Top or bottom

top bottom switch

Top or bottom? If your first thought went to what versus who, then you may not know the fun lifestyle of BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sado-Masochism) yet.

In BDSM, just like in any community, there is a hierarchy composed of roles. The two main roles are Top and bottom. In each of these roles there are numerous types. To be a Top, means you could be a Master, Dominant, Owner, Daddy, etc. For every Top there is an equal counterpart. The equivalent bottom types, for the Tops listed, would be: slave, submissive, property, baby girl, etc.

Wonderful, but what does it all mean? In BDSM, there is a power dynamic. This dynamic includes two or more people and is based off an equal understanding of roles. Tops are understood to be in the power position to wield orders, punish or reward as they see fit. bottoms are inclined to meet such demands. In this extensively agreed upon, healthy dynamic, each party is equal, willing and consenting to safe and sane behaviors to be exchanged.

Part of the contract that is drafted between partners, to come to terms on what they will and will not do, is a safe word. This word is unique to each person, cannot be construed as ambiguous (such as stop), and has the full weight to immediately discontinue play between partners once spoken or indicated. The bottom role has the right to utilize their safe word at any time, understanding that it is not to be used as a toy, manipulative tactic, or joke. If done so, trust will be lost and that bottom will quickly turn into the bottom who cried wolf.

Because bottoms have the ability to stop play at any given moment, Tops are limited to play within the bottoms comfort level. Therefore, bottoms truly hold more power than the Tops, despite appearances. This is an easy concept to understand, especially when thinking about the dynamic between Daddy’s and baby girl’s.

Being a Top or bottom is not determinant upon your day to day living. There are several individuals who hold powerful employment positions, but consider themselves to be a bottom role within the BDSM community. A common explanation is, they spend all day telling people what to do. In the bedroom they find comfort and relaxation when someone else takes control and tells them what to do. It takes the thought process out of the equation, lessening the responsibility and allowing an open mental state to experience pleasure.

Whereas, others will demonstrate consistency. Some people are “people pleasing” in day to day life. They constantly seek approval and will continue to do so sexually. The opposite can be true as well. Where someone enjoys control on a continuous basis, both sexually and non-sexually.

Now with a taste and a hint of understanding into the roles of BDSM, I ask again….Top or bottom? If this remains a mystery and you are interested in becoming self actualized, the Counseling Center for Sexual Health (CCFSH) can aid you in your journey. If you know your role and are experiencing difficulty accepting it, CCFSH can help. We look forward to hearing from you.

-Darilyn Shano, M.S., MFTI

Bridging the Gap from Vanilla to BDSM

BDSM blog

Bondage; Discipline; Dominance; Submission; Sado-Masochism. For some these words describe sexual desires; for others a lifestyle. When brought to the root of BDSM there is a definitive power play. It is this concept of power people crave. Our society feeds off of it; whether in the bedroom or at the office. Even the most “vanilla” of couples exhibit a dimension of this play. Example number one: a heterosexual couple; man works, woman stays home. Society deems this couple “normal,” maybe even successful; a couple others should aspire to be. By default, a power play has emerged. The man is the sole provider and the woman is subservient. In this example, we can easily see the role of Dom and Sub. Regardless of whether they are engaging in sexual relations, a dynamic is formed. This style of kink simply defines these roles and adds play to the mix. It is this idea that intrigued the masses. Curiosity did not kill the cat this time; instead it saved Barnes & Noble. By the sheer volumes sold of the novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Barnes & Noble remains in business today. Looks like some people want to replace their skeletons with whips and chains!

You should be aware that, although “Fifty Shades of Grey” appealed to America’s sexual roots, it was not supported by the BDSM community. The number one rule when engaging in this specific type of play is “Safe, Sane, Consensual.” If those rules are not adhered to it is abuse. This number one rule was broken in the very popular novel. Logistics aside, the mass sale of the novel proved a point: That BDSM and what it has to offer is desired by many. But what happens when you want to talk about it? Who do you talk to? How do you even begin? Does a feeling of shame begin in the bottom of your stomach?

It may feel like no one will understand you or that you will be judged but, remember how many people bought the nationwide best seller? You are not the only one curious and there is a safe place to talk about it. Curiosity is perfectly normal and the Counseling Center for Sexual Health has registered therapists to answer any questions you may have.

-Darilyn Shano, M.S., MFTI

© 2016 Counseling Center for Sexual Health. All Rights Reserved