One of my mentees asked me a good question: “What is your most powerful psychological training for subs?” The reason behind it is obvious; as a good top, the submission of our bottom(s) is one of the two thing that makes us happy. (The other thing would be orgasms). This blog entry is about finding a few markers that can be used while topping. A psychological tool bag, so to say.
Where is bottoming about?
The question is what is to be achieved by psychological training, as not all bottoms are alike: one likes to be trained as a pony, others want to be a classical serva or just being punished in the context of a kinky roleplay. Furthermore, normal persons are resilient against a too obvious form of manipulation, so it has to be something refined in most of the cases. Or at least a training that takes the existing psychical renitency into account.
Remember, that all I am talking about concerns consensual BDSM. Using psychological ‘tricks’ without outspoken previous consent of both/all partners, can be seen as a form of abuse. Particularly the mental side of abuse is a nasty thing that is often misunderstood. I also think that this is the reason why sadists are potentially the worst kind of abusers; because they will attempt to fuck the mind too.
So, no abuse, or abusive manipulation. It is not that I think that many tops have an issue with this, but I just want to be thorough and emphasize that only safe, sane and sound BDSM can give us a rationalization for what we – as kinky folk – actually do.
Plotting the scheme
Now, where are we? If we know our bottom(s) – and at least in the preparation of a play this kind of information should be gathered – we have a good idea about what they want. The first thing is to see if we – as tops – feel up to it: does their fantasy met with ours. In the scene it might be regarded as ‘weak’ when tops feel not up to something (e.g. rape-play), but I think tops have limits too and are by no means obliged to ‘perform’ on the whims of their bottoms (for some reason the phrase ‘fuck yourself’ comes to mind). The second thing is to decide if the fantasy of the bottom can be realized immediately, or if further preparation is needed. I understand the question regarding the most suited psychological training related to this second question: how to prepare and lead.
Taking into account that both the fantasy and the experience level of top and bottom are very much dependent on the individuals involved, it is hard to give a general advice on what kind of psychological training works best. The most important thing is to find out: a) what kind of bottom someone wants to be, b) to asses in how far this is doable and then c) set out a route to get there. I realize that most dominants just want a bottom to be shaped after their own imagination, but unless a top absolutely knows its own desires, the forming of others can be tricky. For a while it will be fun, but the day will come that either top or bottom find no longer that satisfaction in the play for which they started it. By continuous negotiation it can be achieved that mutual interest are being respected, so – in an altered form - the BDSM-show can go on. Egoist usually do not play very long.
Renitence and roles
If a top or bottom has a lot of experience, there will not be much training required. Most of the times, it will likely be a matter of connection and chemistry. For beginners the issue of training does involve the gathering of playing experience by playing a lot. Once the consent is there, once the mutual desires are shared and the road is planned, the actual training can start.
Coming back to the issue of renitence. Remember that in the form of BDSM which we play in the Dominion of Lord Cameron (DOLC), the play is seen as role play. We are tops and bottoms in a particular situation, or even all the time, but we are not always playing. So seen, training a bottom must not – but can be – a full time job. We are neither always eating, nor swimming, nor kissing. What I mean is that we have to distinguish between being a top or bottom and the expression of being a top or bottom in a play; do we play because we are a top, or are we tops because we play?
From this last question, we can see that role play is complicated. When in addition the distinction between fantasy and real play is taken into account, we come a bit closer to some answers. We have stated our wishes and negotiated a goal; yet while being on BDSM-road - in vicious action I hope – we meet with limits, borders and inner convictions that result in blockades, a change of heart or renitence. As such this is logical human behaviour and we play in order to learn and grow. To achieve growth we have learn to manage certain emotions, get a clear view on how our initial expectations relate to reality and to understand what is difficult for us and why this is so. I regard renitence as nothing but a clue to the solution provided by the one that is going to be even more profoundly bottomed.
Now, what about those tips?
One task for tops in psychologically coach their bottoms is to be found in communication where and why their behaviour needs training. This requires trust and leadership. So, essentially the first strong marker for powerful psychology is the right mind set, and this includes being interested in the development of your bottom and in wanting to lead your bottom. Of equal importance is the willingness of the bottom to accept guidance and correction. If every step or submission needs to be battled for, something is going wrong. Of course, you might have to put that bottom down occasionally, and they will bounce back in return, but you need to be sensible to grasp the dynamics of a play and thus distinguish it from real internal resistance.
This brings us to the second strong marker for powerful psychology: your bottoms feelings are okay. Bringing someone to their designated place is tough, but great work, as such. But we have to understand that while we travel on BDSM-road, we will occasionally have to take a break. Feelings get in our way. This does not occur because feelings are stupid – even when they can be – or that feelings are unimportant. Not at all; feelings are there for a reason; and that reason is that our feelings and that of our bottoms have something to say to us. If we feel lonely, we require attention. If we feel lucky, we might want to share it, or enjoy it in private. If we are feeling scared, we simply may have had a negative experience in the past that we perhaps are no longer even aware of. Yet, such feelings of fear, uncertainty and distrust are not entirely negative. At least, not as long as we understand their role as signs that can help us to better leadership. Understanding feelings and knowing how to manage them is thus paramount to good topping praxis.
The third strong marker for powerful psychology is: trust your gut feelings. As BDSM in the view of the Dominion (OLC) is a rather pro-active form of (sexual) self-expression, trusting your instincts is something you have to be enabled to. To afford to rely on your gut feelings presupposes that you can actually rely on them. Self-knowledge and self-trust are key to good topping. When you are quiet within and surf the emotions of your bottom, you have to ‘feel’ the currents change, ‘hear’ the wind getting stronger or weaker and to ‘taste’ the salty tang of the sea of passion on your ‘virtual’ tongue. If your intuition sucks, you only have your head to rely on. This can work up to a certain extent, but Sir Cameron and his bottoms know that for the real deal, a lot of shadow work needs to be involved and that Sir Cameron being a ‘dark’ Lord is simply because he understands the power of the dark side.
As many foundational motivations in BDSM come from deep inside of us, it comes as no surprise that our intuition and instincts play such a prominent role. I therefore advice any top that wishes to get under the skin of the bottom and deep inside the bottoms head, to study the Jungian psychological concepts of the Shadow and the Anima/Animus complex. Not only will you better understand the depth of BDSM-play, but also you will have a tool to work with. Knowledge is power and much of the power of tops is founded in knowing to do the right things at the right time. Again, I regard intuition as most striking, but also theoretical knowledge and the knowledge that comes from experience are all of vital importance.
This brings us to the fourth strong marker for powerful psychology: learn and practice. Studying BDSM theory is one of the ‘raison d’etre’ of the Dominion (OLC). When knowing what it is that we do, we can not only take responsibility for it (empowerment), but also develop the skills that need a touch more perfection. Besides having the mind-set of a top, acquiring skills is the second pillar of successful topping. BDSM is something that requires a continuous adjustment of imagination towards reality. Feeling the sting, using that snake whip, hearing that bottom lose orgasm control; these things cannot be learned from books alone (and not even from my blogs). BDSM play is practical play the rest is imagination.
Summarizing we can say that practical experience, trusting your guts, management of emotions and being into your bottom are the markers we have been looking for. For those who expected a guide on how to convert that cute decent housewife or market merchant into a docile servant and sex slave may be less happy. Now, Sir Cameron has brought bottoms that never kneel to their knees – and he got a kick out of it – and he has brought bottoms to their limits and beyond – because after all, they want to fall and loose it. Yet, there is simply not a way of copying this or that, as any relationship between top and bottom has its own rules. All we can do is to trace universals.
The biggest insight – for me - is perhaps that the question for psychological ‘tricks’ is in itself a sign of hesitation. A good and healthy sign it is, because knowing what you do and why you do it adds to our safety net - but we have to get beyond the rational part. Once we are top, we should become that viciously sexy pirate that kidnaps the Damsel in Distress, the Inquisitor that let those bottoms confess their sins under torture, the Master that controls that ass and the mind behind it, the Mistress who is truly divine to her slaves, and freely let them drink her ‘blessing’.
Once we have internalized the tools, once we know them by heart, once we also know their limitations, we can step into that flow anytime, because it now flows through us; the flow whose currents lead us to strange new places and to wonderful bliss; the flow that at the end slows down and brings us to forever land, where little songbirds fly and dreams really do come true.
In remembrance of Eva C. ----
P.S. Enjoy and stay healthy