I've been spending the last few weeks trying to get excited about education in the kink world. Right before Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire, I spent a solid hour thumbing through the presenters and seeing what classes were being offered. After DO:WF, I spent a few minutes trying to see if Shibaricon had their class list up.
Instead of excitement for new learning and furthering myself in kink, I got a serious case of the crankies.
Most skill based classes (i.e. Basics of Needle Play, Electrical Play, Intermediate Bondage etc) only ever talk about the skill from the Top side. How to handle a needle, how to zap someone properly, a cool new tie. Requirements for anything above beginner classes always have requirements...of the Top. There's almost no mention of the bottom, as if they aren't even a part of the equation.
News flash: I am not replaceable and I am a huge part of the equation. Maybe even the biggest part of the equation.
The kink world has spent so much time putting emphasis on Top skills that it often forgets that bottoming is a skill. It's a skill that can be taught in class and gained through experiment. It's a skill that, sadly, no one really teaches. Most classes are geared towards Tops and when bottoms attend, they just kind of push them wherever they manage to fit. In fact, with the growing rope community in this area, I notice we actually have more bottoms and switches than Tops, yet not enough education to balance that.
How am I (and others) supposed to evolve with our Tops if no one teaches us? Are we supposed to just trial and error it and hope that as the Top grows we will, too? And what about those bottoms who don't have a single Top, or not Top at all? Are they just supposed to take it and hope that the Top's skill will take care of the rest?
It don't work that way.
Last year, at Shibaricon, there was a class advertised as "Advanced Transition Suspensions" It was the first of its kind being taught at Shibaricon and, granted, there were going to be a lot of bumps. Smartly, the educators of the class created a list of requirements for attending this class in an attempt to weed out those who weren't ready for such a complicated topic. The problem is that each of these requirements were for the Top only. In the end, I'm told that several bottoms had to drop out because they weren't ready for what was coming.
Now, I don't blame Shibaricon at all: it was their first time doing something of this caliber and there were going to be tons of snafus and hiccups. It's a learning experience, right?
A lot of folks don't realize that there's a specialized set of skills needed for dynamic rope suspension bottoming: pain-processing, conditioning, stretching and, of course, communication. and a lot of these skills carry over into other forms of bottoming. It took me forever to piece together some semblance of what skills I needed besides communication and 'looking pretty' in rope.
I think from this point, I'm going to start blogging and recording my evolution as a bottom as to keep a record on skills I've picked up or learned that others may find helpful. I don't want to complain without at least giving a resolution.
I also have been contacting others about the idea of teaching bottoming classes. I'm really excited to hear their responses.