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!

Why Bottoms Should Make Notes At Kink Workshops

Stock photo of a blank, lined, spiral-bound notebook, open and with a fancy pen sitting on top of it

I want to present to you my case for bottoms who attend kink and BDSM workshops making notes on the material they learn. I notice a lot of tops with notebooks and pens, but markedly fewer bottoms with the same, and I think those bottoms might be losing out a little as a result.

But before I delve any deeper, a small disclaimer: I go to a lot of rope workshops. And very little else. So this piece will be from a rope bottoming perspective, using rope bottoming examples, but it should still be relevant for spanking workshops, protocol workshops, humiliation workshops, and any other workshop you can conceive of where bottoms might be there, absorbing information and/or being practised upon by their toppy friends and/or partners.


I’ve written plenty about how actually being tied up feels for me, and why I like it, but I think there’s a particular art to attending workshops and classes in a bottoming capacity. I’ll likely never use the information provided at these classes for topping (since I’m dyspraxic as hell and sub-leaning besides), but I like to be more than a willing body for a top to practice on when I’m in any kind of workshop setting.

So I make notes.

They’re not notes that a top could use (at least, not on their own), because they don’t feature any technical details, diagrams or instructions. Instead, I make notes on the things I’ll find useful later, for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. When I’m in subspace, I’m not likely to retain information unless I write it down;
  2. When I’m overwhelmed by being in a noisy room full of people, I’m not likely to retain information unless I write it down;
  3. The physical act of writing keeps my autistic gremlin hands busy in a way that doesn’t look too rude (unlike, say, playing Animal Crossing on my phone), so my autistic gremlin brain can focus on what the workshop leader(s) is/are saying;
  4. They’re both informative and fun to look back over days or weeks after a class or a workshop.

“But Morgan,” you may be asking, “what do you make notes on, if not technical details and instructions?”

I’m glad you asked, dearest hypothetical reader.

I primarily make notes based on gut feeling – things that make my ears perk up, if you will. I start each workshop’s notes with the title of the class, the date on which it takes place and the scene name(s) of the workshop leader(s), and then I outline what we’re actually doing, like so:

Example Workshop – 12.05.19 – Led by Example McExampleface and E. G. Forinstance

Objective(s): full side suspension; gunslinger hip harness; eat as many aftercare snacks as humanly possible

After that, I might make notes on specific ties, both naming and describing them so that I don’t have to Google fancy shibari terminology every time I revisit my notes.

Tie: Tengu (the raptor hands one that makes my boobs look excellent)

The most useful notes I make, though, are usually based upon things said by the demo bottom (who often also doubles as a workshop leader). Demo bottoms provide invaluable tips on which things are the hardest to endure and how you might go about doing so, and they’re not usually tips that tops will take note of. Demo bottoms remind you to stretch and wiggle, encourage you to be a princess if something hurts in the wrong way, and give you straight answers about how uncomfortable or painful something might be. They make the world go ’round.

TIP: keep an eye out for circulation loss/nerve impingement in the hands for this one

Another key thing I include in my workshop notes is something a top simply cannot do on a bottom’s behalf – my initial reactions to all the activities we try. This is especially important for me as I have a hypermobility condition which requires me to be careful with the positions I put myself in (or allow others to put me in), and keeping track of which positions seem to aggravate which joints is key. For instance, if I’m having a Bad Knees Day™, I can use my notes as a tool in considering whether a futomomo is a good idea.

“Morgan, don’t you just remember when things hurt you?” you might be wondering.

No, dearest reader, I do not. If I remembered every position, activity or weather change that ever made my joints hurt, I would have no room left in my brain to remember anything else. I’m always in a little bit of pain, and often in a lot – so I often block it out, and I almost always forget about it afterwards.

Thoughts: that was hot as fuck, very much enjoyed the feeling of being compact & smol. Elbow joints ache, about 4/10 pain, but worth it (and could be fixed w/ ibuprofen and care)

Naturally, bottoms who might be inspired to take notes in workshops as a result of this blog post can deviate from the formula I’ve presented here. If you think you’d benefit more from making notes on the mechanics of something, drawing little diagrams of human anatomy or anything else, you do you. I’m just here to sell notebooks remind bottoms that they’re active participants in kink, and that their insight and learning is as valuable as that of their toppier counterparts.

Being Alone With Arousal

Note: this post talks about my eating disorder, including mentions of purging through vomiting, and my experiences of being sexually abused, including subsequent dissociation and general difficulty being alone with arousal. If any of those are tough for you, give this one a miss – I’ll be back on Saturday with a post about why you might find more autistic people than you’d expect in your local kink scene!


My fear of wanking came up in eating disorder therapy.

This is not wholly a surprise. Lots of things come up in eating disorder therapy, because eating disorders are deeply rooted, born of decades of cultural conditioning, dysfunctional coping mechanisms and adverse childhood experiences. But the more I’ve reflected on it, the more I’ve come to realise that my fear of wanking and my fear of food are two heads on the same beast.

One common starting point for eating disorder therapy is to consider what we’re actually afraid of. In my first round of it, two years ago, we unpacked a lot of my internalised fatphobia and my fear of taking eating to its extremes, which is an offshoot of my anxiety: it’s pretty common to consider the logical, if unlikely, extremes in any scenario. But I only got six sessions, and we didn’t have time to dive any deeper.

This time, I get a whole eight.

The thing that scares me about food is that I enjoy it. Enjoying things, I have learned, is scary and dangerous and often has real and terrible consequences. Having lived with abusers during a few critical formative periods, I learned and internalised that nothing good is without cost and that the more pleasant the calm is before the storm, the more devastating the storm will be. Best not to let my guard down, enjoy anything too much, or trust my senses to tell me when something is safe or nice.

Then there’s the complicating factor of having learned to wank through being groomed. As well as reinforcing my existing belief that my own sensory pleasures must always come at a cost, it created some really specific associations between the physical act of masturbation and a strong sense of danger. Specifically, fucking myself with an object when nobody is watching feels so wrong that it’s akin to practising a secret handshake on your own,  and fucking myself with fingers is very much the same. If there’s no webcam between my legs, nobody watching my face and nobody talking dirty to me – if there’s no audience to validate my pleasure and benefit from it – it not only feels asymmetrical and disconcerting, but dangerous.

Indulgence has always led to violence in my life.

I am now, of course, free of all the abusers who have made and reinforced that connection, but that doesn’t undo it. It’s wired into my brain like the connection between an object flying at one’s face and one’s inclination to duck. And because I’ve had so much else going on, and so many spectators available to me, I haven’t had time to rewire it.

Being horny alone feels like being in pain. It’s frightening and distracting and I don’t want it. If I do attempt to masturbate, I usually dissociate, failing to orgasm and also failing to feel my own face or entirely remember where I am. If I don’t, I have this constant nagging sensation somewhere in my physiology that feels like an alarm going off, reminding me that indulgence is possible, and therefore, so is danger.

I am fucking sick of it.

I wrote out a plan for a Masturbation Boot Camp (and yes, I titled it exactly that) which instructs me to spend day zero practising mindfulness, day seven touching my body and exploring sensation, and day fourteen actively attempting to come, with every day in between requiring an incremental step towards these goals. I showed it to my tipsy, dyslexic girlfriend, who saw straight through me and said, “And how much of this is procrastination so you don’t actually have to wank?”

It’s a great idea and it’s one I’m going to try, but she’s right. I live in fear of my body and the pleasure I can experience within it, and even the idea of self-massage or watching porn for fun fills me with sickening dread. I suck at most mindfulness activities because, between the chronic pain, the chronic trauma and the violations I’ve been subject to when I have indulged in pleasure, I don’t want to be in my body. I don’t want to ground myself in it. It’s a horrible place to be.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any other vessels to contain my soul (this is a Kingdom Hearts joke), so I’ve got to get used to this one.

I’m getting better at indulging in food, and even at indulging in food without punishing myself. Sometimes I devour cheap kebabs with gusto, and sometimes I go halvsies on a £27 Hotel Chocolat Easter egg with my partner and savour tiny mouthfuls of gourmet chocolate. I’ve managed to bully myself out of the bulimic practice of purging my meals – at first, this was because I was and am on oral hormonal birth control, and consider it a consent violation to jeopardise that without notifying anybody who might jizz in me, but over time, once I’d detached the act of eating from the act of puking, the mere hassle of purging became enough to deter me from it. Eating can still be a challenge, but it’s a rewarding one.

I’ll get back to y’all about my success with Masturbation Boot Camp. I’m hoping it’ll be a challenge, but a rewarding one, and I’ll learn to indulge in self-pleasure like I’m about to indulge in a sliver of salted caramel chocolate.