How to Be a Good Bottom

You know what topping, bottoming (and even switching!) are now — and maybe you’re feeling really solid about bottoming (or to know more about the vocabulary for something you’ve already been doing for years). But there’s more to sex than knowing the right terminology. How do you make sure you’re a good bottom?

To some people, the idea of a “good” bottom may seem counterintuitive. After all, a bottom is done to rather than being the person who “does” things; isn’t it an inherently passive role? As bottoms worldwide know, however, being a bottom doesn’t mean you just lay there. Bottoming involves its own unique set of skills and talents, and bottoms are active and gifted participants in their own sexual experiences, not just helpless bystanders, and there’s a lot that goes into being a good bottom — here’s my take on what that entails.

Know what you want — and what you don’t


Part of the fantasy of being topped by someone else is having them decide what happens to you. You may be into a feeling of helplessness (totally understandable), or be hopeful about finding an experienced top who has ideas about what to do in bed that you could never imagine. Those are great fantasies, and within the realm of possibility — however, that doesn’t mean that you get to sign over all the decision-making for a sexual encounter over to the top, no matter how good that might sound. 

A big part of your job, as the bottom in a power dynamic, is knowing what it is you want — out of any given encounter, but also as a sexual person in general. A good top will want to know what your fantasies are, what you’re most interested in doing, what you definitely don’t want, and what you’re nervous about but might be up for trying in the right mood. They have nothing to work with if you can’t answer any of those questions, and putting someone in a position to have to try to read your mind is unfair to your top. 

How do you know what you like? That’s a journey for you to take on your own — try watching different types of porn to see what turns you on, reading books or erotica to see what piques your interest and notice what’s coming up in your fantasies.

Find out what gets your top going


Although a bottom is indeed the person who is “done to” rather than the most active partner in a sexual dynamic, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you bring to the table for your top. Even if an individual top doesn’t want direct reciprocation of what they’re doing for you sexually, or even if they don’t want to be touched, there’s still something that does it for the encounter for the other person. For some tops, they get off on the feeling of someone else offering their vulnerability and intimacy; for some, it feels good to get their partner to orgasm.

Part of being a good bottom is thinking actively about this and bringing a spirit of curiosity about the other person’s experience. What do they like, and what does it mean to them? Even if they don’t like being touched in the exact same way you do, what do they like in bed? What characterizes excellent sex for them instead of just okay? Are there compliments or language that they like to hear in bed?

Don’t forget to give feedback


The natural progression of considering your top’s experience and your dynamic with them and knowing what you want is committing to communicating as thoroughly as possible — before, but especially during, and after. A good top should ask you questions and check in with you throughout the scene; don’t be afraid to answer honestly, including if you don’t like something or don’t want to do something. This doesn’t make you a bad or disobedient bottom; the point is to create an experience that feels good to both of you, not to say yes to the most things.

It’s also helpful to give feedback as things are happening. This can be functional and constructive, like asking someone to spank you on the back of your thighs rather than your butt — but it’s also very helpful to give feedback when things feel good, even in the form of dirty talk. This makes your scene even hotter, but also helps your top know what’s working; think of giving a presentation in front of a group of people who remain dead silent and make no facial expressions as you’re speaking. It’s hard to know if what you’re doing is landing or not! Moaning, making sounds or just saying “that feels good” when you like something is a helpful cue.

If you’re up for it while you’re cuddling afterward, it’s great to have a quick feedback session then, too. It doesn’t have to be formal or stiff; you can offer that you really loved X and Y, were surprised by Z, and think maybe it would work better to do that other thing with your hands instead of a toy. This helps you develop and articulate to yourself what you like and don’t like, and helps your top know more about what to do for you next time.

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