Monday, December 31, 2007

Recap: MBS Sunday Brunch for Dec 30

Our topic this week was one that was suggested by several readers. We considered the phenomenon of “topping from the bottom.” As I had hoped, this question brought out an excellent mix of perspectives. Here are your thoughts.

PK: Topping from the bottom is a necessary evil when you are married to someone who never had the first thought of spanking his wife! In our marriage, we were (and really are) equal partners. Nick never thought of trying to be a dominant or of me being submissive to him. Now, after I brought it up and did some topping to get things started, he understands much more of what it all means. There are still times when I want to top so much that I can't stand it, but I try to back off and let this part of our relationship find its own balance.

Lori: This is a subject with which I am pretty experienced. I usually make an attempt to top from the bottom, such as telling my husband that he doesn't need to use this or that, or he doesn't need to do it that way, etc. He firmly lets me know that he doesn't need my help and occasionally lays a few extra swats on me to make sure I know that it's not appreciated.

However, I believe there are times when it is acceptable. Recently, during a spanking, I found myself in an uncomfortable, awkward position. The position caused my husband to spank from an unusual angle. He was landing the swats too high up and snapping me outside the target area (which he shouldn't be able to miss). I did tell him to please let me up and change what we were doing. At first, he took my plea as yet another topping from the bottom moment. But he did listen to me and we made the change. My husband is in control of all spankings and I like it this way. I just need to be reminded all the time.

Robin: What a timely brunch topic -- I have a tendency to occasionally top from the bottom (TFTB). That’s mainly because we're still trying to figure some things out (and since I'm the one who does the 'research', I feel it is only 'right' for me to share the info with DH :D). However, DH is becoming much less tolerant of my attempts to 'advise' him.

To us, topping from the bottom is when, during the actual spanking, I make the effort to 'instruct' DH about how the spanking should occur. Examples include the choice of implement, position, duration, intensity, etc.

Yep, I do this. But it’s less often lately, as the response from DH tends to be painful. Most recently, I was pointing out to DH that my bottom has a larger area that can be spanked than he usually focuses on (he tends to go for the undercurve and ignores the, ahem, fleshier area above there). His response was to pick up the dreaded bath brush and use it heavily on the area indicated. He also reprimanded me verbally to remind me that he's in charge.

When just starting out, especially if both parties are completely new to spanking, I think TFTB is necessary/acceptable/desirable in order for the spanker to gain some understanding of what the spankee is experiencing and where limits are. At some point, unless it is an accepted part of the couple's dynamic, I would think that TFTB would decrease, and only occur in situations such as Lori's. My attempts at TFTB have decreased, and I expect they will continue to decline as we gain more experience and greater comfort with our roles.

Abby: I'm guilty of this as well! It looks like I am in good company. I think when the interest level is as high as it is here in the blogosphere, a world of literate, intelligent, enthusiastic spankos, it's difficult not to take an active role in the thing that excites us so clearly. If I've been shopping online all day for a new strap, I'm going to be disappointed in a paddling and have no trouble saying so. If I've fantasized about a particular phrase or position, I want to make it come to fruition! After all, this is my fetish too, and it's not just about submission.

I think, in the best cases, topping from the bottom is more about being fully communicative than really trying to take control. There are also times when my husband wants me to make decisions, such as how many strokes I deserve, or with what implement, and sometimes I don't want to be the one making those decisions. Bottoming from the top -- now there's another subject! If I'm playing the role correctly, I can't imagine why, when asked, "How many?" I would respond with anything but, "None, thank you!"

Mary: I liked your "bottoming from the top" phrase. It’s so rarely thought of as a problem but...

We frequently communicate by email. Many times over the years, he has asked or I have shared what worked and what didn't. Of course, I don't know if that qualifies as TFTB. I think it is simply part of learning about one another. In many ways, it has been these conversations that open the door for my partner to push further. After all, if I was OK with what happened before, he knows what works and where he can push. My pleas are rarely heard during a spanking, but there are times when I may coyly ask if I am going to get more with the ___. He usually interprets that as a request, and is often only too happy to deliver. When my spankings are about discipline, there are generally rules in place because I want to work on a behavior that is an issue for me. He rarely imposes such rules without some input from me. Many may see that as TFTB, but it works for us because I like there to be a reason for my spankings. However, he is also perfectly happy with the only reason being that he wants to spank me (Just because). For the most part, we are partners, so TFTB isn't anything that hangs us up either way.

Jessica: I am with you all on your comments. As with a couple of you, we are pretty new to this. Dan and I have always been equals (if anything, I am a little more on the aggressive side). I have tried to let him take the lead completely when it comes to spankings and sex. I did have to tell him a few things here and there to start, or he would have had no clue what I wanted or needed. I do drop hints between spankings, such as sending sexy emails telling him that I am thinking of him and... [fill in the blank]. He has also been really active online and researching (I'm a lucky girl!).

Paul: Bonnie, many of your commenters said what I was thinking.

If the sub/bottom is more experienced than the Dom/Top, then some TFTB may be necessary. It is also beneficial when communication is an issue. Otherwise, it should gradually decrease over time.

Bonnie, may 2008 bring you and yours all of what you need and some of what you want.

PBF: What I really hate is being asked to top from the bottom. I’m talking about stuff like, "How many swats do you want?" No, don't ask me. It's your job to tell me how many I am getting. So I have taken to saying, "None, I have been very good today!"

Hermione: This is a very challenging topic, Bonnie! Like Robin, I'm the one who does all of the research, and I know what I'd like to try. I buy all the implements, but it's up to Ron to decide which one to use. I like that, and I told him that the decision was his. So I guess I'm guilty of TFTB.

During a spanking, I feel I'm in no position (sorry, couldn't resist) to do anything other than take it. I'm completely cooperative and Ron's in charge. However, on a couple of occasions I've been reluctant to accept that it was over, and have asked for, and been given, additional swats.

Outside the actual spanking session, I think it's good to talk about what works, what doesn't, and what I'd like to explore next. I like Mary's idea of exchanging e-mails. It's so hard for me to talk about it, even if it's with the one person who knows me best.

morningstar: Slips in quietly - apologizing for being absent for so long… Offers homemade cinnamon bread as a peace offering…

Topping from the bottom was/is my greatest nemesis, I think. There are times when I so dearly want something or other and I fight the urge to suggest it, or blatantly ask for it.

I know Sir would not punish me for trying to direct Him. He would think about my request and act / or not act according to His wishes. It is the same during a session. I may whine and sniffle and pout and stamp my foot as much as I like about too much pain, wrong toy, or whatever. But ultimately, it comes down to Sir's choice. (and I have to add, Sir is pretty much all the time dead on for what will really work for me and what won't).

Having said that, Sir bought me a new t-shirt on Friday that has the words "Bossy Bottom" boldly emblazoned across the chest. It made us both laugh. I may try to be bossy, but it is ultimately up to Him whether I get away with it or not.

I rather like this topic, and I am thinking about houseboy and his need to top from the bottom. Maybe I will run with this topic in a blog entry of my own…

But for now, happy holidays to one and all. May the New Year bring you love, peace and contentment.

Fifi Unleashed: I think TFTB is a convenient catch phrase for the communication needed between spanking partners. I would expect it in a new-to-spanking relationship. My former top was uninformed and unimaginative, so it was necessary for me to ask for this or suggest that. Otherwise, I would have been bored to tears during a spanking. I always felt like I was telling him what to do and it gave me the feeling of throwing a surprise party for myself. That detracts from the whole experience.

If the bottom is in distress or needs to change positions to avoid a pinched nerve (or whatever), I believe that's where a safe word would apply, and I don't consider using a safe word to be TFTB at all.

Welcome, Fifi!

Paige Tyler: I totally top from the bottom when my hubby is spanking me! I'll tell him to spank me lighter or softer, and even tell him to switch back to the leather paddle or his hand if he's using the wooden one. And of course, I can't resist asking him to stop spanking and touch me! LOL!

All of our spankings are erotic and playful, though, so he doesn't mind. Even though he does like to remind me which one of us in charge! LOL!

Sally: This is a great topic! I too am a little new at this and I am the one doing all the research. LVP will not read the blogs, but he will allow me to share some of the things I find. It is a learning experience for both of us. It has forced us to communicate more about what each of us wants sexually. After 24 years of marriage, who'd have thought there were so many new things to try? My TFTB serves to share these ideas and has been quite necessary. However, like many of you, once the spanking begins, he is completely in charge of what implement, how many swats and for how long. I still try to direct, but he usually reminds me that he is the one who will decide! Since what I really want is for him to take charge, I am more than happy to let him lead!

Terpsichore: My husband and I are embarking on this journey together and communication is part of the learning process. Since it is my fantasy being fulfilled, my husband is supportive and listens to any information or feelings I have. My husband spanks me playfully and is becoming more comfortable with the idea. I am also becoming more comfortable sharing my needs with him, which has always been difficult for me. My hope is that with time he will get to know my moods, desires, and needs and I will be able to let go and enjoy the sensations of the moment without topping from the bottom. However, being completely new, for us, communication is key.

Dear Bonnie and everyone at MBS, I wish all of you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year! Wish me luck! I am hoping to be welcomed into the New Year with my first real over the knee spanking. :-) (Hopeful, but with no expectations other than to spend the evening with the man I love with our two children sleeping and dreaming sweet dreams.)

Elle: I find this subject very interesting as I am a fairly recent arrival into the world of all these kinks. My boyfriend and I are still finding out what works for us. It's a complicated relationship and too complicated for me even to explain right now.

As far as spankings go, the giver (whichever of us it may be) is "in control" at the time. I am very dominant in day-to-day life and yet, I have such a strong feeling of wanting him to forcibly take control over me. Overall, he dominates about 80% of the time and I play dominant the other 20%. I like the experimentation and I do think it's healthy in a relationship, especially when it's my first relationship that has truly explored this side of me.

When I am being spanked, he likes me fighting. He likes me to kick and scratch and bite. He likes to know I am enjoying the pain and he likes me leaning into it and gasping on the edge of orgasm. He likes to hear what I want.

"Don't STOP"

He HATES it if I blink up at him and play virginal. When I do that, I get swiftly reminded of what a bad girl I really am.

When I'm spanking him, or being dominant more generally, he doesn't top me much, although he will tell me to do it harder. He doesn't have to do that as much, now that I've got my head around the idea that this is someone else who enjoys the pain as much as I do. When I'm "dominant," the thing that most turns me on is knowing that he's letting me do this, and that at any moment he could (and let's face it, might) overpower me.

I really like the double dynamic all this switching around gives us. I know a lot of people frown on role switching, but I honestly find it much more satisfying than having set roles.

Jean Marie: Topping from the bottom is a subtle, fine line. Basically, I try not to overstep that boundary.

For instance, I could say to my lover as he's pulling down my panties, "I know that you're gonna have to make this a strict punishment because I've been so bad..." This just lets him know that I'm into it. But if I were to say, "Ow! That cane hurts so good; Give me ten more just like that," I would've gone too far.

But I can accomplish the same thing just by absorbing the stripe and sticking my deserving butt out provocatively after each lick, and I'm sure to get the ten hard stingers that I craved in the first place. When it's done with body language, it's so much more eloquent, more thrilling, and our roles stay defined.

To top from the bottom overtly would upset our power balance. I wouldn't feel submissive or feminine doing it. It would seem emasculating. Now, that said, I may brat and respond to a painful and well-placed cane stripe across my backside, "What? Is there a mosquito in here? I think I just felt something ticklish on my ass..." Then I'm sure to get the hard whipping I need.

In the give-and-take colloquy that is our D&s relationship, I wouldn't dream of telling him what to do. But I can suggest, infer, or ask. Between my lover and me, it's all about the tone in our interplay. I find it sexy to be put in my place, where I belong and feel comfortable - on the bottom, with my bottom bared and turned up for attention.

Maybe another thing that makes crossing that boundary distasteful is the fact that, in my younger years, in every budding relationship, I had to top from the bottom initially by bringing up the subject of spanking. I had to let my lover know that he wasn't hurting me, even if he was marking me. Now that I'm with a true top, it feels so wonderful to just let him dominate the situation naturally.

Anon VII: She does it all the time, and I don't mind one bit, since ours is always playful or erotic (and occasionally tension-relief), and my greatest pleasure is her pleasure. Much of our TFTB is wordless. Examples include implements left where I'll find them, overdoing the bending over to pick up something, stretching over my lap to get something off the end-table beside the sofa, and of course naughty-girl looks and foxy smiles, often to underscore or punctuate the positions I mentioned. What I wouldn’t like, and what she doesn't bombard me with, is an ongoing stream of instructions. I don’t mind requests, often encoded in the context of role play, especially when the requests are for more. Of course, the safe word is always an acceptable form of TFTB.

Luna: I have posted my reply on my blog.

Xandra: TFTB (communicating) is always desirable if you want better sex... And spankings :)

Basically, I believe that one should always inform their partner about what pleases them and turns them on. Many may see this as topping from the bottom, but we don't use the terms Top or bottom except mine gets spanked.

We do what I call ED (erotic discipline). The object is to bring the greatest number of orgasms / amount of pleasure to each other. There is no penalty or problem with TFTB with us. I let him know if it's too much or not enough. We mix the spanking with all parts of sex. There is always a warm up to let the endorphins build and turn the pain to pleasure. Spanking at more intense levels is mixed with caressing, oral, and penetration resulting in multiple orgasms for me and an intense finish together. When the endorphins reach a high enough level, a euphoric trance ensues so that I don't feel pain until an hour or so later. Without communication, TBTB, it would be hard to reach these levels.

I enjoy being spanked. Hugh enjoys spanking me. We don't do real discipline. We play. We often play hard, so I'm frequently red for a day or two or longer after a pink bottom day or daily play. I like to feel a bit tender when I sit. I love the rubber paddle because it gets me so aroused. This would be painful if applied too early or hard. I would hope that a (Top) would want to know how their partner was feeling. There shouldn't be punishment for saying what you want.

We see better sex as the desired end. If the point is just to cause pain, you could stick your finger in an electric socket. ;) I don't believe in denying orgasm either, but that's another topic.

Happy 2008. Wishing you as much spanking and sex as you want!

Bonnie: My husband Randy has an interesting solution for this dilemma. I can propose almost anything before a spanking begins. He then decides what he will do (and, by extension, what I will do).

However, if I make a suggestion during a spanking, he invariably asks, “Who’s holding the paddle?” Short of invoking my safeword (a very rare occurrence), I typically don’t get much input into the process.

After the spanking, we often talk about what happened and how I felt about it. This is the time when I can offer opinions and ideas. He does listen and many of my suggestions are incorporated into future spankings.

I like to send Randy sexy e-mails or publish spanking-related posts on the blog that I know he will like. He has no problem with me enticing him that way. Ultimately, he still decides what will happen.

A few times, I have had the poor judgment to grumble about a lack of spankings. You can imagine what Randy’s response is. If I complain after that, it will be about my acute inability to sit.

Our Bottoms Burn: I think that TFTB maybe an indispensable tool for those embarking on a spanking relationship. I think that an exchange of information after the action should be a high priority. In most cases, this discussion should be initiated by the top.

How hard is hard? When new to it all or trying a new toy, the top can hit and say that was a 7. The bottom can then say “mmmm” or “try a 9” or “try a 5”.

Thank you all for your great responses. I hope you’ll join us on Sunday for our next Spanko Brunch.

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