It can also be hard to learn to bottom, if what you’re used to is topping. Giving up control, surrendering, can be a difficult thing, when you’re used to holding the reins in your hands. If you find yourself manipulating your top, trying to coerce them into giving you what you want, then you’re what is called a “pushy bottom”–a bottom who is not really submitting, but just trying to turn the situation around to the way they want it to go.

Some tops get off on bottoms who are defiant or subtly disobedient, and use it as an excuse to punish; but for other tops, especially inexperienced ones, it can be anything but fun. Making your top feel like they don’t know what they’re doing is no fun for either of you; I know, I’ve been there, as the pushy bottom. The solution? The next time you play, tell yourself that you are the top’s property, that their will is yours, and that your deepest desire is to please them. Before, if they did something you didn’t like, you might have suggested they try it another way; now, they are doing exactly what they want to be doing, and you are grateful they’re doing it. Let go of your urges to be in control; surrender to them, and let them have their way with you. I guarantee you will have a lot more fun than when you were trying to top from the bottom–I know I did!

If you are still not quite getting what you want, as a bottom, this solution may not last very long; you will probably want to talk to your top about what your needs and desires are, and about how you can both have fun getting to them. But the time to negotiate about what your bottom fantasies are, and how you might want to manifest them, is not necessarily while you’re in the middle of a scene which you’ve pre-negotiated. Don’t get into the “Oh, yes, Mistress, anything you want–um, uh, Mistress, you’re not quite doing it right!” trap. (Can you tell I speak from experience here?)

Relax, and respond. Quite often a top will enjoy topping you because of your reactions–the way you wriggle, and squirm, and cry out. If you clench every muscle and strive to endure without giving _any_ sign that you’re feeling anything, your top may get frustrated with the lack of feedback. Let yourself feel. And don’t hold your breath! Or rather, don’t forget to breathe. (If, of course, you _negotiated_ a “stoic endurance” scene, that’s different. But don’t feel you _have_ to act that way. I like it when my bottoms struggle–they have a safeword if they need it….)

Of course, nothing is cut-and-dried; just because you’re on the bottom doesn’t mean you’re a puppet. But there is a big difference between being open and communicative, and trying to force things in your preferred direction. A good bottom is one who is enthusiastic, devoted to their top’s pleasure, willing to surrender to their top’s will, open about their own desires (in a respectful manner, of course), and happy to be bottoming.

There’s a piece of common wisdom that’s been around the scene for a long time, which is: the best tops are those who started at the bottom. I believe it’s true. If you have been there, felt the bite of the whip, struggled to get free as you were brought slowly and teasingly to orgasm, tranced out as the sensation from the clothespins washed over and through you… then you will be much better able to guide someone else through that intensely magical space as a top, because you will literally have been there. Plus, starting as a bottom means you’ll pick up a lot of hands-on (if you will) experience! (And as with any generalized statement about SM, there are plenty of people whose mileage varies; bottoms who’ve never topped and never want to, or tops who’ve never gone under and are still damn good. But even such tops often experiment with sensations on themselves before trying them with their bottoms.)