Advice - Relationships

You Don’t Have to Bottom

You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want. No one should ever be pressured into an act or course of action. No one should be manipulated into being bound, hit, called names, dress a certain way, act a certain way, at all. Ever. Don’t do it.

Without out consent, the freely given, enthusiastic, “I really want to experience this” kind, you are abusing. It is assault to hit someone. It is false imprisonment to bind someone. It is coercive control to emotionally, socially, and/or financially make someone do anything demeaning. Don’t do it.

In a conversation with a friend today, we discussed if a “good top” has to experience bottoming to be “good”. There is a prevailing thought in rope (and kink) communities that to be a good top, you have to bottom. To be a good dominant, you “should” submit, even. These are the alarm bells that go off in my head when I hear this:

  1. Telling someone they have to experience something they don’t want to get something they do want is dysfunctional. We need to learn, but only within what we feel comfortable in doing. Peer pressure of this sort is abuse.
  2. Even if a person experiences rope or kink on their body, it provides a limited amount of information on how it will be on others. Not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Everyone experiences rope and kink differently, so it risks a false sense of security to think a switch is better informed, when they might not be.
  3. That type of thinking is passing a value judgement to people that do not bottom. It suggests that there is a hierarchy of what “good” is. It is not our job to judge other people. If you don’t like that someone doesn’t bottom, then don’t tie or play with them.
  4. Switches need to accept bottoms and tops exist. Some people do not, and may never, want to top or bottom. That is fine. We should be celebrating who they are, not shaming them or judging them as less “good” for who they are and their preferences.

For sure, we can learn a lot from bottoming. I know self suspending has accelerated my rigging skills and appreciation for those that bottom for me. But, and this is a big but, I would never want to pressure someone into bottoming for me. I would never encourage someone to try something completely off their radar, especially if they have drawn that boundary. Respect people’s boundaries and thank them for their communication of it.

If someone wants to bottom for educational or experiential reasons, it needs to come from them, not a dysfunctional cultural thought that “you’re only a good top if you bottom”. No. You don’t have to bottom.

Cover image: self tie and photo by Dea Nexa, using red jute on velvet boots.

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