Thursday, 28 November 2013

Top and also Dominatrix? Why this matters if your partner is vanilla...

I just had an interesting discussion over on Reddit that hinged on the distinction between "Topping" and "Dominating".

Of course definitions are not set in stone, but "Topping" tends to refer to activities that are the BDSM equivalent of lovemaking.

Rather than bringing her partner to the peak of ecstasy through her pelvic muscles and oral technique, the Top renders him a quivering wreck or pleading cum-monkey, depending on her objectives. Just as in love-making, the reactions of the partner - the "Bottom" - shape the actions of the Top. This often-negotiated experience is interactive, a conversation in pain and groans, and is known as a Scene.

The Dominant, however, is simply the person in charge in BDSM relationship, whether it be part-time, permanent or a fleeting hook up. The Dominant does not need to top, may never feel like it.

In the real-world BDSM club culture, I doubt this distinction matters because public play is all about Scenes, i.e. Topping and Bottoming.

However, this is a critical distinction where the BDSM is part of an actual Domination and Submission relationship. It just doesn't work if the ostensible sub is really after specific scripted experiences... the "do me sub" who tops from the bottom.
Ice Queen

This distinction is even more critical if your dominatrix (or dom but I'm a male sub) is "vanilla".

If you're read my Getting her to be a vanilla dominatrix,  then you will have encountered my PIRI modes.

They're just a way of mapping the moods of your partner. This is not a manipulative technique so much as a systematic reality check, something male subs seem to need:

There's nothing magical about this. People - your partner included - have four possible ways of relating with other people and their environment:
  • Interact: Talking, playing, making love. Interacting with the people around her.
  • Project: Bossing, managing, creating, expressing, discoursing, lecturing, playing music. Giving a blow job. Projecting herself on the people around her.
  • Resonate: Listening, basking in adulation, watching, absorbing. Receiving cunnilingus. Resonating to the people around her.
  • Ignore: Getting on with things in her own space. Masturbating. Ignoring the people around her. 
Obviously, different sorts of BDSM activities. Her are some typical BDSM archetypes for each mode:

  • Top: Engages with your experience in order to toy with you.
  • Sadist: "Forces" an experience on you. (NB most BDSM folk would count a sadist as a kind of top.)
  • Goddess: Basks in your adulation. 
  • Ice Queen: Gets what she wants. Doesn't care what you think.
Well and good, but think about how her energy levels dictate her PIRI Mode. Everybody is different, and each person has their own prohibitions and injunctions - which is why you need to read my book! - but two typical personality types are are "introvert" and "extrovert".

Here's how Introverts and Extroverts pass through the PIRI Modes as their energy levels diminish - not just in BDSM, but in real life too:

  • Extrovert begins in Interact. Paying attention to other people requires effort so as she becomes tired, she drifts into Project and stops listening to other people. Finally, when exhausted, she enters Ignore.
  • Introvert also begins in Interact. However, she finds exposing herself to be exhausting, so as she fatigues, she drifts into a passive Resonate, before shutting down in Ignore
Ignore Mode
Now we can see the problem with Topping! 

For both Introvert and Extrovert, the interactivity of true Topping is tiring. She has to really want to do it before it's worth the effort. 

Energy wise, it's much easier to - respectively - slip into being worshiped or making the sub suffer in the manner of her choosing, and even easier for both to switch off and enjoy being served in Ignore Mode.

There's more, of course. It's generally easier to persuade somebody to be selfish than cruel. However, even if you can get past self image and moral qualms, in the long run, it will be energy levels that determine what kind of Femdom you enjoy as a couple.