Way back in the depths of the archives, Mistress Matisse has a really good article about how to tell if your scene went well as a top. To summarize her article, there’s a really simple 3 level scale that she learned from Joseph Bean:
- The person you played with wants to do that particular thing again with you. You did well!
- The person you played with wants to play with you again but doesn’t want to do that particular thing again. Hey, you still did okay.
- The person you played with wants to play with someone else in the future but not with you. Something has gone thoroughly wrong.
It’s really, really common (probably universal) for tops/doms to worry that they’re somehow doing a scene “wrong.” It’s completely normal and understandable to feel that way, but if everyone had fun then you did it right.
Another point from the article I want to reiterate is that if you have a scene with someone and they don’t want to do that particular thing again, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad top. Sometimes the only way to find out whether you like a certain thing or not is to give it a shot, and sometimes you discover that you don’t like that thing. That’s totally normal and not something you should ever blame yourself for.
There is one part of the article I want to expand on. The third level of success Mistress Matisse describes really only applies if everyone had reasonable expectations and negotiated in good faith. It’s totally normal to have built up all these grandiose expectations for your first scene if you’ve been interested in kink for ages and you’ve finally gotten the chance to try it, but you have to remember that your top is a human being. You are not going to get to live out your porniest fantasies right away, you need plenty of time to build trust before you can do really intense scenes with someone.
For female tops in particular, it’s not terribly unusual to run into s-types who have expectations that no actual human person could ever possibly meet. If you run into one of them and have a shitty scene, it’s really and truly not your fault. What’s tricky, of course, is figuring out whether the person you played with had unreasonable expectations. Without experience, it can be really hard to figure that out on your own. This is where you need to either ask around in your local scene or ask around online. God knows the internet is full of people with opinions, somebody out there will be delighted to give you theirs 🙂 Bloggers are often willing to answer reader questions too, if you want to ask one of us. Just don’t forget that anyone on the internet could be a total asshole without the common sense of a radish. Take any advice you get with a grain of salt and if at all possible read the person’s posting history before assuming they have any idea what they’re talking about.
While there’s no wrong way to do kink, it’s important to remember that both parties have the ability to ruin a scene. Tops are not all powerful and bottoms are not blank canvases.