Coming too soon? Dealing with premature ejaculation.

I’m excited to be answering another question from a devoted reader today.  I received a message from one of my single heterosexual male readers who is experiencing premature ejaculation.  He’s feeling ashamed about this and is hesitant to initiate sex with new partners because he’s worried that he won’t be able to satisfy them or that they will think he’s bad in bed.  I thought a lot about this and I can offer several suggestions for dealing with premature ejaculation and the shame that comes with it.

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What is premature ejaculation?

The International Society for Sexual Medicine has defined premature ejaculation as “ejaculation which occurs before or within one minute of penetration”.  However, popular opinion suggests that a lot of men consider premature ejaculation to be “coming too soon”.  For some, they feel that reaching orgasm well before their partner does, or sooner than they’d like, is premature ejaculation.  So it seems that while perhaps many people don’t fall within the medical definition of premature ejaculation, their expectations of how long they “should” be able to last colours their perceptions of their sexual ability.

 

Why is it a problem?

There are a few reasons why premature ejaculation is seen as an obstacle to great sex.  Firstly, there’s the idea that sex = penis in vagina.  And so if the “P in V” part of sex doesn’t last long, or if both partners aren’t satisfied during intercourse then we think that the sex was bad.  Secondly, we are constantly presented with sex scenes in movies and television shows where a couple having sex falls into bed, rolls around a little and then orgasms in unison.  So when our sexual responses don’t synch up with our partner’s, we feel like we’ve done something wrong.  And finally, a lot of the time premature ejaculation is the punchline of jokes in movies, so there’s this idea that men who come early are losers.

In actual fact though, premature ejaculation doesn’t have to be a barrier to awesome sex.  The way I see it, a lot of the time men feel like they’ve come to early when their body’s performance doesn’t match their expectations of how long they should be able to last in bed.  And so there are two ways to tackle this issue: either change the way your body performs or change your expectations (or a combination of the two).

 

Change the main event

A huge part of anxiety about premature ejaculation comes from the fear that once ejaculation happens sex is over and one party is left unsatisfied.   To overcome this idea, try switching up your perceptions of what “sex” entails.  It doesn’t have to just be about penis in vagina.  Expand your definition to include oral sex, mutual masturbation, kissing, humping and exploration.  Once you no longer consider “sex” to be just about penetration, the need to last longer becomes less important.

 

Get your timing right

It’s a well established fact that women usually take a lot longer to reach climax than men do.  The physical process of arousal tends to take up to three times longer for women, and actually reaching orgasm can take even longer.  If you know that you’re a bit of a quick-draw, try spending more time on your partner’s pleasure before you begin penetrative sex.  Use mouths, fingers or toys to bring your partner close to orgasm before you start boning.  Then, once she’s ready and close, you can begin P in V sex.  This closes the orgasm gap, making it a lot more likely that you’ll come in close succession.

 

Edge yourself

Some men have become conditioned to orgasm quickly from years of masturbating in secret, and trying to reach orgasm without getting caught.  Just as we can train ourselves to speed up our sexual climax, it is possible to learn to slow it down.

One way to do this is with a technique called “edging”.  To begin with, you want to masturbate on your own, ensuring that you have plenty of time and privacy.  Masturbate until you are right on the edge of having an orgasm, and then stop touching yourself and breathe slowly until the intensity dies down.  Then do it again, masturbate until you’re just about to come, then pull back from the edge.  Do this a couple of times before you allow yourself to orgasm. And then try this exercise a couple of times a week.  Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to stop in time, just try again later.

 

This exercise does two things.  Firstly, it makes you aware of what your sexual response cycle looks like.  It gives you a clear picture of the signs that you are about to orgasm.  And then secondly, it allows you to practice recognising those signs and controlling your orgasm.  So when you are having penetrative sex, you will be better at noticing that you’re about to come and be aware of how to control your climax.  Over time, this can help slow down your climaxes, as well as building your confidence in your own ability.

 

Have a rehearsal before the main performance

Remember the part in There’s Something About Mary where Ben Stiller jerks off prior to his big first date?  Well, silly as that scene was, it actually had a valuable point.  If you know that you’re going to be having sex later, it can be very helpful to give yourself an orgasm before you leave for your date.  Not only will you be more relaxed, but typically men come most quickly the first time they have an orgasm within a 12 hour period, with each subsequent orgasm taking a bit longer to be reached. Having an early orgasm by yourself can draw out your stamina for a sexual encounter later in the night.

 

 

Wrap your junk

Condoms are a great tool for prolonging your orgasms.  Not only are they vital for safer sex, but they can dampen sensation so you don’t get too aroused too quickly.  Choose a thicker condom such as Lifestyles Extra Strength to reduce sensation and help you last longer.  Don’t be tempted to wear two condoms at once for this purpose.  During sex the two layers can rub against each other and this friction can cause tearing.

 

Diffuse the shame

Think about the way you talk to yourself about your sexual performance.   Instead of thinking about your propensity to come quickly as a deficit, try thinking of ways to view it more positively.  You are sexually enthusiastic!  You’re passionate and easily excited.  Reframe the way you talk to yourself about your performance and change the way you feel about yourself.

 

Talk it out

If you’re anxious about having sex with a partner because you’re worried that you’ll orgasm quickly, the best thing you can do is talk to them about it.  Shame, stress and fear all play a role in premature ejaculation, and studies have shown that these emotions can make it more likely that you’ll orgasm faster than you’d like to.  Fears thrive in darkness, and one of the best ways to deal with them is to shine a light on them.  If you’re feeling anxious, tell your partner that you feel nervous and awkward.  Mention that you’re worried that you’ll orgasm quickly and that they’ll think less of you if you do.  Believe me when I tell you that most partners won’t be fazed by the prospect of a speedy climax, and will be able to reassure you. Plus, you’ll be able to decide what to do if it does happen, so you won’t feel so nervous about the possibility of impending disaster between the sheets.  Communication is vital for good sex, and talking through your fears will solve about 95% of them.  Your partner will also be charmed by your willingness to be honest and vulnerable with them.

 

Premature ejaculation happens to most men at some point in their lives and it really isn’t that big a deal.  But if you’re feeling anxious or ashamed about your rapid climaxes, there are plenty of things you can do.  Be gentle with yourself, be honest with your partner, and find new ways to express yourself and make your sex life amazing regardless of how long you last in bed.

 

 

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Is marriage important to me?

Lately I’ve been talking about marriage a lot.  It comes up often because one of my colleagues asks me every week if my boyfriend has proposed yet.  Without fail, my Monday morning will open with “So, has he popped the question yet?”  Originally I used to just shrug and shake my head but now I find it more amusing to try to come up with a pithy response.  “Nope,  we’ve decided that marriage is less special now because they’re gonna let gay people do it”  or “Nah, my boyfriend’s already married so we’re trying to keep our relationship on the down-low” or “Not yet.  He’s waiting for my father to sweeten the deal with a generous dowry”.  That kind of bullshit.

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All this talk of proposals and marriage has made me think about how dramatically my feelings about marriage have changed.

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to get married.  Marriage was one of my life goals and something I thought I absolutely couldn’t be happy without.  I had a very idyllic perception of what married life would be like.  I imagined living in a beautiful house with my husband, who was extremely handsome and always smelled good. We’d spend a lot of time watching movies together, going on long trips and making out in our perfectly-made bed.  In my mind, once I’d found the right person, everything else would just be a snap.  There’d be no arguments, no uncomfortable silences and not a care in the world.  For me, marriage seemed like the ticket to a very happy life.

 

I should qualify this ideal by explaining my background a bit.  Like most girls my age, I was raised on a heavy diet of rom-coms and teen romance novels.  The happily-ever-after storylines definitely coloured my perception of what marriage should be like. The fact that most of these tales end with a wedding paints the picture that marriage is the goal.  The resolution of all the strife and struggle comes with that walk down the aisle.  In addition to this, I was surrounded by very happy marriages.  No kidding.  Among my parents, my grandparents and my aunts and uncles, there have been exactly zero divorces.  And this isn’t just because my relatives have chosen to tolerate one another until the sweet release of death, it’s because they really are genuinely happy together.  I was raised by a pretty good selection of contentedly married couples.  So it’s no wonder that marriage was something I aspired to.

 

In addition to holding very tightly to the idea that marriage was the key to a happy life, I was also aware of the status that marriage held.  Being married didn’t just mean getting to live with somebody who would make out with you whenever you wanted, it meant that you’d been chosen.  It was an affirmation that somebody felt that you were worthy enough to say “I want you in my life”.  As somebody who is chronically insecure, that kind of validation was pretty attractive.  My anxiety was also quelled by the idea that marriage was (in theory, anyway) permanent.  That it was a way to “lock down” a relationship so that I would never have to worry about heartbreak.  I felt like if I was to get married, not only would I be assured happiness, but I’d also be safe and validated.  Who wouldn’t want that?

 

As a teenager I felt pretty sure that I’d marry young.  My parents, aunts, and grandparents were all married by the age of twenty.  And I figured that my life would follow a similar timeline.  This feeling was cemented when, at 17, I met and fell in love with my first soulmate.  He was everything I wanted in a partner, and we had so much fun together.  After about two years of dating, talk turned to the topic of marriage.  Although we weren’t ready to get engaged yet, we agreed that we’d each found the person that we wanted to spend our lives with.  And so it seemed to me that I was well on my way to being married.

 

As a few more years piled on, I began to get anxious.  Although my boyfriend and I were still happy and close, we seemed no closer to getting engaged.  There were a few times when I thought “perhaps he’ll propose to me” and I ended up disappointed.  By this time, several of my friends had gotten engaged and a few had already married.  I was beginning to feel left behind, like I was going to miss out on something I very much wanted.  I vividly remember bringing home a bouquet I caught at a friend’s wedding and watching an expression of absolute panic spread across my partner’s face.  We were together for almost ten years before we admitted that we’d grown into two people who just weren’t really compatible anymore and parted ways.  I was 27, and the man I’d intended to spend my life with had just moved out.   As I sifted through the wreckage and tried to deal with the end of my relationship, I also had to recognise that a young marriage wasn’t on the cards for me.

 

In the years after my breakup, I became a lot more sexually adventurous. I admitted to myself that I was, in fact, bisexual and had several relationships with women.  I also had a polyamorous relationship that lasted about six months.  In each of those relationships, I was aware that any future wasn’t going to include marriage, at least, not a marriage that looked anything like the picture I’d envisaged as a child.  Additional I became more acquainted with the reality of what adult relationships are actually like.  That they aren’t always lighthearted, fun affairs filled with long makeout sessions and breakfast in bed.  Real people have real problems, real goals that don’t always line up, priorities that differ, finances and stresses.  Fights happen, people get upset and even the most loving relationship isn’t immune from conflict. I learned the hard way that marriage isn’t an instant ticket to happiness.

 

After a lot of dating and learning and self reflection, I find that I’ve really let go of my deep need to get married.  Now, I’m not saying that I don’t ever want to get married, but it’s no longer something that I feel like I need in order to be happy.  If I were to marry, I’d want it to be to someone who I feel is my partner, and that we were committing to building a life together and doing the hard bits as well as the fun bed make-outs and cute pet names.  I don’t feel like I need the validation of being chosen as a wife, and I recognise that marriage isn’t the secure haven I thought it was.  I also know that if I never get married, I won’t feel like I’ve failed.  I’d rather never be a wife, than to enter a marriage as blindly as I would have in the past.  If I do, I want to do it with my eyes wide open, and my heart and mind as well.

 

 

Product review: Lush by Lovesense

A few months ago I was doing an epic eye-roll at a camgirl show.  The model I was watching was wearing a Lovesense Lush and having a massive orgasm.  I was intensely sceptical. “C’mon, there’s no freakin’ way that a tiny insertable vibrator is making her cum that hard….or at all”.  In the past the only insertable egg vibes I’d encountered were buzzy, weak and lacklustre, so you can imagine why I was doubtful that this toy was capable of producing such a leg-shaking reaction.

Fast forward to last month when Aphrodite’s Pleasure sent me a Lush of my very own to review.  I had extremely low expectations for this toy and truly believed that this review was going to be a slam-dunk.  I made a list of tests to put the Lush through it’s paces and set to work trying it out….

And time and again, this toy proved me wrong.  I went into this review fully expecting to hate this toy, but the Lovesense Lush wooed me, seduced me and turned those expectations on their head.  If you’re also a sceptic, get ready to be converted.

To start with, let’s take a look at the basics.  The Lush by Lovesense is a wearable vibrator with remote control via a smartphone app.  It’s made with 100% body safe silicone and feels buttery soft to the touch.  The Lush only comes in one colour: hot pink.  This is fine for me because I adore anything pink but some folks might not be jazzed that there are no other colour options.  The Lush is rechargeable and a full charge will give you between 1.5 and 2 hours of use.  This is a pretty decent amount of playtime for such a tiny toy.

To use the Lush, you insert it into your vagina, with the tail outside your body.  The entire toy vibrates, including the little tail.  The vibration quality is top-notch.  I was utterly surprised that such a small package could deliver such deep, rumbling vibrations.  The Lush is cleverly shaped to target your g-spot when inserted.  The bulge at the top of the vibrator nestles against the front wall of your vagina to deliver strong sensation to your g-spot.  As if that wasn’t awesome enough, the tail sits between your legs and rumbles against your clit, although with less intensity than the insertable portion of the toy.  This dual sensation was a pleasant surprise, as I wasn’t expecting any external stimulation from this toy.  I can very rarely orgasm without clitoral stimulation, so the addition of the vibrating tail was a very welcome feature for me.  When inserted, the Lush is really comfortable and stays in place perfectly.

You can use the Lush manually or by remote control by pairing it with the app.  To use it manually, you press and hold the button to turn it on, and then click the button to turn up the vibration and cycle through the vibration patterns.  This is kind of awkward if the toy is inside you, as you have to fumble around in your vagina if you want to adjust the intensity.  Although manual use is a possibility, it’s pretty clear from the design that the Lush is intended to be used as a remote control toy.

The Lovesense app is free to download and is compatible with Android and Apple products (you can even use your Apple watch to control it).  It’s super simple to use with really intuitive controls and a bright interface.  I was really impressed with the app and all the different features it offers.  Firstly, you can use the app as a basic remote control for your toy.  You can increase or decrease the intensity with the slide of a finger and create your own patterns.  I put the Lush through a bunch of different tests to check the range of the remote control.  It continued to work perfectly through several layers of clothing, under the covers of my bed and from several feet away.  I had expected that it might struggle to remain connected if I put on clothes or climbed under the covers but the Lush didn’t skip a beat.

Speaking of beats, the app also has a really cool music setting.  You can choose a song from your phone or your Spotify account and the toy will buzz to the music.  I took this feature for it’s maiden voyage to one of my favourite songs- Thriller by Michael Jackson and was excited yet puzzled by the result.  The feature was a lot of fun, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what the vibrations are synched to.  It doesn’t follow the beat, or the tempo, or the melody of the song that’s playing.  The pattern of vibration seems somewhat random, and yet it still feels like it’s working with the music somehow.  I experimented with many different songs and found the results interesting and fun (for the record, my favourite song to pair it with is Jungle Love by Morris Day and The Time).  I like using the music setting for foreplay, because it gives you a fun, random-ish pattern of vibration that is unpredictable.  However, I can’t get off using this setting because I need continuous and predictable vibrations or orgasm.  But it’s really fun to play with to tease yourself.

While the Lush is a lot of fun to play with on your own, it really shines as a couples vibrator.  The app has a long-distance setting that is nothing short of fantastic.  Basically, your partner downloads the app, and you give them permission to control your toy remotely.  Your long-distance lover can then control the vibrations of your toy from anywhere in the world.  There’s even a chat function, so that you can talk dirty and send sexy pictures while you play.  I live three hours from my partner, and we had so much fun with this function.  It was amazing to let him take control and actually be able to remotely hold my orgasm in the palm of his hand. The first time we tried it, it was a little strange because of the lack of feedback.  He wasn’t sure if it was working until I texted him to tell him I was enjoying myself.  But pair this toy with skype or facetime, and you’ve got yourself a seriously fun long-distance sex date. I also like the fact that you can block users from controlling your toy, so if your romance turns sour you don’t have to worry about your ex hijacking your vibrator.

One reason that a lot of people are drawn to wearable vibrators is because they open the door to public play. Just imagine that you’re wearing a vibrator and nobody knows except your partner, who is holding the remote control.  And at any moment they could press the button and send you into a quivering mess while you desperately try to contain yourself.  Unfortunately, most wearable vibrators that I’ve encountered shit all over this fantasy.  They’re either so uncomfortable that you can’t stand to wear them for an extended period, or they are super loud so everyone within ten metres can hear your panties buzzing.  Either that or they’re weak and aren’t really good for much more than a lack-lustre fizz.  The Lush is the first toy I’ve used that is actually practical for public play.  Firstly, it’s really comfortable to wear, and sits discreetly under your clothing.  Secondly, even at it’s highest setting, it’s practically silent once you’ve inserted it.  I could not believe how quiet this toy was, and I’ve worn it in public without anybody raising an eyebrow.  Finally, the vibrations are strong enough to feel amazing, so you can actually play with real pleasure rather than tiny pings and buzzes.  The remote has a fairly good range, up to 10m when standing or 3m when sitting, so if you’re at the movies or out  to dinner then you’re well within range for play.  The one slightly awkward thing is that you need to turn the toy on before play.  So if you’re walking around with it on, the batteries are going to be draining and your playtime might be cut short.  But realistically, this is a pretty minor downfall.  For public play, the Lush ticks almost every box.

One other use I’ve found for the Lush is as an external clitoral vibrator.  It’s small enough to target your clit during intercourse or for solo play.  The rumbly vibrations feel incredible on my clit and labia. The fact that it has a travel lock make this the ideal pack-and-go toy.

I am so impressed with the Lush by Lovesense.  It’s an incredibly versatile toy that can be used solo or with a partner, it can be used for BDsM power play scenes, public play, long distance play or steamy masturbation sessions.  Not only does it open the door for creative play, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to. It delivers amazingly strong vibrations and pairs perfectly with the app, without losing connection or interrupting your playtime.  I have to eat humble pie and apologise to the cam model that I accused of faking her orgasm while using this toy….because I now know that it’s entirely possible to have a leg-quaking climax with a remote controlled bullet vibe.  Or at least, it is with the Lovesense Lush.

How do I approach people online for fetish play?

Today’s post is quite exciting for me, because it represents something I’ve been itching to do for a while.  I love helping people and providing sex education, and one way to do that is to answer questions that people ask about sex and sexuality.  I recently had a reader write to me with a question, and although I replied privately, I also wanted to take this opportunity to address the subject on my blog so that all of you can read about it.

 

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The reader who wrote to me is a heterosexual man who has a foot fetish.  He is interested in finding female partners online who are interested in indulging his fetish by chatting and sending pictures.  He wanted to know how he could go about finding receptive partners in a respectful way.  I had a number of suggestions for him that I wanted to share with you.  These don’t necessarily apply only to foot fetishists, but anyone who is online seeking partners for sexual or fetish play.

 

The mere thought of looking for partners for fetish play can be nerve-wracking.  For starters, most fetishes are still looked upon with a degree of fear and many are misunderstood.  A lot of people who have kinks also hold a lot of shame around those desires.  Add to that the nerve-jangling fear of rejection and social anxiety and you get a kinkster who would prefer to cower in the corner than put themselves in the vulnerable position of looking for a play partner. Luckily, the internet has provided a multitude of options when it comes to looking for someone to explore with.  But there are a few things to consider before you throw yourself in headfirst….

 

Choose your platform carefully

One of the biggest mistakes people make when searching for partners online is not looking in the right places.  There are so many different social media platforms that allow us to connect with other people, but not all of these are ideal for finding partners to engage with sexually.  Instagram and Facebook are fantastic for sharing pictures with your friends, but they’re not the place to trawl for people to play with.  If you imagine the internet as a city, then Instagram and Facebook are like the public park.  Just like people don’t go to the park looking for a hookup, most people aren’t using these sites to find sexual partners.  Therefore, approaching strangers on Facebook or Instagram with requests for fetish play is likely to cause distress.  You wouldn’t walk up to a strange woman at the park and demand that she shows you her genitals, so you shouldn’t message a stranger on Facebook asking the same.

 

On the other hand, there are a number of sites and apps that are filled with people who are actively looking for people to explore with.  These are like the kink clubs, the singles bars and the hotspots in a real life city.  If you look on these sites, you’re automatically off to a better start because you’re working with a pool of people who are open to meeting people to talk about kinks, who are interested in hooking up or online play.  Fetlife is a great place to find like-minded individuals who share your fetishes.  You can join groups devoted to particular kinks, find events nearby and make friends.  Tinder is good if you’re looking for dates or hookups and dating sites are a good place to meet people who are interested in meeting potential partners. For fetish play though, I’d start with Fetlife to meet people who are interested in your specific kinks.

 

Treat people as whole, not just a collection of body parts.

When you send a message to a new friend or potential play partner online, it’s really important that you treat them like a whole person, not just as the life support system for the particular part you want to engage with.  That’s objectification and it’s not cool.  Rather than leading with a message that says “I want to see your feet, send me a picture” open with something a little more casual.  Introduce yourself, ask what they’d like to be called and see if they’d be interested in chatting.  Ask questions about them and answer their questions honestly.  This helps your new friend to feel more comfortable and makes them much more receptive to a request for play when you offer one.

 

Respond to rejection gracefully

It’s likely that you’ll experience some rejection when you begin chatting with potential play partners.  There are going to be people who are not interested in your particular kink, or who are not looking for someone to play with. Whatever their reason, if they do turn you down, accept it gracefully.  Resist the urge to demand an explanation, call them names or plead with them to change their mind.  Treat their “No” with respect and thank them for chatting with you.

 

Bring in a professional

If you’re not looking for an ongoing relationship, it might be worth bringing in a professional play partner to fulfil your fantasies.  Many escorts, adult performers, pro-dommes and cam models specialise in fetish work.  A bit of research online is likely to turn up a few professionals who will be able to indulge your kink and give you the play that you’re craving. This is especially true if the play you’re dreaming of is very specialised, unusual or requires particular equipment or training.  In the case of a foot fetish, there are loads of camgirls and porn performers who will sell pictures of their feet to you, and many even sell their socks and stockings to their customers.  If you’re shy about meeting people online, paying a professional can be a great option.

 

Finding play partners for fetishists can be a minefield.  But the internet has given us so many avenues to search for likeminded people who may be interested in exploring with us.  As long as you’re looking in the right places and treating people with respect and courtesy, you’ll be off to a great start and hopefully you’ll find that special someone who will share your erotic kinks.

 

Do you have any suggestions for meeting potential play partners online?  If so, please feel encouraged to leave a comment.

 

 

 

What I wore 13/2/2018

I recently found out that a local Thai restaurant that I used to frequent is now doing all-you-can-eat banquets during the week.  So naturally my parents, my aunt and uncle and I wasted no time hopping in the car and hauling ourselves to sample the dinner fare.  And we were not disappointed.  But before I headed out for an evening of deluxe food and first-rate company, I had to decide on what to wear.

I often make the mistake of overdressing for events such as this.  It’s so easy to get carried away and winding up wearing something that’s much too much for the occasion.  For this particular dinner, I wanted to look dressed up, but not over the top.  My solutioin was to pair a fairly casual tee shirt with a simple skirt and then jazz it up with fancy hosiery and shoes.  And I think it worked a treat, don’t you?

I am wearing:

  • Cruella De Vil tee shirt from Threadless
  • Emerald green skater skirt from Princess Highway
  • Nude fishnet tights from Razzamatazz
  • Gingham heels from Scooter
  • Drop pearl earrings from Louvisa

 

 

 

Nude fishnets are one of my most favourite types of legwear.  They look effortlessly vintage, they go with every colour and they are so easy to wear.  These ones have lasted me so many years and they’re ideal to wear in summer when you don’t want to be completely bare-legged but it’s too hot to don full stockings.

I was so comfortable and cool in this outfit, but I still felt dressed up enough for dinner out with the family.

 

How to avoid topping from the bottom

“Topping from the Bottom” refers to an instance in a BDsM scene where the submissive partner, or bottom, seeks to control the scene.  It’s a frowned-upon practice in the BDsM community and a somewhat controversial topic.  Today I wanted to unpack the idea of “Topping from the Bottom” and discuss some of the things I’ve found help to avoid it.

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What does “Topping from the bottom” actually entail?

One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to discuss topping from the bottom is that there isn’t a universally agreed-upon definition of the kind of behaviour that it involves.  What some dominants consider acceptable, others will be angered by.  For example, some submissives indulge in “bratting” during a scene, where they refuse to do what their dominant orders until they are made to comply.  For some people, bratting is part of their dynamic, and having the dominant “make” them submit is an important aspect of play.  For other players, this type of behaviour is deeply disrespectful to the dominant.

 

So it’s difficult to say “X behaviour is topping from the bottom, while Y is not” because what is acceptable varies from person to person and scene to scene.  There are a range of practices that might be considered topping from the bottom depending on the circumstances.  But generally speaking, any instance where the submissive partner tries to manipulate play in a way that has not previously been agreed upon would constitute topping from the bottom.

 

Why does it matter so much?

Topping from the bottom is so frowned upon because it violates the power exchange that is the core of most BDsM scenes.  Usually, when a scene takes place, the submissive party gives up some of their power and control to the dominant, who promises to look after them and drive the scene.  For many dominants, when their submissive tops from the bottom, it can be seen as a declaration that they do not trust them.  It can also be extremely frustrating for a dominant who has carefully planned a scene to have it disrupted by a submissive saying “No, use the red flogger, not the black one”.  Planning and executing BDsM scenes is mentally and physically draining for a dominant, and it can feel like the submissive doesn’t appreciate that hard work and effort if they interrupt or manipulate the scene.   At it’s core though, topping from the bottom is seen to matter because it means that the submissive has failed to carry out their role in the scene.

 

So, how can we avoid topping from the bottom?

Clear and comprehensive negotiation is the best way to avoid topping from the bottom.  Negotiation is an important part of BDsM scenes, and there are a few things that should definitely be touched on to diffuse a situation that could give rise to topping from the bottom:

  • A lot of the time, when a submissive won’t submit or tries to manipulate a scene, it’s because they’re afraid.  They’re worried that they might get hurt or that their dominant will harm them in some way.  Discussing fears, phobias, triggers and limits is a vital part of negotiation and if the submissive party feels that they’ve been heard in this realm, they’re a lot more likely to be able to hand over the reigns to a Dom.
  • Sometimes, people have a very clear picture in their minds of how they want a scene to play out.  Perhaps they have a particular fantasy that they’re trying to recreate, which means that certain details have to be just so.  If you’re trying to do a fantasy role play scene, discussing these details and planning out how to achieve them beforehand can help.
  • Set out rules and limits that all parties agree upon as to what is acceptable during play.  For example, if you know that you like to be a bit of a brat during a scene, speak up and decide if this is ok.   Whatever works for you, just make sure that you’ve set out the rules for the scene clearly before you begin.
  • Finally, agree on a safeword or signal and decide what will happen if the safeword is called.  Many submissives will have one safeword that means “Slow down and check in” and another that means “Stop right this second”.  Both parties should commit to following the rules you set out for safewords.

– Trust is another important factor in BDsM in general, but it is a huge component in avoiding topping from the bottom. When a submissive feels secure in their relationship with the dominant, and they are confident of their top’s abilities, it’s so much easier to put themselves in that person’s hands:

  • Build up scenes slowly over time.  Don’t leap right into a suspension rope scene or heavy impact play with a new partner.  Start with something simple, a light spanking scene or some scarf bondage and build up to the heavy stuff.  Each time you navigate a new scene or type of play with your partner, your trust in them will grow.  Start out with play that involves a small exchange of power, and work towards the big, complicated power dynamics as your trust grows.
  • Talk about your individual skills and abilities, and don’t commit to doing scenes that are beyond your comfort or skill level.
  • Debrief after the scene is over.  Once everyone is feeling calm and you’ve done your aftercare, have a conversation about how things went, what was good and what could be better next time.

There is a lot of introspective work that goes into BDsM.  A huge amount of time goes into soul searching and self evaluation

  • Be very honest with yourself about your personal limits and desires.  And then be unwavering on your limits when negotiating a scene.  Don’t agree to participate in play that you aren’t comfortable with.  That way, you won’t be put in a situation where you’re afraid and anxious and trying to manipulate play to protect your ego.
  • Commit to your role in the scene. If you’re in the submissive role, your job is to submit.  Even if you’re a brat or you resist, your ultimate role is to submit and do as you’re told.  And if you don’t want to do that…then maybe BDsM play isn’t for you. Or maybe you’d be better off in the dominant role.
  • If you’re a submissive, it’s very normal to experience resistance to submission.  Even when I trust my partner and I’ve given my full consent, I still experience moments where Sir will tell me to do something and I hesitate.  In these moments I’ve learned to have a quiet word with myself, to remind myself that I trust my partner and that He has a plan for the scene.  I remember that He knows what He’s doing and that Sir would never harm me.  Reminding myself of those facts helps me to relax and give myself over when anxiety or fear creep in during a scene.
  • Manage your own expectations.  This is particularly important if you’re doing a fantasy role play, because fantasies rarely translate perfectly into reality.  When you let go of the need for the scene to go exactly the way you pictured in your head, it makes it easier to resist the urge to micromanage it.

Topping from the bottom is a very tricky topic to discuss, because it can mean many things to different people.  But ultimately it’s about a submissive who is either unwilling or unable to surrender and submit.  And I believe that honest communication and slow building of trust will go a long way to allowing that submissive to let go and hand control over to their dominant.  It’s not easy to submit, but once you’ve established that safety and trust, it’s so much easier to release your grip and just enjoy the ride.

 

Do you have any tips on how to avoid topping from the bottom?  Or any questions about BDsM scenes and negotiation? If you do, please leave a comment below.

 

 

In the Style of: American Horror Story Freak Show

Freak Show was one of my favourite seasons of AHS.  Although I enjoyed the story and the characters, the thing that drew me in and held me tight was the costumes.  It was the first time that a season of AHS was set entirely within one time period.  The early fifties are the setting for this instalment of the titillating television show.  It was an era that mixed Hollywood glamour with rugged rock and roll and gave us some of the most enviable fashion of all time.  And Freak Show gives us a wealth of gorgeous characters with distinctly different looks to dazzle our senses.  So pull up a seat, grab your popcorn, and feast your eyes on the style of American Horror Story: Freak Show.

Dandy Mott

Spoiled and polished, this dastardly villain’s style is pure preppy.  Tailored lines, pinstripes and razor sharp accessories make Dandy’s look devilishly handsome.  Choose high collars, brogues and ascot ties to copy this look at home.  And don’t forget to add a clown tie pin, a homage to Dandy’s secret desire to run away and join the circus.

Amazon Eve

Eve’s look is down-to-earth but never sloppy.  She evokes the image of the sweet girl-next-door with her shorts and bright red sneakers.  But Eve is anything but rough and tumble.  With her off-the-shoulder blouses and gold earrings, she’s got a sexy side too.  Although she’s the one who has to hang all the lights and banners, her headscarf keeps every hair perfectly in place, so this amazon always looks sinfully gorgeous.

Elsa Mars

If there’s one word that sums up Elsa’s style, it’s “Drama”.  Elsa incorporates rich colours, luxurious fabrics and luscious textures.  This is a woman who dresses to be seen, and she wants to make sure that even the folks in the cheap seats can’t miss her.  Feathers, sequins, splits and prints all make their appearance in Elsa’s wardrobe.  Although ultra-femme with her heels and silk stockings, Elsa manages to incorporate several androgynous elements like fedoras and neckties to take power dressing to it’s glamorous pinnacle.

Desiree Dupree

Desiree is pure, unadulterated sex on a pair of teetering heels.  Her clothes are intended to entice and allure, but never give away too much of the game.  Sheer fabrics and deep plunges are common, but flouncing layers and thick furs make sure that plenty is left to the imagination.  Desiree loves dark shades and leopard print, and is never without a pair of dramatic earrings.  Gorgeous lingerie is a must for this diva, to make sure that the final flourish is as dazzling as possible when she finally disrobes.

Bette and Dot Tattler

Bette and Dot’s style is a study in duality.  There’s a definite push and pull here, and this is the style of a woman who is still very much a little girl at heart.  Sheltered and timid, yet eager to experience the delights of the big world beyond their backyard, Bette and Dot mix mature and innocent elements to create outfits that are pretty but still a tiny bit cheeky.  Soft colours, sweetheart necklines and their ever-present hairbows mix with heels, handbags and silky fabrics.  And of course, the twins are never without their journal to record every day of their adventures.

 

 

 

Jimmy Darling

Jimmy’s look is reminiscent of so many Hollywood bad-boys of the era.  Jimmy takes inspiration from Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marlon Brando for a look that is casual, rough and super masculine.  Jeans, fitted tee shirts and open button-downs are the staples of Jimmy’s wardrobes.  His outfits are unfussy and simple, and the colours are earthy.  The one hint of adornment is the gold chain Jimmy wears on occasion, although this lobster charm is a cheeky addition I made to his outfit.
Which character’s style do you most covet?