Topping from the bottom is a phenomenon where the submissive or bottom is actually running the D/s show to get their own needs met, exclusive of the dominant's needs. The choice of activities by the dominant is used to meet the sub's particular kink or fetish and is treated as an on-demand service by the sub. Going to professional Dom or Domme and paying for their kinky services is a straightforward way for a bottom or sub to get their particular groove on. But in a non-pro relationship, it's not cool for the top to be expected to succumb to demands of the bottom just because. And it's not considered particularly healthy. It works well if the kinks of the two individuals overlap to perfection, but still the sub's needs should be met through fulfilling the dominant's needs. And in a good relationship, both parties find fulfillment this way. Tribe.net has a nice little article on the subject if you care to read.
I've read many a complaint on loops for dominant women about men who approach them to "serve" but are really just looking to get their rocks off to a particular fantasy of theirs. Now there's nothing wrong with having your own preferences and fantasies. They are unique to our wiring and can be lovely. I'm all for individuals having a particular thing for rope bondage or humiliation or even tickling. But the power exchange of a BDSM relationship is not about catering to a bottom's fetish, but about serving whatever the desires and needs are of the top. It is also true that in a good relationship a top will pay attention and find ways to meet the needs of their bottoms while preserving the primacy of their own needs. With great power comes great responsibility. You can take your pick whether that quote is attributed to Stan Lee of Spider man fame or to FDR in the speech that never was.
In the end, whatever arrangement a dominant works out with a submissive to both of their satisfaction is copacetic in my book. And perhaps a brand new dominant can benefit from the submissive showing them the ropes and in some ways topping from the bottom. Still, the best mentoring for a new Dom(me) will come from another Dom(me). This does not preclude switching between partners. That's a seperate issue. But even switches must explicitly state their role in any one D/s interaction (whether it be top or bottom). And the power exchange rules should apply during that encounter.
What do you think about this issue? And do you find this term comes up in many of the BDSM erotic romances you read or write? It usually arises in a negative context in my stories, but have you found it used otherwise?
Safe, sane and consensual,