Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

True today, still true tomorrow

with 5 comments

Actually, true four years ago, still true today.  Maymay commented this morning on a post I wrote in 2007 about not wanting kink as a gift.  At the time I was writing as a bottom (and as I later discovered thanks to a wonderful workshop by Midori, a dominant masochist but that’s besides the point).  I was looking for a way to express what’s missing from my kink when it’s served as an accommodation by a vanilla partner.  You can read the earlier post for those details, but what I feel more prepared to add to the conversation than I did four years ago is how valuable positive feedback is to me as a top coming from my submissive partner.

As I was writing this I had the thought of “well duh positive feedback from my bottom is important, it’s called consent why am I even writing this.”  So perhaps I should dig a little deeper.  When I first approached this post it was with the idea of what holds true for bottoming holds true for topping and that’s kind of cool.  What I’m realizing now is that what holds true for bottoming* is necessary but not enough for topping.

As a bottom it’s important for me that my partner enjoys topping me and isn’t just doing that as a favor.  As a top, I find this to be a mandatory starting point.  What comes next is, well, enthusiasm?  Desire perhaps?  Expressed desire more accurately.  I described it recently as follows: Think of me as a vampire or a police officer – I can not come across the threshold without invitation, but once inside I can do mean, horrible things to you at will.  My submissive partner has to invite me to dominate them – unless and until they do, I will relate to them the same way I would relate to any other person.

So what does an invitation look like?

It looks like please and thank you: There is nothing that turns me on more than a partner asking me to hurt them unless it’s a partner thanking me for hurting them.  Why?  Because I “get off on a bit of violence” as one of my more proper lovers described it.  I like to hurt people to their edge, I know in some abstract way that they enjoy it, I have safewords to make sure I never cross that edge, but if you’ve ever seen someone ride the edge of pleasure and pain you know that it can be hard to tell in the moment if they love you or hate you for it.  Saying please is an invitation; it reminds me that I am not just doing this willy nilly on my own whim but I am doing this because you want me to do this to and for you.  It helps me not feel like I should defect and join the Chinese police**, and it helps you get the hurt you’re after.  (Sorry for the switch to second person there folks, typical immigrant mistake, and one I make when I’m thinking about sex because a lot of this writing is so personal.)  Saying thank you, now that is just plain fucking hot.  It brings in all those lushes things I love about making other people’s fantasies come true and lets me know I’m doing just that.

It looks like good communication: When I was 19 I took a boy home who wanted me to hit him with my belt.  He was very sweet, and he was very good at telling me what he wanted.  The only problem is, he told me the what but not the how.  He not only wanted to be hit with a belt, he wanted a punishment scene; to be hit because he had been bad.  Not unreasonable of course, except that my own kinks are all about having someone earn the beating they’re going to get or at the very least ask nicely for it.  This is an invitation without follow through not because he didn’t want the same thing as I did, but because he didn’t really tell me all the details.  We were young and didn’t know better, but it’s still like inviting someone to a party and forgetting to mention you actually plan to spend the whole night getting stoned on the back porch – it’s kind of hit or miss and it leaves me feeling mismatched.

I’m sure an invitation can look like so many other things, but those are the biggest ones for me.  So why is it all so important?  Because my scenes are better when they are collaborative, and my sex is better when it comes from the right context.  A lot of people get off on overpowering their submissive partners.  I don’t.  I get off on the beauty of seeing someone voluntarily drop to their knees, and so for me there is nothing more uniquely satisfying than topping someone who really, deeply wants to be topped.

* Clearly what holds true for either topping or bottoming varies from person to person and this post reflects my perspective.  YMMV.

** “I’m defecting to the Chinese police” was my safeword in a scene I did with a good friend of mine several years ago.  It was an interrogation roleplay scene with a masochist, and I knew she might be able to take more than I could comfortably and safely dole out so we found a way to signal above the scene frequency.

Written by kinkinexile

September 4, 2011 at 4:05 am

Posted in headspace, personal, topping

5 Responses

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  1. It looks like good communication: When I was 19 I took a boy home who wanted me to hit him with my belt. He was very sweet, and he was very good at telling me what he wanted. The only problem is, he told me the what but not the how. He not only wanted to be hit with a belt, he wanted a punishment scene; to be hit because he had been bad. Not unreasonable of course, except that my own kinks are all about having someone earn the beating they’re going to get or at the very least ask nicely for it. This is an invitation without follow through not because he didn’t want the same thing as I did, but because he didn’t really tell me all the details.

    Interestingly, this passage strongly reminds me of my school days. “Why?” was my favorite question then and was never really respected as a valid question for a student to be asking. I refused to do any work unless I knew and agreed with the reasoning for why doing that work was valuable. Not sure if that’s off-point for your post or not, but, there ya go.

    On a likely more relevant note, this…

    There is nothing that turns me on more than a partner asking me to hurt them unless it’s a partner thanking me for hurting them.

    …is exactly what I was trying to get at in my Kink Academy videos when I said:

    People of all genders who want to be submissive sometimes have trouble claiming their agency in being submissive, actually asserting, “I want to be submissive. I want you to hurt me. I want you to objectify me.” What [seems] less objectifying than saying, “I want you to objectify me.” Right?

    But this actually a very, very, very key part of being not only a good submissive partner and a good communicator, but it’s also a key part of getting what you want. Regardless of your gender, being a submissive is about getting—in part—satisfaction from your submission. And so, for men, this can be exceptionally difficult to do in a way that is both perceived as submissive and is still also seen as appropriately masculine.

    I don’t doubt that some of the trouble your 19-year-old self’s partner had was partly this. And, now, part of me wishes I could re-record those videos. I have way more language for this stuff today than I did 6 months ago. Ah well.

    maymay

    September 4, 2011 at 5:35 am

  2. Before I started topping I don’t think I quite understood what you meant when you said this, but now I feel very similarly. I think it’s harder for me (personally) to approach someone as a top, which I don’t like because it reinforces the “women get hit on rather than hitting on others” stereotype. But on the other hand, it’s hard to overcome feeling like I need to be more careful as the top in what I ask and how I ask, because I don’t want to step on anyone’s consent (and consent isn’t as simple as just saying yes). So it’s more comfortable for me to demand that someone asks me, or better yet, begs. [grin] Anyway, still musing about it. And sort of missing bottoming, but I seem to be having trouble wanting to do it, despite wanting to want to do it. If that makes sense.

    ironrose

    September 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm

  3. Hey Ironrose, thanks for reminding me I have to write a post about bottoming block, or play block or whatever. Want to co-write it with me?

    Maymay thank you for sharing that perspective as well. I remember when I was working on my thesis a topic that came up over and over again is how do you indicate permission to speak or turn to speak in group settings in a virtual space because the dynamics are different from what people are used to. I wonder if there is a similar problem in BDSM where your normal group dynamics get filtered through a new and hard to understand context so it becomes unclear when its your turn or even obligation to speak up.

    kinkinexile

    September 20, 2011 at 4:43 am

  4. […] I suppose I can add something more constructive, perhaps going back to an earlier statement of my scenes are better when they are collaborative, but the main points for me are 1) tops have limits too, we are humans not latex-clad amazons and […]


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