bottoming is topping and vice versa

In a recent Sugarbutch treat, Sinclair has begun to sort through what it means to submit and surrender.

“the bottom is always the one in real control… the top may be inflicting the pain or sensation, may be the one holding the knife or the flogger or the end of the rope, but the bottom is who is dictating the next move, the depth of the cut, the strength of the paddle, the moment of release.”

I don’t have a whole lot of experiential knowledge to analyze. But I almost certainly … ok certainly. Prefer the bottom. The idea of bottoming appeals to my sense of worth. It is not that I prefer the bottom because I want to be talked down to or degraded. What’s actually behind it for me is the fact that i’m so irresistible that my top can’t help but take me. Whether or not I’m really in control, at least that’s how I perceive it. Like that bottom in The Diner on the Corner:

“She picked me up at the dyke bar last weekend while letting me think I was picking her up … I thought I was warming her up to ask for her number, she was secretly rolling her eyes, thinking, get on with it already. She had control of every detail, but let me think I did.”

But I’m not the type to take abuse from anyone. I learned to stand up to my Dad, and later I decided that there were a lot of people who needed to be held accountable to treat me respectfully.

I guess that was a lot of words to say that for me, yeah. Bottoming is about being in control. The submission is an illusion, a character that we play. We sneak in under cover and take control. I think that’s part of why I have embraced the femme character too. In my world, the feminine is the heart and spine of the family. When everything else is broken down, including what is masculine, somehow the feminine has this amazing power to bounce back… to hold up everything that is crumbling… to know when to let go of something that cannot survive anymore.

What do you think?

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7 thoughts on “bottoming is topping and vice versa

  1. I showed your blog to a friend and she had this to say:

    why do lesbians hold true the male ideal of duality? male vs. female…masculine vs. feminine…i mean it is still a ridiculous battle and fight over nothing. still a struggle that is ultimately useless.

    let’s look at the basics. micro organisms that can change from female to male. some fish can do it. they learned long ago that there is both, so use both. neither one defines the individual.

    though, this is just my opinion. i just find dualities a little confining…now infinities, that is promising.

  2. Yes yes, let’s look at some true basics. Micro organisms and fish can change from male to female because their sexes are about just that their sex, more so, reproduction. They have evolved to a state that allows reproductive necessity to reach its maximum potential. Human sex, and certainly, gay & lesbian sex is about sex-UALITY not reproduction. Fish and micro organisms do not have roles of any sort, because they have no sexuality. People on the other hand take on roles that feel good to them, roles that make them feel more authentic in their personhoods. It is not about reproduction, but instead, producing a person, an identity, a relationship with a partner.

    Some people can have infinites in their relationships… no roles, switching roles, exploring many scenarios and fantasies, all sorts of boundaries and limitlessness… for most though, heterosexual or homosexual this is not true. One person feels more comfortable being dominant, the other more submissive… to me that is just human nature, personality, sexual chemistry.

    Sorry to steal the thunder in that response, but I just couldn’t resist. Now I’ve went and lost all commentary on your actual entry as well. Booooo to anonymous drive bys.

  3. i didn’t mean to communicate anything about bipolar gender identities… i’m just femme… and bottom… not because i feel like i have to be one or the other (feminine, masculine, top, bottom, etc.) but because that’s just what i like…?

    top and bottom don’t really have anything to do with gender performance either. i mean they can, but it’s really a matter of personal opinion.

    in reference to why i embrace the feminine so much… that may not even be true because i’m more like my father than my mother in many ways. i just know that in my case. my father was a broken man and it was my mother and i who had to fight for emotional and pyschological health

  4. The dualisms absolutely can be confining, if you let what they’re “supposed” to be dictate who you are. but many people, and I include myself in this description absolutely, find categories and dualisms also extremely liberating, and celebratory. there is infinity inside of these dualisms, if one wishes to embody them that way.

    Also: “the male ideal of duality”? Why would duality that be a male ideal? That makes no sense. humans categorize, male and female and beyond and in-between.

    But – I believe Miss Avarice was discussing topping & bottoming here in this post, which is not male vs female or masculine vs feminine. which is also, perhaps, a duality, but you missed the point of the post: even when someone is bottoming, they are still in charge. so who is really bottoming? who is really in charge? who is really in control? who is really submitting? those lines are extremely blurry, and difficult to categorize, when you actually examine them.

    I have two hundred more words I could say about this “struggle that is ultimately useless” and what is problematic about generalizing all lesbians as holding to dualisms. makes me want to shake my fist and spit at the ground a little bit.

    But after that, I think, what the fuck. how many times do I have to have this same argument? Butch and femme are not reproductions of the heteronormative paradigm. (I feel like I should get that tattooed backward on my forehead.) They are their own unique expressions of gender.

    Sigh. Perhaps I should remind myself that I don’t have to educate the world about this. But somehow it seems important for me to make/encourage anonymous here to understand, given it was my post that Miss Avarice referenced.

  5. Aw man I have like twelve more comments to be made after re-reading that post (and trying NOT to re-read the anonymous comment so I don’t get distracted again):

    Submitting & bottoming, I think, becomes this incredibly precise exchange of permission. Those moments of irresistibility (as you say) are very explicit moments of consent, if one knows what to look for, which is why it becomes okay to just take.

    And this, I think, is one of the things about being aligned with a top or bottom identity: you know how to read the consent, or you know how to give it off.

    I betcha most people aren’t only one or the other. I know how to be submissive sometimes. I know how to get attention by giving off those hints of and requests for consent.

    But I also know how to recognize it and enhance it in my lovers, to pull it from them sometimes, to encourage it. And those moments are what really gets me hot.

    Which is why I identify as a top.

  6. I think that when it is right–when I am with someone who I trust–the bottom is the most amazing place to be. Having been in a really terrible relationship for years, I got used to the bottom being a very scary place. Recently, however, I rediscovered it with an incredible friend.

    I found myself saying, “When you’re here, I feel beautiful, not crushed.” Ahh…

  7. In regard to the power of the bottom… I absolutely see that Miss Avarice.
    I can identify with topping from the bottom. It is another sweet subversion.

    xx lina

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