When I first started experimenting sexually, I learned that sexual roles really do define you as a gay man; We live in a world of tops, bottoms, and versatile men (who are somewhere in between). We’ve developed subtle ways to pinpoint which characteristics, personality traits, and mannerisms can tell us everything we need to know about who we want to sleep with. After all, it can be pretty important; the different roles let us know how sexually compatible we are with others. But just how different are tops and bottoms? I’m not stating any of this as absolute truth or indisputable evidence. Please keep that in mind for all of your easily-triggered souls out there.
Let’s start with “bottom-shaming.”
Bottom-shaming is any prejudice or stigma against men who are open about their sexuality as it pertains to being on the receptive end of anal intercourse. Women, too, are slut-shamed for being sexually adventurous. There’s this unsubstantiated truth in some circles of the gay community that too much bottoming makes you a slut. I’ve met gay men who will only bottom for special partners, wait until a committed relationship to bottom, or bottom if they are really into a guy. All of those examples tell me that we’ve somehow acquired this “straight” logic and apply it to gay sex.
The traditional, antiquated beliefs surrounding female sexuality have always been used to enact sexism and control over women and their bodies. It’s nowhere near as bad in the gay community, and for the most part, bottoms are loved and adored. But there definitely seems to be this unspoken rule that bottoms should limit as many sex partners as they can.
I’ve had a fellow gay man at my school tell me during an argument to get ointment for my “hemmies” (hemorrhoids) just because he assumed I was a bottom who slept with everyone to the point that I must’ve developed hemorrhoids from so much massive dick! He “bottom-shamed” me for a sexual role he as a top would experience zero pleasure without. It’s the same logic that’s used against straight women who are comfortable with their vaginas. Tops can’t have worn out penises, right? But a bottom risks having a loose anus or is called a slut for having too much “mileage” on his ass.
The next topic deals with preparation for sex.
Tops are always ready to go, albeit needing to shower before sex if they choose to or see it as a necessity (please shower before, you filthy mongrels). A bottom, on the other hand, may go to great lengths just to make sure he’s clean and avoids embarrassment in the bedroom. Yes, I’m talking about accidentally defecating on a partner. Some tops expect bottoms to be able to have spontaneous sex and fail to realize how much work actually goes into cleaning that area. Not all bottoms, but a lot prefer to douche or take enemas before sex. It’s not a great practice to do for every occasion, as the inner lining of your rectum has natural bacteria that you’ll be washing out every time you douche. Enemas are also really only for constipation and can disrupt the digestive functions of that area.
But bottoms still do it, and they do it for you tops out there. I’ve spoken to some who even starve themselves a whole 24 hours before they get it in (don’t do that, stupid). When you’re getting all prepared and it’s already taking forever for the water to clear, the last thing you’ll want to hear as a bottom is “What’s taking you so long?” The impatience is understood but unwarranted. Sex can wait. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get to put your tool to use.
Then when the actual sex comes, some tops act as if they’ve lost their ever-loving minds. It’s an organ, a part of the human body and everyone has one. An anus that is. Tops can’t seem to grasp the concept that, just like them, bottoms want to sit down in their office chair at work and not be in pain. They want to use the bathroom regularly. They don’t want tears, burning, or discomfort. But tops can’t seem to stop thinking with their other head. Your sexual satisfaction may not be his concern at all.
Speaking of concern of your well-being, is emotional investment ever a problem for any of you?
I’ve met some guys who can top and be completely detached from their partner afterward. I’ve met some bottoms who can’t seem to get over how good the sex was and have become entranced by the D. It can go both ways of course. After a one-night stand, a top may decide he’s found the perfect bottom and will go the extra mile to make something out of it. A bottom may easily move onto the next top he finds, without even having second thoughts about the top he was just with the previous day. It’s all preferential and depends a lot on how you define relationships and how you express yourself sexually.
One interesting comment I’ve heard from a friend was that he tops when he doesn’t want to bottom. He’s not versatile, but he prefers topping because there is less emotional investment. He told me that bottoming is something he enjoys doing but only if he really likes the top, like in a dating scenario. I found this very telling, and I’m sure it’s the same with tons of gay men. We have two options unlike women, we aren’t confined to just being penetrated.
Furthermore, the friend said he when he does hook up it’s to top and not to bottom. It’s like he views bottoming as sacred and an experience that requires trust, which makes sense because it’s naturally a more vulnerable place to be. You’re letting someone take control of you, putting a part of himself inside of you. If he’s too rough, doesn’t stop if you say no, or has no regard for your comfort, things can get ugly fast.
Then there are height differences.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been in a gay crowd and was automatically labeled a bottom because of how short I am (5’6” ½). Yes, the half counts, bitches. It’s not a problem until you start getting denied because of it. Even flamboyance can be labeled as a bottom characteristic. So if you’re short and effeminate, the message is that you sleep on the bottom bunk. It doesn’t matter unless you let it affect your dating and sex life. But it can be a little deprecating after a while.
This tells me that bottoms are almost seen as a completely separate gender as tops. When asked by a straight person “who’s the girl and the boy” in the relationship, what they really mean is who tops and who bottoms, not necessarily who is more masculine than the other. It’s a straight person’s way of bypassing the complicated combinations of vers/bottom, strictly top, and other role labels.
We’ve acquired some of this logic, too. Is it naturally easier, physiologically, to bottom if you’re shorter? Men and women don’t have to deal with that issue; They are naturally and biologically dimorphic, meaning their physical makeup is distinct from one another. I’ve met bottoms who are 6’4” and tops who are shorter than I am.
You make sex work for you. And that’s the moral of the story, folks. Do I think bottoms are basically women? Of course not. That psychology has been debunked a long time ago. But I do hold onto the belief that in the gay community, bottoms have a certain set of expectations and are not as respected as tops can be. But tops have to deal with their fair share of struggles, too: being big enough, lasting long enough, etc.
Don’t fall for these false beliefs, and don’t assume labels that aren’t mean for you. One of the coolest parts of being gay is being different, not only from the straight word but from each other. We have so many selections, and tirelessly weeding out guys based on how they play behind closed doors can greatly limit the amazing interactions you are able to have. No matter what sexual role you ascribe to, it’s how you let it define you that really matters.