Precisely what does It Mean become a “Bottom” or “Submissive” in Lesbian gender? | Autostraddle

Like countless elements of queer society, nailing along the terms “leading” and “bottom” are harder than you may believe. Whether you are checking out queer personals, swiping on Tinder or talking to your pals at an improper volume in a public park; it looks like most LGBTQ ladies and trans people are eager as beavers to determine as a bottom, top or change. But what does it imply are a bottom? What is the meaning of submissive?

I recall these conditions getting an integral part of queer women’s discourse through the leap, which for my situation ended up being the mid-aughts. We started off identifying as a leading, decided I happened to be completely wrong about my personal life time and implemented bottoming, and also lately established into getting definitely a switch. You never know what is going to happen next! In addition to the fast loss of democracy while the equally rapid increase of fascism! Every day life is a journey. Let’s begin this one.

The Best, Bottoms And Switches Gender Survey

Last week,
We introduced you with a survey about these slick words
, as well as 3.6k individuals arrived to share with you their particular tops and bottoms with me. These represent the class with the participants:

(this image was made whenever only 3.4k people had responded, proportions have never altered somewhat subsequently) // right-click to open up and enlarge

I’ll be going through the data steadily over the the following month — we are starting at the bottom with bottoms and submissives, next about tops and doms, next changes in addition to people that don’t employ those terms at all. We’re going to also speak about sub-identities (bratty bottom, energy base, service top, etc.) and look at the info as a whole as well as how it intersects with various identities. Each week’s data will build on the other day’s and will be very gratifying for nerds and enthusiasts of gender. And it isn’t that an identity we are able to all acknowledge!

How Many Soles Are Available To You?

Tops: 12per cent // Bottoms: 14.3percent // Switch: 51.6per cent // nothing of the preceding: 13.4% // I’m Not Sure: 8.9per cent

Although these terms/identities look well-known and common, our very own survey announced that people whom determine particularly as surfaces or soles are located in the minority on the whole.

What Is Bottoming?

We’ll talk more and more the annals among these conditions and lesbian gender discourse around top/bottom characteristics in a few days, but real rapid: before queer ladies culture used top/bottom as terminology relevant to non-kinky sex, the conditions had been largely used by homosexual guys or in kink or SADOMASOCHISM contexts by both direct and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Study reactions proposed that there are three unique solutions to these terms from queer ladies, trans guys and non-binary individuals:

  1. “Bottom” as an identity connected to non-kinky intercourse;
  2. “Bottom” as a notion strongly related perverted gender, unique from “submissive”;
  3. “Bottom” and “submissive” as compatible concepts within perverted sex.

Since we know absolutely actually not a way to determine those words in a manner that talks to everyone’s experiences, why don’t we try!

What Exactly Do Bottoms Choose To Carry Out Between The Sheets?

We questioned survey-takers to indicate their particular passion for providing and obtaining different intimate acts, in addition to requested these to define just what “bottom” methods to all of them. We have now included


of the very most prominent tasks below. (remember that scissoring / dry-humping was not provided regarding the survey whilst does not have any obvious giving/receiving dynamics.) The penetration-related tasks discussed for the below graphic incorporate hands and strap-ons because they had been the functions many mathematically various inside our survey outcomes, however other kinds of penetrative gender exist, such as with toys or with penises whenever some amab transfeminine people or trans women can be having queer sex, and are generally enjoyed by many people soles of most kinds. While bottoms shown a similar standard of interest in offering external stimulation because they are in enabling it, there seemed to be a definite choice for receiving with regards to stumbled on all penetration-related tasks.

WHAT BOTTOMS WILL carry out DURING INTERCOURSE: Fingering (genital Penetration): 68.6% like providing, 81% like obtaining // Oral gender (Genital): 77.8% like providing, 78per cent like getting // Strap-on Penetration (Vaginal): 20per cent like offering, 68% like getting // Vaginal Fisting: 9% like providing, 21% like getting // Fingering (External Genital Touch): 81percent like providing, 87.6% like obtaining // Nipple Enjoy: 70per cent like providing, 76.5% like receiving // Anal Penetration: 12.5% like providing, 37percent like getting.

Therefore, “Bottoming” Can Mean…

Getting Penetrated Solely or higher Often

For gay guys, clothes penetrate and bottoms have penetrated. In lesbian sexual society, really the only phrase that definitely indicates “I do not get penetrated” is actually “rock,” but many soles identified their unique part such as this one bottom performed: “the only being fingered, the main one being banged by the strap on, etc.” 30percent of bottoms stated digital penetration had been among their favorite what to get and 32% mentioned exactly the same for strap-on penetration, versus 9.5percent of surfaces and 5per cent of surfaces, correspondingly.

“we believe getting a bottom usually just indicates you would like acquiring fucked,” Al, the non-binary copywriter whom got actual deep into bottoming individually
in their Autostraddle column “Bottoms Up
,” told me, “and tbh that always only means you like being banged first, since individuals (ideally) will reciprocate.”

One blissful base on all of our survey outlined bottoming as “one whom employs the lead of a far more dominant companion during sex and/or the lover who is frequently on the receiving end of intercourse acts, although since queer/lesbian sex is so varied, that can be more the feeling to be the one getting fucked than a certain role in a certain intercourse work.” Oral gender, for example, can certainly go anyway — dropping on someone feels awesome toppy or awesome bottomy, according to the framework, the energy vibrant, the filthy talk around it, as well as other bodily actions and signs.

Permitting Some Other Person Take Control Of The Sexual Experience

On our very own survey, only 10per cent of soles said they appreciated “being in charge” during intercourse, and a massive 47.4per cent said they positively

do not

like in control. This emerged a large number in respondents’ very own descriptions also, with one blissful base defining their salesmanship as: “a person that is happiest permitting others make the lead-in a bedroom situation.”

“Bottoming is an act,” states Al, “which for me implies choosing to allow someone type of determine the direction our gorgeous time will need.”

“To me, being a base implies i enjoy cede control during intercourse,” typed one boutinful base on the survey. “i’m form of a control nut usually, very permitting somebody else seize control can be very liberating.”

“It isn’t really an exact actual stance/position for me personally,” mentioned another brilliant base, “but regarding deficiencies in comfort in initiating the specific situation, using control, etc.”

We asked about initiation on the review, too — 32% of soles (perhaps not a trivial quantity!) like initiating intercourse, compared to 76per cent of covers and 65per cent of switches.

Preferring Becoming Pursued

Oftentimes top/bottom identities play a role in exactly how people recognizes potential lovers and later generate effective contacts together, it doesn’t matter what happens when they actually enter into sleep, remove their particular clothes, and start rolling around naked while sticking situations inside one another. Of soles, 29% love seeking a unique lover (and 28.5percent hate it), but 64percent — over twice as a lot of — enjoy being pursued.

Try the website

Receiving… One Thing

Allison Moon, in her excellent book

Woman Sex 101

, claims “to base would be to exercise the best artwork of receiving… as a receiver, the giver is during solution for you along with your satisfaction. Truly your job to browse. It really is her job to push.”

“It took me a bit to figure out I became primarily a base,” says Casey, a separate lesbrarian. “i believe initially I was thinking top and bottom part were just for gay men? We merely truly understood given that it dawned on myself that for my personal lovers it had been an absolute must to be undertaking factors to me in order for them to be thrilled as well as for me it had been like, oh that’s fun however strictly required for me to be aroused.”

While all all of our survey-takers don’t

not like

getting enjoyment, 93per cent of bottoms and 93% of switches earnestly enjoy it, when compared to 65percent of covers. But the vast majority of surfaces and soles had been into pleasuring their own spouse — but which could imply so many things! Although some assume that drilling some one with your hand or a toy can not possibly be the exact same turn-on it is for a cis guy screwing some one with a penis, it very often is. To begin with,
a whole lot of intercourse for women is psychological
. For the next, there are a lot ways to stimulate your clitoris when you have one while fucking, and lots of toys and strap-ons are created keeping that in mind. As one change put it, “I’m a giver, 90per cent of intercourse personally is actually passionate giving until my spouse is satisfied. That is what feels very good for me and turns myself on, by the time they’re accomplished i’m prepared pop also it requires about 10 mere seconds in order to complete.”

We don’t find out about orgasm on this study (we should have), in Autostraddle’s
2015 Perfect Lesbian Intercourse Survey
available to queer women and anyone who determines with that experience, for which just kink-identified everyone was expected as long as they happened to be tops or soles, both tops and bottoms reported orgasming during partner sex at virtually the same rates.

Kinky Bottoms and Slaves

Within a kink framework, “bottom” can indicate something else. Based on BDSM-focused

New Bottoming Book

, a “bottom” is “someone who has the capacity to eroticize or otherwise enjoy some feelings or feelings — such as for instance pain, helplessness, powerlessness and humiliation — that might be unpleasant in another context.” It does seem that a lot of survey-takers just who follow “leading” or “bottom” identities possess some curiosity about kink, also — and bottoms were really very likely to end up being kinky than covers or changes. 41per cent of bottoms determine as perverted and 44.6per cent mentioned they do not determine as perverted but occasionally appreciate kinky sex.

What Exactly Do Kinky Bottoms Like?

WHAT KINKY BOTTOMS WANT // Being In Control: 11percent think its great, 51per cent hate it, 38% tend to be neutral. // Not Being in charge: 91percent like it, 2.5percent don’t like it, 6.5per cent tend to be neutral. // getting soreness: 65per cent adore it, 15per cent hate it, 17percent tend to be neutral. // Inflicting soreness: 60percent hate it, 10% hate it, 27per cent adore it // Consensually used for anyone else’s pleasure regardless of mine: 60% enjoy it, 13percent are simple, 21% dislike it // Consensually making use of somebody else for my personal satisfaction irrespective of theirs: 62per cent dislike it, 9.6% want it, 18.6per cent tend to be natural

Three tasks on all of our set of “elements of an intimate knowledge” happened to be clearly favored by self-declared perverted bottoms than non-kinksters, incorporated from the chart under.

Compared to these data, 14percent of non-kinky bottoms like getting discomfort, 62% like not-being in charge, and 22per cent like getting used for anyone more’s satisfaction without any respect for theirs.

But inside the framework of kink, what separates the concept of “bottom” from “submissive”? In assessment with
, we decided to split up “bottoms” and “submissives” on our very own study. Only kink-identified survey-takers had been put through an additional study web page with questions regarding dominants/submissives and sub-identities therein, and then we’re gonna speak about those outcomes.

Exactly How Many Slaves Tend To Be On The Market?

Well, ladies and otherwise-identified individuals, while rumors of a high Shortage may be overstated, the queer kink community may indeed be struggling with a Dom lack.

Variety of Dominants / slaves / Switches: 16.2percent Dominant, 35percent Submissive, 41percent Switches, 4.9percent not one associated with above, 2.9% I don’t know

Of most kink-identified soles, 90% identified as slaves.

What is the Meaning of “Submissive”? The Essential Difference Between Bottoms And Slaves

“a base loves to be directed because it’s simpler to please people who understand what they want,” stated really the only base to determine as a switch in kink play. “A submissive gets off on order and obey pattern and tension.”

Nate, a trans guy and a change in his twenties, described the difference this way: “Bottoming positively doesn’t immediately imply everything perverted (exact same for topping), while submissive (and principal) suggest anything even more particularly associated with kink and run play.”

In a team talk on the topic, Al revealed: “Submission is actually a screwing SURPRISE: just because I’m bottoming for you does not mean i am your submissive.”

Carolyn, just who identifies as submissive, included: “Also, simply because someone is submissive doesn’t mean they are bottoming!”

Lots of review slaves didn’t think about truth be told there becoming a big change between the two conditions, but most did. All of that’s obvious is that these words, like so many circumstances, are liquid as fuck.

“I identify as both a sub and a base, but subbing suggests something much more specific for me — choosing to temporarily give energy and control in times to some other person(s) and permitting them to identify this course of events centered on our negotiations,” Quinn, a non-binary person within later part of the twenties, informed me. “It usually boasts an implication of a certain high level of strength in this power change. Once I say i’m a bottom, Im talking about this together with much more generally getting from the receiving end up in much less power-heavy sex.”

On our survey, there had been as much various meanings with this difference as there are bountiful soles inside pure earth, but besides the eroticization of energy play, the majority received the range around kink (“a submissive is actually a perverted bottom part”) or between an actual physical place versus a state of head. Those people that fell into the latter camp happened to be also prone to establish base as actually a lot more logistical than emotional. Different interesting feedback included:

  • “A submissive may be reigned over into BRINGING. In my view a base is generally principal but obtaining, offering but submissive, receiving and submissive, yet not principal and obtaining.”
  • “I would personally believe base is not always a D/s phase, while submissive is very really grounded on D/s. Bottom feels naturally queer, whereas submissive is un-queer.”
  • “Submissive means energy play, whereas base describes sensation play.”
  • “a bottom part /might/ throw in the towel capacity to their particular leading. A submissive /will/ quit power to their own dominating.”
  • “Subbing actually about whether you’re the very best or bottom part, it is more about the energy inside the dynamic. you will be the individual flogging someone else, but if it’s occurring bc some other person told you to, which is topping and subbing.”
  • “Bottom doesn’t always have similar power change meaning. Bottoms might get fucked but don’t necessarily appreciate discomfort or humiliation. Submissives get of on doing what their spouse says, that could include enjoyable subversive things like topping from base (the inverse of solution topping)”

The idea of “submissive” as a way of life emerged alot, too. “The submissive yields/gifts control towards the dominating,” typed one sub, “and sometimes that is for a scene, and often which 24/7 with respect to the people.”

Carolyn explained her link to the terms and conditions in this way: “if you ask me, being submissive informs my entire means of reaching the planet and succeeding at it being my best most powerful home, and bottoming falls under that not a large part. ”

Certainly one of my personal favorite Bottoms Up articles is Al’s part on getting submissive 24/7,
wherein they articulate this wonderful opportunity

Beyond interactions, and the majority of excitingly, thinking about myself personally as a person who is submissive 24/7 ensures that I can address different aspects of my life submissively. It is a thrilling challenge in my situation to give some thought to exactly how in my daily interactions i am able to yield to and offer my communities, my personal colleagues, even my personal students — I’m not getting kinky with these people, but i am thinking raunchy. Generally speaking, this means i am thinking a lot more critically too — I’m running less and less automatically and considering through lens of submission alternatively. For my situation it means I concentrate less on brilliance plus on operating my personal most difficult.

There are many even more deviations within: power base, bossy bottom, little girl/baby girl, masochist, that people’ll discuss in a future column.

At Long Last: Never Assume Anything

Is-it correct that femmes were more inclined than mascs to understand as bottoms? You bet! Does that mean all femmes are bottoms? No way! Creating assumptions about someone’s bedroom conduct according to gender presentation has never been a secure bet.

Neither is it secure to think soles favor particular gender functions or dynamics. Bottoming often means a wide variety of circumstances, all at once or independent of each other: with pride showing what you could “take,” getting ravaged for someone else’s delight, having every focus completely you, becoming bossed around, or simply hook preference for having a dildo inside you versus looped into a leather use around your waist. However bottom — if it is consensual and you’re having fun, keep it up.

C U After that Tuesday to share with you tops!

Lesbian Sex 101
is actually Autostraddle’s series on exactly how to have lesbian intercourse for queer ladies and anybody who locates this data applicable with their figures or sexual activities. Employment from the phase “lesbian intercourse” in this post utilizes “lesbian” as an adjective to describe intercourse between two ladies or those who determine with this experience, regardless of the sexual positioning of the two men and women included.

Sex ed almost never includes queer females or our experiences, so we’re discovering enjoyment, protection, interactions and to make that information more available.

A lot of the language in these posts is meant to cause them to easy to find on search engines like google.

Many areas of the body we speak about will be yours or your own associates’ many wont. A number of the pronouns should be yours or the partners’ and some wont. A few of the sexualities will be yours or your own lovers’ plus some wont. A number of the language are going to be yours or the associates’ and a few will not. Just take what you want and what relates to you or what you could make apply to you and your associates as well as your encounters, and then leave the remainder!

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