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Dominant Red Flag: Accusing Subs of Topping from the Bottom

SDC Katherine Kayteezee Zitterbart BDSM Dominant Red Flags Submissive
SDC Katherine Kayteezee Zitterbart BDSM Dominant Red Flags Submissive
Kayteezee explains why you should look for the dominant who is curious and wants to know your needs as a sub, for if you find someone who already has all of the answers, you may find yourself a square peg being forced into a round hole.

Good day, Friend! Kayteezee here with part one of a four-part series on red flags to notice if you’re considering a dominant, and yes, the next series will be toward submissives.

Of the many red flags that one might notice, please understand that the presence of a red flag isn’t necessarily a sign to ‘full-stop’ ‘run away.’ These are behavioral data points you can consider as to whether or not they will support you in your path.


Red Flag 1: Any Feedback You Give is Met with Some Version of ‘You’re Topping from the Bottom”


This flag has to do with controlling the submissive specifically and removing the voice of the submissive. I wrote and teach a workshop called ‘How to Give and Receive Feedback on Scenes,’ and it is most often attended by people in power exchange relationships. In the 10+ years I’ve been teaching this workshop, one of the most common concerns bottoms (submissives) share is that they are worried if they say anything to their top (dominant) that they will be topping from the bottom.

So, what is topping from the bottom? I believe it’s a bullshit idea created by tops and dominants who are too fragile/immature in their dominance to be told they would benefit their bottoms more if they changed what they are doing. According to kinkly.com, “Topping from the bottom is when a submissive tries to control the scene by manipulating the dominant into certain acts or attitudes.”

Do you see the flag? First of all, expressing needs and boundaries is not a way to control something — it’s a way to get your needs met as a submissive. There are ways you can talk that are more D/s in nature, like, “I could take more” vs. “you aren’t hitting me hard enough,” and we go over that in my workshop.

But telling a submissive that they are topping from the bottom simply because they are communicating a need, desire, or boundary? THAT is a form of control that leads to a silent submissive. Silent submissives DO exist, and for some, this is a liberating and empowering dynamic. But, being told again and again that any need you express — any desire you share — any boundary you set — that those communications are little more than ‘topping from the bottom’ is, in my opinion, a major red flag.

Nobody is omniscient. Nobody is so skilled that they can read your mind and predict your needs. No adult deserves any kind of silencing for expressing needs.

Here’s a stanza I wrote from my kinky interpretation of the Tao te Ching (Book of Changes) that I think is relevant here. My work is called The Tao te Kink:

A Masterful Kinkster acts without force. She cultivates her power from a place of detachment, so those around her are liberated.

Things come, and a Masterful Kinkster allows them to come. Things leave, and a Masterful Kinkster allows them to leave. 

By cultivating personal power from a pace of detachment, one becomes curious. Detachment here is not the same as not caring — it has to do with cultivating an observational mindset so all things are possible, even if they aren’t on the path the Masterful Kinster is walking at the time.

Look for the dominant who is curious and wants to know, for if you find someone who already has all of the answers, you may find yourself a square peg being forced into a round hole. And please be cautious with dominants who accuse you of topping from the bottom simply because you express a need or desire, for that accusation is a flag.

Read the second red flag here.


Katherine "Kayteezee" Zitterbart

Katherine "Kayteezee" Zitterbart is an educator and coach who centers on compassion, communication, and consent. She has worked with thousands of people over the last 25+ years, during which she has created and delivered custom workshops and classes on a wide variety of subjects, including Taoist Tantra, BDSM, Sex Positive Yoga, and Compassionate Communication. One of Katherine’s superpowers is helping people in power exchange relationships cultivate their relationships in a way that empowers the bottom/submissive. A powerful submissive in a power exchange relationship has the capacity to communicate their needs without ‘topping from the bottom’ and can serve their top/dominant in such a way that creates the freedom so many submissives desire — strange as that may seem. In fact, power exchange relationships can create a felt sense of liberation for the submissive, and helping people find that is one of Katherine’s great pleasures in life.
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