This article comes from Date Night China (WeChat ID: datenightchina), your guide to dating in China, from love to lust, first dates to worst dates, hilarious stories, and top tips to avoid (or steer into) disaster. Single in the city? Listen to their podcast.
Looking for a new podcast to get into while waiting for Season 2 of Date Night China? From Tops to Bottoms is a show about experiences with sexuality, feminism, BDSM, queer sex, and sex education. Two best friends discuss their journeys towards becoming their sexuality liberated, authentic selves.
Samantha, one of the co-hosts who has lived in Beijing since February 2019, shares more about the topics they dive into on the podcast, and how her experiences in China have helped her own sexual explorations.
Hi Samantha! What’s the story behind you and co-host Cassie starting From Tops to Bottoms?
From Tops to Bottoms was a long time in the making. When I moved to China, Cassie was already here and was a huge support in me settling down and creating my life in China as I know it now.
We both share very similar views on sexuality, and we’re both very passionate about self-exploration. We’ve had a very open friendship with each other since day one, and it often involves us talking about all kinds of sexploits.
Cassie really encouraged me to relax and embrace my own identity, and that really led me to being the person I am today. Although she no longer lives in Beijing, we remain just as close. With enough time over lockdown, we both sat and focused on it, and decided to finally put our opinions and adventures out into the world and launch From Tops to Bottoms.
We always encourage everyone around us to be open and honest about their sexuality and desires, and we wanted to expand that as far as we could.
When did the podcast launch? What’s the usual format of the show?
We launched in June 2020, after a couple of months of deliberation, planning, and rerecording to make sure we were fully happy when it launched.
Episodes are normally around an hour long, but we’ve recently had some run nearly two hours, because I couldn’t bear to cut anything else out!
Our format is generally quite chatty and is a discussion of the topic we’re focusing on that week. We want to be approachable and open to having discussions that some people might not feel comfortable having with their friends and family. We’re quite lucky to have a lot of interaction with our audience, so we generally feature stories from friends and listeners, as well as our own.
What are some topics you have discussed so far?
So far some of the things we’ve talked about include having a threesome, bisexuality and biphobia, BDSM, eating disorders, self-harm, Tinder, nudes, and masturbation.
We recently had a full-time sex worker come on for an interview in an episode that lasted over two hours! We really do want to leave no stone unturned.
For every episode, you have an “aftercare” episode. Why is that?
In the BDSM world, aftercare is the name given to the time and attention given to partners after an intense sexual experience.
When we first started, our intention was to have a short episode go live a few days after our main episode, answering questions and elaborating on any points that listeners may have needed clarification on.
As we started producing more episodes and allowing ourselves to kind of do whatever we wanted, we realized that not every single episode warrants an Aftercare.
After some of the more intense episode topics (BDSM, self-harm, eating disorders) we do an Aftercare answering all questions we receive, but if we’re talking about Tinder bios, does that really warrant any further questions?
How has your dating experience in China been?
I haven’t been too heavily involved in the dating scene, but I have had a little bit of experience. I’ve been speed dating once before (and got a whopping zero matches – oof), and I’ve been on Tinder dates, but dating is scary and exhausting.
Have your dating experiences here in Beijing shaped the podcast topics and discussions in any way?
A lot of it comes from my own sexual exploration in a country so far from my home. Being so far away, surrounded by no-one that I know, really allowed me to leap headfirst into really getting to know myself free of restraints and judgment.
I involved myself in the kink community and really got to explore what made me tick.
I’ve also been ghosted by dates and had some encounters with some absolute characters, which has given me a few stories for the podcast if nothing else.
How has the response been from your audience and fans?
The response has been incredible, and a little overwhelming at times. People leave very kind reviews and have messaged us to share deeply personal experiences and their opinions on topics. I love that so much.
We always strive to be the kind of people that you can approach with any questions, free of judgment and hold space for their experiences. Not only have complete strangers been in touch to confide in us about struggling with their sexuality, people we knew when we were younger contacted us to say we’ve inspired them to try bondage. It’s a wild range.
What are your future plans for the podcast? What other topics are you hoping to get into?
At the minute, we’re both enjoying this as a hobby. Cassie is very involved in the sex education community on Instagram and is training to be a nurse with the aim of being a sex therapist. As for me, it highlighted how much I love to be creative with audio editing, photo editing, and episode planning. I’d love to eventually take this full time, but we’ll see how it goes!
We have a long list of episodes that we want to cover in the future, elaborating and exploring further into feminism, sexuality, and relationships.
Where can people listen to the podcast and find out more?
From Tops to Bottoms is available on most major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Anchor. From Tops to Bottoms is on Instagram under@fromtopstobottoms and Twitter as @topstobottoms.
I’m available on Instagram as @samanthainbj and @sex.with.sam, and Cassie is on Instagram as @radicallove.co.uk, and Twitter as @cassrattray.
READ: Date Night China: 5 Cheesy Come-ons in Chinese Explained
Images: Top to Bottoms Podcast, Rachel Weiss