A View from the Bottom: TJ's Story

Adam Baran

The Fun Stuff January 30, 2020

TJ is definitely in the right profession: A body worker and sensual wellness educator at a popular members-only men’s club in Manhattan, he’s able to both partake in play parties and help the clientele come to better understand their own tastes. We’ve played several times at parties; I always observe the deep pleasure he takes in bottoming and satisfying his desires. As it turns out, it wasn’t always like this.

Adam: When was the first moment you realized you were a bottom or wanted to identify as a bottom?

TJ: I was terrified of bottoming. I had some pretty terrible intimacy trauma as a kid and was really fearful of it. I grew up in conservative Christian territory with so much shame that I think my struggles to perform masculine identity was pretty wrapped up in what it meant to be a bottom. It’s probably why so much of my fantasy life is around power plays, because I wanted it but also wanted not to want it. 

The moment of shift for me was in my twenties, when I got the hottest massage from this body worker. He had a massive, hard D and I wanted him to put it in me. I was so turned on and also so scared that he was actually going to give me what I wanted. He was not just a body worker, he was also a very spiritual person with a deep meditation practice. He picked up on my fear and coached me through bottoming. 

He was so present, so kind and nonjudgmental: he just talked me through it from start to finish and then like really debriefed with me afterwards.

He was so present, so kind and nonjudgmental: he just talked me through it from start to finish and then like really debriefed with me afterwards. It was the first time that it didn't hurt at all. It felt really great. I felt empowered to be bottoming. I felt in control of what was happening. It's one of my favorite carnal memories. 

I learned how to work my body in a different way. For the most part since then I have been able to adjust, to get comfortable and have the experiences I want to be having. I think about him all the time. He changed my life.


Is there anything you wish you could ask your tops but can't?

I'm a strong communicator. I don't feel anxious about asking them anything, mainly because I do so much education around bottoming and intimacy. But I think that a lot of the guys I do workshops with would have answers to that question.


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Do you have sort of characteristics or traits you're looking for in a top?

I need them to be confident. My personal and fantasy life is pretty archetypical in the way that I construct fantasy. I have real power dynamics that turn me on. So a nervous top is not very hot for me. I want a top to want in there. I like to know that they're going to take me.

What kind of questions do you hear in your workshops?

A lot of what I hear or notice is that guys either can't, or don't know how to advocate for what they want, which for me feels like an essential piece of a consent conversation. But it's not just about asking for permission to do something to, with, or for somebody, it's also about engaging communication in both directions. 

Saying, "It feels great but it would feel so much better if you slowed down or went harder. Or choked me while you did it." I find that guys I work with are really respectful with one another, really gentle and thoughtful about asking things like, "Can I touch you in this way?" They're just ill-equipped to give each other the other piece of that.

How much preparation do you do before bottoming?

Quite a bit. I like to not worry and be able to relax, so I clean out thoroughly. And I really love cleaning out, it's part of my shower practice just in general.

What is a typical bottoming experience for you?

I love to seek pleasure in places and ways that feel taboo. I think it varies a lot there. I think I have preferences, but there's a pretty wide range of positions and flavors and longevity and energy exchange. And sometimes I have experiences that are pretty functional.

As a bottom, do you have things like size limits? Or things that you just, you know, won't do (or don't like)?

No. I've experimented with pretty extreme bottoming, I suppose, and I enjoy it. It starts to be sort of conditional, for instance if I haven't been able to clean out in the shower, a really big D is going to be problematic because if I'm not clean deep, I can't relax deep. A really small hard D can also be really painful. It enters at so many angles and you can't adjust or predict where it's going to go. 

I have been fisted once, I really enjoyed it, but then didn't like how open I was...the payoff wasn't worth it.

I have been fisted once, I really enjoyed it, but then didn't like how open I was. I was really open for a long time and it decreased my satisfaction, because then you had to be this tall to ride that ride. The payoff wasn't worth it.


Do you have a time record for bottoming? Like a marathon session that lasted three hours or something like that? 

I went for six or seven hours once. I had a birthday party that was a “plow the bottom party” and it went all night. It was amazing. It was a liberating moment too. I think everybody should stage a fantasy for themselves at some point. I went to a group of guys that I knew and loved being with and said like, “I have this sort of selfish fantasy, and I’m wondering if you'd be interested in helping me fulfill it. It's totally cool if that's not your scene or if it doesn't feel like what you want to do, but this is sort of my dream. And all of them were just like, yeah, that sounds so great.” And it was a really fun night. Everybody was really sweet and warm with each other; there was a lot of talking and laughing. 

Play time all night. It was special.

About the author

Adam Baran is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, writer, curator, nightlife mensch, and pleasure activist. He served as the NY Contributing Editor of celebrated queer publication BUTT Magazine for many years, wrote the first season of the hit gay webseries Hunting Season, and produced the upcoming Netflix documentary Circus of Books.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Future Method, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.


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