“Top’s Disease”: The pathology of arrogance, or kinda hot?

If you are a self-identified kinky person, you may have heard of “Top’s Disease”: the dominant who shows off in scenes, is riddled with self-importance bordering on clinical monomania may fall into the category of victim of  “Top’s Disease.” This is the idea that a dominant or top has a terminal kink-centric narcissism. Believing their own hype.

Showing off flashy technique, being a “One True Way” elitist, making seemingly extravagant demands of partners or even bystanders, using submissives in a way that seems like a less than profound spiritual manner may well see you relegated to a toppy Bardo, in a purgatory of sorts.

Nobody like a show-off, after all.

Questioning someone’s motives, dominance, submission, etc because of what you are capable of observing about their play style is a slippery slope.

For example.

I was once ordered, before a scene, not to make a sound. Went to the dungeon, did a pretty heavy flogging then whipping scene, through which I remained completely silent.

Those who were used to hearing me shriek, kick, scream and speak in tongues (Seriously. Ask anyone who has seen me get seriously fucked up.) immediately assumed something was wrong, and asked the DM to intervene. Thank the gods she said, “You people complain when they scream too loud, now you want me to tell a bottom that they are BEING TOO QUIET? I’ll pass.”

Dominance is different things to different people. Perhaps showing off their mastery of flogging is what the dominant wanted to do. Isn’t it their right to do so?

As to egoism in a dominant, I ask ya: who DOESN’T want a dominant with a (healthy) ego? If you aren’t AT LEAST egotistical enough to assume control of me, you are not taping in to my submissive core.

Just because your particular style of “connected” doesn’t look like someone else’s is no reason to scorn it, them, or their approach.

I actually like a healthy ego in a dominant. I love an edge of arrogance, because it takes that for me to really believe you can outdo me.

If you don’t want to see a scene that has spectacular aspects, to it, fine. But some of the most breathtaking scenes I have seen have involved play that was quite obviously extensively elaborate, and often was a gift to those watching, a “Thank you!” for lending their energy and attention.

Why throw their gift back in their face by scoffing at their style of playing?

Unless this person is unsafe, and the submissive is in physical or emotional danger, I don’t get the dismissiveness of a more theatrical level of play.

I mean, we CALL IT A PLAY PARTY. Refer to it as play. Shit, I do theatrically based plays too. And if people weren’t watching, clapping, feeling something, getting something back from my performance, I’d feel like shit. And if I didn’t bow at the end, you’d feel cheated.

You CAN be in tune with the audience and in tune with your “co-star” or “supporting actor” or even “prop” at the same time. Any actor worth their salt does it any time they step on stage.

And it ain’t a far cry away from playing.

I wouldn’t trade anything for the scene where the top I was playing with asked people from the audience watching what he should do to me, having them laugh, then be shocked when he went even farther, and me cursing the 12 generations of their families and all of their pets for being such assholes. Or how about someone helping to “recapture” me when I slipped from some bondage? Or a top actually stopping to explain something about his toys to another top, giving me the opportunity to quip, as thought bored while suspended upside down:

“Hey, if you’re busy, can I go have a smoke?”?

Yeah, I can be a smart ass. That is when I get slapped around. And that ain’t bad neither.

A crippling case of “Top’s Disease” is not becoming. But a nice healthy dose of well-earned ego, mastery and a scoop of arrogance topped with the cherry of entitlement…whew. Yes, please!

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  1. Eliot on November 15, 2008 at 2:34 PM

    Hey, Mo!

    I like this piece and I agree with it, but had a problem with this:

    “Unless this person is unsafe, and the submissive is in physical or emotional danger, I don’t get the dismissiveness of a more theatrical level of play.”

    How can spectators tell when any of the above applies to a particular scene? I don’t think they can. What one spectator deems to be unsafe or that the submissive is in physical or emotional danger, another might see it as just right. Who gets to make the call? That falls under the “slippery slope” concept. Hopefully, the dominant knows what they’re doing and how to read their sub and/or the sub has a safeword. Otherwise you get a bunch of people with different definitions of safe arguing about who’s right. Just my two cents. :)

  2. mollena on November 15, 2008 at 2:47 PM

    Howdy there!

    I do agree that no spectator can or should know the precise level of risk that the folks involved within the scene have deemed appropriate for themselves. The quote you mention is illuminated by the sentence that precedes it: the dismissiveness I mention is bound up with the perception many people have that THEIR perception can be entirely accurate. It can’t. Watching a cod and brutal sadistic beating where, at the end, the top walks away leaving the bottom sobbing alone might look horrid to one person and raise a cry for intervention. But some masochists crave just that level us use / discard play.

    Mostly what my feeling around this is: got goodness sake, slapping a label or a judgment on people (Top Disease, Sob Sub Sister Complex, Psycho Player, etc) is risky because you cannot know, at any time, what the players are thinking feeling. You may be able to make an educated guess. So calling the crazy players names and pushing them towards the fringe is, I believe, further divisive within an already compartmentalized and contentions community.

    Hm…does that make any sense? *laughs*



  3. Andrew on November 16, 2008 at 9:14 AM

    Any suggestions?

    I’m open to suggestions for things I should do to Mo the next time we play. The more humiliating and unpleasant they are, the more likely they are to happen…

  4. Mollena on November 17, 2008 at 11:39 AM

    Oh Andrew….you &^%$ pervert.

  5. klg on November 18, 2008 at 2:45 PM

    “Well-earned” ego and a “scoop” of arrogance are very much not at all the same things as Top’s Disease.

    Top’s Disease is inherently crippling, destructive to relationships and people in the general vicinity, and never becoming.