Bottoms Up: I Am Enough

My submission was different before I started to actively write about it. I was unsure of myself; I would try anything even when I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to let down potential doms. I didn’t really have a sense of self. I was embarrassed. Talking about sex made me feel weird. Talking about kinky sex made me want to jump out of my skin.

And then one day, I realized that if I never actually said what I wanted or how I felt, my kinky sex would end up being just as boring as my vanilla sex had become. So, with my hands covering my face and uncontrollable laughter, I started to talk about sex with my partners. I started to talk about what kind of submissive I wanted to be for them, tell them what kinds of things I wanted to try, ask how they wanted me to please them. And, duh, the sex started to get better.

From talking more about submission, I’ve learned a lot of things about myself. Most importantly: I’m good enough right now just as I am. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around still, but it’s something I finally allow myself to believe. I don’t have to change who I am as a bottom fundamentally just to get some girl to like me. I thought I needed to be more or a pain slut or more gender conforming or more of something just to be appreciated. But I get it now. Hot toppy girls will like me just as I am or they won’t get to like me at all. I am good enough.

I’m also a privilege to be around. My submission is a gift. Receiving it is a privilege. And to get that privilege, doms must treat me with respect. Though it used to be, it’s no longer negotiable for me whether or not a dom uses my correct gender pronouns or respects my hard limits. I insist upon these things because I’m worth it. I didn’t always believe that.

I’m more confident now. For sure love is a lie, but I’m super excited to flirt in the future as a confident person. I’m honestly really good at flirting, but it’s hard to put myself out there, especially in kinky circles. And flirting with doms is different from flirting with others. I want to seem submissive, I want to push things in the direction I want to go in, and I don’t want to come off too hard, all at once. There are so many things to think about. The only way I’ll get better is by practicing, right?

I’m also more practiced at kink. I’m excited I could know as much as or more than a partner, instead of being a total kink newb. I often felt like I knew less than my partner when I was in a serious relationship, and it wore on me. I felt like I had to work harder to keep up or be good enough. But now, I know more. I’ve done more. I’ve thought about it more. And I’ve grown. I’m excited to enter a partnership(s) where I feel confident in myself and am able to bring that confidence to our relationship. I’m excited to see who I am in a relationship where I’m not afraid that I’m not enough. I’m excited to confidently submit to someone else; to be vulnerable, to give up my will, knowing that just through those acts alone, I am enough.

This is the last installment in Bottoms Up. View the complete series.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. “This is the last installment in Bottoms Up. View the complete series.”

    Really? Noooooooooooooo! why :(

  2. Thanks so much for this series – I’ve really enjoyed it and learned a lot. Looking forward to reading whatever you write next!

  3. This. THIS. You are so much more than enough. All submissives/bottoms are so much more than enough. This is a perfect end to this column (which is, duh, my FAVORITE of ALL TIME). Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, feelings, words, wisdoms, and kinky insight with us.

  4. Thanks for writing this series. I have learned from it, and it has meant a lot to me. Good luck with your next projects.

  5. Though I’m sorry to see such an excellent series come to an end, it’s been such a pleasure to read your thoughtful writing over the course of this journey. And this is a great piece of closure to end it. Thank you for sharing your wonderful writing!

  6. Sorry to hear this is the last instalment! I’ve really enjoyed reading the series, it’s been so valuable to get this insight and I’ve appreciated how honest you’ve been about mental illness and how it interacts with your submission. I’m really happy for you that you’re feeling so much more confident. Go out there and eat the world! Play with those hot doms! You go!! <3

    Btw, in the 3rd para, I think there's a typo – perhaps it was meant to be "more of a pain slut" not "more or a pain slut"?

    Looking forwards to reading more things from you in future!


    An Autostraddle Regular Who's Gone Anon Cos She Has An Unusual Name So People Who Google Her Could See This Comment :'(

  7. Complete newbie here with no clue what she’s doing, and I love love love this. I love that you’ve discovered strength through kink. “My submission is a gift”– yes yes yes.

  8. Didn’t realize this was the last article until I was wondering why there hadn’t been one lately. Now I know why!

Comments are closed.