Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bottom vs. Submissive

I apologize for the delay in replying to blog comments.  I will try to get to those soon.  I haven't been in a very good mental space but had someone ask a question to me as a possible blog topic and I will write about it.

The request was to get my thoughts on a bottom vs. a submissive.

In many ways the two are similar, especially when it comes to styles of play/sex but I believe the differences make the distinction rather crucial.

I believe that most males that associate themselves with being submissive are actually bottoms.  There are a good number that are submissive, but this term often gets used loosely in regards to a "requested role during ______" vs. "lifestyle."

To start out with a basic definition, I consider the role of being a bottom is someone who likes to be in the submissive/passive/bottom role during sexual or kink-related activities.  They are the receiver.  The catcher to the top's pitcher.  They react to the top's lead.

I always hate trying to describe a bottom in a sentence or two because there are always words/terms used that aren't adequate descriptors (e.g. I hate the use of the word "passive" in regards to being a bottom/submissive).

If you are reading here you probably have some idea of all this so I probably don't need to beat it into the ground.

To start the next part I should probably say that "All submissives are bottoms, not all bottoms are submissives."

In my opinion a handful of factors push a bottom into the realm of submission:
1. Control
2. Freedom
3. Pleasure

1. The first factor that changes the dynamics is relinquishing control. A non-submissive bottom may wish to have certain control over what is going on.  A submissive understands they have given up this control and they can hope that they will enjoy what is going on.

2. The second factor is freedom.  I believe that a non-submissive bottom sees their actions as free.  While they may temporarily give up some of this freedom in the heat of the moment, they still see themselves as someone with full freedom.  A submissive loses at least part of their freedom when they submit, the extent of which is determined by the Domme.

3. While ideally, kink-overlap will lead to mutual pleasure, there is a fundamentally different view here.  A non-submissive bottom will expect the experience to be mutually pleasurable.  A submissive gains satisfaction from submission, but whether an activity is pleasurable to them is up to the Domme.  For a submissive there are cases where pleasure will be purposefully withheld, times when pleasure may be used as a reward, and times when the sub's pleasure is a byproduct of the activity and not the focal point.  To state it more simply, I believe a non-submissive bottom's pleasure is more physical, while a submissive's pleasure is heavily rooted in the mental realm.

I guess I see these things as being the key differentiating characteristics.

Any thoughts?


  1. I have always thought of bottoms more as "short - term" than subs, meabing they only wanted control while in that one room of the house or that he would come over to play and an hour later he would be free to do as he pleases, where a sub continues to abide by my rules and think of my desires when I am not standing next to him. I did find what you said to be a great description, better than mine. Happy to see a post from you fur.

    1. Thank you, Miss Lily.

      I know quite a few bottoms that do not associate themselves with being submissive at all except for in the bedroom (I know several tops as well). I don't think it is all that rare for people to enjoy some spice and kink without embracing D/s as a lifestyle.

      Overall though I think it gets oddly difficult with courting when bottoms portray themselves as submissives. Eg they want the fun of kink and play without having to offer more.

  2. Welcome back, fur! Your definition(s) make sense, as does what Miss Lily says. When I was in college I played with many a bottom, but quickly learned that it wasn't enough submission for me in the long run. I much prefer the "dedication" of a true sub, and find that bottoms are not really worth my time. To each their own, I suppose, but I'll take a true submissive over a bottom any day.

    1. Thank you, Lady Grey.

      I do think the long run is absolutely crucial for this and I think that it can be where people flourish or flounder both when it comes to bottoms/subs and tops/Dommes.

      I tend to prefer being dedicated in the long run... well "need" is probably a better term than prefer.

  3. I'd be interested in your basic definition of a submissive, which was omitted from the definition section. Your analysis seems correct, and well answers the basic question you were asked. In general, I think bottom is more focused on the act, while a submission is more focused on the mental state.

    It seems that it is also important to mention that these are not absolute states, like on or off, but variable states of attitude and behavior that can fluctuate in time, intensity, and across relationships. If you plotted bottom alignment (6 - always bottom, 5-1 sometimes bottom, 0 - never bottom) versus subspace on the x and y axis of a graph (same scale), it would show that we all fall in somewhat different places on the graph.

    In my case, I'm situationally submissive, not naturally submissive. I am dominant in most relationships except with my wife and her female friends. Most of my life found me firmly in the top role, but I am a bottom with my wife. However, when Madame wants me to pretend I'm her boyfriend, and provide her with assertive intercourse, i'm again topping, while maintaining a submissive mental state. The beauty of a kinky lifestyle is, in part, the variety we get to experience.

    I hope you find your way back a good place soon. Be well!

    1. Thank you, UM.

      I do agree with flexibility and people falling at different places at different times. I also think that lifestyle subs must adapt and shift to the dynamics involved at any given moment. Eg at some points their "optimal role" may involve more or less submission than others.

      I also think a sub's ability to push themselves to a deeper state relies heavily upon past experiences. To reach a new state involves breaking through some mental barriers (aka leaving the comfort zone).

      What I find quite fascinating is that the new states tend to be very addictive and often become a strong desire even if the process of getting there felt unpleasant at first.

      As for defining a submissive I find it is difficult due to the variable nature of dynamics which lends itself to being more easily defined through relativism than absolutes.

      I may try to write about that soon. It is a can of worms I dont mind opening.

  4. Thoughtful post! I think part of what makes a bottom is the specificity of what they want. A bottom has a wish list, a sub has limits.

    1. " A bottom has a wish list, a sub has limits."
      That's a nice quite Giles