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Q: A friend and I started seeing each other this summer when a friendly one-on-one camping trip turned hot and heavy real quick. I am a Q cis-lady and they are a transmasculine cutie. Last spring, both of us just came out of serious relationships where the sexual aspect (among other things) was sad/bad. So, we are being gentle and still learning to practice consent while unlearning the fucked up habits from our pasts… After a few months, I think we have both learned a lot and I’m super stoked.
One thing though. It turns out, well… we are both bottoms. I want them to whip me around, and they want me to push them against a wall — but we’re both often too shy to do it! We end up beating around the bush for too long, if you know what I mean, and that’s a turn off when you want it NOW. I see the glimmer of potential for things to get WYLD and I want it to go there.
How can I and/or my romantifriend move past our shynesses to enact what we really want, and still gain confidence and practice consent?
Thanks for helping me develop my flexi-toppiness,
Queer, Quiet, and Quivering
A: Hi Queer, Quiet, and Quivering!
First of all, I’m excited both of you are learning in your new relationship. Many people go through many relationships without learning or exploring at all and fuck those people, or rather, don’t.
It seems like there are two issues here: shyness about initiating actual sexytimes, and you both being bottoms.
If you both have sad/bad histories, unlearning bad habits from your pasts and practicing consent is important and I’m glad you’re doing it. I’m wondering, though, whether some of the shyness in initiation comes from not quite getting there when you talk about consent. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about all the situations you don’t want and all of the ways there are to say no and set boundaries, without focusing on what you do want and all of the ways there are to say yes. Setting boundaries is obviously important, both with yourself and with partners, but so is building a foundation of trust in which you both know what you want and have communicated it, and in which you both feel not only safe saying no but excited about saying yes.
For example, if you want your partner to whip you around, make sure they know that. Let them know in what situations/contexts you’re most comfortable with having sex initiated, so they can feel more confident in doing so. Talk about what you mean and what appeals to you and the level of force you’re interested in and anything else you can think of, so when the moment arrives no one feels shy because you both know approximately what might happen, you feel safe playing around, and you can just go for it.
The other issue is that you’re both bottoms. This can be a devastating, relationship-quashing problem, or it can be a fun thing that you happen to have in common that might even bring you closer together.
Whether you’re thinking about tops and bottoms in a super kinky sense or a vanilla one, the thing about being a top or a bottom is that it’s all in your head. It’s easy to get caught up in certain acts as being “things that tops do” (penetrate, be physically on top, shove people against convenient surfaces, administer bondage or physical sensation, or whatever) and “things that tops don’t do” (be penetrated, be physically on bottom, be shoved against convenient surfaces, be tied up) and to think of power as emanating or not emanating from those acts. But the great thing about sex is that you get to make it up as you go and the great thing about being queer is you get to have lots of practice rewriting things to make them your own, which is what you both have to do to get the sex life you want.
Just because you think of pushing someone against a wall as something toppy doesn’t mean it has to be. On one hand, you can push someone against a wall and fuck them because you have the agreed-on power in that moment and you want to take what’s yours. On the other hand, you can push someone against a wall and fuck them because they’ve ordered you to and you want to obey and please them. From the outside, both of these things can look exactly the same — the main difference is what game you’ve created in your head. You can both be doing the same thing but imagining something different, rewriting the acts to be what you want them to be as they happen. In other words, you both have to be your own tops.
This is useful in relationships with more binary top/bottom distinctions too. For instance, I love doing all sorts of things but my primary relationship has a power play dynamic in which I very consensually have very little power. This could mean that I never get to be the person wearing the strap on or tying my partner up or getting to hit her, because often those things are seen as toppy, but instead she will “make” me do them. When she does them she is all top, and when I do them I am all bottom, and it lets us both experience a broader sexual palette within the dynamic we love and also have the literal best time.
Discussion will be key. You can kind of pretend you’re the bottom when you’re doing something toppy on your own, and that’s fine, but it’s way better if you talk about where you’re going to be in your heads with your activity partner first. Also, though it’s easy to imagine aftercare and returning to normal headspace is the top’s responsibility, it’s important that you both be aware of your own needs and each other’s and what needs to happen to meet them. (This is actually the case in all types of dynamics. Though other people will obviously affect and be able to help you, take responsibility for your own headspace. For instance, if you know a snack always helps you return to feeling normal, bring your your own so you can come back on your own if you need to.)
It’s okay to be quiet and quivering but it’s also okay to talk about things and then just go for them. Your sex life could get WILD.
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