Master Mike (for the next five minutes)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Question

How often do kinky people decide they want to switch? I have been involved in a four-year relationship with a bottom who wanted to be my 24/7 slave. I tried to be a complete lifestyle master, but he was never happy with how I arranged our lives. So eventually it seemed to me that it was better to just separate. Even though he has done nothing but complain bitterly about what a terrible owner I am (every day!), he is furious with me for taking away his collar.

I am hoping he will come to accept this separation. I fear there is some danger of him stalking me, and he will certainly badmouth me to the community. Even so, right now, I would rather shave my body and roll in hot tar and feathers than pick up another riding crop and order a slave to polish my boots with his tongue. I am over it. I do not work my way into a tight latex shirt that takes an hour to get into, only to be told that I don’t look like somebody else’s mental image of an ideal Old Guard topman. I want to be naked and on the floor. I do not want to make up a scene complete with dialogue. I want to obey and listen to someone else’s orders.

Is this unusual? Will people think I have lost my mind? I could use your sage counsel.

Answer

Dear “Master” Mike: There’s no schedule for switching in the kink community. Some people never switch. Others may switch based on who they fall in love with. If you get a crush on a hot bottom, you might make yourself over into the top of their dreams. Is that what happened to you?

I am a little ambivalent about such decisions, although I do understand the romantic impulses that lead people to seduce someone they desire. Most of us contain the raw material that would allow us to become a competent top or bottom. But I also believe that BDSM (bondage-and-discipline, sadism-and-masochism) roles are something like sexual orientation. A bisexual person in a monogamous marriage still has the potential to respond to a partner of the other gender. That doesn’t mean they will cheat, just that their sexual orientation hasn’t changed. A clever bottom who knows what another bottom wants so he can serve his needs has not become a master. He is playing a part, keys on the left. And often these bottoms in masters’ leathers play that part to perfection. I am not throwing shade here, I am impressed by the human ability to become chameleons.

Some couples like this remain together until one of them dies. These relationships can work if there is genuine love there and the bottom is good at feeding the top. Sometimes, if the relationship is open, the top keeps their energy up by bottoming for other people, players outside of the relationship. That can help a lot with the dynamic. But if the bottom is ungrateful or critical, or if the top has bitten off more than he can chew, the relationship can’t sustain itself, and so they break up. Eventually the putative top may become frustrated or resentful and drop the act. And when he does, he will want to stay on the floor for a while and revel in his submissiveness or masochism. Or both!

Nobody is going to think you are crazy if you want to bottom for a while, or stay a bottom for the rest of your life. The only people who might complain are the bottoms who were hoping that once you broke up, they would get a crack at playing with you and going under for you. The community is pretty supportive of people looking for satisfaction wherever they can find it. Anybody who makes a bitchy comment is probably having trouble with his own shit, and can be ignored. They don’t speak for anybody but themselves. As long as you are honest and honorable, you deserve respect, no matter what side you hang your keys on.

I personally think that a bottom who has tried topping is a great find. I appreciate somebody who had the nerve to try it out. It takes a lot of intelligence and imagination to be the one who is running the scene. I would rather play with somebody who knows what that is like; I think they are sweeter to their tops and more fun to negotiate with. Besides which, you deserve some kind of Patience and Courage reward for putting up with carping and criticism for four years.

The only wee, mild suggestion I have is that you do a little fearless and searching inventory of your own libido before you get involved in another ongoing relationship. Be sure, before you sign any contracts, that you know what you want. Maybe you are neither a top nor a bottom, but a switch. If so, you might need to keep your options open to follow your desire where it leads. If you have discovered you need to bottom right now, don’t let a cute butt or a graceful posture while he is falling to his knees trick you into trying to be something you are not. Your needs are as important as anybody else’s. Many service-oriented bottoms have trouble remembering that. Giving service as a top may seem like the same thing as giving service while being someone’s servant, slave, bottom, toy, etc. It is not. Protect yourself as property until you find someone else who knows how to take good care of you.