There is a very popular expression in the world of D/s – “Topping from the bottom.” This means the submissive is trying to dictate what the Dominant will do. Bottom-topping is most prevalent in scening. For example, “I want you to paddle me tonight, but do not use the cane!” This approach is classic “topping from the bottom” both in substance and style. The substance is in specifying precisely what the submissive wishes the Dominant to do – paddling, no caning. But of equal import in any D/s relationship is the style. “May this slave respectfully request Master not to use the cane tonight in our scene” would have been a much more D/s-friendly way to make the same request. This gives the Master the option of acquiescing to his slave’s request while avoiding the agita from being “topped from the bottom.”
Often “bottom-topping” is a matter of degree. The use of “green/yellow/red” as safe words in a scene, if judiciously used, is not bottom-topping. But using these colors every few minutes to direct the Top is quite definitely “topping from the bottom.” (Which is why many responsible, advanced D/s couples eschew safe words. More on that in a later article.)
In my opinion, much of D/s is in the protocols. A slave should say “good evening, Master/Mistress” upon the Dominant’s return after work, not “Whassup, Bob/Anna.” Protocol is very important in all walks of life; and it is situation-dependent. Give your friend “the finger” when you are playing basketball, no problem; give the finger to a highway patrolman after he stops you for speeding, different result. Situational protocol is very important in life in general. “You’re stupid” spoken by a vanilla wife to her vanilla husband in a group discussion about politics would not raise any eyebrows; “you’re stupid” from a slave to her Master in a similar discussion at a BDSM party is unacceptable.
In a D/s relationship, a submissive must find a way to communicate needs and desires with the Dominant in such a way so as not to break protocol and not risk the dreaded “topping from the bottom.” In the first “Fifty Shades” movie, the novice “slave Anastasia” was bottom-topping to an inordinate degree. And though many of the “New Guard” Millennials entering the lifestyle do not get too bent out of shape when a hot submissive tops from the bottom, it does take away from the fun of being a Dom/me and a submissive.
I have stated in previous kinkweekly.com articles that when a Dom/me and a submissive first negotiate, the sub is a free agent and not anyone’s submissive. Still, the sub – either by being shy or being afraid of being too “toppy” – might be afraid to make his/her requests known. An effective way to get off on the right foot without stepping on the Dom/me’s toes is by offering him/her a “petition.” Basically, it is a proposal to the Dominant outlining what the sub or slave has to offer and what the sub or slave might want in return. This is not the same as negotiating a slave contract that was awkwardly shown in “Fifty Shades”; it is a good first step to get needs known and avoid bottom-topping. If the Dominant accepts the petition then negotiations as to the submissive’s specific service can begin in earnest.
Here is an actual “petition” from a slave emailed to her prospective Master. (I wonder who that could have been!)
I want to respectfully request that you make me your slave, your cunt, your slut, your hole, to use as you see fit… I wish to give myself over to you, if you’ll have me, to belong to you, to be owned by you, to be used in every way you desire within the limits and play parameters we will discuss…. If you will claim me, I will obey your every whim, desire, or command, hoping only to please you…every part of me, body and soul, will be yours always.
With utmost humility,
The petition could be more specific with respect to limits and other aspects, but this is an alternate way for a submissive to give the Dominant an insight to his/her feelings and needs within the proper D/s protocol.
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.
i just want sub who will follow my directons.
Doug Turnbull aka Lesley Douglass (Penname) says
Respectfully, Sir. If you don’t know as much as possible about his or her kinks, needs, desires, dislikes, and tailor Your own requirements to consider those factors, Your sub will not stay with You long. I know a Dom who imagines himself a “master’s” Master, who has never held onto a sub for more than a few months. In my view, since this is a pattern, His retention problem is more a matter of His own shortcomings, rather than those of His wandering subs.