Demo Bottoms are Rock Stars

I am a spirituality and sexuality educator. I teach a variety of classes that include Power Exchange relationships and many skills in BDSM. When I teach these classes, whether it is Micro branding, Fisting, Rope skills, Body to Body impact Play, Flogging, Knife play, and so on, there is a very important component to me being able to do my rock star job as teacher or Demo Top. A component that is often ignored and overlooked by the larger kink communities, but who are in many ways more important to the teaching process than myself. Those components are my Demo Bottoms.

What is a Demo Bottom? I’m glad you asked.

A Demo Bottom is usually a volunteer from the community who allows you to use their body or mind to demonstrate whatever skill you are teaching. They are known by many names such as Bunnies, Crash Test Dummies, Lovely Volunteers, or the Suspecting Victims. Some you know (in many cases a presenter will only demonstrate with their partners), and sometimes they are people you have met fifteen minutes before you are teaching. There have even been times when I have been teaching a class and have needed to pull volunteers out of the audience because a suitable bottom could not be secured before hand. There are people who have let me hold their lives in my hands whose true names I never knew, because they trusted in either me or their home community to keep them safe. At many events they are often the ambassadors for the communities to visiting presenters. Demo Bottoms are gold in the kink world.

I remember when I first started attending classes and events the wonderful humans who patiently allowed themselves to be put on display, and many times later on in the class,  practiced upon by newbies. I also know that out of all the ones I have seen perform I could maybe recall 10% of their names where as I can recall a much higher percentage of instructor names. I remember wincing when they got hit, giggling as they struggled to untie knots, petting them as human animals, and gazing at the perfect form from a trained submissive person and feeling for the first time the desire to inspire that dignity and devotion in another human.

My ability to understand the why of what we do also increased through my interactions after these classes with the Demo Bottoms. Demo Bottoms also provide additional knowledge or bring up points that might not have been apparent to or have been forgotten by the presenter (Hey, we’re human, it happens!). I wanted to understand their motivations and how they processed demonstrations versus an actual scene. These understandings definitely helped as I expanded to teach overseas and gave me a framework to ask good questions of Demo Bottoms from other cultures.

I have myself been the Demo Bottom for many classes. I usually volunteer if a) I enjoy the activity being taught such as fire play, b) I feel the presence of a plus sized confident women could enhance the experience for a community like in a wrestling or takedown class, or c)they need a person and I can help. There is a special delight for a class seeing a person who, in public at least, plays predominantly from the dominant/top end of the spectrum take a bit of what they dish out. It’s good for morale.

Demo bottoming for others definitely improved my teaching style.  I learned pacing of material and speech. I learned that the class doesn’t suffer if you need to spend an extra 30 seconds checking in with someone after you poke them with sticks. In fact it’s usually in your benefit to take that time for the Demo Bottom. People like to see that you pay attention to more than your ego while you teach. A practice what you preach kind of exchange.

It also most importantly taught me that how you show appreciation is as important as that you do. Some people (most) just want a heart felt thank you in front of the class because applause and attention. Some can’t stand the direct focus of so many people so a quiet thank you is best for them, others a scene later, or a meal. One savvy girl from Manchester asked to be the demo bottom if I ever taught in her neck of the woods. Dreams do come true for some! Some like it when you thank their partners for sharing them with you. One person negotiated a card in the mail to help with convention drop (sadness experienced after the high of a big event). I rather liked that one.

However, despite all my love for these humans I realized that after a decade and a half I had NEVER WRITTEN about them. In any format or forum. Ever. The Coral Show quite simply would not exist if it wasn’t for these stunning people. So I put a call out to anyone who had ever bottomed for me. I asked them a basic set of questions. Some followed the specific format, others went freestyle in their replies. You might recognize a few of the names, and will never meet or recognize others. If they wrote a story I left it as they sent it with editing for typos and such.

I have gathered and matched their responses for you to read if you choose. While this is kind of a We Love Coral Party (YAY!!! Because it means I’m doing something right!), please look at the specific things they mention. These are carefully constructed windows into the hearts of eleven amazing humans. They are definitely worth it, not just to know why they do it for me specifically, but why they do it for themselves.

These were the questions I sent out:

A name you are comfortable with me using in my post (fake or real up to you)

Why you volunteered for me

What class you volunteered for

What you enjoyed, hated, or surprised you about it

What you personally receive/d from the experience

I’m starting off with the people who were there at the beginning. These were some of my first Demo Bottoms and some of my oldest friends both in and out of scene. adam was the first person I didn’t own (it’s complicated). Wendy trained this Top good and proper from the bottom. Damn hard work that! RavenLeather was gracious enough to be mine for a while and continues to challenge me to better my understanding and perceptions. Lee Harrington and I have been dancing this friendship since Portland and oh the places we’ve gone and shall go!

adam’s Story

My name is adam and I was told to write this. 

I was told to do a lot of things by Coral. You don’t say no to Coral.

But why would you want to? What ever you do with Her, it’s going to be exciting.

She has a personality that absorbs skills. She works hard to understand new things and is always interested in pushing Her boundaries as well as those of Her bottoms. Her communication is top notch, before, during, and after a scene.

Her energy infuses with yours as you do a scene together, neither is more important, both adding to the experience.

I can’t talk to specifics of scenes with Her because we have experienced so much together, but making me a better person is the scene that hasn’t stopped.

Wendy’s Story

I don’t remember if I’ve bottomed in actual classes, I’ve bottomed to Coral as an Impact Play Crash Test Dummy on multiple occasions in dungeon play.

 

I’ve bottomed to Coral because (in no particular order)

 I like the heck out of her

I like getting beat. And with Coral, if you ask to get beat, and she says you’re gonna get beat, you KNOW you’re gonna get beat

I like that she takes the partnership of the scene seriously

I like that she knows the difference between doing the scene for her, doing the scene for me, and doing the scene for both of us

I like that she can be silly and she can be serious, and she nearly always knows which one the scene benefits most from 

I like that at least with me (I can’t speak for anyone else on this point) she’s a good judge of what I can take and when I’ve had enough – even when we disagree at the time, I realize later she’s usually right.

I like that she owns her shit – if she screws up, she’ll acknowledge it and do her best to rectify it. Including long after the fact.  Corollary – if she does well, she’s willing to take the credit for it too. Not everyone does.

I like that she adjusts her teaching style to the venue, to her audience, and to her materials (Crash Test Dummies included).

I like that she’s not afraid of being knowledgeable. She’s also not afraid of learning new stuff. Including long after the event. 

RavenLeather’s Story

I adore demo bottoming, and do so as often as I can. In fact it’s one of my favorite ways to play with a person for the first time, because:

 -I get to hear about the person’s internal process while we play.

-I’m terribly safe in front of an audience of our peers.

-It’s a win-win chance to see if there’s chemistry without the possibly awkward end of the night.

 Other reasons that I demo-bottom:

-I’m a strong masochist, and am comfortable being a calm and cheerful example bottom for newbies. I know that I will have the space to support their growth with positive and productive feedback.

-It’s a great chance for me to play.

-I get to be seen and desired.

 I’ve demo bottomed for a few of Coral’s classes. The first was a private rope lesson that was not at all standard, but I’ve also demo bottomed for your breath play and mean topping classes. In all of these classes I had a huge amount of fun; your teaching style is full of laughter and joy that dives into darkness, and it aligns well with my play style.

Sometimes demo-bottoming can feel odd; there’s a connection between you, the top, and the audience, and that audience is the wild card. An audience can feed into or take away from the experience, and for obvious reasons I can’t lose myself completely in the top/instructor the way I can in most play. But, with that said, it’s almost always a delightfully rewarding experience and I will continue to demo bottom whenever I have the chance.

Lee Harrington’s Story

I volunteered for you because you glow with enthusiasm and share a real care for those who are entrusted to your care.

I volunteered for punching/kicking; Basic rope bondage.

I feel like I got what I expected from knowing Coral’s style in advance.

I received from the experience a fun evening connecting with Coral and the class as well as a chance to have my body pushed and share my own thoughts with the room on the experience.

I need to sing some praises to the people I have come to know and love on a very special island: Ireland. I have been visiting Ireland since 2001 and teaching since 2009. It is a second home to me in many ways. It has been wonderful being a part of their world and it all began with Miss Clippin and Rythmbeat(not featured but loved!)

Some are lovers, some are friends, and everyone of them are working to change the world for the better. It’s quite intimidating really.

It takes a bit to win their hearts but it always worth the effort as they start trying to keep you…wait..It’s A Trap!

Ah sure, it’ll be grand.

Miss Clippin’s Story

As a previous workshops organiser in Dublin, I used to regularly volunteer for some of the workshops as a “default person” when none of the attendees wanted to do so for xyz reason. I wasn’t sacrificing myself for the good cause, just being both generous and selfish. So when Coral first contacted me years back to come present in Ireland, I approached the need for a volunteer in the same state of mind.

I mostly volunteered for the Body to Body Impact Play and if my memory serves me well, I’ve done so 3 times (and would do it again!). I particularly volunteered for that workshop because the first time I did, was at a time when I was attracted by a more wrestly type of play and hadn’t had the chance yet to really do so. Volunteering in a workshop environment gives you the opportunity to check if it’s really for you without having to through a full scene and safe wording half way through.

Volunteering for this particular class confirmed that yes, I really enjoyed a thuddy type of play and could take more impact that I thought myself capable. And as such gave me the little boost of confidence to go poking some people, literally, to try to convince them they wanted to do that with me. And it worked … most times 🙂

TeaPanda’s Story

Because I like it

I have been bottoming for Coral’s Dublin classes for about 3 years now, and a

question that I seem to get every time is: why? Why do I keep volunteering?

Having been there I can kind of understand their questions.

I’m a rather socially anxious grumpy person, who doesn’t show off much of her

body very often. They see my discomfort, my pain and my tears and for many

people it is the only time in the year that they see me at all.

But here’s the thing; they also see why I do it, they maybe just don’t realise it.

I do it because I like it. Sometimes I love it.

I like getting to meet people, I love that it’s in a space that I have a lot of control

over and have an easy way to politely excuse myself from a conversation.

I similarly like getting to be up in front of a class full of people, I love that I am

not the main focus of attention most of the time. There’s only a certain amount of

full focused attention from 40 people that I can take.

I like getting to show the things that I know, enjoy, and have experienced, and I

love that I am doing this with Coral.

I like getting to be undressed/naked (venue, mood and moon phase depending)

in front of a room full of people (shy but vain, it’s a thing) and be able to feel safe

and supported because of who I am doing this with.

I like the pain. That part is fairly obvious, considering both the group of people

and my reactions to it. Coral is the first person I ever played with in public, about

6 years ago now when I was brand new to this whole scene, and I love getting to

do things with her in public. Due to location, time, finances and a whole host of

other reasons, so many of the events that are on just don’t work for us, but her

classes are a little bit of space for us to have that interaction in public, and it

works. Even though Coral is giving a class and is focusing on presenting and

demonstrating, we still have that connection we’ve always had and I know that

she is paying very close attention to how I’m doing and, really, if I’m having a

good time.

At one of the most recent classes in Dublin there were a few moments when

most of the class jumped a little. One of these was when I started crying. I hate

pinchy sensations. I know this. Coral knows this. In a relevant part of the class

she pinched my inner arm and I burst into tears. I don’t think people even

realised it, but half of the room tensed like they were ready to spring into action.

I don’t enjoy that pain, but gods do I love how much Coral enjoys it, and how

much she loves me crying. I also do enjoy the shocked looks on people’s faces

(come on, I know you don’t think Coral likes me because I’m nice).  I don’t mind

crying in front of people; if I did, I don’t think I could ever go to the cinema again.

I have cried at at least 10 movies in the cinema this year, and I’m totally fine with

it, I don’t wear mascara much, we’re good.

But the thing is, I have known Coral for 6 years. We have done a lot of things

together. Some of them involved crying. Way more of them involved laughing,

but that’s because we’re hilarious (ask me some time about pterodactyl noises,

sheep puppets, and why I hate the chicken). I love and trust Coral and we

certainly know by now what we’re ok with, especially in public.

Really, the why is quite simple:

I like the interaction,

I like the attention,

I like the pain,

I love the energy.

Demi Monde’s Story

When Coral announced she was coming to Dublin and would be running a series of workshops, one of which was to be Microbranding/cell popping.

I volunteered to be her demo bunny. She didn’t approach me and hadn’t asked for a demo bunny but I knew she would need one, so I just plain unexpectedly offered.

Why?

Why would I be ok with Coral pressing searing hot metal into my flesh to begin with, never mind as a demo bunny to teach others how it’s done?

Because she is incredibly knowledgeable about micro-branding in particular and human anatomy, physiology, and psychology.

Also I came to trust her over several years and find her very direct style of communication to be exactly what I need when considering taking risks with a person.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Coral who can to Dublin 4 years ago to teach a series of workshops. I went to those workshops and was very impressed with her skills as a presenter. So much so that when she came back to Dublin 2 years later I went to all her workshops and observed keenly how she treated her demo bunnies/bottoms.

Eventually I got to know her more as a person and when I offered my flesh to be burned, damaged and scarred by her, she asked me a series of questions to make sure I knew what I was getting into. Over the next few weeks she made sure I really wanted to do this and that I knew I could back out at any time.

Being a micro-branding bunny meant that ahead of time, I would have some work done of various depths of burning, to show people and what those levels would look like after some healing had taken place.

When I arrived to have that initial micro-branding done again I knew I could cry ‘uncle’ at that point and it would be cancelled. Coral carefully again went over what we were going to do, and clearly explained before and during what she was doing and what I could expect to feel. And Coral was just as explicit when it came to telling me about the best aftercare and what to expect.

After a week of healing up, when the class came around, I knew her focus would be on imparting all the information to those attending, but I was very very well briefed beforehand and knew the focus was on me. Coral showed me the most wonderful respect as her human canvas, I never felt objectified in a manner which I found uncomfortable and she checked in with me to make sure I was ok.

That day Coral started on a larger piece of micro-branding on my arm which she went on to complete a few days later, a permanent marking which will be with me for the rest of my life. Yes it’s a series of scars, but ones which I have chosen myself and willed into being on my flesh. brought to life by her wonderful skills as an artist. None of which would of been possible it wasn’t for her ethics, her skills, her openness, and her heart, all of which are why I volunteered to let Coral burn me with hot metal implements.

Ravenor’s Story

Why you volunteered for me

I’d like to say it was because I was brave and seeking new experiences, but actually it was because Coral asked me if I wanted to do it and she had that evil glint in her eye and that smile that curls her lips just enough to make my stomach do a flip.

… I may be biased.

When I had time to think about it, I decided to do it because it would be an interesting experience, and if you’re attending a workshop as someone who’s going to be on the receiving end of the subject matter, there’s really no better experience than having the teacher demonstrate on you. It also helped that I’m just a little bit of an exhibitionist.

Most of all, I decided to do it because I trust Coral, implicitly. I occasionally question if this is wise, but I never question that this is true, and she has never given me reason to regret that trust.

What class you volunteered for

Sharp and Pointy! Knife Play

(The exclamation mark is part of the class description)

What you enjoyed, hated, or surprised you about it

I hated in the moment and then almost immediately enjoyed (you know what I’m talking about) the moments when Coral surprised me with an action I wasn’t expecting (not that hadn’t been agreed to, I agreed in advance to everything that happened, I just wasn’t expecting it right then). It made my heart jump and my breath catch.

I was surprised by how important it felt that people could see me and what was going on. I adjusted my stance to make sure the action was visible, after all, I was there to help them learn.

What you personally receive/d from the experience

I received a lot of adrenaline spikes and a lingering dislike of strawberries… long story. I also ended the class with a feeling of validation, because I’d put myself out there and trusted and my trust was honoured and respected. I had run the gauntlet and though it was scary and exhilarating, I knew that I was safe the entire time, that if at any point I didn’t feel safe I could have stopped. There’s a quiet content feeling that you get from that.

Here at the end we have a collection of some of my greatest hits (HA! These are the good jokes! Everyone’s a critic…). Ohio is representing as well as New Orleans and Minnesota via Rome. It’s an unusual grouping, but then again so is my life. There is nothing more exciting than being asked to return when you have taught somewhere. Ohio, Louisiana, and Italy are filled with great people and dynamic kink scenes. Questionable self preservation…but I like that really ;P

 Boy Grayson’s Story

Or “How I Was Introduced to a Wall in Rome”

 For me bottoming for classes is part fun, part exhibitionism and part guilty pleasure.  The ability to have a hands on experience with an instructor during a class greatly facilitates my understanding of a subject. When the Rome BDSM Conference rolled around I had the opportunity to indulge my enjoyment of bottoming for a class. After Coral said that she needed bottoms for her “Body-to-body impact play” class I looked at my partner excitedly.

I volunteered because it had been a long time since I’d bottomed for anyone for pain play. I was positively enthralled with Coral and hey! Naked time in public! (Always fun.)

My favorite part of bottoming for her was getting slammed into a wall. She looked at me for confirmation, looked back to her class and – WHAM! Hello wall, my old friend! The experience enabled me to help out a new friend, grow closer to my partner by watching him get poked, prodded, stung and smacked, and hey- I even made the acquaintance of a rock solid piece of Rome.

Erin’s Story

Why you volunteered for me

Because you asked and I thought, why the hell not?

 For Body to Body Impact Play, it was because I wanted to impress you and I wanted to demo bottom at SMART.

 What class you volunteered for

Body to Body impact play (at OhioSMART in 2010)

Elemental play (at KDM 2012)

What you enjoyed, hated, or surprised you about it

 So when I bottomed for the body to body impact play class, the experience during the class was vastly more enjoyable than I expected, but this was also five years ago when I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to handle getting hit/punched/whatever the way I knew you hit. At the time I appreciated that you didn’t go too hard on me, but also pushed me.

 During the elemental play class, you had me lie in a small empty pool, covered my face with a scarf and then poured a bag of dirt over me, and just when I’d figured out how to breathe through feeling buried alive, tossed a bunch of water all over my face so I could have the joy of struggling. And of course, because I hate being dirty, being told to sit in the muddy dirt and play with it, not being allowed to get out of the pool was almost worse. I recall that my way to process that directive to “play in the dirt” was to let my fingers sort through the tiny bits of ‘organic sticks’ in the mud, and make a small pile of not-dirt items. Somehow doing that made me feel calm, which….given the fact that the class was elemental play, seemed appropriate.

 What you personally received from the experience

In the moment, I hated the elemental play and I hated you for doing that to me, but as soon as it was over I felt like a badass for doing it. I felt proud of myself for not freaking out enough to try and stop anything from happening, and also happy that I didn’t disappoint you as a demo bottom.

 What I always get from playing with you is the awareness that I have a much greater ability to endure or thrive through difficult, challenging, or just different kinds of scenes or experiences than I let myself remember on any given day. It’s one of the best affirmations for me.

Kupcake’s Story

When I hear or see Coral Mallow’s name on anything I can’t help but smile. She’s one phenomenal lady! Coral came to Louisiana and presented on Primal Play. I was suggested as a demo bottom and I’m so glad I was.

I’ve known for quite some time I was a little different than some. Under certain circumstances I experienced heightened sensitivity especially when blood was involved but Coral helped me to find a side of myself that I had kept locked away for a long time. She brought a very important part of who I am to the surface and helped me grow in so many ways. 

I’ve learned to love the beautiful beast that lives within me and embrace that I am different in an amazing way. It was with her help and guidance that it was made possible for me to be who I am meant to be. 

There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think of Coral even if for a split second and what she’s done to make my life better. I’m am forever changed and my primal beast evolves daily. 

Coral, I adore you and thank you more than words can ever express. You’ve forever marked my heart. 

 And I adore you all, and everyone who is not here in words but has been under my hands at some point.

Thank you. 

Our world is amazing because of humans like you!

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