Pleasure Activist 

Navigating the BDSM Scene as a QPOC: A discussion with bossy bottom


Bossy Bottom began exploring kink as a way of expressing another side of herself and her sexuality. Unfortunately, some of her early experiences were deeply dispiriting. She found herself in a community that was dominated (so to speak) by the dynamic of straight white men in the roles of the “dominants” and women in the roles of the “submissives.”

As a queer woman of color who identifies as a bottom (in case you couldn’t tell by her name), she was regularly faced with the unwanted advances of male “tops” who not only disregarded her “not-interested-in-men” status, but would also regularly fetishize her race. Needless to say, BB did not consent to being fetishized in that way. In one, not so subtle instance, she was cold-contacted by a couple who was seeking a “live-in slave.” It did not take long to feel negated and objectified when continually approached by those who felt entitled to request her for their own desires without taking a moment to read her profile to see if this was an arrangement she would even remotely be interested in. And while the “live-in slave” arrangement isn’t exactly unusual in fetishland, it is, at best, an expression of utter disregard when approaching a kinkster of color with this request without any previous get-to-know-you-and-your-fetish conversations.

This led to a brief discussion regarding the responsibility that is required when approaching fellow kinksters with highly charged fantasies (rape fantasies, for example) that are likely to be triggering to certain people. The first step is to not go off all half-cocked. Once it’s established that the other person is open to discussing a potential scene with you, asking for their “OMG yes! Eh, maybe. Hell no!” fetish list would be a good start to learning a thing or two about them.

At the same time, BB was left with a dearth of female dominants to connect with.

One particularly painful process was when a fellow community member, a person that BB respected, told her that she would never make a good “bottom.” While the narrative of the “strong black woman” may be empowering for those that identify that way, it becomes just another dehumanizing stereotype when others confer this designation upon you. Primarily, it is a mechanism to avoid acknowledging vulnerability in another person, instead of taking the responsibility to see a nuanced human being with needs. As a novice, BB deferred to the person she respected as having more experience, and therefore took their assessment of her as not being “bottom” material, to heart.

“At that moment, my spirit was broken,” she says.

With more experience, she realized how wrong that woman was. For one, you can’t fight your own inner leanings. BB’s proclivity for being a bottom was consistent despite how this person defined her. Secondly, she learned that a person’s level of experience has no correlation to how good they are as play partners or as people, and in fact, there are many veteran players who specifically prey on the inexperienced, precisely because they haven’t had the time to figure out and establish their own preferences and boundaries. After navigating through these various challenges in her fetish life, BB had a revolutionary experience at a BDSM event being held at a retreat for lesbians of color. The level of vulnerability and open-hearted sharing that transpired among everybody there was cathartic and moving and was achieved because she was in a room full of people who not only had the same interests as her, but looked like her, as well. It was a group of people that she could identify with on multiple layers. Instead of feeling like a side character in somebody else’s play, this was a stage built with her in mind. BB wants to provide an opportunity for others to have that space, too.

This particular workshop and discussion welcomes anybody who seeks to learn about BDSM, have open-minded and open-hearted discussions, who would cherish participating in a POC-centered space, and is willing and able to respect and hold space for POC kinksters. Just to clarify- this is not a workshop about people of color’s experiences navigating the world of BDSM. This is a workshop about BDSM in safe and POC-centered space. This is a FREE and casual discussion-based workshop where Bossy Bottom along with her co-conspirator, Lisannette, will provide some basic instructions and demos, but will primarily facilitate a space for sharing and discussions.

Ally Booker is a pleasure activist passionate about educating herself and others on cool sexuality related things like communication skills, creating and respecting boundaries, sexual self-determination, destigmatization, gender and sexual expressions, sex toy use and safety, and all the other mechanics of pleasure. You can often find her at her Tucson shop, Jellywink Boutique, 418 E. 7th St.. You can reach her at 777-9434 or AllyBooker@Jellywink.com.

More by Ally Booker


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