I married a top – but now he wants to be a bottom

I am a man in my early 30s married to a man in his mid-50s. We have always been in an open relationship: we met at a sex party. When we met I was always a bottom and he a top. Over time, however, he has become obsessed with bottoming. He never penetrates me, even in a group, and has starting expressing jealousy about the tops that I attract. I feel he is throwing our life away in pursuit of a pipe dream and I long to get back the dominant top that I married – a role he is suited for physically. He has been looking at escort websites, which I find depressingly inevitable. How can I wake him up to reality?

Top burnout is a fairly common occurrence and it can lead to a shift in a person’s power exchange preferences, usually temporarily. This is less likely to happen when partners switch, exchanging roles from time to time, but clearly that is not for you. It might be wise to relax about this and try to tolerate – even support – his period of exploration. In fact, dominance and submission are not so different; just polarised aspects of the same erotic style. So some tops frequently fantasise about bottoming but are not prepared to practise it – and vice versa. The top usually does most of the work: initiates, arranges the scene, toys and so on, so your husband may want a break from the responsibility. I can understand your disappointment and fear of losing your preferred sexual style, but people and relationships change and evolve over time so it would be best to talk patiently and lovingly with your husband – without reproaching or blaming him – about what he is feeling and the reasons for this change. You need to understand each other. Gently express your sadness about the potential loss you are facing. Then do your best to show that you love and support him.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions.


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