‘Topping from the bottom’ is bollocks!

Jun
2010
10

posted by on advice, advice for Dommes, advice for male subs, musing

‘Topping from the bottom’ (TFTB – yes, truly, I am that much of an acronym geek!) is a term used to describe a situation where a submissive attempts to control the play, the dynamic or the relationship from their submissive position.

It’s a common phrase that has been, and continues to be, abused by all and sundry. It has essentially become a term to cover anything and everything that falls under the umbrella of ‘the submissive is doin’ it wrong’. It is even used to describe a submissive’s behaviour when the Domme and sub aren’t even in a relationship yet!

For example, it’s used when:

  • The sub asks for something – Tsk tsk… he’s topping from the bottom
  • The sub turns up late – Oh dear… topping from the bottom
  • The sub angles for what he wants – … topping from the bottom
  • The sub sulks – …topping from the bottom
  • The sub answers back – …topping from the bottom
  • The sub questions a decision – …topping from the bottom
  • The sub negotiates boundaries – …topping from the bottom
  • The sub disobeys – … really do I have to go on?!
  • Etc etc…

The use of the term as a convenient ‘coverall’ annoys me no end (that’s point 1, by the way).

Point 2 is that even if it’s used in the way I’ve defined it in my first paragraph above, I don’t believe in it.

It’s a myth, a made up thing… like fairy dust and unicorns. Worse than a myth, it’s a cop out. For TFTB to work, to be a ‘real’ thing, the Domme has to allow it. If the Domme allows it, they are doing it together, it’s not something *he* does, it’s something *they* do, so theterm TFTB doesn’t make any sense.

That’s it.

I know quite a few of you are reading this and going… ‘… but but… what if…’

Bah. There are no ‘buts’, no ‘what ifs’.

The phrase ‘topping from the bottom’ is a convenient way to blame the submissive for a problem in the relationship, thereby eschewing all responsibility for it as a relationship issue.

Cue a scenario where the phrase is trotted out, and you will see lots of sage nodding and universal agreement that “Yes, yes… well he was topping from the bottom, what can you do with those sorts?!” If it’s typical to form, the next part of that conversation is likely to head into a discussion of his lack of trueness, but I digress…

Submissive_dude suggested in a comment on a previous post where this came up that “perhaps you don’t believe in topping from the bottom because you are immune to it.” He also made a perfectly valid point in that perhaps “it’s simply not possible to top from the bottom when you are at the behest of an experienced top”.

Both of those are true, but my wider point is that as an issue, TFTB is not a meaningful description of what is going on regardless of immunity or experience of the dominant. TFTB can’t happen unless the Domme allows it.

If she allows it, she is complicit in it, so you could just as equally put the blame on her for ‘bottoming from the top’ as on him for ‘topping from the bottom’. Why don’t we have that term? ‘Bottoming from the top’? Oh, right, because TFTB is a nice way to lay the fault at the feet of that pesky submissive. Gah!!!

The reason I dismiss TFTB as a ‘thing’ is because if a Domme thinks she is having a problem because a submissive is ‘topping from the bottom’, she isn’t. She is having a control problem, an obedience problem, a communication problem, a relationship problem, a compatibility problem or some combination of those that they need to address. Labelling it as ‘topping from the bottom’ is truly not helpful because he can’t do that on his own… they both *must* contribute to it to make it real…

TFTB is simply a term that assigns blame and confuses the real issue.

If he’s not behaving in a way that I like, I tell him to stop it and he stops it. If there’s something to figure out, discuss, resolve, we do all that, come up with a solution and then, well, he stops it.

See? Easy.

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