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.

The Best Days of Our Lives

Sometimes, when I’m quite tipsy and out on the town, I’m struck by the sense that my friends and I rule the world. The city is lit up and glittering just for us. We are fearless and stupid and hilarious and we love each other. I feel the swells of hope and bravery reach high tide in my chest.

The problem is, though, that emotional abuse conditions you a certain way. Whenever I start to feel brave, or hopeful, or – God forbid – happy, I also start to feel a cold dread leak into my bones. If you’ve lived through emotional abuse, you’ll know that abusers never let their victims’ happiness go unpunished. You’re used to knowing, consciously or not, that whatever positive emotion you’re experiencing is part of the cycle of abuse – you’re in the honeymoon phase now, but you know that soon, the sky will fall in. Every time you feel like you’re getting less small, someone cuts you back down to size. Eventually, you might stop hoping or laughing or feeling brave altogether.

So when I feel like I’m on top of the world with people I love, my brain tries to slam on the brakes. It isn’t my brain’s fault – it has been taught that the more elevated I feel, the worse the inevitable fall will injure me. My brain tells me, “You’ll grow out of this. Sooner or later, you’ll stop having nights out, stop drinking, stop dancing, stop loving these friends – sooner or later, you’ll lose this feeling forever.” 

The thought is like a bucket of cold water in that it startles me, makes my chest muscles tighten, makes me feel like shit. I know I won’t be a dumbass student full of Jagerbombs forever – my brain is right about that. What if it’s also right about never feeling like this again?


Play parties – especially the chill, lowkey rope jams I often attend – aren’t much like nights out. The music is quiet. The lights are dim. I’m stone-cold sober. 

I’m on a mat, lying on my back with one leg suspended above the rest of me. My Daddy is tightening ropes around my shin just to make me writhe and squeak. It fucking hurts. He closes his fist and starts punching the rope that will later bruise my skin. Harder and harder, up and down my entire lower leg. He squeezes my calf and I almost scream.

From my position on the floor, I make accidental eye contact with somebody else on the floor – another bottom, also being tormented, also writhing and squeaking. I’ve never spoken to them before, but they take one look at my agony-filled face and smile at me. I smile right back, knowing that they feel how I feel, knowing that we’ll both glow with pride and endorphins when we’re done.

When the ropes come off and I’m scooped into a hug, I feel so warm and in love with the world. My legs shake in time to the music. The other bottom, the one who smiled at me, is receiving aftercare, too.


I have nagged and nagged at my Daddy to go and play with someone he likes. I’m in lingerie and full makeup, but there’s an empty bathtub in the venue (for some reason) and I’ve found that it gives me exceptionally good autism to sit inside. I watch, fascinated, as other people play. I recognise one of the songs on the playlist and smile to myself. 

Sooner or later, someone I know reasonably well comes and joins me in the bathtub. We sit side-by-side in our sexiest underwear and talk for at least an hour. I make her giggle a lot. We point things out to each other – interesting scenes that are unfolding and other people’s cute outfits, mostly. Another person comes and joins the conversation, kneeling in front of the bathtub. I let sentences about sex and kink and queerness fall straight out of my mouth, completely unfiltered. 

Every now and then, I remember that one of the loves of my life is in the other room, having pulled with my help. I remember the fizz of affection I felt when I caught the eye of another bottom earlier. I remember that these are conversations I would never have anywhere else.

I might grow out of drinking and roaming the town, but the number of older kinksters surrounding me suggests quite firmly that I won’t grow out of this. Which is good, because right now, I feel like my friends and I rule the world. The dungeon is dimly lit and decorated just for us.

Smut Saturdays #15: The Beauty of a Blindfold

Stock photo of a piece of light brown rope arranged in a heart shape, lying on a darker brown bench. The background is out of focus but looks greenish. It's cute, and suits this smut about a blindfold nicely.

Ready for some blindfold smut? Every fourth Saturday, I’ll be posting erotica I’ve written, based loosely on my own real life experiences or fantasies, for your wanking enjoyment. They’ll all be under the category ‘Smut Saturdays’ and if you’ve got any feedback or requests for smut scenarios, put ‘em in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @KinkyAutistic!


(I acknowledge that it is no longer Saturday. In fact, at the time of writing, it is Tuesday. But what could be more on-brand – for #AutismAcceptanceMonth especially – than running three days late on a self-imposed deadline?)


It hurts.

Of course, I know that it’s supposed to hurt. There is only one wrap of rope around my upper thigh, and through it is the weight of my entire leg. I feel like my skin might split, but it won’t give me the satisfaction – I probably won’t even bruise.

My Daddy and I are playing in his living room. I’m on the floor under his suspension frame, naked, with my right leg hoisted into the air and my left one resting on the ground, so my vulva is readily visible. It’s relatively quiet and calm in here, but the pain is still overwhelming me, and I’m worried I’ll reach my limit soon. I suck in short, sharp breaths, pulling air through my teeth, as I try to adjust to the feeling that my upper thigh is about to get ripped in two. I want to be good. I want to take this.

“Daddy,” I say timidly, watching as he begins to uncoil yet another rope. He pauses. “Could I have a blindfold, please?”

Asking for things mid-scene is not my strong suit. If we’re being brutally honest, asking for things at any time is not my strong suit. I want to take up as little space as possible, and make as little fuss as a person can; but this directly contradicts my desire to be as honest with my Daddy as possible and to process as much pain as a person can. So I ask for the blindfold, and I tilt my head up willingly when he pulls it from the rope bag.

“Good Puppy for asking,” he tells me, his voice both warm and condescending. He lays the fabric carefully over my eyes, aiming to block all light out of my vision but also to avoid compressing my nose and compromising my ability to breathe (because that would come later). He knots the blindfold tightly behind my head, so it hugs my skull and blocks out some sound by virtue of lying over my ears. I could still hear my Daddy if he raised his voice, but I can no longer hear the clock ticking, nor the hum of the refrigerator in the other room. All I can really perceive is the pain in my thigh.

I breathe in. I breathe out. I start to let go of the panic I had originally felt as a result of this seemingly unconquerable pain. I think, I hope this bruises and, Oh, it eases off if I press my left hip into the carpet and I’m such a good little masochist, all while my Daddy starts to tie my wrists together, silent and deft.

With one sudden, fluid motion, my wrists are pulled up, and with them, so is my entire torso. I yelp, but more importantly, without thinking, I twist, so that both buttcheeks are firmly on the floor and my wrists are comfortable above my head without threatening to pull one of my hypermobile ribs out of place. In the process, I obviously rotate my poor upper thigh, twisting it and dragging my flesh across the rope that encased it, and now I know it’ll bruise. I’ll be lucky if I haven’t made it bleed. I whimper, only somewhat soothed by the indomitable familiarity of ropes swaying and jostling whilst my Daddy locks off an upline that’s connected to my body. (For those not well-versed in rope-related words – some of which I might be bastardizing or making up entirely – the upline is the one that goes up to the suspension point. Locking it off involves doing things to it so it doesn’t move, unravel or otherwise drop your bottom on their, uh, bottom.) I’m disgruntled about my thigh – shearing (the dragging of rope across skin) is a type of pain I do not remotely enjoy – and I keep whimpering until the familiar movement above my head stops. Then there is a very long pause, and I blink against the fabric of my blindfold, against the darkness.

My Daddy takes hold of my chin. I don’t know whether he’s standing over me or kneeling by my side. I do know that him gripping my chin like this can only mean one thing. He holds it for long enough that I can object if I want to, but I stay silent. I’m such a good little masochist.

Crack. The sound of his palm across my cheek. I’m so full of endorphins that I interpret pain as warm, and sigh heavily at its pleasant radiation through my face. I know what’s coming next.

Crack.

It’s going to happen soon. It’s not the pain so much as the shock of it that gets me – and the intimacy of it. Being slapped across the face is completely inescapable. You hear it more loudly than any other slaps. When you’re not blindfolded, you see it. And I think it activates some primal instinct that arse-slapping just doesn’t achieve, because it usually only takes —

Crack.

Yep, three strikes and my eyes well up behind the blindfold. I can feel my lower lip wobble. My Daddy shifts his grip from my chin to my hair, and I know the next slap will make me cry.

He pauses for so long that I whisper, “Green,” in case he’s unsure. And then, crack. Across my face. Knocks the tears right out of my eyes. Knocks a loud sob out of my mouth. And I know that if I weren’t blindfolded, I’d call “Yellow,” because I’d be overwhelmed. But all I can feel is heat in my cheek and an unbearable level of anticipation, and I tilt my head up a little bit to indicate I’m ready for another.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

And now I’m fully sobbing, and I can feel my Daddy’s hand brushing hair out of my face. “Oh, look at you,” he says softly. “You’re so pretty when you cry.”

“I’m trying my best,” I wail, as is my custom when I feel sufficiently little and deep in subspace. “I’m trying really hard.”

“I know, baby.” There is some shuffling. His hand isn’t in my hair any more. “Do you know what else is really hard?”

I giggle even though there’s snot leaking from my face. “Daddy!” Then there’s a hand in my hair again, but this time it’s pulling. I can barely remember that my thigh is hurting, and I only re-become aware that my wrists are tied above my head when I move to scratch something and realise I can’t. “My brain is stupid,” I report honestly.

“That’s okay. You don’t need a brain for this.”

My hearing isn’t muffled enough to disguise the sound of him pulling down the zip on his jeans, and I open my mouth readily, my tongue stretching down my chin.

And that’s where I’ll leave you, friends, because some things are sexier when they’re unseen.