Psychology of Tops and Bottoms

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 12, 2007 7:34 AM GMT
    This is something I've been thinking about, and googling it didn't really help so much. Obviously being a top or a bottom plays a lot into physical preference, but does anybody believe there are psychological aspects that play into it? What sort of fulfillment does a person get from being a top or bottom beyond the orgasm?

    Anyone's thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
  • dreamer

    Posts: 91

    Mar 12, 2007 2:08 PM GMT
    Playing "top" or "bottom" is clearly aligned with archetypal roles of the dominant and the passive, the master and the slave. Being a top carries with it the full brunt of masculine archetypal energy, the one that carries the seed of life, intending to disseminate, procreate and thus "live on". Being a bottom, clearly aligned with the more feminine archetypal energies, carries with it the unmentioned longing of wanting to receive, to be "taken" and "taken care of". In terms of yielding to a male archetype, a bottom can feel a greater sense of wholeness and male-female integration, a unity which we ultimately all strive for in our metaphysical quest for communion with the divine. However, in this society, we should not feel that being a "top" or "bottom" has anything to do at all with how we view our self-esteem. We should know what we like, explore those desires, and take them at face value, with the full understanding that being a "man" goes far beyond any labeling of sorts.
  • imaxim

    Posts: 94

    Mar 12, 2007 4:48 PM GMT
    Why someone chooses to top or bottom isn't absolute for everyone; otherwise there wouldn't be fully versatile couplings. I would also warn against tying the word 'feminine' into the bottom role, even if only referring to the act itself. There is still an unhealthy negative attitude toward effeminacy within our community, and a similarly widespread misconception that 'bottom' equates to 'feminine'.

    Personally, I enjoy giving pleasure to my partner and seeing its effect on them. I usually prefer to take control of this myself toward the beginning, letting them take over as things get more intense. Thus far, the bottom role has accomplished this best for me. I also find it more intimate; a lot of guys prefer topping specifically to avoid intimacy, while others actually find the top position more intimate than bottom.

    My preference might also be due to the types of guys I'm typically attracted to (bigger than myself, though not necessarily taller). The dom/sub thing can further manifest itself at times, but definitely not always. As masculine/feminine goes, most of the guys I've been with were either about equal to or less masculine than myself, so I wouldn't say that had much to do with the positional preference in my case.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 12, 2007 10:16 PM GMT
    I agree with you imaxim! 100% I enjoy both very much and get off on recieving as much as I enjoy giving. In my relationship thier are no roles.
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    Mar 13, 2007 4:22 AM GMT
    I agree with Imaxim that sexual roles should be degenderized, though it's hard to do that when penetration is mainly associated with women in the larger culture. Freud speculated that every male wants, early in his psychosexual development, to be penetrated by his father. I'm not so sure that doesn't continue as latent potential throughout life, repressed by taboo.

    The whole business about the penetrated partner being "passive" is a myth to me. Having, um, considerable experience in both roles, it's long been clear to me that the bottom ultimately holds the power.

    I can't really compare bottoming to a woman's position, because a woman does not have to overcome the taboo men do when they are penetrated. Although the culture tends to feminize bottoms on the pure basis of their role, that does not account for the very "male-like" exericse of power needed to overcome the taboo.

    For me, too, the experience of bottoming is physiologically more stimulating than topping. Leo Bersani, a queer theorist, has ruminated at length about the psychology of penetration and gay males. YOu might wanna look up his most famous essay, "Is the rectum a grave?"
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Mar 14, 2007 1:22 AM GMT
    "...I am not sure if I am a bottom because I enjoy it, or because I am just lazy..." [Margaret Cho]


    I have to say this is a fun topic to debate upon. I have enjoyed both positions...if you believe you must be a top to be in control consider this:

    ...you can't be a top if a bottom doesn't let you...who's your daddy now?

    - David
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    Mar 14, 2007 5:49 PM GMT
    I don't think a bottom role necessarily means a feminine perspective. In fact, it can be anything but passive, as someone who has had a good fuck will tell you.

    I do think a fixed role perspective can be a hangup though. Now that I'm soon to be 52, my previous lifelong sexual fantasy of being the "little brother, son, or student" no longer works. My last trick with a taller buffed dude didn't work cause I realized I was too old now to play my usual little bro fantasy trip.
    I hope to be able to change my fantasy in the future so that I can find a comfortable and enjoyable niche in the www of queer pleasure.
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    Mar 14, 2007 10:37 PM GMT
    as far as i can remember i have always been fascinated with the male (butt),its the part of the body that turns me on the most,when i think about sex or masturbate is always thinking of me entering ,have never been atracted nor have i desire to be penetrated, is something i dont think about;but , i have never consider my "guys" to be bottom or anything down that line. actually,pretty much all my relations ,have been with males that ,consider themself totally masculine,all of them ,bisexual,i guess, they are the ones more intouch with the two sides (f&m).the only relation i had with a "gay" guy, was totally different,but the diference was out off bed not in it....
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    Mar 23, 2007 10:35 PM GMT
    I honestly think that for comfortable men its really what feels the best. I enjoy topping because i get more pleasure out of it. I don't enjoy bottoming at all really. Sometimes i want to be adventurous and ask for a finger to be placed in me but i remember how much i dont really enjoy it. I dont know why but thats the way it is with me.
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    Jul 14, 2008 10:03 PM GMT
    I've been thinking about this, too. I tend to sense that there are power and control issues there. I think that bottoming is generally seen as a passive role and therefore weaker, with the top doing all the work. I've been curious as to the psychology surrounding this issue and would appreciate more dialogue. I've been told by people who are proud to be bottoms that "you have to be a good top to be a good bottom". There's also the issue of the power a top might tend to feel in overtaking someone. I tend to think that it's different for many. It seems that there's a sense of "giver" in the top...wanting to please or satisfy and depending upon how fierce they penetrate, might determine the degree of peace they are at with that role. Bottoming has a great deal of work to become normalized in society...it's almost a degree of sexism because being penetrated can be perceived as weaker and therefore related to that of the female sex...that's why there's such violence in homophobia because straight men are afraid of being perceived "feminine". Now...mind you this is ALL shooting in the dark, here, so I'd be very curious about others' perceptions.
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    Jul 15, 2008 2:52 PM GMT
    well, one of observations - the role could depend on the parther's dick size as well

    i see 3 options:

    - if it's from "belly button" till upto my size
    - bigger than mine
    - painfully bigger

    in 1 and 3 - most probably i'd be inclined to top
    (though here can play my major turn-off - flat 2D-butt =)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 15, 2008 3:05 PM GMT
    Frankly, I really think it goes much deeper than the male/female roles, or even the enjoyment of penetration. I feel that it is related with how we perceive love, and loving others.
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    Jul 15, 2008 3:12 PM GMT
    we're not talking about LOVE at all here

    i think probably i could fall in love with women,
    but.. i'm not getting automatically sexually aroused by gorgeous bare breasts or women's other stuff.. like i do with gorgeous male body parts icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 15, 2008 3:14 PM GMT
    My butt is not a pussy. I don't want to have my brains fucked out, nor do I want to be contolled, denegrated or considered slutty.

    This is what I hear from idiot tops who want to top me.

    Obviously, there are a number of tops who top because of a power thing. These guys have bought into the whole masc. fem...top bottum thing. I hate it.

    When I top, it's about being a caring skilled lover to the bottum. The bottum usually responds with equal intensity.


    I bottumed a few weeks ago for the first time in about 20 years. For me, doing it meant finding a guy who I felt comfortable with. It means I am more open to intimacy and "letting someone in". The guy, btw, said i gave new meaning to the phrase "power bottum".

    I guess i was good. Before we fucked, he had been telling me I was 100% man, and was very turned on. After we did it, he told me I was 1000% man.
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    Jul 15, 2008 3:16 PM GMT
    I've never understood playing a definite role in a relationship when it comes to being a top or bottom. That pretty much translates to the entire relationship where I see it as 50/50.

    I know the exclusive roles exists but I've never looked at it that way in my own relationships. I have specifics when it comes to anal but who does what isn't so specific.

    The way I view anal sex is that "for me" it's an act I only engage in with a lover or someone I am exclusively seeing. It's always been a flip flop type of situation with no one claiming one position as theirs.

    I have a few friends who declare they are tops but I tease them and say that translates to a screaming bottom that naturally walks hunched over just waiting for it. You could drive a freight train through all that. Also called the scary tunnel of love icon_smile.gif

    I do think for some it's psychological. I have other friends who also claim they simply don't get fucked but enjoy shoving it up a tight poop shoot. My response is how could you know if you don't like it if you've never tried it? or are you scared it would unleash something in you that you might deem less masculine? If thats the problem seek out a lot of information about very masculine heterosexual men who are turned on by anal stimulation.
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    Jul 15, 2008 3:16 PM GMT
    kreawiz5 saidwe're not talking about LOVE at all here

    i think probably i could fall in love with women,
    but.. i'm not getting automatically sexually aroused by gorgeous bare breasts or women's other stuff.. like i do with gorgeous male body parts icon_wink.gif


    My premise is that we are talking about men here, and how we perceive loving other men!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 15, 2008 3:24 PM GMT
    sorry, just didn't get it )
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 15, 2008 4:04 PM GMT
    With regard to a lot of what “Dreamer” poster:
    I don't think there is a connection, unless your ego already get's in your way...

    I love to bottom - and to disqualify some comments - have found that I am a hell-of-a better bottom than some tops I played round with or dated (not boasting, just sad and true icon_cry.gif ). So the aggressive/passive implication is out too – at least for me.

    For "most" men, I don't think one has anything to do with other. I def don't bottom because I'm in need of being taken care of?? Or seeking “wholeness”...

    Maybe I’m atypical... I am way to independent to be “dominated”, though that can be a fun role play thing, but not in life. LOL

    Its sex, there rarely a “deeper” meaning, until you delve in the more emotional side of “relationships”.

    ...damn where did you get this stuff anyway? icon_eek.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 16, 2008 2:39 PM GMT
    I'm all bottom because, I know what I like.
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    Jul 16, 2008 9:26 PM GMT
    Why are some people "bottoms" and others "tops"? I know this answer is going to sound like a cop out, but it is honest. It probably differs depending on the person.

    Gay men from some cultures will not be the bottom because they feel that is playing the role of "woman". I have never met a Latino or Italian man that admitted liking to bottom.

    Some guys don't like being the bottom because it is uncomfortable (moi). Others because they feel they are not in control (moi).

    Yet others don't like being the top because it is not very pleasurable compared to being a bottom (something to do with the prostate being massaged I think).

    There are some gay guys that hate anal sex period because they feel it gives gays a bad name and it is unhealthy (g0ys).

    There are some lucky guys that are quite happy batting from both sides so to speak. Top or bottom it does not matter they like them both.

    It really is different strokes for different folks.
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    Jul 18, 2008 9:56 PM GMT
    SurrealLife saidWhy are some people "bottoms" and others "tops"? I know this answer is going to sound like a cop out, but it is honest. It probably differs depending on the person.

    Gay men from some cultures will not be the bottom because they feel that is playing the role of "woman". I have never met a Latino or Italian man that admitted liking to bottom.

    Some guys don't like being the bottom because it is uncomfortable (moi). Others because they feel they are not in control (moi).

    Yet others don't like being the top because it is not very pleasurable compared to being a bottom (something to do with the prostate being massaged I think).

    There are some gay guys that hate anal sex period because they feel it gives gays a bad name and it is unhealthy (g0ys).

    There are some lucky guys that are quite happy batting from both sides so to speak. Top or bottom it does not matter they like them both.

    It really is different strokes for different folks.






    Absolutely, different strokes for the world. And the show was funny tooicon_wink.gif


    'Cuz I'm Kid - DYNOMITE! icon_lol.gif
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11648

    Jul 18, 2008 10:43 PM GMT
    Unfortunately... sex has always from the beginning of time been equated with power especially in the physical sense
    In the past many cultures had no stigma against homosexuality like in Rome but you had to be the aggressor...or the top
    the same in male and female rape .. this has everything to do with power and aggression

    I am not stating this to make a value judgment at all...
    just pointing where society view is
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 19, 2008 12:54 PM GMT
    I am no g0y, but I hate anal sex when I am not gettiing it! icon_evil.gificon_mad.gificon_evil.gificon_evil.gif
  • ssguy69

    Posts: 651

    Jan 13, 2010 7:34 AM GMT
    This whole Top and Bottom labeling has my head spinning. From personal experience, guys who bottom have this subservient ( 'I want to please my man, want to be dominated in and outside the bedroom, etc,....) thing going on that I find nauseating. I've come to find out that self-esteem issues and the like are at play.

    I'm just getting my head around the reality that some guys actually do want to be labeled as TOP or BOTTOM. My initial reaction was that labels are for a can; not a man but I'm softening up on that stance.

    Ultimately I'm not interested in dominating anyone, a little submissive behavior in the bedroom can be a turn on but when it goes beyond there it feeds into deeper seated issues.

    Why can't it just be two guys that treat each other well thereby showing mutual caring instead of 'I want to please my man and be dominated'? If you prefer to bottom then so be it and let it just be that.

    The image I conjure up is a dude in housecoat and fluffy slippers running around doing laundry and serving beers - 'Kyle, bring me a beverage'. icon_rolleyes.gif

  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Jan 13, 2010 7:03 PM GMT
    speaking for myself ... I get pleasure out of pleasing the other.

    I like seeing the look of euphoria on his face at the touch of my hand, etc.