ASK THE THERAPIST
by William A. Henkin, Ph.D.
Copyright © 1992 by William A. Henkin
<Q> Although we both switch, my S.O. wants me to top her 90% of the time and my submissive needs do not get taken care of. How can I get her to top me more?
<A> You can rarely "get" someone to top you who doesn't want to, especially as a submissive not only because the space of true dominance is too real to fake, but also because if you do succeed, who's in charge? You may be bottoming, and you may be getting done, but submitting you ain't: you're "topping from the bottom."
So, as usual, I have a question for the questioner: Is it really your submissive needs that aren't getting met? Or do you just need to get done? If you need to get done it doesn't so much matter who directs the show as long as you get to lose it before the curtain comes down. You can be a very dominant bottom "Hit me with that whip; no, the other one. Harder. Harder. Okay that's enough. Now make me worship your boots" and get done to a turn without ever giving up control.
If your needs really are submissive, however, your partner has to be able to take control of you or I don't think you can get them met with her. In that case you have a couple of options, depending on you, your partner, and the nature of your relationship.
First, if your needs are not too chronic to be satisfied by an occasional scene, that 10% of the time your partner can dominate you might be sufficient. You may not get topped as much as you want, but you may get topped as much as you need. The distinction is crucial. Needs are not negotiable: they are the components without which there can be no scene, at least for you. Wants, on the other hand, are preferences: they are negotiable.
For example, you may prefer vintage wine, organic food, and a plushly-furnished nine-bedroom home with four hot tubs, three dungeons, central air control, and views to Taipei, but what you need to survive is water, food, and shelter. In the world of erotic power play some people need spanking, bondage, or service to be satisfied in a scene; others who want spanking, bondage, or service can be content or even fulfilled by a whipping, a collar, or a Yes Ma'am/Sir. Only you can distinguish your wants from your needs; and because whatever you want very, very much can often feel like a need, you may have to look at yourself closely to learn what's really essential for you.
Second, if your needs are too deep, too intense, or too frequent for your partner to satisfy, you may have to branch out in your play. One obvious way to do so is to include another top either to co-top you in conjunction with your regular partner, or to top you both at once. Another is to play separately from your regular partner now and then, either with friends or with some of the community's excellent professional dominants.
If you choose to branch out, however, and if you want your relationship to survive, it is essential that you and your partner have clear, clean, open communication, that your partner's needs are met as well as your own, that you be prepared to let your wants go unmet if necessary, and that you make sure your relationship comes first.
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