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

Thought Stopping Techniques

Thought Stopping Techniques


Thought Stopping

The only way to ensure that a thought won’t lead to a relapse is to stop the thought
before it leads to craving. Stopping the thought when it first begins prevents it from
building into an overpowering craving. It is important to do it as soon as you realize
you are thinking about using.

To start recovery, it is necessary to interrupt the trigger–thought–craving–use
sequence. Thought stopping provides a tool for disrupting the process.
This process is not automatic. You make a choice either to continue thinking about
using (and start on the path toward relapse) or to stop those thoughts.

Thought-Stopping Techniques
Try the techniques described below, and use those that work best for you:

Visualization. Imagine a scene in which you deny the power of
thoughts of use. For example, picture a switch or a lever in your mind.
Imagine yourself actually moving it from ON to OFF to stop the
using thoughts. Have another picture ready to think about in place
of those thoughts.

Relaxation. Feelings of hollowness, heaviness, and cramping in the stomach are
cravings. These often can be relieved by breathing in deeply (filling lungs with air)
and breathing out slowly. Do this three times. You should be able to feel the tightness
leaving your body. Repeat this whenever the feeling returns.

Call someone. Talking to another person provides an outlet for your feelings and
allows you to hear your thinking process. Have phone numbers of supportive,
available people with you always, so you can use them when you need them.

-Katie McGrath, M.S.

Early Stages of Recovery

As we’ve mentioned before, finding a coping skill or “positive addiction” is beneficial during the early stages of recovery. Last week, we touched upon a few non-active coping skills such as painting, writing and listening to music. This week, we would like to share a few active hobbies that could be beneficial for the recovering addict.

Yoga can elevate mood, improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, and unite the body, mind and spirit! There are different forms of yoga that are available depending on personal preference.  Ananda and Hatha are more gentle versions of yoga that focus on meditation and breathing to provide a relaxing escape after a busy day.  Ashtanga and Kundalini are aerobic and energizing forms of yoga that are perfect for people who prefer a more strenuous workout.

    • Mindfulness is a meditation technique that is often used in combination with yoga to promote self-awareness.  The concept of mindfulness is to become aware of one’s own thoughts, emotions, and sensations by breathing and concentration. Research has suggested that the combination of yoga and mindfulness can provide energy, satisfaction, and stability on an addict’s road to recovery.

Running has been shown to improve mood, especially in the short term and can therefore provide the extra boost many addicts need when they first stop using. Running can create a sense of achievement, fulfill intrinsic and extrinsic needs, and provide a natural high.

Walking is a great alternative to running. Regularly taking walks has been shown improve mood and enhance the action of endorphins, chemicals that circulate throughout the body. Endorphins improve natural immunity and reduce the perception of pain.

What activities or hobbies can you see yourself doing during your recovery?

-Katie McGrath, M.S.

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