Monday, January 9, 2017
Book Review: The New Topping Book
Last week, I reviewed The New Bottoming Book, and this week I’m following up with the companion title, The New Topping Book (Greenery Press, 2003) by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.
Just like The New Bottoming Book, you don’t have to be a top to enjoy and gain a lot of insight and information from The New Topping Book. Both are excellent staples to have in your BDSM collection, and I most definitely recommend these titles to those who are curious about or just beginning to experiment with aspects of Power Exchange.
The New Topping Book is slightly longer than the New Topping Book. The biggest difference in The New Topping Book is the inclusion of interludes between some of the chapters. In these interludes, a scene that the author’s or one of the author’s friends experienced is written out like a short story. These interludes illustrate with words how a scene flows from beginning to end and how the top interacts with the bottom, including things like safety, consent, and keeping the scene on track.
I feel like I learned more from reading The New Topping Book, perhaps because I have already read more and experienced more scenes on the bottoming side. But since a lot of the responsibility and directing of scenes falls on the part of the top, there were more tips and advice that I was able to glean from reading this book. Even though bottoms are very much an active participant in Power Exchange scenes as far as energy exchanging, consent, negotiation, and getting/giving pleasure, the top serves sort of as both the stage manager and the director of the scene, making sure implements go where they need to, that they are being used properly, and that the scene ends on time when everyone has reached the point that the scene can come to a satisfying close.
The book also discusses the needs and desires of the top, and emphasizes that tops should get what they need out of a scene including safety and not overstepping their own limits. The book also dissects some of the psychological hang-ups one might have of being a top and emphasizes negotiation and safety. There are also chapters about constructing scenes and how to pace yourself when using implements on your partners.
Overall, I love both of these books and enthusiastically recommend them when people begin having conversations about Power Exchange with themselves or their partner/s. This book gives a great foundation for being a confident, giving, and observant top.