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Where Are The Women Tops? Where Are The Men Bottoms?

June 4, 2009

I was prompted to write by Jess Wakeman’s excellent piece on coming to grips with her own bottoming, and the discussion at Feministing.

I can say from personal experience that there are lots of women in the world who top, though not all of them identify as tops or dommes or what-have-you. And there are plenty of men who bottom. Both are nearly unrepresented in the feminist blogosphere — not entirely, but mostly.

I have a hypothesis about why men who bottom are tough to find around the feminist blogosphere: Not a large male population to start with, a general reticence about men admitting that they like to bottom because of masculinity issues, and the amplified if-you’re-a-feminist-dude-you-must-be-a-wuss factor.

Where are the women tops? I don’t know. In part, I think the most vocal women who top butt heads with some feminists and may not particularly want to hang around feminist spaces. But I suspect there are a lot of women topping who just don’t talk about it, even pseudonymously. Not that there’s none, and not that I’m sure my gut is right … but that’s what I think.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. ephraim permalink
    June 4, 2009 6:50 pm

    Bitchy Jones has a lot of smart things to say about where all the women tops/doms are. This is one post that speaks to that:

    To summarize, she basically thinks that the porn industry and prodom industry, fashioned to meet the fantasies of hetero, sub/bottom men, has presented an image of dom/top women that is so unappealing to and unlike most dom/top women that they conclude they must not actually be doms/tops. This is obviously simplifying things, but i think that must be part of what’s going on, and not just in explicitly feminist communities.

  2. June 4, 2009 7:41 pm

    I’m here and I’m loud, but my Feministing login doesn’t work. I’m also kind of tired of being written off as the exception every damn time it comes up.

    And I’m one of the apparent 5% who doesn’t much care for Bitchy Jones’ heteronormativity and constant putting down my favorite sex acts. Wasn’t part of feminism critiquing the idea that PIV is the end-all be-all for everyone everywhere?

  3. June 5, 2009 4:09 pm

    Hi Trinity. It seemed sort of inappropriate to call you out by name, but of the folks who regularly participate in the feminist blogosphere, when I think about women who are clear that they are tops or doms, I think of you and ….

    Belledame? I can think of a few women who are BDSMers, or at least do BDSM, but very few who say they top. And of course there are women tops online, in sex-culture spaces or their own blogs. Lots of us read Matisse, for example, but she shows up in explicitly feminist spaces just about never.

    Sorry to call you an exception again, but among women participating in the feminist blogosphere, you’re a vocal top and that’s an exception.

    I am certainly not saying that women tops are unicorns. I’m saying they’re either not coming to feminist blogs or not saying that they’re tops when BDSM comes up, while there are no shortage of feminist women talking about bottoming. I’m wondering not about the disparity of women, but the disparity of participation.

  4. ggg_girl permalink
    June 7, 2009 1:22 pm

    I’m a switch, but write about bottoming because I bottom in my current relationship for the most part. I have a different perspective. From what I can tell there are more bottoms than tops overall. Also, maybe female tops don’t feel comfortable in feminist spaces because so many people are openly hostile to us here. I’m sure there are plenty of female tops who care deeply about gender equality but don’t have the time, patience or desire to argue with some feminists about their sex lives.

  5. ChetLee permalink
    June 9, 2009 8:10 am

    Hi, I just stumbled across this site & post, (as usual, I have no idea how I got here, some sort of free-association thing, hypertext can help an ADDer such as myself get lost in cyberspace very quickly. You know, this word leads to that topic to, oh look, a chicken)

    Excuse me, back to topic. I’m a male who loves to bottom for women. My personal experience has been that female tops are rarer than male bottoms.

  6. June 14, 2009 5:12 am

    YAA Adding this to my bookmarks. Thank You

  7. June 18, 2009 10:52 am

    This is deep

  8. July 24, 2009 6:28 pm

    That’s an intriguing question. I recently wrote a sex scene in a fanfic in which the female character is the top, with as few BDSM connotations as possible, and I felt disturbed by the idea that I had no frame of reference within most romance novel literature that I know of.

  9. Esme permalink
    July 26, 2009 11:12 pm

    On the occasions when I’ve engaged in B&D (it’s not a lifestyle my current SO engages in, so it’s been awhile), it has always been my preference to top. On the occasions when I have bottomed, I’ve felt uncomfortable, been less aroused, and have altogether enjoyed myself less. Indeed, it was only my ex’s insistence on wanting to top occasionally that I ever bottomed at all.

  10. super h permalink
    August 3, 2009 5:58 am

    I’m a top (most of the time, if I’m having sex with men), but I’m not a Domme, so I don’t really consider it a primary piece of my identity. I’m much more likely to talk about being queer than I am about topping boys. I don’t think I’ve talked about topping online, because aside from kink spaces, I don’t think I’ve been part of a conversation where it would be relevant, or where I wouldn’t be the odd voice out.

    I kind of hold out hope that (female topping) is something that happens a lot more often than gets talked about. And I see women who are attracted to the same type of geeky, subby guys that I’m attracted to, and it’s not at all hard to imagine that they’re at least somewhat interested in the same type of power play.

    I’ve seen topics in kink communities that note a lack of book resources for dominant-identified women; complaints that resources are written as though women interested in domme-ing are nervously looking into it in order to please the tastes of their submissive-leaning man. Not that, say, domme-ing could be to the woman’s taste in the first place.

    And I’ve been stuck in too many pseudoacademic conversations (I’m recalling literary theory in my undergrad) that generalize about “human nature,” that assume female means deep down submissive, and it would have been far too embarrassing to speak up. Because, look at me, I’m not an academic text. All I have is this fragile human *experience.*

  11. September 30, 2009 12:55 pm

    I personally am vanilla as the day is long, but I know at least one female top, and several male bottoms.

  12. RAH permalink
    October 6, 2009 11:47 am

    The good thing about the kink community is that people can more or less ignore past conventions, academia, what parents did or expect, etc…..and just be themselves. Anecdotes are fun in conversation but it’s hard to draw a line and say ‘now here, on tis side of the line, are the bona fide feminists’ much less measure how many of those female ‘bona fides’ are dommes or tops, and how many of the males are subs or bottoms. One thing that i think is not debate-able….if a dom or domme is into gender supremacy they are not really connected to the baseline values of feminism.

    R1HZ elsewhere

  13. osoborracho permalink
    October 8, 2009 6:12 pm

    My partner and I are feminists and switches, but we’re lurkers who don’t really keep blogs. I’m female, partner’s male. I periodically read some of the blogs mentioned above, just got linked to this one by my partner.

    I think there’s probably a large segment of kinky people who are put off by the anti-porn, anti-____ segment of feminists and don’t realize the movement has a lot of branches. The media demonizes the radicals and ignores the rest of us, so we have an image problem to fight (in addition to the uphill battle for equality). I can see where some of the antis are coming from, but don’t agree with their conclusions. I think (sexist) people’s interpretation of porn is the problem, rather than the porn or sex act itself. I hate anyone trying to control my sexual autonomy, whether they be rallying under the banner of religion or feminism. Benevolent paternalism is still paternalism.

    I also think Bitchy Jones’ post about missing dom women is part of the explantion. Portrayals of “dominant” women in porn and movies are always pro-dominatrix to ‘Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS’ sort of characters. Very few women are going to identify with that.

  14. February 19, 2013 1:52 am

    Nice post good to read something like this after longtime


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