Looking Beyond Gay Tops and Bottoms

  • hpsaug

    Posts: 11

    May 26, 2015 1:41 PM GMT
    Hey Guys! Don't know if this has been discussed before! Just posting it as this helped me a lot to understand how I am as a person and that there is nothing wrong with me icon_smile.gif

    Article is originally from:


    Gay men are constantly referring to and defining themselves as "tops" or "bottoms." When they consider dating or simply hooking up, gay men typically ask the other guy whether he's a top, a bottom or "versatile." It's important to find this out as soon as possible, because if you are planning to date or get into a relationship, it's vitally important that you and he be sexually compatible with each other.

    The whole issue of tops and bottoms came up recently with the release of a new study that looked at whether or not people can determine whether a gay man is a top or a bottom just by looking at facial cues. The study revealed that judgments made about whether an individual is a top or a bottom are based on perceived masculine and feminine traits.

    There's so much talk and discussion about who gives and who receives. I've had straight people tell me that they assumed that most gay guys simply take turns. Yes, some do, but most don't. But what if a guy isn't a top, a bottom or even versatile? What about gay men who have never engaged in anal sex and never will, ever?

    I think they deserve a name of their own. I call them "sides."

    Defining a Side

    Sides prefer to kiss, hug and engage in oral sex, rimming, mutual masturbation and rubbing up and down on each other, to name just a few of the sexual activities they enjoy. These men enjoy practically every sexual practice aside from anal penetration of any kind. They may have tried it, and even performed it for some time, before they became aware that for them, it was simply not erotic and wasn't getting any more so. Some may even enjoy receiving or giving anal stimulation with a finger, but nothing beyond that.

    Sexual Shame and Masculinity

    Sides typically struggle with tremendous feelings of shame. They secretly believe that they should be engaging in and enjoying anal sex, and that something must be wrong with them if they are not. Often they won't publicly admit to not engaging in anal sex, because of the judgments that other gay men might (and most likely will) make about them. I have heard gay men (and even straight people) say that if they aren't penetrating or being penetrated, they aren't having "real" sex.

    If a man has undergone prostate surgery that caused nerve damage to the penis or suffers from hemorrhoids or other issues that make anal penetration impossible, uncomfortable or unappealing, then that physiological or medical reason takes most of the shame out of being a side. These men may be genuine tops or bottoms but become sides out of necessity.

    The gay male community has its own preferences that often slide into prejudices, and a great many look down on anyone who's not a top. Bottoms get talked about, even dismissed, as if they were women. As the joke goes, "Who pays for a gay male wedding? The father of the bottom." While that may be funny, it shows a cruel contempt for femininity. It makes the insensitive presumption that a man "takes the woman's role" by receiving, and that there's something wrong with him for it, namely that he's not masculine.

    Straight men labor under the same misconception. If they enjoy anal stimulation for pleasure, they often worry that they might be gay. In my office I've heard straight men admit that they enjoy receiving anal penetration from sex toys, or by having their female partners strap on a dildo and give it to them. The slang term for that is "pegging," and many straight men love it. I jokingly tell the straight men who are insecure about enjoying anal play that, as a sex therapist, I am obliged to tell them that the human anus has no sexual orientation. The opportunity for anal pleasure exists in men and women alike, whether they are gay, bisexual, straight or of any orientation in between. Whether a man enjoys anal sex or not is no reflection on his sexual orientation, and if he's gay, it doesn't define whether or not he's "really" having sex.

    Historically, lesbians were told that with no vaginal penetration, they were not having "real" sex (and even today, some still are told this). These erroneous judgments come from a heterosexist and patriarchal definition of the only "right" way to enjoy sex.

    One problem with this rigid model (pun intended) is that as males age and begin to lose their ability to achieve a full, strong erection on demand, they fear that they will never have "sex" again. They must learn other ways to satisfy their partners. But in order to do so, they must first work through the misconception that the only good sex is penetrative sex.

    It's OK to Be a Side!

    It's high time for sides to come out and feel proud and secure about their sexuality. Not being a top or a bottom doesn't mean that one is less gay or less masculine. It doesn't make anyone any less of a sexual human being.

    The Internet is showing us that people get into a wide variety of sexual pleasures, and whatever you get into is exactly right for you.

    Given the freedom to experiment and explore new techniques, being a side becomes equally hot and exciting as being a top, a bottom or an aficionado of any other position or practice.

    Come out and be the side queen you were meant to be!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2015 2:17 PM GMT
    I've known a lot more sides than either tops or bottoms. No matter how he describes himself, he's usually versatile.
    I've had too many guys who claim to be bottoms who want to fuck me after I've done them.
    And tops? Please.
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    May 26, 2015 2:48 PM GMT
    I'm not into anal sex either...tried both topping and bottoming several times, and never enjoyed it.
    But I'd rather not be called a "side" or any other label. I just like what I like, and if someone else likes it too, then we're a sexual match.
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    May 26, 2015 3:32 PM GMT
    Interesting. I have always thought that there are many different types of gay, not only top, bottom or versatile. But it is sad when others don't understand it and if an act does not work out as expected, they start thinking there is something wrong with either party.
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    May 26, 2015 3:40 PM GMT
    As much i don't fancy labels , i am a "side" , was and still am not interested in anal .
    Yes indeed , being a "side" can actually lower your chances to get hook-ups and getting into a LTR ..
    But being honest and upfront helps a lot .
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    May 26, 2015 4:26 PM GMT
    I guess this is at least somewhat good because it is evolving our labeling system, but as some users said above, you would probably still be discriminated against by many people by using this label, and eventually it would just become another washed up "label".

    I don't think there is any label that will ever turn off our innate judgmental habits. The world needs to prioritize activating the right part of our brain, and when that happens people will be more inquisitive rather than judgmental to other people, and there won't be such an emphasis on the labels period. Labels discriminate, and discrimination is a left brain thing; we use the left brain effectively for many activities, but when we use them on concepts we aren't intelligent enough to place, it becomes problematic, and retards progress.

    Straight men many times do enjoy anal stimulation as well, but in order for that to become acceptable, men and women need to drop the bravado fantasy about men, which is not real. Aspects of acute masculinity can be real and appropriately desired, but to think that all men only enjoy power topping is fallacious and also a bit disturbing; most people are a blend of submissive and dominant, in many different areas of their personality and sexuality.

  • mwolverine

    Posts: 5810

    May 26, 2015 4:48 PM GMT

    What are the ratio's between tops, bottoms and vers?


    || When asked to indicate what kind of sex you’ve had in the last twelve months, oral sex (blow jobs) came out on top followed by mutual masturbation (jerking off). This was followed by anal sex (top or bottom). In the table, you can see the rate of anal sex was lowest in Sweden (.se), Finland (.fi), and Estonia (.ee) and highest in France (.fr), Spain (.es.), Portugal (.pt), Belarus (.by), Russia (.ru), and Moldova (.md).

    But this leaves much to be desired. The percentage reporting anal sex in the prior year ranged between 78%-94% (depending on country), with median of 85%.

    Ironically, the rate was higher in France (88%) than in Greece (86%).

    The source does not provide oral and mutual JO figures other than to say they are higher.

    Meanwhile, back in the USA (2011):


    || Participants' mean age was 39.2 years; ethnicities included white (84.6%), Latino (6.4%), and African American (3.6%); and most men (79.9%) identified as homosexual. The most commonly reported behavior was kissing a partner on the mouth (74.5%), followed by oral sex (72.7%), and partnered masturbation (68.4%). Anal intercourse occurred among less than half of participants (37.2%) and was most common among men ages 18–24 (42.7%). Sex was most likely to occur in the participant's home (46.8%), with less frequently reported locations including hotels (7.4%) and public spaces (3.1%). The number of behaviors engaged in during last sexual event varied with most (63.2%) including 5–9 different sexual behaviors.

    theantijock said
    FRE0 saidThat certainly paints a different picture from what one would suppose by reading posts in this and other threads. So, although most guys say that they see anal sex as completely essential, it seems to be practiced less than oral sex. Interesting.

    The study declared that: "Blow-jobs the most popular!"

    I think that's an entirely predictable result. I'd venture that a very large percentage of those engaging in anal sex also engage in oral sex (including in the same encounter). So playing with the European numbers, 85% engage in anal and 80% engage in anal & oral. On top of that (ha!), another 10%(?) only engage in oral. So now you have 85% anal and 90%(?) oral, and thus it just won the popularity contest.

    I found the PDF on the European study totally inadequate regarding methodology. The median for anal sex was 85%, but all we know is that oral sex is higher. And this is for (my words) "engaged at least ONCE in the last 12 months". To go to the extreme, it could be that 85% had anal sex every day for a year and also oral sex once, and another ~10% who are more sexually conservative (not that there's anything wrong with that) had oral sex once during the year. Absent a weighting for frequency, we now have 85% who have engaged in anal sex (364 times) and 90% who have engaged in oral sex (1 time).

    Found this site:

    The report is 200 pages so I haven't had the time to read it, but skimming through it I found this:

  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    May 26, 2015 5:05 PM GMT
    Umm, anyone who engages in anal, also engages in oral, and also engages in kissing (99.9% of the time). To say that anal is the "least" popular is not shocking at all.

    And OP, you do realize that a person can simply be into oral only. We don't need a new term for it. It's existed for decades as a known term, and in humans since our formation.

    The only time it starts to get a little confusing is when you indicate your oral preference, anal preference, and fisting preference. For example, I'm an oral bottom fistee. But if you liked giving oral, giving anal and fisting guys you'd be an oral top fister. Labels simply help indicate the product. You can quibble with labels as much as you'd like, but the underlying product will remain the same.

    A BMW 5 series is a BMW 5 Series, even if you call it "The Quadra Series." Names and terms, in this regard, would serve little function. A rose by any other name is still a rose.
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    May 26, 2015 5:24 PM GMT
    mwolverine saidFrom:

    What are the ratio's between tops, bottoms and vers?

    "Beyond tops and bottoms" is also the name of a study published in 2002: http://www.nickyee.com/ponder/topbottom.html
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 5810

    May 26, 2015 5:40 PM GMT
    Thanks for that reference, Bachian.

    Svnw688 saidAnd OP, you do realize that a person can simply be into oral only. We don't need a new term for it. It's existed for decades as a known term, and in humans since our formation.

    People used to be known, in the Queen's English, as "French" (oral) or "Greek" (anal).
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16414

    May 26, 2015 7:06 PM GMT
    So many things figure into a successful relationship (or even hook up for that matter). Communication being one of them. The whole "top, bottom" thing is so superficial and really judgmental of someone else. No wonder so many gay relationships don't stand the test of time!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2015 7:27 PM GMT
    Tushies can be cute. That's why they call them tushies. But ass is gross. That's why they call it ass. They put it all the way in the back so you don't have to look at it. If it was pretty like penis they'd have put it up front and center where you could show it off without looking like your trying to get your head up your ass.

    You might have noticed farts come out of your ass. They designed it like that on purpose. That's so you can walk away from your farts. Otherwise you'd walk into them. Eww. And nothing that smells like fart can be good for you. A fart is a warning. Beware of Ass. It's like outdated milk. Here, does this smell bad? eww.

    Posts: 1057

    May 26, 2015 8:15 PM GMT
    its called FROT FROTTAGE
    men who dont like anal sex
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2015 9:08 PM GMT
    If I'm really into you I can go with the flow. It's all good to me. HOWEVER, if you do it to me be willing to let me do it to you and NEVER scat. Sheesh! Gotta draw the line somewhere.
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    May 26, 2015 9:36 PM GMT
    Why should nomenclature matter? Sex should be about what feels good to you and your partner, not what role(s)one plays. Personally, being anally penetrated has never appealed to me, but thank God for those awesome guys who like it. I'd say, though, that relationships work when the people involved are sexually compatible (and if that means having a "top" and a "bottom," then let it be).
  • Buddha

    Posts: 1822

    May 26, 2015 9:38 PM GMT
    Ah, now I'm old enough to see people trying to reinvent old concepts.

    back-in-my-day-funny-5.jpg?w=600&h=531, we called it g0y. What happened to g0y?

  • May 26, 2015 10:05 PM GMT
    With me, even though I'm a bottom vers., I could fully enjoy and appreciate a relationship with just cuddling and kissing and touching, rubbing, and some foreplay/oral. I've only had penetrative sex once (where I was the bottom), of course it is recent that I lost my virginity, like 6 months ago. Sex is best if there is a sense of intimacy whether in the conventional sense or not. TO me passionate kissing and hugging/holding is very hot.

  • May 26, 2015 10:34 PM GMT
    Any thoughts on bottom shaming? Because that is also one of those things where men are judged and defined in NOT a good way,a nd it socks me this exists in the gay community.
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    May 26, 2015 11:11 PM GMT
    IntenseFreedom saidAny thoughts on bottom shaming? Because that is also one of those things where men are judged and defined in NOT a good way,a nd it socks me this exists in the gay community.

    Bottom shaming and shamers make me mad and I won't have anything to do with either.
  • slimnmuscly

    Posts: 557

    May 27, 2015 12:30 AM GMT
    I appreciate what the writer's trying to do here, but coming up with a new name like "sides" doesn't really amount to "looking beyond" tops and bottoms. It just perpetuates defining gay men vis-à-vis anal sex, as if the most important or interesting thing about "sides" is their lack of interest in it. Surely what we are interested in is more relevant, and subject to all kinds of variations that a catchall term like "sides" can't evoke.

    The food analogy it conjures up follows the same logic -- anal is the main course, everything else is a side dish.
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    May 27, 2015 1:10 AM GMT
    You know, this article made a lot of sense. In my last relationship, I was the top and he was the total bottom - b/c that's what he wanted. Sometimes, he wouldn't be in the mood for anal, and we'd go a few weeks just jerking off together or doing other, fun sexual stuff. I never felt like something was missing. I guess the important thing is that you love that person, and you're both honest, and sex remains something fun.
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    May 27, 2015 3:33 AM GMT
    Buddha saidWhat happened to g0y?
    It was invaded by right-wing so-called "Christians" who used the bible's quotes against butt sex to justify the different name for gay guys who aren't into anal.

    In fact I used to be in personal contact with the founder of the g0y movement, and told him off big time (and blocked him) when he suggested that I was a "fag enabler" because I had several gay (anal-friendly) friends and didn't care how they have sex.

    That was the end of the g0y movement, because I posted his email on my former porn site and several other blogs I used to have.
  • Antarktis

    Posts: 376

    May 27, 2015 3:33 AM GMT
    12 years.don't pity. Am I being unnecessarily disregarding?
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    May 27, 2015 3:39 AM GMT

  • Antarktis

    Posts: 376

    May 27, 2015 3:41 AM GMT
    It sucks.i watched my Scorpio drown. Horoscope watchers can kiss my ass. Ima pieces.5 years later, my worldview is not what he wanted.