There’s been quite a stir over a comment accusing me of topping from the bottom. I think that this term is one of the most misunderstood in the entire BDSM lexicon. Topping from the bottom refers to the bottom (submissive) in a BDSM scene manipulating the top to do what they want instead of what the top might choose to do without this “help”. For example, if Mrs. Lion is spanking me and I suggest, “You should really be hitting lower.” I’m topping from the bottom. There are more subtle examples, but you get the idea.
Things like FLR and enforced chastity are much more extensive power exchanges than a scene or BDSM weekend. They are lifestyle power exchanges. When I’ve done workshops on long term power exchanges, I’ve found that “topping from the bottom” is often invoked when the bottom expresses any preference to the top. That’s dead wrong. In a relationship there has to be give and take; even in a master/slave arrangement. Even our dog gives us feedback that is often not topping from the bottom. Sometimes, however, that’s exactly what she is doing.
If you want to understand topping from the bottom in terms of FLR and enforced chastity, consider that the “bottom” (caged male, disciplined husband, etc.) has surrendered control of some areas of his life to his keyholder/disciplining wife/head of household. He is still a functioning man who can be a powerful leader everywhere except home. He can be a father who is admired and obeyed by his children. He can handle the family finances. He can negotiate purchases for the family. None of that of course, is topping from the bottom.
I know that a lot of guys fantasize that when they are in a power exchange like this that they are micro managed and told to do every single thing. What woman would want a man like that? Not my lioness. Not even 2.0 — especially not 2.0. She wants a strong man who is self sufficient, mature, and able to provide support and love. She wants to know how I feel about things. You can tell we have enforced chastity. There’s something locked on my penis that betrays that power exchange. So, how can you tell we have a FLR?
Chances are that you can’t. Our public behavior is pretty much the same as other couples. Yes, I do ask Mrs. Lion for her opinions and sometimes she asks me to do things. Neither betrays that my question is a request for her decision, or that her request is an order. If you see me spill food or fail to follow her “request” you won’t know that I will be painfully spanked for my infraction. If I tell her that she “should” do something. You may see her expression darken for a second, but you won’t know that I just topped from the bottom and earned a spanking.
There it is. My definition of topping from the bottom in a lifestyle power exchange: attempting to direct my lioness. It’s permissible for me to ask her to do things. I can tell her when I am not in the mood for some planned activity. I can suggest alternatives to a choice she has made. That’s input for her to consider. But I can’t tell her that we shouldn’t play tonight because my stomach hurts. I can’t tell her we should eat at this or that restaurant. But I can ask and she can refuse.
Being allowed to express myself and let her know what I do and don’t like isn’t topping from the bottom; it’s just information for her. Doing too much of it will annoy her and earn me punishment; not for expressing my opinion, but for too much too often. See the difference? It doesn’t take too many spankings for me to learn just how much Mrs. Lion wants from me. The other day when I was in the sling and things weren’t working, letting her know that I wasn’t into it wasn’t topping from the bottom; not at all. it was just data for her to use in any way she wished. There have been times she just smiled when I said that and kept going, and others, like last weekend when she decided to stop. She’s the boss after all.