One of my favorite things about writing daily posts is that I have the bandwidth to comment on other bloggers and offer unsolicited advice. This is one of those occasions. Thumper wrote a post the other day about how his ability to bottom to Drew has changed. If you haven’t been following the thread, here’s the quick summary: Thumper is a caged male  (like me) who is married and his wife is his keyholder. He has been doing this a long time. A little over a year ago he met a guy who topped him. Now, a year later, Thumper can’t accept him as his top. Ok, this is a very short and detail-starved account, but it gets us to the point where I want to put in my two cents.

I spent over thirty years in the New York leather community so what Thumper is describing is quite familiar to me. You may note that I don’t use the words “dom” and “sub” or “submissive”. They are adjectives and don’t really define a three-dimensional human. In the world I come from, there are roles; in this case “top” and “bottom”. A top supplies the sensation and generally gets sexual satisfaction as either part of the play or afterward. The bottom receives sensation and gives sexual pleasure. It’s optional whether or not the bottom gets off too.

I spent most of my adult life as a top. However, I always enjoyed bottoming. That would make me a “switch” since I like both roles. In my experience, most people into power and sensation play are switches. Very few spend their lives entirely as a top or bottom. You’ll note that I make no mention of the gender of either player. That’s irrelevant and a personal preference. I can be a heterosexual male and still top another male. I could also bottom to one without losing my heterosexual status. The reason for that is in the context of topping and bottoming, any agreed action that isn’t dangerous or life-threatening is allowed if both people agree.

Anyway, when two people become regular play partners, like Thumper and Drew, things can become much more complex. For one thing, it may be important to the scene (the bottom’s and sometimes the top’s too) that there be no real emotional connection between top and bottom. The bottom may want to feel “used” by the top. He may want to be simply an instrument of pleasure that is used and then sent on his way. That’s a form of objectification. It’s very hot for some to be simply toys with no connection to the top. It’s equally  hot for some tops to treat the bottom like a Kleenex to use and discard. The feeling of submission can be based on this emotional disconnect. Once a real connection is made, the very foundation of that feeling can disappear.

If your partner is just someone you make play dates with, then emotional connection is limited to concern over having a good time or after care. The problem is that many of us don’t realize how important objectification and an emotional distance is to the heat of the action. In my case, I accepted a 24/7 service slave (her title for herself). She lived with me and did anything I wanted or needed. I played with her and in the beginning treated her as someone who did what I wanted and got nothing in return. This is exactly what she wanted. The problem was that as time went by, I came to feel love for her. This made it harder for me to treat her as an object and deal with her in the harsh ways she craved. Over time, nearly a decade, we became like a vanilla couple more than master/slave. This didn’t work for her at all. It was an alienating process since I could no longer give her what she really needed and I was frustrated with her unhappiness in the face of my caring.

I realized that I could never sustain that sort of lifestyle. Moreover, the bottom side of me needed to come out. My “topping” tank had been overfilled and I needed the balance of bottoming. Arguably, my real needs have always been to have a strong, loving woman in my life and that topping was more physical recreation with a nice orgasm at the end, than something I needed emotionally. I think I am in the right place for this time in my life and Mrs. Lion is learning to provide the authority I need in the context of a loving marriage.

But I digress. Based on Thumper’s post, I think he may not have considered the impact of a strong emotional friendship on his desire to be used and abused. I’ve had play partners who were also friends. We started out as play partners at D/S parties. We grew to be friends over time. In some cases the play stopped entirely. In others, we treated the S/M aspects of our relationship as a way of giving a needed service to the other. One woman and I live quite far apart and we occasionally met at large leather events. We took turns topping one another. When I bottomed to her, I looked at my experience as a way to get some needs met. When it was her turn  to beat my ass, stick things in it and do lots of cock and ball torture to me, for that time she wasn’t my friend. Shew was a cruel mistress who loved seeing me in pain. When the beating started, I truly believed it. Afterward, she became my valued friend again. It was fun. We laughed and when she topped, I screamed too.

I think it is a matter of context. The fantasy of a disconnected, harsh top may be part of what made your sessions with Drew so hot. The question I would ask you is whether you can treat your scene as something outside the friendship? While he is using and abusing you he isn’t your friend. He’s a guy who likes you enough to make you suffer to your limit. The way I thought of my play partner was as someone who may like me a lot, but who likes torturing me more. She may rock me to sleep later, but right now it is all for her and she wants to hurt me. Since I am helpless, I have to accept it.  It may not work for you, but it always works for me. When she is playing with me, I think of Mrs. Lion as someone who loves me so much she will stop at nothing to make me feel the pain and humiliation I need. In this context, the more she loves me, the more she hurts me.

I think it is nearly impossible to sustain a long term relationship that limits itself to topping and bottoming. From my perspective and experience I can understand how deepening feelings can destroy the desire to bottom, or as some say, submit. It’s particularly unfair to the top to have such a limited relationship. While it’s fun, topping is work and the rewards of the activities themselves are fairly transient and superficial.Yes, the orgasms are nice; but they are still just orgasms. This is in sharp contrast to the bottom who is receiving intense satisfaction from the sensations inflicted on him. Topping is a game of skill, bottoming is an experience, often a profound one. I may not be saying this as clearly as I would like, but in my own way I am saying that as a top if I had to choose between dominating someone or being his/her friend, being a friend would win hands down. As a bottom, for me at least, it would be a much harder decision.