flexibeast.space - gemlog - 2021-01-31

“Only the best bottoms make it to the top”: wut

According to Jack Rinella, writing in “Philosophy of the Dungeon”, the kink Old Guard had a saying that “Only the best bottoms make it to the top”:

The wisdom of the day insisted that I have to get before I could give.

This breaks my brain (well, breaks it more).

If you're not interested in bottoming, or actively dislike the thought of doing so - let alone feel enthusiastic about it! - your experience of bottoming is likely to be very different from that of someone who actively wants it. Even if you're a switch, and are enthusiastic about bottoming as well as topping, your experience of bottoming is not necessarily going to be the same as any other bottom's experiences.

In both cases, it could be actively dangerous to draw universal conclusions about what it's like to bottom, and to base one's topping on those conclusions. In theory, pre-scene negotiations will draw out whether or not those conclusions are appropriate in a particular case; in practice, the saying seems to promote a mindset in which one can draw ‘objective’ conclusions about what it's like to bottom, such that those conclusions can be taken as given and don't need to be discussed.

Further, in the context of someone actively disliking the thought of bottoming, the saying apparently implying that one must bottom repeatedly regardless, in order to learn to be a ‘good’ bottom[a], is .... disturbing, to say the least.

Finally, as a partner noted, the saying seems to suggest that bottoming is merely a waystation on one's journey to the ultimate destination: being A Top™[b]. That is, bottoms are second-class; not being a top means you're not a sufficiently good bottom.

Here's a thought: how about, instead of basing one's topping on the kink equivalent of the “women know what women want” canard, one simply treats each person as an individual? Explore what does and doesn't work for them in pre-scene negotiations, without making assumptions. i mean, even if most bottoms like thing X, it's harmful to do thing X to a bottom for whom it happens to be a hard limit / trigger.

The Old Guard might well have had a lot of wisdom to pass on, but i can't consider this particular saying to be part of it.

🏷 kink,sexuality,sociology


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[a] A problematic notion in itself; it puts me in mind of dodgy assertions about the supposed characteristics of a ‘twoo sub’.

[b] Analogous to the common notion, including amongst lesbians and gay men, that being non-monosexual is always “just a phase” prior to coming out as homosexual.