Top? Bottom? I'm A Middle

Top? Bottom? I’m A Middle by Isadora Alman

Dominant and submissive erotic power play has become mainstream, commercially validated as sexy for consumers at large. The once underground coded language of fetish wear like black leather, chains, dog collars and stiletto heels appear in New York City Bloomingdales’ windows. Personal ads touting the services of “fantasy fulfillers”, “dream weavers” and “role play specialists” include the line “no sex.” This may be lip service in observance of state law against exchanging sexual services for money but to those who seek such services what transpires is definitely sex, sexy sex, even without genital contact.

That is to say, now that various forms of “light” Sadomasochism is fashionably au courant, from marriage manuals to every popular media in the Western world, more and more people are heeding the siren’s call of “Try it, you’ll like it”…and they do. Dominance and Submission are among the “lightest” forms of activities lumped under the S/M heading, often meaning no more than “I’m going to have my way with you” and/or “Take me, I’m yours to do with what you will.”

As a keen observer of people, I am always amazed at what huge expenditures of time, money and energy many will happily squander in pursuit of their pleasures. I know that there are those who live for the thrill of a great skydive and those who seek the biggest and freshest lobster on which to dine. I know that. I believe in their enthusiasm when they speak of such exhilarating life moments. However, I would no more do either than pay to see, let alone actually enjoy, a Hollywood blockbuster movie wherein wheeled vehicles chase each other up and down urban streets while buildings explode around them.

And so it is for me about dominance and submission – pleasures I acknowledge as being worthy of eager pursuit by many, capable of carrying one to amazing new heights. Just not this one. Obedience is not an operative word in my vocabulary, not even to a theoretical Higher Power. I am distinctly not inclined to act subserviently to anyone on any occasion …… save one. When ballroom dancing the leader leads, I follow; no negotiations possible. I have fought fiercely from the age of five to be as close to fully in charge of myself as possible. I can’t think of anything less sexy for me than to lay that hard won achievement aside, even if only for the length of a romp. Fortunately, none of my romp partners have ever required it of me.

More likely, for those to whom it matters, I appear to be a natural top, a dominant woman. I am apt to know more, experienced more, have more (and weigh more) than most people I meet – which puts me in top position were either of us to assess accordingly. At 5′ 3″ I can hardly be said to be “larger than life”, but often my public image is – “the woman who knows everything there is to know about sex”.

I’m reminded of a message left on my office answering machine by a man with a thick Irish brogue which somehow made it all the funnier: “Sex and Isadora, Isadora and sex. Everywhere I go I read your name. You must have done a lot of men to get so much experience, ya dirty dog!” (This was not the same phone phantom who wanted to clean my shoes with his tongue nor the one who was willing to pay handsomely for a piece of my undies.) If my actual in the flesh presence doesn’t send submissives everywhere to their knees, combine or supersede it with inventive popular imaginings about who I must be and we get a slew of males eager to feel the lash of my tongue, or even more exciting, the lash of my lash.

No whip and thigh high boot fancier am I. I have as little interest in making another person submissive to me as I have in being so myself. Aside from the early years of motherhood, I have never wanted to be responsible for another person’s happiness; in topping within a sexual scene one most definitely is. It’s not the work involved, to be sure, which turns me off. It’s that what really turns me ON is an egalitarian relationship. My partner might be younger than I (and often is) but he’s at least as clever, and maybe more so. He may be knowledgeable in areas I am not while he’s living communally without a pot to call his own. Most importantly, he’s as willing to choose tonight’s restaurant as I am. And this egalitarianism most definitely extends to the bedroom. One who always initiates or who never does, can become boring in a hurry. Predictability in sex is often its kiss of death. A person with whom anything is possible, particularly sexually, is unendingly interesting.

So, having learned that my playing S/M or D/S games is as extremely unlikely as going out for a lobster dinner after an afternoon of sky diving, or a mainstream movie, could we find something else to do that might be mutually stimulating – like a rousing and equitable exchange of ideas and feelings, the old fashioned pursuit of a lively conversation? No accoutrements required.

Copyright to Isadora Alman