The (Power) Struggle is Real

Category: Points Of View

Author: Sam From Shrimpteeth

It’s no secret that she’s the top and I’m the bottom. We’ve been together for a couple of years and we have a good understanding of what we like to do in bed together. Normally, sex works perfectly. It’s fun, it’s comfortable, we both feel good together and afterward. But recently, our roles have been disrupted because she has been working out harder than normal (we’ll get to the push-ups in a minute).

As a result, she’s often too tired to top. But I still want to have sex. If we were switches, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but that’s simply not what we’re bringing to the situation! And listen, I want to like topping, but as with any change in an established dynamic, it’s uncomfortable. Early on, I dubbed her an “untoppable top” and I proudly consider myself a “greedy bottom”, which pretty accurately summarizes our conundrum. She likes to be in control and I like my holes filled; not necessarily the other way around. Unfortunately, we’re realizing our rigidity has pushed us into a less than “succesexful” corner. No one is topping, and no one is happy. We refuse to be a lesbian bed-death trope.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Cool story, Sam, but I think this is a problem for y’all to deal with in therapy, this doesn’t involve me.” Sure, you might not be in the same position we are, but as we all know, there’s a top shortage. And more importantly, you’re not always guaranteed to be matched with someone who has congruent sexual preferences. This is an exercise in flexibility and learning to be sexually adaptable. Of course, most often we do what feels best for both of us in bed, but occasionally, we have to switch things up, like everyone else!

It’s normal to make adjustments with our pals in order to have satisfying sex lives, especially if you’re with this person over long periods. We change, our needs change, our sexual desires change, and our energy levels change. It’s all normal. The more we learn to talk about what we want, the more likely we resolve our problems. Instead of staying stuck, we sat down and shared our best topping and bottoming tips with each other. Here’s what we came up with!

Her Top Topping Tips

from Giphy

Don’t be afraid to take charge.

One of the hallmarks of a truly good top is confidence. Being timid or self-conscious makes it difficult to take the lead. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, having the confidence to ask for clear directions shows that you’re able to be in charge. Topping is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that you’re capable of listening to your pals and focusing on their pleasure. The more that you figure out what your pal likes, the easier it is to take the lead. There’s satisfaction in being able to get your pals off; that is the true pleasure of topping. Making decisions can be as simple as asking a straightforward this-or-that question: “Do you want it faster or slower?” The satisfaction of topping comes from knowing you’re hitting the spot just right.

Pick a pace and a rhythm.

The hallmark of an inexperienced top, according to her, is constantly changing speeds and motions. Once you’ve found something that works, continue doing that, unless you’ve been specifically instructed otherwise. It takes most bottoms a bit of time to get into the rhythm and it can be tempting to change up what you’re doing if you don’t get an immediate positive response. But the trick is picking a series of motions, and sticking to a rhythm. Of course, what makes topping an art is being able to achieve consistent stimulation while simultaneously responding to your partner’s cues and adapting accordingly. She assures me that this process becomes intuitive the more you practice. Like anything else, your topping technique will improve the more often you top. You also get better as you start to understand your pals’ specific desires and responses.

Pick positions that support endurance.

Part of our initial problem was energy – topping can be physically tiring, depending on what you’re doing. I don’t know about y’all but I get pretty winded humping. One of the signs of a good top is having a healthy amount of endurance. You don’t necessarily have to be in the best physical shape but you should be able to persevere. That means finding positions, techniques and tools that help you continue for as long as your bottom wants! It’s disappointing when your arm gives out right as your bottom is about to come. But it’s much worse if you don’t have a vibrator available as a backup to finish your partner off. “The number of times I have to grab my elbow to keep going!” she jokes. Even if your wrists are ill-prepared for your partner’s g-spot needs, it’s still important to step up to the plate. You can always use sex toys or other equipment to make it physically easier; just be resourceful. The point isn’t to exhaust yourself completely, but to keep up with your pals. She offers this last bit of feedback for when your limbs simply fail: “Just because you’re a top doesn’t mean you have to BE on top, you dig?” (I do, babe, I do. Now, can I be at the bottom?! 😅)

Bonus: Do pushups.

I disagree with this tip; I have biceps that look like string beans and feel like soft tofu. But she’s a personal trainer and insisted I add this bonus suggestion. The bigger your muscles, the easier it is to pound your partner’s pussy. Fine, babe, whatever you want. One. Two. Three…

We change, our needs change, our sexual desires change, and our energy levels change. It’s all normal.

My Best Bottoming Tips

from Giphy

Give direct feedback.

Here’s the thing, bottoming is an active role. No one wants to fuck a starfish (not to kink-shame anyone with an echinoderm fetish). It’s really hard for a top to know what is and isn’t working if you’re lying completely still and silent with your eyes closed. Good bottoms are enthusiastic and vocal. Feedback can be a consent affirmation, a direct request, an instruction, a non-verbal physical adjustment, or (my favorite) simply “more”. There’s no single correct way to communicate. Whether you’re bratty, praising or demanding, it’s important to let your pals know what you enjoy. Figure out how you feel comfortable talking to your top. Any time you’re receiving stimulation, it’s a good idea to let your pal know what’s working for you, so they can learn more about your desires. The last thing you want is your top to be confused.

Be greedy and needy.

Bottoming can feel uncomfortable because all of the attention is on you and it can feel like you’re relinquishing control. However, even when there is a more distinct power exchange, a bottom needs to have power in order to give it up. You can be greedy… or needy… or both! What makes bottoming fun is feeling empowered by your needs and having them met. If you want a top to lead and set the pace, you need a bottom who is eager to receive. Practice releasing your inhibition in order to fully accept the sensations and attention that are being given to you. If you get insecure or caught in your head, try to redirect your attention to the physical reactions you’re experiencing. Remember, there’s no shame in wanting to feel good – it’s okay to be greedy about your pleasure.

Take time to warm up.

Topping requires endurance and similarly bottoming requires a certain flexibility. I’m not saying you need to be a full-blown acrobat, but being a good bottom can also challenge your physical limits. It’s important to warm up, especially if you’re receiving penetration or if you’re into pain play. Sex can be the bad kind of painful if you’re not taking the time to lubricate, stretch, or become fully aroused. For many people, bottoming isn’t enjoyable because they skip right over the foreplay. But the more time you take to warm up, the looser and wetter you will feel, and the more pleasurable sensations can become. Remember, you don’t need to naturally lubricate – there are amazing products to help you with that. You don’t need to necessarily be physically flexible either (again, there’s equipment). Flexibility, just like endurance, is far more of a mindset than a physical attribute. You can always improve on the latter the more you practice. Certain sex acts, like fisting, for example, can be really hard to achieve until you’ve orgasmed a few times or reached a certain climax of arousal. Bottoming does physically take practice too.


My bonus tip applies whether you’re topping or bottoming… Please wash your hands before sex. No one wants to get a yeast infection! She thinks this is an unnecessary tip, but listen, sex is better when you’re not worried about being itchy afterward.

Whether you need some tips for topping or bottoming, I hope that this inspires you to talk to your pals about sex. The best thing you can do for your long-term sexual satisfaction is to keep an open line of communication with your pals. Don’t assume that an established dynamic will never change or that your pals will always want the same things in bed. It’s normal for sex to change. If you feel anxious about shifting needs or dynamics, try making your own list of tips with your pals!

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