Mentoring, self-help and submissive exploration

lunaKM has been a full-time slave in an M/s relationship for over 10 years. She is the founder and editor of Submissive Guide. Learn more about her here and connect with her on, Twitter, Google+, FetLife.

34 responses to “5 Ways to Recognize Topping from the Bottom”

  1. littlemiss96

    I am not a “natural” submissive, so my attempts to top from the bottom are usually not-so-subtle suggestions in my journal (which my Master reads) about what I think I need, in an attempt to get him to do what I want him to do in our sessions. I’m getting better about it, but I know my natural “bossy” demeanor comes out from time to time. A little punishment, or threat of punishment, and I stop!

    1. kajira kelly

      Been there done that…I’m naturally stubborn,obstinate and sassy……let the punishment commence…lol

  2. MorphingButterfly

    I’ve been told that I am “topping from the bottom”.
    I do not believe I am doing so, because I am stating what I like and don’t like prior to the play scene, as in part of the negotiation.

    I’m diabetic and recently had (and still am recovering from) a skin infection. Therefore, the impact has to be done very carefully and sparingly.

    I find it difficult to give total control to every impact item and every intensity at a first play session. I simply cannot do that.

  3. Jerusha

    Definitely a useful post. Thanks. :)

  4. kellkat

    I think if you have a legitamite health concern and if you tell your Dom/me that, you aren’t topping from the bottom. I too have health issues, but I always communicate those to my Dom. It used to be a little uneasy for me at first, especially one of them, however he told me he wanted to know everything and I’ve found that being able to share that, and him being so unbelievably supportive and caring, has made my friendship and subsequent relationship better than any I have ever had.

  5. Teresa Bowers

    Excellent article. Its explained in a straight forward way without confusing everyone.
    Thank you.

  6. puppy

    Thank you for writing this…. I got in mild trouble this morning for being contrary…argumentative. I get easily frustrated and I worry that I’m inadvertently ‘topping from the bottom’. I asked him to tell me to stop if he didn’t like it and he told me that He wanted me to be free to express who I am, even if that’s disagreeing with Him.

    I want to try to be better, but it’s difficult…

  7. amgb

    Excuse me, but who are you to say what is appropriate for a sub and what isn’t? Giving tips is one thing, but actually telling a sub that their BDSM practices are a “faux paus”? That’s just not okay.

    Not all subs WANT to be completely submissive and not all doms want a sub who simply complies with everything without a bit of fight. BDSM covers a wide range of sexual practices and telling subs that it’s inappropriate or a faux paus to “top from the bottom,” if that’s what they ENJOY. is simply wrong.Trying to tell all subs to be the same is like someone telling you that you can only have sex in the missionary position.

    1. Pet

      I think Luna does a good job at stating basics for most subs. She does not state this is how it has to be for everyone. With any BDSM article or any relationship article for that matter you need to take what applies to you and your unique situation because all relationships are different. What one Dom sees as feisty and cute another might see as insolence. So if it does not aplly to you then over look it and move on. By the way Luna I enjoyed the article.

    2. passerby

      amgb, I second you. As I read this article, it seemed that the author got carried away with her idea of how a BDSM submissive should behave.

      Had the author just talked about what topping from the bottom, that would have been okay. However, she says, “the idea behind the term is to actually help submissives understand their role, and isn’t more than a faux paus,” and that is her making a judgement and implying that other than her own understanding of BDSM is wrong.

      At one time, the author says, “negotiating this in the beginning of the relationship is critical.” This line made me stop and question her experience in any human relationships. Neither any relationship, that lasts for a period of time, nor any human being stops changing. Because of that, this is an impossible idea unless the people in the relationship just want to throw away the relationship all together whenever one or the other behaves differently from the day they first decided to have a relationship. Anyone who’s gone through a healthy human relationship, including family relationship, understands that ‘growing old together’ means that together they change both physically and mentally and that it applies to every relationship.

      It’s a mistake for any guide to be this personal and emotional, but it looks like that the author doesn’t understand what is wrong with this article. I just hope that any novice, for whom this guide is obviously written, doesn’t fall for her ideal and fantasy.

  8. blah blah

    Your health should take priority over your Dom’s wishes. Your best interests should be in your Dom’s mind at all time. Sometimes there is a conflict of interest, say when your Dom loves to be physically demanding or punishing, and you are in a weakened state due to illness. But as his/her property, how your Dom treats you reflects what they think about you. You could think of it as if you’re a car. If you’re engine is busted up at the moment, but your Dom takes you out to go mudding or speeding or anything that’s going to overtax you when you are not in a condition to do so, well, that reflects poorly upon them. It means they’re just a greedy bastard only looking out for their own wants and neglecting your needs, perhaps to the mortal detriment of you. A Dom that considers their sub a property they can use up and throw out at their whim, b/c they’ll simply go find another sub…you need to get out of that relationship. A Dom has to learn to temper their wants and desires with what the sub is capable of at any moment. Sure, sometimes it’s fun to put your sub into impossible situations just to punish them. But if the sub is suffering from a physical ailment or is becoming emotionally traumatized in a BAD way, then it’s the Dom’s responsibility to ease up and offer reassurance, counsel, support and love. Your Dom is your King and Master. You are his land. Is he using up the land so it is a wasteland that will die? Or is he caring for it so it is fertile, wonderful and a heaven on earth? As the sub, you have to decide. Every D/s relationship can be different, but if you feel you are being pushed beyond what you can handle at the moment, or your D is chastising you for speaking up during pre-play communications, you need to re-evaluate the as a worthy Dom.

  9. astralslave

    i completely disagree with this entire article. i have extensive experience in deep subspace. however, this article goes against everything i was taught in my training. i was taught there is no such thing as topping from the bottom. its a myth. and the advice you gave subs is not only offensive but outright dangerous. Everyone has different dynamics. and there are no set rules for behavior. its symbiotic or its not. Youre not less of a sub if you draw clear boundaries for yourself to keep yourself from harm physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. youre not less of a submissive if you raise concerns or use safewords or say no or ask to stop a scene. if your Dom cares about you at all then he will immediately stop whatever is causing harm to you. and this bullshit about not experiencing pleasure except as a byproduct of the doms please is the biggest load of **** i have ever heard in my life. although its true subs can and often do take pleasure just from the act of serving and being pleasing the fact remains there are two human beings in this relationship and dynamic and both need to be happy and have their needs met for it to have any longevity or for it even to be healthy. what the hell is the modivation for serving otherwise? if youre not having a good time and enjoying yourself? Think about it. really? really though?

  10. cunt1992

    Im quite new to this lifestyle but I liked this video. I worry about topping from the bottom without meaning to. Sir and I both are new and are researching and learning together. Thank you lunaKM for sharing your life with us.

  11. mrsmuir

    Thank you for the informative article. I am a new sub and my Sir does point out when I am topping from the bottom. Usually accompanied by a quick whack lol. A few weeks ago we were playing with another couple and in the heat of everything I started giving the other man instructions: harder, yes there etc. The next day Sir apologized to him and had a talk with me about how I was topping. He was very understanding because he knows I am new to all of this but I know now that I’m not allowed to top any Dom. (At least these are my Sir’s rules. I know everyone is different). Just wondering about your thoughts on this. Thanks!

  12. Bighotrodoh

    I was a new Dom and I was guilty of letting my sub top from the bottom. We were both going through major life issues (me divorce, her her mom dying). She withdrew a lot which I still respect since I can understand the traumatic experience she was going through and I lost a lot of confidence from my primary relationship falling apart. The bad part was I did not really know when to push the issue and require total submission after her loss. Finally, I ended up releasing her because I could tell she was not happy but could not quite put my finger on why and I did not feel like she was really fully submitting to me. I’ve learn a lot since then and I don’t think I will let this happen with the next sub I have

  13. Cat

    If one is into being tied up but being in charge or being tied up, that is what they are into, they aren’t “doing it wrong.” That’s their thing.

  14. LarissaG

    I was guilty of topping from bottom a few weeks ago. I wrote about it on my blog, Luna….anyway, I ended up forcing my Master’s hand to take care of something that was bothering me which I couldn’t handle. A good dominant knows how to take care of his slave. And a good slave knows how to trust her dominant to do so….If the relationship is solid and on a good foundation of trust, there will be set rules in place to take care of issues such as health or likes and dislikes. However, keep in mind, that while your health issues come first, your likes/dislikes do not. You may like something, but you may not always get it. Demanding something you like from the bottom is actually topping your dominant to do what you want, not what he wants. The advice in this article is not “dangerous” nor is it “wrong.” Those who have posted negative comments obviously have no clue what they are talking about nor do they know what it truly means to top their dominant from the bottom. Thank you for posting this article, Luna.

    A few other ways to top from bottom: 1. harp on something until your dominant’s hand is forced to take care of it. 2. ignore his or her wishes and orders. 3. tattle on other slaves and create a whole new realm of drama that could better be taken care of by say, “Master, how do I deal with this,” etc…4. Not trusting your dominant to take care of you.

    I could probably go on…


  15. Dominion

    Topping from the Bottom is a myth developed by Male Dominants to justify their abuse of submissive women. It is sad and sickening that Female Dominants and Male submissive’s have bought into the hoax and fairy tale and began emulating the abuse rampant in Male Dominants.

  16. luscious

    i am so blessed to have found this website and i truly respect the knowledge of lunakm. i wish i could know her in real time as a friend and mentor. not everyone is always going to agree with her observations or statements or ideas, but there is a better way of going about disagreeing than to attack her. the forum is for discussion, different points of views, experiences, opinions … speak your truths clearly and quietly, keep your words soft and respectful, disagree with her, even … but to attack her is unacceptable. she, on the other hand, is gracious enough to apologize that her articles, and attempts to guide and help ones like me, offended some. curb your tongues and speak to her with the respect that she deserves, the respect that she gives to you. take the things that you can use from this site, including her articles, suggestions, and ideas, and use the ones you can or are interested in. leave the rest … just like we all do with everything else we read, listen to, or watch. be respectful. personally, i love you luna. i love the videos, the viewpoints, the site, everything about you. thank you for your insights. and thank you for being there when i was searching for answers … you’re the best.

  17. C

    This is one of those issues for me that always just ruffles my feathers a bit. I don’t believe that I ever, *ever* completely surrender my right to say “no” — and I always sort of resent the implication that that makes me any less of a “real sub”. But holding onto that is part of what keeps these relationships safe and healthy. Sometimes you may not know you don’t want to do something until it’s happening — even if you’ve talked about it beforehand. Sometimes something that worked another night might not be working now. I’ve also been actually injured by a Dom, early on in my explorations, because I trusted him to be careful with my safety, and he wasn’t — but I was young and had read too many articles like this and didn’t think I had a right to stop him. A sub shouldn’t have to endure something bad-painful, harmful, or emotionally troubling just because they’ve been told they’re “doing it wrong” if they “contradict” their Dom’s wishes. I know you’ll say that not everything applies to everyone and all relationships are different, but honestly, I always find articles like this, phrased in this way, terribly irresponsible.

  18. Abby

    My Mastress loves it when I turn into a sass. He brags to his friends about what a Brat I am. Sometimes I wish I could be completely at his submission, however being a full time single mom really hinders having full play sessions. So the taste sessions that we do get usually entail alot of sassy to keep it fun and lively cause sometimes all we have time for is an “EXCUSE ME?!” *CRACK*

    That being said sometimes when we are in the presence of others and Im in submissive role I wonder if other people think Im “topping from the bottom” in a bad way.

    Also my Mastress is a Service Top/switch so He really likes it when I try to top him sometimes. He will even let me spank him sometimes. He likes the idea that he is training me to be a strong Top.

    I can see how you would not expect everyone to think that you are saying this is the only way or no way but for someone who just found this article through a link, and has no previous experience of your content I took it to be an all or nothing and that I was somehow inadequate. But after thinking about it and seeing what other people wrote, I might advise you to choose your words a bit more carefully, and include more types of roles a submissive could take on that everyone consents to. THAT being said I look forward to exploring your site. =)

    1. falcon

      …brand new to the site also..i admire the graciousness and sensitivity 0f Lunakm. i am so new to this life and yet have taken to it like a fish to good water. i laugh to myself now because i was chosen and casually watched by a Master that was attracted to strong female personality types. i entered, or rather was invited, into the relationship and proceded to run away and then come back for 14 months , the whole time being subtley trained and He being patient enough to really understand my conflicted psychology ( while of course me appearing fine to anyone else ) to wait me out. He introduced roleplay and spanked me and i realiised- i NEED MORE ! To His credit, he checked on the welts the next morning, but at that point i had come alive..This was only a month ago when all the cards fell open on the table..i rapidly started studying online and all the clues and the keywords fell into place. He knew i would figure it out and now…He endured a hell of a lot of me topping unwittingly from the bottom. The question here is now that i understand a little of what the heck is going on and that i am proud to be newly submissive to my Master, what will challenge me most ? Giving Him what pleases Him most on all levels or putting my desires on the backburner…any thoughts ?

  19. Stella Omega

    The pansexual BDSM community has focused on D/s to the exclusion of pretty much everything else.

    I am proud to be a dominant bottom and service top. That is to say, I know what I want to feel, and I appreciate people who can help me get that– likewise, I take great and profound pleasure in giving people the sensations they need.

    To get to this point has been a long journey; there is very little discussion of these dynamics that is not denigrating, and there is a general belief that women, especially, who want sensation must give up their power to someone in order to get that– or, possibly that being receptive sexually means being submissive, which is not true. I see some comments under this post that make me think that *some* of these women are feeling pressured into an inappropriate role.

    Although your post here has validity for people who truly understand themselves as submissive, and who can trust their dominants, there are many women who are NOT submissive, and who should NOT trust their partners. And this should be acknowledged.

    I would like to see an essay here that encourages people to explore other ways of BDSM in order to decide for themselves if they actually are submissive– or not.

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