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

Precisely what does It Mean becoming a “Top” or a “Dominant” in lesbian over 50

Hey and this is component a couple of our very own collection on what the hell we mean when we state “top,” “bottom” or “switch”!
A week ago we mentioned bottoms and submissives
, and that few days we’re making reference to clothes and dominants. Why don’t we enter into it.

The Best, Bottoms and Switches Gender Study

Three weeks hence,
I introduced you with a study about these slick words
, as well as over 3.6k men and women arrived to share with you their unique tops and soles with me. They are the class of this participants:

Class of gender research Respondents // era: Under 18 (1.2percent), 18-24 (25percent), 25-34 (56per cent), 35-44 (14per cent), 44+ (4.5per cent) // Sexual Orientation: Lesbian (43.4per cent), Queer (30%), Bi or Pansexual (19percent), Gay (6.2percent), Different (1percent) // Gender character: Cis girl (71.2percent), Trans lady (3.4percent), Non-Binary or Genderqueer lady (9.5%), Non-Binary or Genderqueer Person (7.6%), Additional (8.2per cent) // Relationship Status: solitary or Dating, without Intercourse Frequently (30.6percent), Single or Dating, Making Love Regularly (8.7percent), In a Monogamous Connection (32.6percent), In a Non-Monogamous union (9.3%), Married & Monogamous (15.5%), Wedded & Non-Monogamous (3.2%)

I will be going through the information progressively over the course of the month — in a few days we’re going to mention switches and those that cannot utilize these terms anyway. We will additionally explore sub-identities (bratty base, power base, service very top, etc.) and we also’ll look at the data overall and just how it intersects with various identities and class. Weekly’s information will build on the other day’s and you will be very gratifying for nerds and enthusiasts of sex.

The Amount Of Covers Are Online?

Despite all the chat of surfaces and soles within queer society, our study disclosed that people that identify specifically as surfaces or soles are located in the fraction on the whole. Additionally, there are


a lot more bottoms online than clothes.

Best: 12% // Bottoms: 14.3per cent // Switches: 51.6% // None for the preceding: 13.4% // I am not sure: 8.9percent

What Is Topping?

Before queer women’s tradition followed top/bottom as language connected to non-kinky sex, the terms were mostly used by gay men, or even in kink or SADOMASOCHISM contexts by both right and LGBTQ+ men and women. For the present time, two things are clear from our studies: “leading” is simpler to define than “bottom,” absolutely even more consensus on favored acts among clothes versus bottoms, and there is apparently a far more clear-cut distinction between “leading” and “dominant” than between “bottom” and “submissive.”

Exactly What Do Best Always Do During Sex?

We requested survey-takers to indicate their particular desire for providing and obtaining some sexual functions, and asked them to establish just what “top” method for all of them. We’ve incorporated


of the most popular activities below. (keep in mind that scissoring/dry-humping had not been integrated regarding survey whilst does not have any clear giving/receiving dynamics.)

WHAT TOPS LIKE TO DO BETWEEN THE SHEETS –  Vaginal Penetration: Obtaining (32per cent), Providing (95percent) // Oral Intercourse (Genital): Getting (56%), Giving (90per cent) // Strap-On Penetration (Vaginal): Receiving (20percent), Giving (72percent) // Genital Fisting: Obtaining (8.5percent), Providing (29%) // Fingering (Exterior Genital Touch): Giving (97percent), Getting (60percent) // Nipple Enjoy: Obtaining (49%), Offering (86per cent) // Anal: Obtaining (12.4percent), Providing (29percent)

The chart above uncovers which activities motivated tops to declare “this is exactly certainly one of my favorite things to give/receive” or “i enjoy give/receive this.” They may also reveal natural emotions about certain act, state they failed to always exercise, state they’d never ever completed it or select “N/A.” But “we give this and do not adore it” was chosen really rarely — precisely zero clothes explicitly

do not

like offering vaginal penetration, including, and also the only intercourse acts that impressed more than five covers to choose “I give this and do not enjoy it” had been anal dental gender (six respondents don’t like it) and anal entrance (seven participants hate it).

There was a greater consensus among covers versus bottoms in relation to favored functions. Eg, 95percent of tops choose to penetrate vaginally; 80percent of soles love to get said penetration. Definitely, its worth keeping in mind that not all people whom got this survey


vaginas to enter, but eliminating the team least very likely to have a snatch (trans females) from our base information decided not to generate a statistically pertinent affect that percentage. The actual meanings of “giving” and “receiving” lend by themselves to better top opinion for, since it was actually written Pat Califia’s 1988 lesbian intercourse guide

Sapphistry: The Ebook of Lesbian Sexuality

: “[the very top’s] energy is restricted to the requirements and capabilities from the base.” Likewise, discover far more soles contemplating finger-fucking (68.6percent) than discover covers who want to get finger-fucked (32%).

Thus, “Topping” Can Mean…

In Charge associated with Encounter

By far the most consistent descriptor within the open-form response information was that of the very best being “in control” or “in fee” associated with the intimate encounter, or perhaps “leading just how” or being the “more energetic” or “dominant” spouse. “You primarily enact, direct, or carry out those activities,” mentioned one butch top. “a person who could be the team head when it comes to activity,” published one bisexual leading, adding: “somebody who typically starts or carefully takes control. Someone that is dealing with the obligation of offering additional celebration or parties a great time.”

“mental leadership work trumps physical action right here,” blogged a queer femme dominatrix with regards to her concept of “top.” “Often a leading may be the one fucking, etc. but a top is licked or banged or whatever when they controlling the world.”

Preferring is The Penetrator or perhaps the Giver

In homosexual men’s sexual tradition, tops enter and soles are penetrated, which emerged many in respondents’ meanings, too. One tomboy femme lesbian leading described clothes as “the companion on the giving end of intercourse, whether that end up being dental, penetrative, electronically penetrative, etc.” Since the preceding chart shows, covers were more enthusiastic about receiving additional stimulation (oral or electronic) than entrance, although a lot of clothes liked entrance besides.

“the utmost effective may be the a lot more ‘active’ lover during sex, the one who wears the strap on and likes to perform ‘the fucking’ even when the base says what she wants completed,” mentioned one lesbian femme very top.

“The giver,” which
can the subject of a good book and a poor flick
, was actually another popularly applied term. Tops were generally described as “being on offering conclusion of intercourse.” Which delivers me to…

Bringing Yet Not (or Seldom) (or Secondarily) Obtaining

Even though only word it means “does not need their unique genitals moved” is actually “material,” a couple of survey-takers did actually designate an even of “rock” to topping. One soft butch gay lady defined “top” as  “someone that strictly ‘gives’ and will not aim to be touched by any means,” but the majority descriptions focused not on offering


but instead on




providing. “she’ll provide and obtain,” blogged one queer tomboy, “but could be ok simply


Moving Away From On Obtaining Some Other Person Off

The “giving” dynamic is not just about preferring to do certain sexual acts, it is more about drawing pleasure from this. “Tops choose to give sexual joy more often than they obtain it,” blogged one gender-fluid Stud/AG. A tomboy femme top explained topping as “somebody who gets enjoyment from providing as much as getting, if not more.”

A high “gets quite close to similar levels of enjoyment from getting someone off as on their own moving away from,” published one gentle butch leading. Another comfortable butch lesbian very top described her topping as “preferring to the touch in place of end up being moved for pure intimate and mental pleasure and pleasure.” Yet another gentle butch lesbian leading penned, “While I state I am a top, i am talking about i will be a person who mainly encounters sexual pleasure by touching my personal lover rather than having my personal partner touch me.”

The lesbian femme very top I quoted in an early on section wrote that intercourse actually about coming on her — “if I want to exit, I would rather masturbate.” Although intercourse
isn’t really about coming for a lot of folks
, irrespective of top/bottom identity, for people who wish orgasming to get part of sex, “the underside will come very first” might be part of the vibrant. Along those outlines, a bisexual lazy femme/soft butch top explained the woman position because the “person which likes to be much more prominent and it is concentrated on offering enjoyment and turned on by that (usually employs their own lover).”

Kinky Best and Dominants

25per cent of surfaces identify as raunchy (compared to 40percent of bottoms and 27% of changes) and 53.5% said they don’t really determine as kinky but occasionally take pleasure in perverted gender (versus 46per cent of bottoms and 27% of switches). Around the arena of kink, “topping” features various connotations than it will for vanilla extract intercourse. Per

Brand New Topping Book

, and that is centered on SADO MASO play particularly, “leading is an umbrella term which includes people who like to play in the providing end of sensation and discomfort, slavery, control and self-discipline and all the other activities that define the world of BDSM.” In a kink framework, “dominant” is regarded as lots of conditions enveloped by that specific umbrella.

What Do Kinky Best Like?

When compared to the above information, 6per cent of non-kinky tops like inflicting pain and 3.8% like making use of some other person for pleasure without aspect for theirs. However, the full 86percent of non-kinky tops additionally like in power over the sexual experience, and that is an extremely little disparity (4percent!) when compared to difference amongst kinky and non-kinky soles — 91% of kinky bottoms like not-being responsible, in comparison to 62per cent of non-kinky bottoms. The susceptability inherent in “not being in charge” would seem, after that, to get much less chosen total than its reverse, and perhaps much less intrinsic to vanilla extract “bottoming” than in control is to vanilla extract “topping.”

Around the framework of kink, what sets apart the thought of “leading” from “dominant”? In consultation with this previous NSFW editor
, we decided to split “covers” and “dominants” on our survey. Only kink-identified survey-takers happened to be put through yet another study web page with questions relating to dominants/submissives and sub-identities therein, and then we’re gonna mention those effects.

How Many Dominants Are Available To Choose From?

For the 435 self-identified tops on the review, merely 115 identify as perverted, and simply 87percent of those (92 men and women overall) as dominants. Meanwhile, of our own 525 bottoms, 190 determine as kinky, and 172 as subs — which means that subs outnumber doms 2:1. 3.4percent of perverted covers determine as slaves, 8per cent as changes and 2.24per cent as “none in the above” or “unsure.”

DOMS / SUBS / SWITCHING: 16.2per cent Dominant, 35% Submissive, 41percent Switches, 4.9per cent nothing of this overhead, 2.9% I am not sure

So, is the so-called Dom lack actual? Based on Carolyn: “On one hand, talking about a ‘Dom scarcity’ implies sort of commodification of Doms that transforms subject areas into things; results in objectification; and belies the point that among folks of any sex it is challenging to discover somebody who is actually a talented and respectful counterpart to whatever gender or perform you are wanting to have, that is great at communicating, whose union orientation matches with yours, and the person you in addition find hot intellectually and emotionally and sexually both in instant and deeper techniques. And on additional hand, completely.”

Since we are here anyway, I feel stirred by an increased queer capacity to also keep in mind that principles like “dom lack” and “leading shortage” (which are often exhaled in identical breathing as concerns over a so-called “butch scarcity,”) produce a paradigm of scarcity which can conveniently affect those pursuing surfaces or doms feeling a specific amount of desperation or background social anxiousness that leads someone to keep hold of their particular very top for precious life, against all chances, even if chances tend to be tremendous.

The Brand New Topping Book

says this clearly to its top audience: “if you’re a heterosexual female, a lesbian, or a homosexual man… you as a top have some thing of a buyer’s industry.” If you are a vendor slash bottom, I inspire one to think significantly about these ideas, be since particular while you damn really kindly while within industry, and not undervalue an appropriate switch.

How come There a “Shortage” of Kinky Tops and/or Doms?

Discover three theories:

1. Gender Stuff

Research of SADOMASOCHISM professionals
shows ladies usually tend towards submission and men towards dominance
women are prone to end up being stimulated by masochistic views than men
, who happen to be much more turned on by sadism. You’d anticipate those numbers to shift at the very least rather for queer women, and indeed they do — the aforementioned study revealed 8percent of perverted ladies had been dominants, as well as on ours, 16% of kinky cis, trans and genderqueer-identified women enjoy domming. However, despite double the amount experts discovered amongst (presumably?) directly females, the figures stay skewed. The tendency towards subbing and from the domming has also been mirrored within sex malfunction: 84.3% of one’s study’s subs determine as females (cis, trans, or genderqueer), compared to 74percent of doms, and non-binary men and women and agender people had been very likely to end up being doms than subs. But! Gay guys
seem to feel they’ve a leading shortage aswell
, so perhaps nothing suggests anything?

2. Studying Curve

Getting a submissive undoubtedly calls for a great amount of work, including emotional planning, building depend on, comprehending your own limits, familiarizing yourself and testing your own curiosity about numerous intimate options, reading the body and an establishing successful methods of communication. Becoming a dominant, in contrast, needs some


skill-building — from
just how to securely cause discomfort
into exact comprehension of knots for
line slavery
. It could be more daunting just to declare oneself a dom, no matter experience amount, and do it now compared to the reverse. Cee, a non-binary dom we spoke to while creating this post, recalled recognizing fairly very early into sensation dommy it wasn’t anything they might merely


they had a great deal to learn to make certain they don’t actually hurt their own partner. On our very own review, doms had been usually more mature and reported having even more life time intimate associates than subs.

3. Expense

“The notion you need to acquire
a specific pair of objects are perverted
is certainly much current,” states Carolyn. “and therefore stuff is costly.”

The Essential Difference Between Tops And Dominants

Very first, some vocabulary: “dom” is, since you may have guessed, quick for “dominant.” “Domme” is a term for feminine doms especially, but most with the ladies on the survey made use of “dom” despite. “Dominatrix” normally a woman-focused term, normally used today to mention to a professional principal (or “pro-domme”) who will SADO MASO things with subs for cash.

Today, a few motifs emerged in your answers about dom vs. top: principal is actually kink-exclusive; topping concerns actual activities whereas domming is approximately a mental/psychological powerful; domming requires power play; and topping is actually an action but domming is an identity.

“As a domme, I anticipate some process, etiquette and factor,” published a bisexual femme dominating. “As a top, I anticipate to get on very top in a sexual place.”

A queer agender ace dominant believed the real difference involved a desire for control: “In my experience, a dominant is much more concentrated on an unequal energy vibrant. A high can strike some body and savor their particular number of reactions without always taking command over the whole circumstance. ‘Top’ may merely suggest ‘someone just who would rather penetrate’ without kink from inside the picture anyway, but ‘dominant’ in my opinion indicates control.”

There’s also a less obvious bodily giving/receiving dynamic. “often dominant/top and submissive/bottom you shouldn’t line up,” composed a bisexual lady exactly who also recognizes as a sadist. “as an example, you could find someone who loves control and feeling like they will have energy over their particular lover, but in addition loves getting spanked, and so they might identify as a dominant bottom or power bottom.” The potential for a dom becoming a bottom emerged much more than a number of solutions.

Exactly what a sub is happy to perform or interested in doing is actually discussed earlier, but once a scene or intimate encounter starts, the dom manages what will happen within those boundaries.  “A dominant person relishes in getting control not merely associated with intimate encounter, but regarding the body/behvior of another person,” had written a stone transmasculine agender person. “To them, it’s the capacity to determine just who seems just what whenever (like, i may decided to trigger a sub pain because i wish to, maybe not as they are inquiring me to) that gives satisfaction.”

“a prominent is far more clearly tangled up in an electrical change, while a leading might just be the greater amount of effective lover,” stated one non-binary dom on the review. “Dominating, personally, might be about providing versus getting — providing sensations and experiences that the other person desires, while maybe seeming to have control over the scene or scenario. Doms might definitely produce a number of various perverted experiences for his or her base. Points that both associates wish, your dom is much more often directing or providing.”

At long last: On Gender Presentation and Topping

In older times, “butch” and “top” were thought about inexorably connected, and therefore relationship continues to be usual these days, but it’s hardly universal or downright. “Switch” was actually, as suggested in this article’s very first data, the most used recognition amongst our survey-takers, which remains genuine after information is segmented by sex demonstration. Most survey-takers spoken of taking pleasure in a butch/femme = top/bottom powerful within their sexual everyday lives, but other individuals shown disappointment about presumptions. “typically people think i’m a lot more of a high,” blogged one self-identified flexible queer tomboy. “We have never had gender with somebody who didn’t create an assumption that I would personally end up being principal before they will. Tbh i do believe it’s because i am hella


. I additionally do not get a lot of interest from other masc folks. :-/”

“past femme partners have actually expected us to become more of a top according to becoming masculine-of-center, that will be not really what i favor,” typed one bottom-leaning change.

“I’m a bisexual large

femme,” had written one survey-taker,

“and that I think this typically translates into myself getting immediately regarded as a base, though I’m happiest getting a switch more often than not.”

“I think in the beginning we anticipated


associates is covers,” penned one lesbian switch. “But withn’t truly proven true plus ~surprise!~ I really like being a high occasionally despite IDing as primarily femme!”

Some femmes talked about experiencing the subversion of gendered objectives within topping. “we STRONGLY determine as a Femme leading,” published one, “and deliver a lot of components of that sex subversion into my prominence.” Another had written, “In my opinion my personal femme demonstration provides a lot of power and sex play during my character as a domme.”

Just how masculine/feminine powers and presentations in fact play call at bed and destination — like the influence of dysphoria on sex — is {a larger|a bigger|a more substan