Nurturing Top

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March 1997

by William A. Henkin, Ph.D.

Copyright © 1997 by William A. Henkin

<Q> What is a "nurturing top?"

<A> A nurturing top is one who provides care and comfort – holding, petting, soothing – for the bottom, as well as administering pain (sadism) and/or directing the bottom's behavior (dominance). In the gay male leather world nurturing tops often appear as Leather Daddies, and their bottoms as boys. Though I will not speculate about why it is, Daddy and Daddy's boy is also the configuration I have seen most among nurturing tops and their partners in the lesbian leather world, and a Daddy with a Daddy's girl is not uncommon among heterosexual players. But even though, to borrow some from biker argot, I have met a few Leather Mamas, Leather Mommies do not seem to have achieved the same cachet among female tops in either the gay or the het worlds that Leather Daddies have. Given the tough-thang image that frequently accompanies lots of black leather I imagine that a Leather Mommy is too soft an attitude for many players to cop to liking except sissy-boys. Yet I know there nurturing female tops of all orientations who enjoy nurturing their bottoms before, during, as part of, or after a scene, and I know there are bottoms of all genders and all orientations who crave nurturance from their female tops before, during, as part of, or after a scene. What these bottoms call their female tops – other than Mistress or Ma'am – and what the tops want to be called, I have not heard. If you are such a person on either side of the relationship, perhaps you'll enlighten me and the reader who asked the question?

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