or misrepresent your relationship or motivations AT ALL. I shared a personal impression. You may certainly disagree with my thought on that, but again you have pushed what I said toward a straw man position, and not acknowledged ANY possible validity to what I’ve said.

        Maybe I am being too roundabout so I will briefly state the things that are important to me as bullet points;

        1. I am far more concerned about how Belle feels about the scene from the other evening, especially the aftermath than how you feel about it. Validating your right to be heard is actually less important to me (you certainly seem to have no problem exercising it) than validating Belle, her burgeoning domme tendencies and skills, and her right to screw-up on occasion as she figures this out.

        2. I am NOT asking you to agree with me on this, I just want you to HEAR ME, there felt to me as if there were an undertone in your first post of, “Tell me how to fix my wife.” I give you credit as a good-hearted sub so I will assume that was in NO way your intent, nevertheless, I reacted to that perceived message. I reacted by saying in effect, Fix your own damn self.

        Now, again, I am less interested in how you feel about that than how your wife feels about it. If I thought that, who gives a fuck, I’m some random chick on the internet, but if that same feeling was engendered in your wife, you probably need to do something about it.

        3. I would have preferred that our exchanges felt less like debating and more like a conversation. I keep pointing out that I am agreeing with you on certain important topics and you keep positioning yourself as if I am not, additionally, it feels like you are making a concerted effort to ignore any validity to my position. I don’t understand why you absolutely will not consider the possibility that your situation has a complex power exchange which can very easily NOT feel as if it is inherently weighted in Belle’s favor.

        I am not trying to insult you with that observation. Teaching someone how to do something and coaching them along in that skill, etc. puts an uneven power exchange into play. It is not a flaw in you for that reality to exist.

        It is my opinion though, that by denying and therefore not compensating for that power imbalance the possibility exists that your situation has an added level of complexity. Was that too long to be clear?

        Summary; I’d love to have you acknowledge that you wield a fucking TON of power in your dynamic with Belle and with great power comes great responsibility so in the future you are going to post blog entries to ask for suggestions about how BOTH OF YOU can meet each other’s needs.

        4. I will shut up now.

      4. Validating your right to be heard is actually less important to me (you certainly seem to have no problem exercising it)…

        I get that, but this is *my blog* and, since she doesn’t feel like writing on it much, you’re going to hear a lot more from me than you will from her. That doesn’t mean, in real life, that she’s sitting in the corner while I bark her domme marching orders at her. In real life, we do the best we can to have an even exchange.

        There felt to me as if there were an undertone in your first post of, “Tell me how to fix my wife.”

        My original suggestion to Belle was that *she* come on the blog and avail herself to the audience here (much as I do on a regular basis), but instead, *I* came and asked the question for her. I am NOT trying to “fix my wife”. She’s not broken.

        It feels like you are making a concerted effort to ignore any validity to my position.

        It’s hard for me to see past the bit where you accuse me of topping her and dominating our sexual relationship. I think you’re perspective is not like ours. I would guess you’ve never had to draw someone into BDSM like I have (though obviously that could be a misinterpretation) and, even if you did, you’re coming the exact opposite place than I am.

        I don’t understand why you absolutely will not consider the possibility that your situation has a complex power exchange which can very easily NOT feel as if it is inherently weighted in Belle’s favor.

        To the contrary, I consider that all the time. I’m always skirting the line of being too specific and directive while still trying to let her do her own thing. It’s the most challenging, most frustrating part.

        It is my opinion though, that by denying and therefore not compensating for that power imbalance the possibility exists that your situation has an added level of complexity.

        I don’t deny it. I do think you don’t give me enough credit, though. Your perspective is colored by *your perspective* – who you are, what you like, what you’ve experienced, etc. You tell me how we can remove the “added level of complexity”. I think that’s just part and parcel of what we’re trying to do.

        I will shut up now.

        Me too. I may be a sub, but I still like to get the last word! 😛

    2. I’m commenting on this thread for several reasons:

      1) The evens feel very familiar and similar to experiences I’ve had in the past,

      2) From Thumper’s description of Belle, she and my beloved are cut from very similar cloth,

      3) I think DD made some good points and from what I read in the exchange, it didn’t look like Thumper got them.

      My beloved and I are on our third (or maybe it’s our fourth) try at this. Early on, on one or two occasions, I had much the same reaction that Thumper did. I was pretty conflicted about it (as he seems to have been). But it was an indication that there were serious communication issues in the relationship, which ultimately led the kink part of it to fail. That’s said from the rosy standpoint of a person who’s just gotten in to a position to try this again, and who does not want to repeat the errors of the past, so apply whatever discount factor you feel appropriate.

      DD is right that there’s a lot of complicated power stuff going on here. Explicitly, Thumper wants to cede power to Belle. Implictly, she’s only doing this because he wants her to, and her groping towards a good sense of what he wants may not match what he wants in the moment.

      Personally, I think communcation is key here. And that communication will be facilitated if you unpack what you want. Without reading through from the beginning of the blog (though I think I have accompanied it from the beginning), it strikes me that there are several related dynamics going on here: chastity & orgasm control, sensation play (to use a less loaded word than masochism), and control/submission. Though intimately related, these are different things. Depending on what you think you’re doing, and what Belle thinks she’s doing, very different behaviors are appropriate.

      If it’s all about sensation play, then saying “Hey, that isn’t working for me” makes perfect sense. If it’s all about submission, then feedback-wise, I think you’re limited to “That feels ….” and it’s up to Belle to decide if that feeling is what she’s looking for.

      Finally, my beloved used to moderate about 150 mailing list. One of the first things she discovered is that clipping out passages and responding to them is not a good way to have a dialog. It leads to shouting matches, which, sadly, seems to have been what happened between Thumper and DD. I’m sad about that because I value Thumper’s voice, and that’s not typical of what I’ve read over the years. But it makes me believe that this is a rather emotionally charged issue.

      I’ve probably waded in way further than is appropriate, but hey, it’s the web — hit the “Next” button….

      Jamie

  4. I think every relationship has its own recurring issues.

    And I’m sure everyone has, at one point, tried to do something solely to please their partner and found it to be a catch-22 of sorts. If we don’t make any attempt to please, our partner is upset because they feel rejected, neglected, or denied. If we do attempt to please in spite of not being “all there,” our partner is upset because we’re not “all there.” The partner’s frustration is valid. However, the resulting catch-22 is valid as well.

    I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I’ve been upset with my boyfriend for being “not in the mood” for what I wanted. Then, when he’s tried to oblige anyway, I’ve still been upset with him for not demonstrating the requisite enthusiasm. Poor guy. Nothing he could’ve done would’ve made me happy. Likewise, I’ve also had times of sluggishness and disinterest in sex that have created tension and frustration no matter how we’ve tried to resolve them. It’s part of being human, I guess. Part of being in a relationship. My boyfriend will never be perfect, and neither will I.

    That doesn’t mean we don’t work to improve things, and I’m not implying that those issues are the same for everyone. As you’ve pointed out before, I don’t know Belle. And I don’t know you.

    From my own experience, though, I’ve found it helpful to work toward disconnecting my happiness from my boyfriend’s behavior. Even as the domme of my relationship, I’ve accepted that control of another person is impossible. Not that this absolves either of us of our mutual expectations, or the need communicate our desires. I’m not saying that at all.

    Just this. Issues, big and small, will always be there. That’s life. And, at the end of the day, no matter how dommely I am, the only thing I can ever *really* control is how I respond to them. And even my ability to do *that* is far from perfect. My attempts, however, have certainly contributed to my emotional wellbeing. If that makes any sense.

    In much fewer words, what I’m trying to say is thus:
    1. acceptance of mutual imperfections
    2. commitment to a mutually satisfactory compromise
    3. willingness to tolerate and work through setbacks in said compromise
    4. maintenance of personal happiness and wellbeing regardless of external factors

    Just my $.02, as well as my own daily struggle. For what it’s worth. When I’ve managed to get the hang of it, however, my sense of emotional freedom has been unparalleled.

    …Until the next argument. 🙂

  5. What advice to give to Belle-
    The point of the exercise, besides your enjoyment of these particular acts, is to help focus your sexual attention on her and to keep her sexual attention on you and active.
    Therefore, glossing over what particular acts didn’t work, they didn’t work because you felt that her attention was only partly on you, and mostly that she was doing this out of a feeling of obligation.
    That she was willing to do this for you, even when she wasn’t really in the mood, is a great step forward. For Bell’s denial to be a tease, she has to be doing it on purpose, not just because she forgot to “water the plants” as it were. That she thought about what you have liked in the past, and tried it again shows that she has paid attention, and is willing to do for you what you have liked, however odd or uncomfortable it seems to her.
    It’s not the actions, it’s the attitude.
    What you want is for Belle to feel actively engaged in your sex live-both as Thumper’s sex life and as the one you share. All (all, I say, from the comfort of my keyboard far away) she needs to do is think about how she can maintain the level of attachment to your shared sex life that you need to feel safe in her attentions. (If her denial is part of your sex life, then her denying you is NOT her ignoring you)
    Some of the conflict I read about here comes along when you feel much more invested in your shared sex life than Belle. What can she do to make you feel secure? Even without the kinky stuff, feeling your partner is only performing out of obligation is no fun.
    Perhaps you can work on feeling secure enough that Belle can relax about whether or not you’re ok, and behave as she honestly feels-ie, going to sleep instead of thumping on you.
    We’ve all tried to do something nice and special for a partner, only to have them say “umm, no.” It’s going to happen. If the ensuing conversation can be about just that incident-you had a headache, she was distracted-and not about the whole relationship, then you can just go to sleep and have fun the next night.
    As for Belle feeling like she’s in this strange bizarre world all by herself-there exists a community where she could get some insight and advice and support.She has chosen not to avail herself of any of that. Perhaps identifying as one of those kinky people is still confusing and weird to her. But she doesn’t, in point of fact, have to doing all of this blind.

  6. “To me, it felt like she was just going though the motions because she was obliged to do so.”

    How did you turn your and Belle’s relationship into one where one person is obliged to do whatever? Rather than, at any time, both being free to choose what they want to do sexually and not do?

    How can you change this?

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