Climb Your Way to the Top

“Drop those pants.” “Roll over.” “Bottoms up!” You Tops think you’re soooo special with your cocky attitudes, sexual demands and complicated rope knots. Well, let me tell you, dears, Topping is about more than just getting your boots shined, your bottoms spanked and your… well, you know.

Sure, Topping is largely about taking control in a sexual situation, but it’s also about keeping your bottom happy, safe and, usually the biggest challenge, convinced.

Permission to give advice, sir?

A hesitant Top is the worst. “Uh, get down on your knees, I guess. Er, do you need a pillow?” doesn’t exactly scream sexy power-dynamic play. The most common pitfall for Topping novices is a lack of confidence.

And Topping is all about confidence. Rigging someone up to the bedposts, setting the rules of your attraction, wielding heavy-duty BDSM artillery and using (and abusing) words all require that you trust yourself, your tools, your knowledge, the situation and your bottom.

Contradictorily, Topping isn’t really about getting what you want. It’s about figuring out what your bottom wants and delivering it in the way (s)he want it—usually in a bossy kind of way that makes bottom believe that you actually thought of these things first, not him/her.

Discover your Topping style for yourself and in relation to your bottom’s needs. Do you play the nurturing “mommy/daddy” role? Are you a physical rougher-upper? A verbal, bossy type? A nautical knot mastermind? Talk to your bottom before starting a scene about what kind of roles and actions (s)he wants so that when you’re in the zone you can deliver that line, role or slap with consensual certainty.

Choose your bottoms wisely, giving consideration to their experience levels, judgment and bottoming styles. Do you want a sassy back-talker, a passive-submissive, or one that truly loves to please? If you yourself are trying a new technique for the first time, a more experienced bottom will make a safer guinea pig. Just make sure bottom is cool with it first.

Just as bottom needs to trust that Top isn’t going to accidentally knock him/her unconscious, a Top needs reassurance that the bottom can honestly set personal limits and appropriately signal when things need to slow down or stop. As a Top, you need to listen closely—not only to your bottom’s words but also to physical cues. So never leave a bottom in bondage alone. Check in regularly, maintain awareness of basic needs like water, air and bathroom breaks, and respond to established “safe word” quickly and calmly. Paleness, numbness and passing out are never good signs.

You are responsible for your bottom’s safety! Always be prepared to get your partner out of a bind quickly and painlessly. Tools like bolt-cutters, safety scissors and a basic first aid kit should always be handy. Earthquakes, fires and surprise visits from pint-sized Girl Scout cookie salespeople happen.

The most important thing for your bottom’s safety is that you, the Top, know what you’re doing. A great Top usually has a stocked tool box filled with high-quality, safe BDSM toys and knows exactly how to use every one. When delivering percussion play (which ranges from a light spanking to a heavy flogging), avoid the head, kidneys, spine and neck. Instead, dish it out to muscular areas like the butt, breasts, thighs, upper back and chest muscles. With rope bondage, never tie around joints, and—for the love of all that is sexually exploratory—bust open the piggy bank for something better than a $5 pair of metal cuffs from Spencer’s. They dangerously tighten, cutting off circulation, and easily break, setting that squirming little sex kitten free far too quickly.

Great Topping books abound ,including detailed rope-bondage how-tos by The Two Knotty Boys, The Sexually Dominant Woman for extra shy beginners and plenty of Topping erotica published by Cleis Press. Get a visual with edu-porno Penny Flame’s Expert Guide to Rough Sex and stock up on the best tools of the Topping trade at

Yana Tallon-Hicks

Author: Yana Tallon-Hicks

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