Why don’t we Speak About (Queer) Sex: So That You’re a Top/Bottom/Switch | Autostraddle

Queer women can be constantly down to truly enter it regarding what we *mean* when we speak about
‘topping‘ or ‘bottoming‘
— so can be we! Which is the reason why we did
a complete thorough review
of y’all on the subject just a couple of years ago, undertaking the analysis on which y’all suggest when you explore
, and
. Bear in mind is apparently the scenario with our team, though, it decided there clearly was even more to plan here. Regardless of what a lot study information we collect, it’s hard to access the way that these ideas perform call at all of our genuine physical lives, and just how two people utilizing the same terms on their own might embody them really in a different way. It felt like the only method to really check out exactly how that takes on aside were to, you are aware, speak with each other — so here’s some discussions among AS staffers trying to get into bottom of exactly what queer intimate characteristics imply inside our actual life.

This talk had been around exploring the concern of:

Just how have you described (or otherwise not) the role eventually? Has it changed, do you initially consider you „were“ one thing nowadays you ID in another way? How performed that feel and just what did it talk about? How do you ID today, and where do you realy find it within that ~ quest ~?


I believe while i knew just what topping and bottoming had been rather in early stages in „being queer,“ it did not happen to us to even ID jointly until when I got separated at 28 and committed to relaxed matchmaking with females and trans folks of different genders – before then it felt like since I have ended up being internet dating both women and cis guys and ended up being often in long-lasting connections it don’t feel as appropriate — a lot more like i simply performed whatever worked where union. I believe in addition had a lot to carry out with youth and insecurity, though, because I think I’d ID generally equivalent (as a high) today no matter what union position.

I am also recognizing upon considering it that while I now nearly entirely top and ID as such, for a long number of years We expressed me to other people as a ‘top-leaning switch‘ – i do believe a leading identification believed therefore large and remarkable and daunting in my opinion that it felt like something I experienced to make, or like easily claimed after that it i might disappoint intimate partners. Unclear what Ii believed forced me to a lot more of a „real“ peak or „only“ a premier – performed i do believe I had to develop a lot more knowledge? That clothes should really be more masc-presenting? That I should only be sex in particular techniques? Ambiguous in my experience now! But to be honest, what helped me well informed in contacting me a high indeed was having a lot more sex – noticing that we almost entirely wished to peak whenever I did have sex, along with better sex with more suitable partners when I was actually clear about that — in addition to that my partners appeared to feel like I happened to be a lot more than sufficient at it.


I typically write-in ways that is generally perceived as vulnerable, but writing about this seems susceptible you might say I really usually stay away from. Therefore I considered not participating! However I made a decision that possibly people would find what I need state relatable and I also’m a goddamn hero thus right here we get.

I truly have a problem with this concern that labels. This past year as I ended up being recently solitary and matchmaking for the queer neighborhood the very first time we believed really devoted to figuring out which label suit myself. We agonized on it a large number. I’m sure topping and bottoming outdoors cis homosexual male areas simply about particular functions, but I thought — and feel — like my personal identity is difficult as a trans girl with a penis who would not have that dick if I had more money. And that’s actually only one associated with the dilemmas. Additionally, there is that before transitioning I found myself topping because as a cishet male that has been the thing that was expected of me personally. Therefore a year ago I thought really okay subsequently perhaps I’m a bottom. But that never ever noticed correct either. But did it not feel correct because I don’t have a pussy? Made it happen maybe not feel proper because i am not accustomed it? Or am i recently a top? Exactly what’s anticipated of a trans girl peak? I believe just like the presumption is actually — and has now been— I would personally end up being fucking somebody with my dick and is not something i wish to do excluding extremely infrequent cases. I believe like the majority of trans women I’m sure are particularly loudly and happily soles or covers and also have these clearness using what that implies to them regardless of their particular link to their particular genitalia. Also it helps make me therefore envious! In the end we gave up about journey and decided to just call my self a switch. But also that feels incorrect, since when i’ve gender I am not necessarily alert to topping or bottoming unless the individual i am sex with is quite clearly one or even the additional.

My personal best sexual encounters have diverse very extensively re: gender functions and dynamics. I do believe with every brand-new person — and extremely each brand new time with each individual! — I just wish fulfill as two bodies searching for pleasure and reference to both? And I also cannot say that to mean like I’m above these labels or any such thing. Indeed, should it be after surgery or before I totally want to end up like „lol remember when I was young and silly and don’t recognize I happened to be a BLANK.“ I simply have no idea what that blank is. Could there be a test i will simply take? A Buzzfeed quiz? Would be useful. tysm!

Rachel, if you don’t mind revealing, so what does being a leading hateful to you? Even decided where identity and vibrant can it suggest different things to you dependent on your spouse?


I am able to just be sure to, yeah! With the same caveat that like, it doesn’t feel repaired plus it seems actually possible I possibly could review right back about in a-year and feel/say different things? I think today it indicates a lot of concretely that personally I think beloved and into ‘doing to‘ my personal sex associates versus having something completed to me personally, and often even though my personal sexual associates actually want to screw me personally or go lower on me personally or etc etc, I feel at the best only medium interested in receiving that, & most of times not really whatsoever curious. In a very significant feeling that will get a lot more at want, everything I really step out of sex or what it ~ means to me personally ~, i do believe what feels truly key to myself about gender right now and just what gets myself off many is actually creating a space and assisting another person’s experience with getting actually susceptible and sensation extreme circumstances, like orgasms or intensive physical things or becoming in a specific susceptible headspace about bottoming. But Really don’t genuinely have a desire to be in that vulnerable room me or feel most intensive circumstances (at least on an actual degree). Most of my hottest sex happens to be described giving intensive experiences with other individuals, and it seems really hot and best that you me to type of be in cost of a sexual knowledge such that it’s easy for your partner to arrive at that spot, if it is sensible.

And a level within this is that I Would Personally state You Will Findn’t had entirely vanilla intercourse for…. years? And thus there was maybe usually some amount of deliberate power vibrant or kink dynamic around that, and I also you shouldn’t actually know simply how much of a big difference which makes! I would personally like to hear ideas on that from other men and women!


That positively makes sense! I’m interested to know away from you or anybody else who recognizes as a leading the manner in which you decided that that was fine? I suppose personally i think this stress or idea that sexual injury or dysphoria or perhaps good ol‘ fashion emotional wall space include reasons to would you like to pay attention to doing to versus being done to and so are things to sort out. But possibly those actions could be the explanation and therefore does not mean they need to be overcome? Not to instantly bring the conversation to a potentially dark spot, but i assume I believe a certain guilt or something while I enjoy topping. Like we ponder if there’s this entire additional world i possibly could additionally appreciate or would take pleasure in much more if I just worked through my shit like some type of bottom FOMO. But maybe that’s not genuine? Maybe the crap i have to function with is just preconceived notions as to what sex is supposed to mean. Really fascinated everyone’s views!


Haha I wish I knew! I found myself only considering like, „i will actually come-back and be considered this by outlining that I went through a soul-crushing splitting up and total personal crucible and it’s actually impossible to state whether this really is some immutable characteristic of mine or like a clear deficit regarding having the ability to engage authentically with vulnerability.“

But perchance you’re correct plus it doesn’t matter? Or even the distinction between „real wish for Good Reasons“ and „fake wish to have not the right factors“ isn’t really real, a lot more especially.


I understood that i needed to get the the majority of control in any intimate circumstance; its whenever I believed happiest and a lot of aroused. I wanted as the main one to approach, initiate and — I wasn’t aware that would coincide with a specific sexual name until later on.

In my own last commitment it began with me topping but then turned a lot more to bottoming. I seem upon it and imagine because I was her first wlw union, I wanted this lady feeling secure inside her queerness and I also believed that giving her more control sexually was actually one good way to do this. When that relationship ended we discovered i possibly could are finding better ways to promote her without compromising my personal sexual select, even though it actually was nevertheless pleasing.

That being said, we determine as a Femme Top Leaning Switch – these days light throughout the change, and that I think my journey in figuring out everything I identify as well as over. In my own most recent casual matters (wow I seem like an early on 90s lifetime movie) i have been top in every except one plus it all believed comfortable and dope.


Occasionally I mention my early sexual background like, „well I was thinking I found myself a leading and transforms out…,“ and even though that isn’t precisely true since there wasn’t that type of energy powerful existing, I found myself usually the individual undertaking a lot of what to associates‘ bodies. I also failed to understand We enjoyed entrance, aren’t getting faraway from hands-on stimulation, and also never enjoyed receiving dental due to an early on intimate attack, so me carrying out items to others simply made more good sense than the reverse. But although there had beenn’t specific power characteristics like we now associate with kink, there were always energy imbalances inside the other person’s favor – these people were more knowledgeable, or they were ten years more mature – and I also eroticized the shit off that.

However had my first genuine bottoming encounters and it also decided a complete globe opened. The idea of other things again believed inconceivable.

I found myself a submissive in a life style kink dynamic that began since truest connection I’ve actually skilled and easily became acutely muddled with real energy imbalances and components of control with techniques that we thought were very clear they went without claiming and which that ex wouldn’t, I think, recognize existed. Offering energy is only hot — for everyone — if you have power to share. Things would go awry or i’d observe inconsistencies or lies and believe, „Well basically give away further power and we also acknowledge standards for this after that which will fix every little thing!“ Which is why I managed to get my divorce case documents to my 30th birthday celebration.

In this commitment, that was D/s heavily featuring age play, I was somewhat girl. The termination of that powerful left me just not feeling safe being very little any longer, but also maybe not feeling secure being a girl any longer even while i have switched „hard femme“ doing 10. With a few length, its better to note that I had gender emotions long before we actually ever came across that ex and therefore ex had absolutely nothing to perform whatsoever beside me calculating it (another performed even so they cannot deserve the display screen time), nevertheless the situation performed leave me feeling alienated from the kink identity that had considered many real.

At the moment we study Rachel’s feedback that starts „I think nowadays this means most concretely that personally i think beloved and interested in ‘doing to‘ my intercourse lovers rather than having anything done to me,“ together with an instant of, „Wait have always been I a high???“ for the reason that it’s exactly me personally immediately. I don’t would you like to or feel secure getting especially prone with individuals in most cases, although I’m sure and have practice with empowered bottoming, I really don’t feel interested in it or perhaps in subspace at this time. Yet. I additionally want partners to use my body like a fucktoy simply for them. I really don’t wish to be susceptible, and that I don’t want my own body particularly tangled up in such a thing we’re doing, but within whatever area they will have created as a leading i’d like them to utilize us to fuck and overcome the crap away from them and work out them clean their particular go off my floor on the hips after ward.

We still need to get railed, but mainly I would like to contemplate that by myself time, you understand?

Another bit of everything is I additionally have actually another group of kinks that require a top skillset and understanding base to practice in a risk-aware kind of method, and that I haven’t any doms in my own existence with those skills and expertise, so especially in quarantine they may be merely notably shelved.


Alright but Rachel we consented with the amount of points that you said.

+ that the ID „top“ is at first so daunting, though it ended up being something that I happened to be already doing.

+ I trust appreciating producing an area the individual I’m with feeling, end up being guided, learn and certainly get-off is a significant element in me moving away from. Become usually the one accountable for using these to that location is actually gratifying.

Among the many men and women I was fucking pre-covid though performed that personally plus it forced me to switch for her and I believe it thought so great to base because i did not must „teach“ her everything plus it was actually among the better gender we ever had.

I happened to be hella fulfilled but my organic tendency to very top was needs to occur nonetheless it was not something i needed to do with this lady.


Wow surfaces you don’t have to show very first? What exactly is that like lol

(kidding but perhaps not)


Actually, i’m interested in the character that experience performs in everybody’s identity or actions, either standalone or relative to any given sexual lover. Shelli your story about bottoming to a person who was a student in a primary wlw union really was interesting in my opinion, because typically narratives are other


I became shocked although dynamic was quick. We kinda fought your control but quit. It actually was great and in that second in my own existence the things I wanted/needed sexually but I also thought my natural wants starting to rise so it could have been time for a discussion. Considering straight back too, we really you should not actually consider she realized we defined as a leading.


Carolyn i’m therefore curious that that resonates obtainable in terms of bottoming – this is so beneficial to myself because i believe in a lot of my personal experiences it’s exercised such men and women bottoming personally has surely been embodied by them like, permitting me entry to themselves, but of course that is not a necessity or just what bottoming inherently „is“! I would personally want to hear a lot more about just what bottoming might appear or feel just like available with regards to doesn’t necessarily include getting susceptible or getting your body be ‘done to‘ if you’re available to speaking about it.

I think with regards to knowledge like, i am thinking about just what Shelli you’re saying about without to instruct some body (lol) but also about producing a place; In my opinion it actually was in retrospect a proper online game changer in my experience to find out that like ‘technique‘ or ‘how‘ to fuck some body or get someone down was not truly the essential expertise for topping some body really, & most of this changes one person to another in any event; the skill that I really needed most is an effective very top ended up being that type of relational ability of earning some body feel safe additionally rendering it obvious to both of you that you’re responsible  — additionally checking room to allow them to perform or feel or perhaps in a prone, uninhibited means. And this that skill had been anything I already had experience with and in actual fact practice in every part of my entire life currently (like actually modifying, lmao). And thus when I connected more with this and leaned into it more, „experience“ per se don’t feel as important, and topping thought so much more comfy and natural and those that bottomed in my opinion responded to it very totally. And I also guess that’s also the part for me personally that is like it bridges „vanilla“ sex and kink – is when I am delivering that kind of relational position for the encounter, that is what allows the energy vibrant develop, it doesn’t matter what „kind of sex we are having.“


Yes! we 100percent agree with you, Rachel. In my situation, topping is focused on curating a sexual knowledge. „approach“ has its own location, but power dynamics, terms and creating space for vulnerability are very so much more important when you are obtaining some one off.

My first sexual fantasies (and soon after, my first intimate experiences) involved me personally topping. Possibly this had one thing to do from the straight females we dated as a person. Perhaps I Found Myself #bornthisway?

Today I explain myself personally as a „top-leaning change.“ In my situation, this means: 1. We regularly enjoy offering delight, 2. i love obtaining pleasure from particular people in certain conditions and 3. i will peak from {a place|a location|a
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