Saturday, September 13, 2014

Open Mic #2: Susie on the Topic of Topping From Below

Susie took me up on my offer (well, offer or pushy and presumptuous demand -- whichever) to step up to the microphone.  Instead of talking in detail about her relationship, she has chosen to take on a topic that has come up in some recent comments, i.e. "topping from the bottom".  Here is her contribution:

Topping From the Bottom

How many times have you heard the above phrase and wondered what it means?  Let me tell you, it's not what many of you have in mind, and I feel that we are constantly learning on our journey, and that if I can share with all of you, you can learn from me, and I can learn from you.

Some basics about me (names and such are changed to protect identities) I am a lifestyle female Dominant in my mid-50's. Someone once told me I could easily be mistaken for your average youngish grandma,  I've been in the BDSM lifestyle since I was in my late teens. I was taught the old school way, and started out as a submissive. I was a good submissive, and I was a fast learner. I enjoyed service of all kinds, and I don't ever recall hearing that phrase. I was told what to do, how to do it, and I didn't ask questions.Years later, when I got involved with a much older male Dominant, he told me that I was too much of a SAsS (Smart Ass submissive Slut) to actually be a submissive. He gave me rigorous training on how to be a Dominant. It was then that I learned about Topping from the bottom.

So, what is Topping from the bottom? Honestly, it's easier to tell you what it isn't, but I will try. Please bear with me.

If your wife is hitting (spanking) you too high on your buttocks, telling her as she's spanking you might be seen as topping from the bottom. If you wait until afterwards when she is holding you and you tell her without complaining "Honey, when you were hitting me with that brush earlier, it was too high" that is not topping from the bottom. Giving feedback in a non-judgmental, matter of fact way is NEVER Topping from the bottom, especially if it is well after the fact.
Asking for aftercare (being held and spoken to in gentle tones) after being disciplined is not Topping from the bottom. Both of you need a cooling off period afterwards, and it's all part of being closer to the one you love.

Buying your wife a paddle or cane is not Topping from the bottom. neither is saying "I hope you use this on me someday," Telling her "I want you to use this on me next time I get a spanking" is Topping from the bottom. Okay, I know I've lost a few of you, but there are some men who are masochists and enjoy the discipline. My husband 'Sam' (Smart ass masochist) is one of them.
Requesting a spanking might be Topping from the bottom, but it depends on the circumstances. If you have had a bad attitude, and you say "I have had a bad attitude all day, and I think a spanking will help it" isn't. Getting upset and nagging her because she won't is most definitely Topping from the bottom.

Making a request is not Topping from the bottom. Telling her exactly how you want things is. Discussing your needs, desires and feelings isn't Topping from the bottom.  Expecting her to do whatever you want is Topping from the bottom.

Communication and feedback is very important, and if it is given in a respectful manner, it isn't Topping from the bottom. One of the most important things in a relationship is communication, and if you are denied that, I feel it distances you from your spouse, and causes anger and bad feelings to fester. For those of you who are in a Domestic Discipline relationship, I'd like to suggest that you get together with your spouse or significant other at least once a month to talk about things, Share the positives as well as the negatives. Women, it doesn't hurt to give your man the occasional praise, especially if there is an area of great improvement. Give him some "warm fuzzies." I guarantee you that he will work harder to please you. Men, remind your woman that you appreciate her, and everything she does to ensure your good behavior. Do something sweet and unexpected once in a while. If you have them, be a good example for your children. Treat your wife with love and respect.
Please feel free to ask any questions or give feedback, even if you disagree with me.


I appreciate honesty from people.

25 comments:

  1. Dan, it's Susie. Thank you for sharing what I had to say. What happened to my paragraphs?

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  2. REALLY good examples. Such a great explanation of what TFTB is and is NOT.

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    1. Hi Autumn! Thank you for your comment! There can be so much confusion about it, and I felt that if I could share it, perhaps the bottoms would be less afraid to talk to the Top and express what they are feeling,

      Susie

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  3. Well, since Susie invited people to be honest in their feedback . . . From time to time, I have commented on this topic of "topping from the bottom" or "topping from below." I don't question its application in a Femdom or Dominant-submissive marriage. But, a DD marriage may or may not incorporate those broader "the Woman is always on top" themes. It's also a concept that I think gets abused a lot and in a way that might inhibit communication. I have seen MANY instances in DD and Femdom blog comments or Yahoo groups where a man expressed his needs as the "bottom" and was immediately attacked for "topping from below" or not being submissive enough to his wife setting the direction. I should make clear that it is those fairly shrill, black and white opinions that I am objecting to.

    And, I do see problems with the positions they take. First, when people are just starting out in DD, they need to err on the side of over-communicating their needs and desires. Otherwise, there is a big risk that one partner thinks he or she is giving the other partner what they want and need, but it's really not happening. Particularly when people are first starting out in DD, I think it's helpful to err on the side of communicating your needs and wants, and the "topping from the bottom" prohibition might frustrate that process.

    Second, while some couples in the Femdom and D/s scene undoubtedly WANT a relationship in which one party dictates what happens and when it happens, that is not necessarily a component of DD. In many DD relationships, the emphasis is on rules and consequences. Both the rules and the consequences are talked through and agreed upon in advance. In that kind of relationship, it would be bad for the "bottom," for lack of a better word, not to speak up about what he needs and wants and to talk about what is not working for him. I think this is consistent with your advice, Susie, but I think there are a lot of Tops out there who start complaining shrilly about "topping from the bottom" any time a man mentions that he has been telling his wife that she not disciplining him often enough or consistently enough.

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  4. Third, I disagree that the receiver should not speak up immediately about something like blows landing too high. Particularly with heavy or very hard instruments, a strike that lands too high or in the wrong place (such as on the tailbone) can do serious damage. I once injured my tailbone (not from spanking), and it was one of the most excruciatingly painful things I have ever done and took months to heal.

    Fourth, while it should not take the form of nagging incessantly, I do think it is appropriate to point out to the disciplining spouse when she isn't carrying through with her part of the disciplinary arrangement. That may not be appropriate in a Femdom or D/s relationship, but I think this is where there is, in fact, a difference between D/s and DD. Dominance and submission may really hinge on the submissive always recognizing the Dom's authority, including the authority to decide when and how to spank. But, with DD the emphasis is on punishment and behavior adjustment. The couple has often agreed that there will be severe consequences for problem behavior and that those consequences will happen regularly and consistently. The disciplined husband wants that discipline because he feels he needs it to try to stay on track, and also because he often feels bad about the behavior and knows that he should be spanked severely as a form of penance. And, that is what the couple has agreed should happen. In that case, I think it is entirely appropriate for the husband to voice frustration that he is doing his part in surrendering to her discipline, but she is not delivering it consistently as they agreed she would. Over on Hermione's blog today's topic is about whether DD is "effective." As I commented there, for us it is in some respects but not others, and one reason that it is not more effective in bringing about real behavioral change is because it is not applied consistently.

    But, I agree 100% with Susie's statement that the way to avoid some of these problems is to have regular communications about how the relationship is going, including what is working and what is not.

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  5. Thank you for your comments Dan. I'll go over them one by one,

    I agee that, quite iften, people muisuse the term "Topping from the bottom" without any real knowledge what it is. EVERYONE deserves to be heard, and that's why I can't emphasize enough about communicating with your partner away from the discipline and expressing your needs. I know there are some Tops who will disagree with what I stated isn't "Topping from the bottom" , but they have the right to their opinion. I've seen too many subs suffer from asshole Dominants who don't allow the sub to talk about things at all, and it's not right.

    I also agree that things should not only be discussed, but written down. I'm rather fond of agreements and contracts, It eliminates confusion and makes a great reference tool.

    Your third point is where you read me wrong, I wrote " telling her as she's spanking you might be seen as topping from the bottom" Notice I wrote "MIGHT" not "is." If my husband tells me I'm too high up, I apologize immediately and go lower or stop, Sometimes, I'll accidentally go too high and apologize before he says something, Notice I added "Giving feedback in a non-judgmental, matter of fact way is NEVER Topping from the bottom, especially if it is well after the fact." Communication, again, is so very important.

    You've lost me at Four, We both said the same thing in different ways.

    There's a difference between needing or wanting a spanking and deserving it, I also feel that it should be consistent, Sometimes there may be a need or desire for one on the part of the bottom for one, and sometimes a verbal request for it is denied by the Top. In that case, I feel that it's okay to talk about it, but getting upset and nagging the Top isn't in your best interest,

    I think I told you about my modified use of the Spencer Plan. I have very few instances in where I will receive a spanking, but there are times I NEED a spanking. I've been known to request a spanking because I said or did something that I felt was bad enough to deserve the disciplinary measure, but I always explain exactly why I need it. Sulky, sassy sullen Susie deserves a spanking, I'll usually cry during those spankings too. Not because I hurt, but because I need the emotional release,

    Susie

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  6. Susie, I agree with what you said. I made a spanking bench for my wife to put me over. I had suggested the bench but it was her that told me the height and length she wanted. I have bought her some implements for her to spank me with. It was her choice to use them or not and when she felt like using them. A few times I asked her for a spanking. Again it was her choice if she wanted to spank or not. A few times she said no and the was the end of it. a few times she told me to get naked and bend over the sofa arm rest. I have mentioned to her that a few spanks have landed too high but that was to prevent injury. I don't feel any of that is topping from the bottom.
    archedone

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    1. Hello archedone!

      And I agree with you. Unfortunately, sometimes those of us doing the spanking occasionally forget, and will take it as a criticism, and then accuse the one we're spanking of Topping from the bottom. But, for for your safety, you should bring it up, especially if it happens more than once. I'd never say for you to not let the Top know.

      I have this one paddle that every time I used it, I'd go too high. I finally learned how to "correct" my use of it, I hope your wife gives you a time to talk about your disciplinary sessions.
      Susie

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  7. I have many times asked my wife for a spanking and she complies. However I have made the mistake of, during a strapping, of telling her that she hit too high and she got pissed off and stopped. Since then I just let her strap or paddle away and mention something later that she hit too high. Much better results from NOT topping from bottom.
    Baxter

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    1. Hello Baxter!

      Good to see you again. Your wife is one of the people I was talking about that sees it as Topping from the bottom, and you've learned that it's better for you to talk about it after, and not during, If there's an implement she uses that causes it, you might want to inform her. My paddle (mentioned above) can be pretty mean.

      Susie

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  8. Susie

    Great essay. I think both your comments as well as some of the ideas of others make sense. When all is said and done it really boils down to communication. Unless a relationship from day one involved discipline, talk, experimenting, and discovering each other takes time. It hasnt always been easy for us to find that path that fulfills us both but we are well on the way and I
    am aware that the dynamics may change in the future.Thanks again !

    Anna

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    1. Hi Anna,

      Thank you! You'll discover that as you get older, it will become even more important to talk. There is so many things I learn from asking questions and getting feedback.Just remember to give your husband a time where he can talk to you about things, or have him write a journal. Both are great tools, and you will gain a better understanding of what he's feeling

      Susie

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  9. Hi,

    Thank you for an informative and interesting blog. I don't normally show any of the blogs I read to my Mistress/Wife, but in this case it was well worthy of an exception.

    She read it with interest and commented that perhaps I don't really top from the bottom after all. I have been accused of doing so more than once. I have always worked on the theory if you don't ask you don't get. Asking at the right time and in the right way is of course important.

    In regards to being hit in not quite the right place I tend to work on the premiss that if it's hurting but not damaging, I leave it till later to mention it. However if I think it's going to damage me I let Her know straight away.

    Could I ask Your views on maintenance spankings, it's not something Mistress does at present, but I can see the reasoning behind it. If You think there a good idea, how frequent should the be?

    Have a great week
    m

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  10. Hello M!

    I am so thrilled and honored that you shared this with your Mistress! I'm happy it cleared some things up for the two of you.

    Because my husband is my submissive and a masochist, and I am a Sadist, I give daily maintenance spankings whenever possible, but there is a big difference between the discipline and maintenance. I feel it's important for each couple to work out what they desire in their relationship. As you know, it's not a one size fits all thing, and what works for me and my husband might not work for you and your Mistress,

    What I can tell you is that it's been constant trial and error, and sometimes, nothing feels right. Don't give up.

    Susie

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    1. Although my wife and I don't consider ourselves into S&M, and we don't really practice maintenance spankings, I agree with Susie that they can have a role in a DD relationship. Particularly with people who are new to DD and trying to break old patterns and establish new ones, maintenance spankings can help establish DD as a regular part of the relationship. They can help the wife become more confident in exercising discipline and condition the husband to accepting that discipline whenever she may require it.

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  11. In a lot of the DD relationships I've read about, it is the male who initiates the move to a full DD lifestyle - so it is perhaps no surprise that there is a lot of talk about 'topping from the bottom'.

    In our case I did the research after discussing the idea with Mistress and presented my findings. We both discussed the matter and agreed on a way forward.

    However, I'm the one with the background knowledge of CP and it was me who introduced Mistress to first CP and then DD.

    Mistress has been learning, and learning fast, but has often sought my advice on many aspects of discipline. I would accept there have been times when I've been over-eager to progress our DD lifestyle and the purists might view what I've done as topping from the bottom - and it is the case that I led the direction of DD in our relationship in it's early stages.

    But the fact that Mistress has embraced our DD lifestyle to the full shows her enthusiasm for the matter though I'd say that without my input we would never have reached the stage we are at in our relationship. As Susie says, communication is important - but learning to accept direction from the Lady of the house is the key aspect of any DD relationship.

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    1. And so it was with us also. SAM (Smart Ass Masochist) suggested it, and it requires a whole different skill set than your typical 24/7 D/s M/s relationship. I still occasionally have issues with him wanting something I'm not ready to give yet, but it's gotten better.
      Susie

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  12. This is a topic that can generate multiple offshoots. So many thoughts already....and I don't want to time out....or (lol) use up all of my allotted computer time. Anyway... I also agree that feedback is not "T from B". Rosa practically demands and thrives on feedback....but she also knows I have a tendency, once I work up my nerve, to honestly confess feelings that give her an enormous amount of useful information and ammunition. I will tell her during our talks about what things really get to me...punitively, sexually, and from the perspective of embarrassment. Without my feedback she would not know about these things.

    As for spanking criticism, I have learned that unless something is really dangerous or causing a major problem...that "during" just suck it up. And if you do bring it up...like you said...bring it up later and RESPECTFULLY.

    I always hear about guys who can't find disciplinary partners and yet I have had very little trouble and I think it's because I have always tried to let the woman discover and do things on her own without criticism.

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    1. @kdpierre: Thank you for your comments!

      I find it very helpful when Sam gives feedback, although, sometimes I feel like I'm opening an iron door that's been sealed forever, and is just rusted closed.

      Respect is so very important, especially when it comes to any type of criticism. I recall back when I first tried the Domination side of things, the submissive I was playing with turned around and started lecturing me in the middle of our scene. I just fell apart crying. It wasn't pretty! So, now that I've grown up a bit., I don't quite get hurt when I receive a complaint, but I also discovered that feedback is always good.
      Susie

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  13. Susie, thank you for your great post on this subject, I think you hit the nail right on the head - or perhaps hit the bare behind right in the sweet post might be more apropos. Your examples were excellent. When we first got started a dozen years or so ago, we were both "virgins" although I read extensively on F/M discipline and practically memorized the DWC website. :-) What worked well for us in the beginning was email feedback. I would never offer feedback during the spanking but later I would occasionally send an email with a suggestion or often a cut and paste from an article on the web about various techniques. This worked well for us as it wasn't too personal and didn't interfere with the spontaneity. Thanks again for the great article. --Al

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  14. Hi Al!

    Thank you for your nice comments! Another tool that is useful is having a required daily blog where the bottom can express their feelings freely.
    Susie

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  15. WOW This is all VERY GOOD material.
    I am strongly considering asking my wife to check this out.

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    1. I AM your wife!

      Susie AKA Mistress Merry

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