Top/Bottom/Vers: By the Numbers

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 04, 2008 4:29 PM GMT
    There have been more than a few threads here discussing the psychology, relative virtues, etc. of tops and bottoms. An interesting underlying assumption in the threads has been that most gay men fit neatly into one of these categories.

    It has been an incorrect assumption, since the formal research on this has consistently found that the proportion of gay men who identify as versatile is larger than those who identify as tops and bottoms--combined.

    And then there is the cop-out naive statistic: "I can't find a match because I'm a top (bottom) and there just aren't as many bottoms (tops) out there." The grass-is-always-greener lament. But the data doesn't support the whining. The small number of research studies have generally found roughly equivalent population sizes for both tops and bottoms, whether or not you count vers-tops and vers-bottoms.

    And the research generally confirms that sexual behavior is actually consistent with this kind of self-labeling.

    Of course, the number of studies in this area is in the single digits, and they've relied upon either very small datasets or niche groups like gay.com chatroom participants.

    A post by obscenewish on another topic caused me to think about another possible method for examining this question and some related issues. So I set up an Adam4Adam account and starting generating datasets. A4A members are obviously not a random sample of gay men, but this method can (1) examine far more than the 200-500 subjects in the formal research (15,000+ in the data I looked at) and (2) rely upon the actual identification used in the "sexual marketplace" by real people, as opposed to a separate survey. I looked at the identification of all A4A members with photos in 17 neighborhoods across the country. Some neighborhoods (like West Hollywood) had to be excluded because, even at the smallest geographic unit, they had more than 500 guys in single category, and A4A doesn't give you a count (only "500+) that allows for calculations.

    So here are the results:
    • 1) Average ratio of tops to bottoms = 1.38:1. Other research has suggested that tops are much more likely to be in the closet, so in the non-online world the perceived ratio might be closer to 1:1.
    • 2) Average ratio when adding tops+vers/tops and bottoms+vers/bottoms = 1.58.
    • 3) Tops outnumber bottoms (whether exclusive or including the vers/tops and vers/bottoms) in every one of the 17 neighborhoods examined.
    • 4) Versatiles account for an average of 37%, the largest of all groups. If you include the vers/tops and vers/bottoms in this category, it jumps to 65%. This is consistent with the formal research.
    • 5) There is very little geographic variation in these statistics. Chelsea, Austin, Dupont Circle, South Los Angeles, Columbus, Sacramento, the East Village, Portland, Providence, Washington Heights, the Castro, and Minneapolis all look remarkably similar. However....
    • 6) Raleigh is the best place to move for tops. It has the lowest top:bottom ratio (1:1) of any of the 17 neighborhoods.
    • 7) Miami Beach is best for bottoms. Its ratio is higher than 1.8:1.
    • 8 Harlem Central is the least versatile. Make up your mind!
    • 9) Denver and the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles don't like shades of gray. They have the highest proportion of versatiles (43%), average percentages of exclusive tops and bottoms, and the lowest frequency of vers/tops and vers/bottoms.

    Interestingly, there is very little evidence of any meaningful difference based on coastal/noncoastal, East vs. West, ethnic/racial neighborhood composition, or other observable factors.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 04, 2008 10:51 PM GMT
    I love this survey...very interesting. Nonetheless... I'm always puzzled why anyone would miss half the fun. Being versatile means you double the opportunity ;)

  • omgazn

    Posts: 342

    Aug 05, 2008 6:47 AM GMT
    Ahhh im one of those rarely bottom/top icon_razz.gif. Feels special lolicon_redface.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 03, 2012 2:58 AM GMT
    I have took great interest in a topic of ratio of bottoms/tops in general population, mainly because I noticed tons more bottoms than tops usually online hook up site where I live, and it appeared to me that there is quite divided opinions on the topic, even though there seems to be more people who suggests there are lot more bottoms than tops.

    After looking at several online posts, I'm still rather unsure as to whether there are more certain type of sexual position groups than the another, but in my personal opinion, if one is willing to throw out their standards, and try to find someone regardless of their age,race,size,body shape,physical attractiveness, etc as a bottom or a top, I am of an opinion that anyone can find their bottom or top in today's world where it is hundred fold easier to find gay sex partner due to emergence of the Internet.

    I thought this thread was quite interesting, from someone who actually carried out his own unofficial data collecting, so here is bump from me. i think he would've gotten a lot more response if he put this up on the sex category forum.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 03, 2012 2:59 AM GMT
    But, well done TS! This deserves lot more attention than it previously got. I'd like to suggest perhaps this being moved to the sex forum, and it will perhaps get the attention it deserves.
  • trav95621

    Posts: 1

    May 28, 2013 1:40 AM GMT
    Not in Sacramento. Everyone I seem to meet in Sacramento is a bottom.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 21, 2013 3:04 AM GMT
    lol
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 21, 2013 10:40 AM GMT
    FormerTexan saidI love this survey...very interesting. Nonetheless... I'm always puzzled why anyone would miss half the fun. Being versatile means you double the opportunity ;)

    icon_biggrin.gif I agree with you, I LOVE being the bottom, its something to have a hard cock in my assicon_surprised.gif,,, but at the same I like having a nice butt hole wrapped around my cock.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 15, 2013 9:13 AM GMT
    Thanks man! I was beginning to lose hope that versatile guys of any form existed.... ;)