What Does It Mean as a “Top” or a “Dominant” in Lesbian Intercourse? | Autostraddle

Sason Foods > Uncategorized > What Does It Mean as a “Top” or a “Dominant” in Lesbian Intercourse? | Autostraddle

Hey and introducing part a couple of our very own collection on which the hell we indicate whenever we say “leading,” “bottom” or “switch”!
The other day we mentioned bottoms and slaves
, and this also few days we’re writing about surfaces and dominants. Let us enter it.

The Best, Bottoms and Switches Intercourse Study

Three weeks hence,
I delivered you with a study about these slippery terms
, and over 3.6k individuals arrived to talk about their covers and soles with me. These represent the class with the respondents:

Demographics of gender Survey Respondents // Age: Under 18 (1.2per cent), 18-24 (25%), 25-34 (56per cent), 35-44 (14percent), 44+ (4.5%) // Intimate Orientation: Lesbian (43.4percent), Queer (30%), Bi or Pansexual (19%), Gay (6.2percent), Some other (1percent) // Gender Identity: Cis lady (71.2percent), Trans lady (3.4per cent), Non-Binary or Genderqueer girl (9.5per cent), Non-Binary or Genderqueer Person (7.6per cent), Additional (8.2%) // Relationship reputation: Single or Dating, lacking Intercourse on a regular basis (30.6percent), Solitary or Dating, Making Love On A Regular Basis (8.7per cent), In a Monogamous Relationship (32.6per cent), In a Non-Monogamous union (9.3%), Married & Monogamous (15.5per cent), Married & Non-Monogamous (3.2%)

I will be going through the data steadily over the course of the thirty days — a few weeks we will talk about changes and people who never use these terms at all. We’re going to additionally talk about sub-identities (bratty base, power bottom, service very top, etc.) therefore we’ll consider the data as one and exactly how it intersects with various identities and demographics. Each week’s information will create on a week ago’s and will be extremely satisfying for nerds and enthusiasts of gender.

How Many Surfaces Are Out There?

Despite all of the talk of tops and bottoms in the queer society, our very own review announced that people who identify especially as surfaces or bottoms come into the fraction in general. Also, you can find


a lot more soles available to you than covers.

Best: 12percent // soles: 14.3per cent // changes: 51.6per cent // None of preceding: 13.4per cent // I don’t know: 8.9percent

What Exactly Is Topping?

Before queer ladies culture used top/bottom as language highly relevant to non-kinky sex, the terms happened to be primarily utilized by gay guys, or in kink or BDSM contexts by both straight and LGBTQ+ individuals. For the present time, some things are clear from our studies: “top” is simpler to establish than “bottom,” there is even more opinion on popular acts among covers versus bottoms, and there is apparently an even more clear-cut difference between “top” and “dominant” than between “bottom” and “submissive.”

What Do Best Prefer To Do Between The Sheets?

We asked survey-takers to point their unique desire for offering and obtaining numerous sexual acts, also questioned these to establish exactly what “top” way to all of them. We have integrated


of the very prominent tasks below. (observe that scissoring/dry-humping had not been provided throughout the study because has no obvious giving/receiving characteristics.)

WHAT TOPS CHOOSE carry out DURING SEX –  Vaginal Penetration: Obtaining (32per cent), Giving (95per cent) // Oral Intercourse (Genital): Obtaining (56%), Providing (90per cent) // Strap-On Penetration (Vaginal): Obtaining (20%), Offering (72per cent) // Genital Fisting: Obtaining (8.5%), Providing (29percent) // Fingering (Exterior Genital Touch): Offering (97per cent), Receiving (60percent) // Nipple Play: Getting (49%), Offering (86per cent) // Anal: Obtaining (12.4per cent), Offering (29%)

The chart above shows which tasks inspired clothes to declare “this really is among my favorite things to give/receive” or “i enjoy give/receive this.” They can in addition reveal basic emotions about confirmed act, state they didn’t want to take action, say they’d never ever done it or choose “N/A.” But “I give this plus don’t think its great” had been selected very rarely — precisely zero covers explicitly

you should not

like providing vaginal penetration, for example, as well as the sole sex functions that determined more than five surfaces to choose “we give this and do not like it” had been anal dental intercourse (six respondents dislike it) and anal entrance (seven participants can’t stand it).

There clearly was a higher opinion among surfaces versus soles regarding recommended functions. Including, 95percent of tops desire permeate vaginally; 80percent of bottoms want to obtain stated penetration. However, its really worth noting that not all people who got this study


vaginas to enter, but getting rid of the party least prone to have a pussy (trans ladies) from our base data didn’t make a statistically related impact on that portion. The very definitions of “giving” and “receiving” provide themselves to higher leading opinion for, as it had been composed Pat Califia’s 1988 lesbian intercourse guide

Sapphistry: The Ebook of Lesbian Sex

: “[the top’s] energy is definitely restricted to the wants and capabilities associated with the base.” Equally, you will find much more soles enthusiastic about finger-fucking (68.6percent) than discover tops who want to get finger-fucked (32percent).

So, “Topping” Can Mean…

Staying in Charge on the Encounter

More steady descriptor for the open-form solution descriptions was compared to the very best getting “in control” or “in charge” from the sexual experience, or elsewhere “leading the way” or being the “more productive” or “dominant” companion. “You mostly enact, drive, or carry out those activities,” stated one butch leading. “a person that could be the group head when it comes down to activity,” wrote one bisexual top, incorporating: “a person who frequently starts or carefully requires control. Someone that is actually dealing with the duty of giving additional party or events a very good time.”

“psychological management labor trumps actual motion here,” composed a queer femme dominatrix relating to the woman definition of “top.” “typically a top could be the one fucking, etc. but a premier can be licked or fucked or whatever when they controlling the world.”

Preferring to-be The Penetrator or The Giver

In homosexual men’s intimate tradition, tops enter and soles tend to be penetrated, which emerged a great deal in respondents’ meanings, as well. One tomboy femme lesbian leading explained tops as “the companion in the giving conclusion of gender, whether that end up being oral, penetrative, digitally penetrative, etc.” Just like the above information programs, clothes were much more into obtaining external stimulation (oral or digital) than penetration, although some clothes loved penetration also.

“the most effective could be the a lot more ‘active’ spouse between the sheets, the one who wears the strap on and wants to carry out ‘the fucking’ even if the base says just what she desires done,” mentioned one lesbian femme very top.

“The giver,” which
can also be the concept a good guide and a negative motion picture
, was another commonly applied expression. Tops happened to be regularly referred to as “being on offering end of sex.” Which delivers myself to…

Bringing However (or Seldom) (or Secondarily) Receiving

Although the just phrase it means “does not want their own genitals moved” is “rock,” a number of survey-takers appeared to designate a level of “stone” to topping. One soft butch gay lady described “leading” as  “some body that purely ‘gives’ and does not aim to be touched in any way,” but most explanations concentrated not on giving


but rather on




giving. “she’s going to give and get,” blogged one queer tomboy, “but would be ok merely


Moving Away From On Obtaining Someone Else Off

The “giving” dynamic isn’t only about preferring to perform certain intimate acts, it’s about drawing enjoyment from performing this. “best prefer to offer sexual satisfaction more frequently than they get it,” composed one gender-fluid Stud/AG. A tomboy femme top described topping as “someone that becomes satisfaction from providing everything getting, if not more.”

A high “gets very near to equivalent quantities of satisfaction from obtaining someone off as themselves moving away from,” typed one gentle butch top. Another gentle butch lesbian leading expressed their topping as “preferring to touch without be handled for pure intimate and mental excitement and pleasure.” However another gentle butch lesbian top published, “While I state I am a leading, What i’m saying is Im an individual who mostly experiences sexual pleasure by touching my personal spouse rather than having my personal lover reach me.”

The lesbian femme leading we quoted in an early on part published that gender isn’t about coming for her — “if i do want to log off, I’d rather masturbate.” Although gender
actually about coming for a number of people
, despite top/bottom identification, for individuals who wish orgasming is element of sex, “the bottom will come very first” can be a part of the dynamic. Along those traces, a bisexual lazy femme/soft butch very top outlined her position while the “person who likes to be more dominant and is focused on providing delight and switched on by that (usually comes after their particular partner).”

Kinky Tops and Dominants

25per cent of surfaces determine as raunchy (in comparison to 40percent of soles and 27per cent of changes) and 53.5percent stated they don’t identify as kinky but sometimes enjoy kinky intercourse (compared to 46per cent of bottoms and 27per cent of changes). Within world of kink, “topping” has various connotations than it will for vanilla intercourse. According to

The Latest Topping Book

, and that’s concentrated on BDSM play specifically, “leading is actually an umbrella term that includes those who enjoy playing about providing conclusion of sensation and pain, slavery, control and discipline and all another activities that define the universe of BDSM.” In a kink context, “dominant” is one of many conditions enveloped by that particular umbrella.

Exactly What Do Kinky Tops Like?

Compared to the above mentioned data, 6per cent of non-kinky surfaces like inflicting pain and 3.8% like utilizing some other person for pleasure without any respect for theirs. But a full 86per cent of non-kinky covers in addition like staying in control over the intimate experience, and that’s a really small disparity (4%!) set alongside the difference amongst raunchy and non-kinky soles — 91per cent of kinky soles like not being in control, when compared to 62percent of non-kinky soles. The susceptability built-in in “not in control” appears to be, then, to be significantly less preferred overall than the reverse, as well as perhaps much less intrinsic to vanilla “bottoming” than staying in control will be vanilla “topping.”

Around the framework of kink, just what separates the concept of “leading” from “dominant”? In consultation with this former NSFW editor
, we decided to split up “covers” and “dominants” on all of our survey. Merely kink-identified survey-takers had been afflicted by one more review web page with questions relating to dominants/submissives and sub-identities therein, and now we’re gonna speak about those results.

What Amount Of Dominants Are Available To You?

Associated with the 435 self-identified surfaces on all of our survey, merely 115 identify as kinky, and just 87per cent of the (92 folks overall) as dominants. Meanwhile, in our 525 bottoms, 190 determine as perverted, and 172 as subs — and thus subs outnumber doms 2:1. 3.4percent of perverted surfaces identify as submissives, 8per cent as switches and 2.24percent as “none of preceding” or “undecided.”

DOMS / SUBS / SWITCHING: 16.2% Dominant, 35per cent Submissive, 41% changes, 4.9per cent nothing of the overhead, 2.9per cent I’m Not Sure

So, may be the alleged Dom lack real? Relating to Carolyn: “On one side, referring to a ‘Dom shortage’ means sort of commodification of Doms that turns topics into objects; leads to objectification; and belies the truth that among folks of any sexuality it is difficult to get a hold of an individual who is a talented and respectful equivalent to whatever sex or play you’re trying to have, that is great at communicating, whose commitment direction suits up with yours, and the person you also get a hold of hot intellectually and emotionally and intimately in both instant and much deeper means. As well as on others hand, completely.”

Since we are here anyway, I feel influenced by a greater queer capacity to in addition remember that principles like “dom shortage” and “top shortage” (which are often exhaled in identical breathing as problems over a so-called “butch lack,”) create a paradigm of scarceness that conveniently affect those looking for surfaces or doms feeling a certain standard of frustration or background social anxiousness that leads someone to keep hold of their unique top for beloved life, against all odds, even if chances are immense.

The Latest Topping Book

says this simply to its leading audience: “if you’re a heterosexual feminine, a lesbian, or a gay man… you as a leading can be found in something of a customer’s marketplace.” If you’re a seller slash bottom, I inspire that consider critically about these a few ideas, be because particular just like you damn really kindly while on marketplace, and not underestimate the right change.

Exactly why is There a “Shortage” of Kinky Tops and/or Doms?

Here is three ideas:

1. Gender Stuff

Analysis of BDSM professionals
shows ladies have a tendency towards distribution and guys towards prominence
ladies are more likely to be stimulated by masochistic thoughts than men
, that are a lot more turned on by sadism. You had count on those figures to shift about significantly for queer women, and even they are doing — these research shared 8per cent of kinky ladies happened to be dominants, and on ours, 16per cent of perverted cis, trans and genderqueer-identified females enjoy domming. However, despite having twice as much amount researchers found amongst (presumably?) direct females, the figures remain skewed. The tendency towards subbing and away from domming was also mirrored within our sex dysfunction: 84.3percent of our own review’s subs identify as women (cis, trans, or genderqueer), compared to 74% of doms, and non-binary people and agender folks happened to be very likely to be doms than subs. But! Gay men
apparently feel they’ve a premier shortage and
, very maybe absolutely nothing suggests such a thing?

2. Training Curve

Becoming a submissive certainly calls for many work, such as mental planning, building rely on, comprehending your own limits, familiarizing your self and testing the interest in different intimate choices, reading your body and a developing efficient ways of interaction. Getting a dominant, in contrast, requires plenty of


skill-building — from
ideas on how to safely create pain
for the literal familiarity with knots for
rope slavery
. It may be a lot more daunting just to declare yourself a dom, despite knowledge level, and do it versus reverse. Cee, a non-binary dom I talked to while writing this blog post, recalled recognizing very early into feeling dommy it absolutely wasn’t some thing they may merely

carry out,

they had a great deal to learn to make sure they did not literally damage their unique partner. On our very own review, doms had been generally earlier and reported having a lot more lifetime intimate associates than subs.

3. Expense

“The belief that you need to own
a certain collection of objects to-be perverted
is certainly much gift,” states Carolyn. “And that things is costly.”

The Essential Difference Between Best And Dominants

Very first, some language: “dom” is actually, as you may have suspected, quick for “dominant.” “Domme” is actually a word for female doms specifically, but most on the women on all of our review utilized “dom” whatever. “Dominatrix” can also be a woman-focused term, often used these days to refer to a professional dominant (or “pro-domme”) who does SADO MASO stuff with subs for the money.

Now, a number of motifs arose inside answers about dom vs. top: prominent is actually kink-exclusive; topping concerns actual steps whereas domming is mostly about a mental/psychological powerful; domming entails energy play; and topping is actually an action but domming is an identity.

“As a domme, we expect certain protocol, etiquette and factor,” wrote a bisexual femme dominating. “As a top, we anticipate to be on leading in a sexual position.”

A queer agender ace dominant believed the difference was about a desire to have control: “for me, a dominating is much more focused on an unequal power dynamic. A high can strike someone and take pleasure in their particular selection of reactions without always taking power over the whole scenario. ‘Top’ may just indicate ‘someone who prefers to enter’ without kink into the image whatsoever, but ‘dominant’ to me implies control.”

There’s also a much less obvious physical giving/receiving vibrant. “Sometimes dominant/top and submissive/bottom you shouldn’t make,” had written a bisexual lady just who additionally determines as a sadist. “eg, many times a person that loves control and feeling like they usually have power over their own spouse, and wants getting spanked, and they might determine as a dominant base or power base.” The possibility of a dom getting a bottom emerged in more than a couple of answers.

What a sub is willing to do or contemplating carrying out is negotiated ahead of time, but when a world or sexual encounter begins, the dom looks after what will happen within those limits.  “A dominant person relishes in getting control not simply regarding the intimate experience, but associated with body/behvior of some other person,” had written a stone transmasculine agender person. “for them, it will be the capacity to determine exactly who feels exactly what when (including, i may made a decision to result in a sub pain because I would like to, not as they are inquiring me to) that delivers pleasure.”

“a dominating is much more obviously taking part in an electric trade, while a premier could just be the greater amount of effective lover,” stated one non-binary dom on the survey. “Dominating, for my situation, is usually about giving as opposed to using — offering sensations and experiences the other person wishes, while possibly appearing having control of the scene or situation. Doms might positively make a variety of various kinky encounters with their base. Items that both lovers wish, your dom is more often directing or administering.”

Ultimately: On Gender Presentation and Topping

Back in the day, “butch” and “top” were thought about inexorably linked, hence correlation continues to be common today, but it’s scarcely universal or downright. “Switch” was, as shown in this post’s basic information, the most famous recognition amongst all of our survey-takers, which remains true as soon as the data is segmented by sex presentation. Lots of survey-takers mentioned appreciating a butch/femme = top/bottom dynamic within their sexual schedules, but others indicated disappointment about presumptions. “frequently men and women presume i will be more of a top,” had written one self-identified adaptable queer tomboy. “You will find never ever had intercourse with someone who don’t make an assumption that i might be dominating before they’d. Tbh i do believe it’s because I’m hella


. In addition aren’t getting plenty of attention off their masc people. :-/”

“past femme partners have actually expected me to be much more of a premier centered on being masculine-of-center, which is not what I like,” published one bottom-leaning switch.

“I’m a bisexual large

femme,” blogged one survey-taker,

“and I also think this typically results in me personally being immediately perceived as a bottom, though i am happiest being a change more often than not.”

“i do believe to start with I anticipated


partners become tops,” composed one lesbian change. “But that hasn’t truly shown correct plus ~amaze!~ I really like becoming a high occasionally despite IDing as primarily femme!”

Some femmes talked about experiencing the subversion of gendered objectives within topping. “we HIGHLY identify as a Femme Top,” published one, “and deliver lots of elements of that sex subversion into my personal popularity.” Another had written, “In my opinion my personal femme presentation provides some power and sex play during my character as a domme.”

How masculine/feminine energies and presentations actually perform in sleep and appeal — such as the effect of dysphoria on intercourse — is {a larger|a bigger|a more substan