Skills I’ve Learnt By & From Bottoming

A chalkboard with a mindmap on it, with a lightbulb at its centre. The mindmap is titled "Bottoming Skills" and has six bubbles, which say "boundaries", "self-care", "balance", "processing pain", "communication" and "mindfulness" inside

Last month, I asked my Patreon people what they’d like to see a blog post about for the month of October, and they voted for “Skills I’ve learned or am learning, as a bottom and a human”. So, naturally, I… proceeded to go about three weeks without writing or posting anything. My brain has been on the fritz again and writing about bottoming has fallen to near the bottom of my to-do list (get it?), but at least I can spin it in my favour this time, because one of the most important skills I’ve learned as a bottom is understanding and asserting my boundaries.

Looking after my boundaries comes under the heading of “soft skills”, and it’s a soft skill I’ve had to battle to learn. That’s not a surprise; I’m assigned female and recovering from abuse on top of that, so I’ve spent a lot of time acquiescing on my boundaries for the sake of my safety. In kink, though, the best way to ensure your own safety and wellbeing (and that of the people around you!) is to recognise and assert your boundaries, so that you don’t say ‘yes’ to something you can’t withstand. If you, like me, don’t care much about your own safety or wellbeing, you might find it helpful to reframe it as, “Part of being a responsible bottom is communicating about my boundaries and limitations. It helps my top/dominant if I am forthcoming about what I can and cannot do.” This helps you grant yourself permission to assert your boundaries, and the more times you voice a boundary and have it respected (and even congratulated, with phrases such as, “Good pup for telling me”), the more you’ll train your brain to connect asserting a boundary with having a good time, which is hugely helpful in non-kink contexts, too.

That’s the thing about soft skills like these: I learn or build them whilst bottoming, but they improve my quality of life in vanilla contexts, too. Skills in a similar vein include communication and self-awareness, as well as mindfulness and staying present within my body – something I struggle with, since 1. I dissociate pretty frequently and 2. My brain is usually running at ridiculous speeds and is never fully focused on a single thing. When I’m bottoming, staying present and attentive to my body and brain is essential to my safety as well as my enjoyment of the scene, and this has the pleasant side effect of teaching me that being present inside myself can be a good thing.

Another skill that I practice whilst bottoming and that helps me in my day-to-day life is processing pain. I have hypermobile joints that cause me chronic pain, with acute flare-ups often occurring in cold weather, when I’m ill, when I’m stressed, when I’m not eating right, and/or seemingly at random. It’s hugely helpful to have pain processing strategies to hand for these – things like deep breathing, visualising pain as heat which is radiating from my body, and learning not to freak out because pain is not always equivalent to peril. I’m not learning to ignore pain – in kink, because pain is part of the fun; with my joints, because pain is informative – but I am learning to cope with it.

Bottoming is also teaching me to prioritise self-care. I’m a better bottom (more engaged, more attentive, able to push myself) if I’m well-fed, well-rested and managing my chronic pain appropriately. It’s sometimes difficult to grant myself permission to perform self-care, so, much like with the assertion of boundaries, it’s useful to reframe it as being useful to other people, as well as mixing in the incentive that if I do more self-care, I can do more BDSM.

I have also learned and/or developed “hard” skills from bottoming. Some of these things are as minor and context-specific as coiling my Daddy’s rope for them, but some are bigger – like rope stuff helping me to improve my balance and proprioception. Bottoming-related hard skills are ones I’d like to explore more thoroughly; things like bootblacking would aid my hand-eye coordination, help me to keep my own Doc Martens in good nick and, as a nice bonus, put me into a service-oriented headspace. There are so many ways that bottoming has the capacity to improve one’s quality of life beyond just the bedroom/dungeon/wherever you do kink, and I’m excited to keep exploring them.

On Top of the World: How Does Topspace Feel For Me?

Greyscale photo of Morgan, a white nonbinary human with piercings, holding a mini flogger and smirking at the camera to suggest they're in topspace

I’ve written before about all the difficulties I have with topping. It’s a headspace I find deeply nerve-wracking, which is part of why I don’t play with it all that often. But I do play with it – something keeps drawing me back towards topspace, despite my fear of it.

The thing is, I do have a sadistic streak. I love the faces that hot people make when they’re in pain. I love the way that bruises look on skin. I love the warm glow of pride at knowing that I did that, especially when a bottom is as pleased as I am with the results. More than that, though, I love the fact that someone likes me enough and trusts me enough to ask me to beat the shit out of them. The thing that really turns me on about sadism isn’t so much the amount of pain I inflict – it’s being permitted to inflict that pain in the first place. There’s something so beautiful about a bottom looking up at Topspace Morgan with wide, grateful, endorphin-flooded eyes, and it makes me giddy.

The same is true when it comes to other types of topping, including tying people up and bossing them around. I feel the same awe and childlike glee at my own power – physical or psychological – when I’m topping as one might feel when they’re in charge of the breaktime snacks in Year 6. And, just like with breaktime snacks, I also feel the full gravity of my responsibility to the bottom with whom I’m interacting – but that’s no bad thing. It adds to the sense of importance and effectiveness I feel, and makes the successful execution of whatever I’m doing even more satisfying. Plus, being in a position of responsibility automatically activates some primal, protective part of me, turning me into a nurturing (if slightly evil) top who only wants the very best for their bottom. When “the very best for [my] bottom” translates to “hitting them harder and spitting in their mouth”, it feels like the whole cosmos has aligned in my favour, because I can display my affection towards my partner by doing things that are going to get me soaking wet, whilst rendering them the same lust-drunk mess they turn me into just by whimpering and squirming.

Topspace is a much more coherent, “adult” headspace for me than any of the others I’ve included in this miniseries. I have to stay alert to every aspect of a scene – is my partner comfortable? Are their hands turning purple in their handcuffs? When did they last have a drink of water? How close are they to their limits? – which means that I can’t just let my brain melt into warm goo when I’m topping. Again, though, that has its advantages: namely, the vigilance that topspace forces me to maintain means that I enjoy every minute detail of a scene, rather than letting it all melt together from under a blindfold or through the blur of choking-induced oxygen deprivation. It makes me feel like a conductor, observing and managing every part of a gorgeous (and filthy) symphony. In topspace, when my anxiety lets me enjoy it, I feel so damn capable.

There’s also a hedonistic, super-indulgent element of topspace for me. There’s a human I fancy directly in front of me, and they want me to use them however I see fit. It’s like having an entire Terry’s chocolate orange to yourself, except sexier, slightly more challenging to navigate, and way less monotonous and sickening than eating an entire chocolate orange in one sitting would be. I feel a little bit like my arousal and satisfaction are the most important things in the world, or at least that they come in at a close second behind my partner’s enjoyment (and safety!). Topspace is a lot like some of my other headspaces in that regard, but the whole thing is flipped so that I’m in charge of whether and when I get fucked (or eaten out, or massaged…). It’s like the hedonism of pupspace put through a kaleidoscope, transformed and glittering and nearly unrecognisable, but still from a similar source, sharing a lot of the same colours and blurred shapes. (I recognise that this is extremely abstract, but it’s so hard to put words to these hugely emotional experiences!)

I love topspace in part because of how much it differs from other headspaces that I access more often. I also love it simply because it feels delicious, and I can wield it to make bottoms feel delicious, too. Writing this post has made me remember exactly how delightful topspace can be, and I’m glad I’ve put words to it, because these words will serve as encouragement next time I (or you, maybe!) really want to consensually beat someone up but feel frightened or inadequate or any-other-thing.


This post is the final-for-now installment in my Headspaces Miniseries! If you loved it, you could support me on Patreon, or follow me on Twitter to hear more of my thoughts about kink and sex and more!

A Little Bit Naughty: How Does Littlespace Feel for Me?

Morgan, i.e. me, a white person with big hazel eyes, in littlespace with an adult pacifier in their mouth.

It’s here: the return of my headspaces miniseries. This time, we’re gonna explore littlespace, the headspace accessed by consenting adult kinksters who are into ageplay – playing at regressing to a much younger age. Personally, I don’t have a clear idea of what my “little age” actually is. I think it fluctuates between three or four (speaking in full sentences but can’t be left unsupervised) to about eleven (occasionally stroppy, but excitable, witty and precocious). Some people have a clearer idea, and some don’t – but, regardless of the age I regress to, how does it feel?

Well, you know how some friend groups have a designated “mom friend”, who always has painkillers and snacks and who looks after the rest of you? I’ve always been the “baby friend”. I cry easily and often; I need reminding to eat, wear a jumper in winter, and refill my meds; I hoard sparkly, fluffy and chewy objects (which makes me a very easy person to buy gifts for). I never mean to be an absolute mess, but my friends all seem to know that I am one, and they’ve all taken me under their collective wing. I think that’s an oddity for ageplayers. I think, a lot of the time, people who are little in scenes are very big the rest of the time, and littlespace comes as a welcome break from being sensible and responsible and rational. And I am big, when I absolutely have to be – but I struggle with it, and I spend a lot of my time on the periphery of littlespace.

I discussed littlespace with a therapist once. She was one who’d already reacted positively to mentions of BDSM and polyamory, but I was still nervous to bring up the fact that I sometimes pretend to be a small child. I had already disclosed that I grew up with some, um, less-than-ideal father figures around, and you can pretty much tell just by meeting me that I have an anxious-preoccupied attachment style that is almost certainly a result of my turbulent childhood. My therapist was, thankfully, very understanding of the role of littlespace in my life as a means to relax into myself and experience the joyful, carefree childhood I’d missed out on when I was actually a child. She told me that it was only a problem if I felt it was a problem, and that it sounded like a comfort and a useful tool for me. Viewing littlespace as a tool for healing, rather than as a simple indulgence or, worse, an unhealthy coping mechanism, reflects more closely my perspective on other aspects of BDSM: that it’s both a valid, healthy pastime and a way for me to connect with my body and my self.

Littlespace feels, for me, like being myself, but magnified. I let myself lean into my sensory-seeking behaviours. I get incredibly excited over little (ha) things, like purchasing sweets or a new stuffed toy. I’m always letting adult things fall out of my mind as a side effect of the autism, but when I’m little, I all but shove them out. It’s a happy, peaceful headspace for me. The paraphernalia associated with littlespace is a dream come true, too – I own half a dozen pacifiers and so many stuffed toys, which are perfect from an autistic sensory-seeking standpoint. I also love colouring, as so many littles do, and having something repetitive and creative to focus on can quiet the loud voices of anxiety and depression in my brain. Being little is like being in a warm bath: I’m comfortable, at home in myself, and under no pressure from the outside world beyond having to brush my teeth and be in bed on time.

And, on the topic of being in bed: some people don’t mix littlespace and sexy stuff. The taboo surrounding children engaging in sex acts is, for some people, too strong, and that’s understandable – but it’s the taboo that can make ageplay scenes so appealing for so many people. I like pretending not to understand what’s happening during a littlespacey fuck, letting my adult-brained partner do all the hard stuff like removing my clothes and figuring out what position we’ll take. I relish the idea that I’m so irresistible that my Daddy cannot keep his hands off me, no matter how little and wide-eyed and innocent I am. It’s not as straightforward as some consensual non-consent scenes are, though: most of the time, Little Morgan really wants to do the sex stuff. They like how it feels, and they love pleasing their Daddy. But it remains a CNC scene nonetheless, because I’m feigning an innocence that prevents me from giving informed consent. Even at my oldest, when I’m in littlespace, I’m too “young” to meaningfully consent, which is what makes it so deliciously taboo. And it is delicious – so delicious that I revisit the same corruption of innocence storylines in roleplay with my Daddy over and over again, asking, “Why’s that hard?” and “What are you gonna do?” until, fuckdrunk, I abandon all pretence and beg him not to stop whatever he’s doing, even if I’m too little to ask for permission to cum.


Thank you for reading! To help me produce more content like this, have a look at my Patreon page – every penny helps.