Proposal Etiquette

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost three years. We’re both in our 30’s, we’re financially stable and we live together. I’m ready for our relationship to go to the next level – I want to be married. The thing is, I’m the bottom and I fully embrace every aspect of my role in this relationship. Would it be inappropriate for me to propose or should I wait for him to pop the question?


Part of the beauty of our community is that there are no rules. I’ve seen it done several ways: Top asks bottom; bottom asks top; each takes a turn proposing. The point is, I don’t think that there’s a wrong way to propose.

You mention that you’re ready for the relationship to go to the next level. Are you ready to take it to the next level? I understand that your role as a bottom may have implications that reach beyond the bedroom, however, there’s something very romantic about stretching beyond the scope of your role and taking a risk for the man you love.

But before we strategize the proposal, let me ask: Is there a mutual understanding that you will get married? Have you discussed it with him? I’m a big fan of each person clarifying a trajectory for the relationship. You may both be in love and living in co-habitation bliss, but these facts do not necessarily equate with a vision for marriage, particularly among members of a community who have historically been foreclosed from this human right.

Bottom line: Clarify your goals for the relationship, embrace the choices you have in how to propose, and remember: Despite your roles, there are no rules…So make your plans, buy the Champagne and celebrate bottoms up!