We were all born gay and male, but none of us grew up in a world that totally embraced both our gender and our sexual orientation. Even those from the most liberal and progressive households still have to contend with a hostile society that fears and hates them.
With this have also come numerous myths about our sexual activities, always created by those who are not gay males, to instill fear and shame into both our community and straights. Of course, most center around anal sex, which is still the dark path that causes so much confusion, disgust, and lies.
We at GMJ think it is time that we take some time to fight back against the myths that plague our community, but it may also fuel some of the fears our brothers have about sex and their bodies.
Using facts, biology, and logic, we can debunk all of these myths and ease the concerns many of you may have about anal sex. With some luck, we might even be able to give you information to push back against those promoting these lies.
Anal sex is for lovers!
This is always where it begins. For many people, gay and straight, the entirety of being gay is about anal sex, and this act is seen as dirty and wrong by both the religious and non-faithful.
Maybe it stems from an unhealthy view of the anus and rectal cavity. Not seeing it as a necessary part and function of the male body, but rather as something to be disgusted by. Of course, we are talking about defecation.
ANAL SEX ALWAYS INVOLVES FECES
Dr. Evan Goldstein, CEO of Bespoke Surgical, explains that stool actually hangs out higher in your body, above the anus and rectum in a section known as the sigmoid colon. In reality, if you eat healthily and get enough fiber for regular, bulky stools, this should be enough to keep the anal canal clean for play. “People tend not to believe it when we share this information, so take a toy and test the landing strip. Prove it to yourself,” he says.
We discuss this issue in our article on douching and why it is not as necessary as gay males are told But, a further reality about gay male anal sex is that shit happens; so clean it up. The anus is not a vagina; it is unreasonable to expect it to behave like one, with all of the benefits but none of the drawbacks. Just as straight men must develop an adult reaction to menstrual blood being a possibility during sex, gay men must do the same regarding feces.
Of course, by now, you know that some people, both male and female, gay and straight, enjoy and engage in scat play. This is different from standard anal sex; the two should not be automatically conflated. Nor should those who practice this fetish be shamed. Not every sexual activity is for everyone, and that is perfectly fine.
It is the fear of feces during anal sex that actually causes accidents. Our stomachs are very sensitive to stress, and the anxiety produced is more than sufficient to upset our bowels and release them during the pressure of intercourse. But, if you are so concerned, a light douching a few hours beforehand should ease your concerns. Anything more significant could cause the very issue you are attempting to avoid.
Finally, tops must stop putting undue stress and pressure on their partners to be “perfectly clean.” If this is a need you have, a Fleshlight is your best option.
ONLY A CRAZY MAN WANTS ANAL SEX
Anal sex is as natural a sexual act as any other, and for gay males, it is the most natural and normal one for the vast majority of us. The prostate, sometimes known as the male G-spot, is just a few inches inside the rectal canal. Massaging this walnut-sized gland creates some of the greatest physical pleasures a man can experience. With controlled stimulation, it grows in size and increases in sensitivity. There is even something called a prostate orgasm, which is like a penile orgasm but much more intense.
Regarding this myth, it would seem reasonable for a sane, educated, and sex-savy gay man to want anal sex and his prostate massaged. Even straight men are getting in on the action.
IT IS PAINFUL and BLOODY
This is a myth that is rooted in a bit of reality. The first time a guy attempts to bottom, it can be uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be bloody or painful. A quick Google search results in many tips and guides on how to be an effective bottom and how to survive bottoming. But, the truth is that every guy’s body is different and will have a different reaction and sense of joy or pain.
Logically, why would millions of gay males all around the world engage in anal sex, with partners, and even with themselves, if it was painful and bloody?
The reason and possible concern about pain is obvious, and we discuss them further below. As for blood, this could be because inside the rectum are lots of blood vessels that can be punctured if not careful. Inside of the rectal canal, there are no nerve endings, so the bottom would not know that this has occurred, so patience and concern for your partner’s well-being is essential when topping.
Sex takes at least two to tango, which means that all parties involved are responsible for ensuring that sex is enjoyable and not painful. We pay a great deal of attention to what the receptive partners can do to understand and know that they are genuinely in control of what happens to and inside their bodies.
But, this doesn’t leave tops without a large amount of responsibility. Because he is penetrating, we will begin with what tops can and maybe should do to make sex less painful and enjoyable for both parties.
Our friend Alexander Cheves (@BadAlexCheves) from the Advocate has some great tips.
1. Have an anatomy lesson.
A boy butt is much more than a hole you stick stuff into. Good bottoms know this, and many tops do not.
Many guys envision the butt as a tight, squishy chute — an organic masturbation sleeve. But the ass is more of a tight, squishy chamber with dimensions and curvatures that vary slightly from man to man. There is a definite curve to it, and the first chamber leads to another chamber, which leads to the small intestine.
You probably know about the prostate, that hard little walnut halfway inside the ass that will be above or below your dick, depending on whether you’re fucking doggy-style or missionary, and which feels amazing when rubbed. But there’s more!
There is a bladder down there that you cannot ignore — feeling the need to pee halfway through sex is very common — and there is a very strong muscle called the anal sphincter, a circular muscle at the base of the colon (the “hole”) that clenches tight for most of our lives and opens and relaxes when we poop and when we take a dick.
The anal sphincter is one of the strongest muscles in the human body, and it will present the biggest challenge for new bottoms, as learning to relax this muscle on command takes practice.
There is a lot down there, and a good lesson about how it all works, along with a general primer on how the body processes food and what triggers the digestion process, will help you navigate it better. Updating your mental list of bowel movement stimulants — drugs, coffee, the act of eating — will keep you aware of butt mechanics. Knowing where your dick is going is important.
The guy you are fucking is more aware of all this stuff than you are, because it’s his body, and he has probably cleaned out beforehand and has a clock running in his head of how long it will be before he might have to clean again.
Get on his level. Learn some anatomy.
2. Stop calling experienced bottoms “loose.”
The idea of being “loose” is something implicitly linked to shame. How many jokes have you heard about loose butts and the guys who reportedly have them?
It’s pretty cruel: You’re a new bottom and your ass is “tight,” meaning you have not learned how to train the anal sphincter to relax or open on command. Your tight ass might feel good for tops, but it makes sex more painful for you, and it will take you longer to get used to the feeling of getting fucked.
But you practice, and you get better. You use toys and learn ass-stretching techniques and practice with Ben Wa balls and kegel balls and butt plugs, and gradually you learn how to take dicks like a champ, which inevitably means learning how to open and close your hole (your anal sphincter) on command.
Then some asshole top comes along and says he doesn’t like loose bottoms — or worse, he calls your ass loose. He’s essentially shaming you for getting better at what you enjoy doing.
The idea that “loose” holes are weakened or overworked through too much sex is simply false. If you can train the sphincter to open on command, you can also close it, and this means the muscle is stronger now than before. Like any muscle, if you work it, it strengthens. Guys get called “loose” when they’ve learned how to flex — and have strengthened — a muscle.
If you have marathon sex and have been opening that muscle all night, it will get tired, and then it will open more easily, and you will start to feel loose — a feeling that can be hot for bottoms as for tops who like used holes (a fetish for many people). For some bottoms — myself included — this temporary, post-marathon-sex “loose” feeling is part of the fun, as is the act of nursing your wrecked hole the next day. It is erotic on a different level that fist pigs and toy pigs can understand. But even at this point, I would not appreciate being called “loose” in a derogatory manner because there is nothing shameful about bottoming all night.
Honestly, if a guy’s sex skills are so poor that he needs a tight, novice ass to get pleasure out of sex, that’s his problem, not mine.
3. Alternate your speed.
Many tops simply don’t know how to fuck. They think sex is about sticking their dicks in and pounding like a machine.
Unless the guy you are fucking is looking for that kind of sex, he will probably tell you to slow down or stop.
The sphincter’s natural state is being closed tight, which means you have to go slow at first while he gets used to it. Once he relaxes and gets comfortable and starts to enjoy your cock, only then you can get a little rougher.
As with fisting, the best way to help a guy’s ass relax is with a gentle, steady, in-and-out rhythm. He will tell you how slow to go, and you will know when you can speed up — his body will relax, and his hole will automatically open. When this happens, that doesn’t mean you can immediately start jackhammering, but it does mean that you can add in a few harder, faster thrusts between slower, gentler ones and see how he responds to them.
If you are fucking doggy-style, and he likes it and starts backing up into you, you can increase your speed. If you’re fucking him missionary-style and he nods or pulls his legs back or grabs your hips or your back and pulls you into him, you’re good to go.
4. Get over your fear of dirty butts.
A few weeks ago, I was preparing for a hookup. Right before I hopped in the shower to clean out my ass, the top messaged me: “Make sure you clean that ass really good. I don’t like dirty butts.”
Automatic block. Discard pile. Rejected.
I don’t particularly like the word “dirty” to imply the presence of shit, which is something the ass naturally produces and not something to be feared. “Dirty” implies shame, and there’s nothing shameful about the way the body functions. But most guys, including myself, will not bristle at the word’s use. Most of the time it is said without judgment.
This being said, do not tell your bottom to clean out well. Saying that will only add to his nervousness about being clean. Unless he has expressed that he’s into shit, it is generally assumed that he will have to clean before you guys play — unless he is one of those mystifying and magical bottoms who knows when his ass is simply ready to go, no cleaning required.
When playtime comes, he will probably be anxious about the possibility that his ass isn’t spotless. You telling him to be spotless will only increase that anxiety and probably make your sex less enjoyable.
Good bottoms — as well as good tops — gradually learn to lose this fear. Yes, you can clean your ass thoroughly before play, but remember that the body is the body and the ass is the ass, and you are only able to control it to a certain degree.
You can manipulate its function through anti-diarrhea pills and you can extend your ability to use it with poppers and drugs, but at some point, the body will process waste and do what it needs to do. If you spend enough time in the butt, you are going to encounter evidence of that other function beyond delivering mind-blowing sensations that the butt performs.
If you’re fucking him and encounter some shit, don’t freak out. Responding with disgust or revulsion can really hurt his feelings. It’s an ass — it’s going to happen at some point.
Gently tell him about it, and together decide what to do. Either you will stop and let him clean out, or you will continue. Most bottoms will want to stop and clean, either because the sex has become uncomfortable or because they assume tops want to fuck a clean ass. If you do not care about shit, tell him so, and let him know that whatever he chooses to do, you’re into him — literally.
5. If you use condoms, be patient and understanding when he needs a break.
I must be honest here: I rarely use condoms.
But unlike many bareback-only pigs who scoff at rubbers and refuse sex with guys who prefer them, I will play with someone who chooses this precaution — as long as two conditions are met: The condoms must be non-latex polyisoprene (not lambskin, which does not prevent sexually transmitted infections) and we must use silicone lube.
These conditions exist for two reasons. One, I have a latex allergy, so non-latex condoms are a must. Two, silicone lube is the slickest, most long-lasting lube you can buy, and will not dry up like water-based and hybrid lubes will. If you are interested in the wide range of different lubes you can use for sex, check out my 30 liquid assets every gay man should try.
I choose to only use silicone lube because condoms, regardless of what they are made of, inevitably cause friction in the butt and will begin to wear. Silicone helps me go longer with a condom.
Let’s face a blunt fact: Sex with condoms is less comfortable than sex bare. For me as well as for many bottoms, it is harder to get fucked as long or as hard with a condom as without one. This being said, diligent condom use is unquestionably a safer sex practice. PrEP only prevents HIV transmission, and rates of other STIs are skyrocketing among gay men. If anyone shames you for using condoms, they’re an idiot. One’s sex practices are a personal decision, and no one should pressure you to do something you do not want to do.
But when the condom starts to wear and your bottom needs a break — either to replenish lube or change the condom — do not get frustrated.
6. Pull out occasionally — this is important.
No matter how much you’re enjoying it, it is your duty and responsibility as a good top to pull out on occasion and check for problems. Even if he is not showing any signs of pain, there can be blood on your dick, which can mean a minor or serious problem.
This is true especially if you’re pretty big. He might be in ecstasy, but he could be cut and bleeding on the inside. There is a point inside the anus at which there are no nerve endings, meaning someone can get injured past this point and not know it.
Our 6 tips for first-time bottoms
- Ask yourself if you really want to bottom, or is it something you believe you are supposed to do. If this act is natural to your personality and sexual desires, it will be much easier to engage in and enjoy. Some guys are bottoms, some are tops, some are versatile, and some are sides.
- Practice makes perfect. The best bottoms are those who utilize everything from vegetables to dildos before attempting sex with another man. This prepares his body and mind for sex and the pain is less, if at all because the anus is accustomed to the entry.
- RELAX! The sphincter is a muscle; if you are tense, it will contract, making entry painful, if not impossible. Proper breathing and relaxation can make the act easier and very enjoyable.
- Foreplay is your friend. From kissing and nipple play to oral sex and anal stimulation by fingers, these methods will help to relax the receptive partner and actually get him almost begging for penetration.
- Lubrication is key. There is a reason there are so many different types of lube on the market; they work. They ease the penis into the rectum with little to no pain and continue to keep the pathway slick and slippery during the entire sexual act for the enjoyment of both parties.
- Be careful who you choose to top you. This might seem like a no-brainer, but some guys are much better tops than others. There are guys who are very rough on entry and it gets worse from there. Some even have little to no regard for the bottom’s comfort, safety, or pleasure. These guys will ensure you a horrid time, with pain and possibly blood.
Everything else you do after these six points is a personal preference. Some will guide you toward large amounts of douching, condoms, and even drugs. Whatever you decide, remember that this is your body, and you have the power and ability to control the activity and the responsibility to take care of your own physical and emotional safety.
5 tips from one of our friends
Rico Woods from Men’s Variety has some advice that we thought you could enjoy.
1. Relax your anal muscles
One of the main reasons many guys shy away from anal sex is because they can’t get past the sensation of feeling like they are going to poop.
If you have cleaned yourself out right, that simply isn’t going to happen. But I’m here to tell you that those first few times, it does feel that way.
The way to move past this sensation is to do the following. Bear in mind, that this one takes some practice:
- Take a deep breath as he’s inserting his stick inside of you.
- Relax your pubococcygeus (PC) muscles and resist the temptation of tightening them up. That’s why it’s important to explore your hole from tip #2. Knowing the different muscles of your anus helps a lot when it comes to getting f*ked.
2. Getting the head in
The most difficult part of getting f*cked is getting past the head. That’s because, for most guys, the tip of the shaft is going to have a “mushroom” shape.
In my experience, there are two approaches to help you move past this challenge and on to major pleasure.
Start out on all fours and let him get behind you. Tell him to slowly and gently push it in. You can even guide him with a free hand. Make sure he’s super lubed up. And it really helps if you can slip on a cock ring so that he remains completely firm during the process.
Lay him down on the bed or the floor. Take a good-sized portion of lube and apply it to his entire stick with an emphasis on the head. Then, slowly squat on top of his rod until you are past the head.
I don’t recommend getting on your back first because you won’t feel like you have any control.
If I haven’t mentioned this before, I will it now. Sex, (particularly anal), is all in the mind. This means you need to be part of the process and not play a passive role.
3. Don’t freak out if you feel like you’re pooping
At some point, while he’s topping you, there’s a strong possibility that you will feel like you’re going to poop. THIS IS NORMAL. If you have taken the necessary steps to clean your anus, you have nothing to worry about.
To get past this issue, simply allow the thought to be present in your mind, but don’t act on it. In time, your fear will fade away. Remember, the more you freak out about it, the more powerful your anxiety will become. Make sense?
4. Stroke your stick
Once you get past the head and “sh*tting fears”, you’re now ready to experience true pleasure. The stimulation you’ll feel as he inserts his manhood into you can be overwhelming.
That’s because while he’s stretching out your anal walls, he’s also stimulating your prostate gland; a walnut-sized erogenous center just below your bladder.
Here are some thoughts:
- It’s OK to touch yourself and even release, particularly the first couple of times riding a guy.
- He may want to stroke you but don’t let him just yet. Well, that is until you gain more experience. Otherwise, you may shoot sooner than both of you want.
- Don’t worry if you aren’t hard when he’s inside of you. It takes time to get used to a man thrusting in and out. Anxiety, coupled with fear of the unknown, can cause your peen to shrink.
5. If you decide it’s not for you, that’s OK
Many guys try to make themselves become bottoms when in fact, they’re just not wired that way. This is why I personally believe it’s never a good idea to try and screw a true top.
One of my first relationships ended because I tried to convert my boyfriend from top to bottom. Don’t ask me why I wanted to do this – I just did. Because of my ignorance, I kept trying to make him “enjoy” something he wasn’t capable of.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t try to see if you are versatile. You should. But at the end of the day, after giving it a whirl a few times, you may decide getting f*cked isn’t for you.
That’s OK – really! There’s nothing wrong with this. I don’t mean to belabor this point but as I’ve mentioned before, we have too many people in our community who think that in order to be gay, you have to know (and like) how to bottom.
Complete BS and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
IT RUINS YOUR BOWELS AND ANUS
We have heard so many stories, from people that have not had anal sex and were not gay males, that anal sex is known to cause Rectal Incontinence (RI). Depending on who was telling the story, either all gay males will eventually lose some control over our bowels in basic terms but others state it will be so severe that we will need to wear either women’s sanitary napkins or even adult diapers. Yes, people really think this.
We did our own research and couldn’t find many studies that specifically looked at the full effects of anal sex on the bowels, but there were a few. Luckily for us, VICE.com, broke it all down.
The first known research on RI was published in 1993. In it, researchers compared the bowel habits and anal functioning of two groups of guys: 40 gay men who reported a history of receptive anal sex to 18 heterosexual men who claimed to have no experience with bottoming. As part of this study, researchers put balloons up these men’s butts and filled them with water in order to measure their anal pressure. Because science.
So what did they find? Receiving anal sex was associated with lower anal resting pressure (meaning the muscles down there weren’t as tightly contracted), as well as reports of minor symptoms of fecal incontinence, such as feeling a greater sense of urgency when it comes to defecating. A subsequent 1997 study replicated the link between having a history of receptive anal sex and lower anal resting pressure; however, it failed to find a link with incontinence. The inconsistent findings about incontinence make it difficult to draw conclusions. We can’t really say what the lower anal resting pressure results mean either, because the authors of the latter study argue that this lower pressure might just be a sign of greater comfort with anal stimulation—in other words, maybe guys who had bottomed before were just a little more relaxed while they were being probed.
Oh, and keep in mind that both studies were based on very small samples and focused only on men. In an attempt to clear up the confusion and address these limitations, a new study on anal sex and incontinence was published earlier this year, in which over 4,000 American adults were surveyed. Researchers found that both women and men who had a history of receiving anal sex reported higher rates of incontinence than those who had never done so (9.9 percent vs. 7.4 percent for women and 11.6 percent vs. 5.3 percent for men).
Although these results would seem to confirm that there is a link between receiving anal sex and experiencing bowel control issues, it is important to note that these data do not show cause and effect, and a quick glance at the stats reveals that the vast majority of those who were having anal sex were not incontinent. In other words, this suggests that if you’re having anal sex, odds are very good that your butt is going to keep working just fine.
At GMJ, what we want you to think about how many gay bottoms you know that complain about RI, are seen constatnly running to the toilet or losing total control of their bowels. Do you know any guys who buy and wear protective products like women’s sanitary napkins or adult diapers? Well, there is your answer.
Finally, yes, the more one bottoms, the more relaxed his rectum will become to more easily accept penetration. This is natural and a good thing, as we should expect our muscles to expand and contract with usage. But, this is very different from having total rectal muscle failure, as many believe we have.
IT PROVES ALL GAY MALES ARE FEMME
We consider this a myth even though it is best classified as a societal bias against homosexuality and strong levels of sexism, misandry, and gender norms. Unfortunately, this belief is shared and repeated by both straight and gays.
Logically, gender expression and non-conformance are varied within our community but so are sexual roles. From power bottoms to submissive tops, gay males have the luxury of performing any sexual acts to the degree of our particular liking. Enjoying being the receptive partner during anal sex says absolutely nothing about the gender presentation of the bottom or the top for that matter. We like what we like because we like it.
We turned to Scientific American to get some answers about gay male sexual roles and gender expression.
Several years ago, a team of scientists led by Trevor Hart at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta studied a group of 205 gay male participants. Among the group’s significant findings—reported in a 2003 issue of The Journal of Sex Research —were these:
(1) Self-labels are meaningfully correlated with actual sexual behaviors. That is to say, based on self-reports of their recent sexual histories, those who identify as tops are indeed more likely to act as the insertive partner, bottoms are more likely be the receptive partner, and versatiles occupy an intermediate status in sexual behavior.
(2) Compared to bottoms, tops are more frequently engaged in (or at least they acknowledge being attracted to) other insertive sexual behaviors. For example, tops also tend to be the more frequent insertive partner during oral intercourse. In fact, this finding of the generalizability of top/bottom self-labels to other types of sexual practices was also uncovered in a correlational study by David Moskowitz, Gerulf Reiger, and Michael Roloff. In a 2008 issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, these scientists reported that tops were more likely to be the insertive partner in everything from sex-toy play to verbal abuse to urination play.
(3) Tops were more likely than both bottoms and versatiles to reject a gay self-identity and to have had sex with a woman in the past three months. They also manifested higher internalized homophobia—essentially the degree of self-loathing linked to their homosexual desires.
(4) Versatiles seem to enjoy better psychological health. Hart and his coauthors speculate that this may be due to their greater sexual sensation seeking, lower erotophobia (fear of sex), and greater comfort with a variety of roles and activities.
Many questions about gay self-labels and their relation to development, social behavior, genes, and neurological substrates remain to be answered—indeed, they remain to be asked. Further complexity is suggested by the fact that many gay men go one step further and use secondary self-labels, such as “service top” and “power bottom” (a pairing in which the top is actually submissive to the bottom). For the right scientist, there’s a life’s work just waiting to be had.
No, you can’t tell if someone is a top or bottom based on their personality or physical build.
Don’t fall into the trap of assuming someone’s preferred sexual position based on how they present.
There are plenty of men who like to bottom. (And plenty of guys who are assertive at work or in public life relish the opportunity to cede some of that control in the bedroom and play the submissive.) There are also femme gay men who love topping.
“It’s absolute nonsense, not to mention degrading, to be put into a box based on your expression or physique,” said Bradley Birkholz, a YouTube creator and gay rights activist.
“Anytime somebody assumes you want something done to you in bed, there’s danger associated with it, regardless of your sexuality or gender,” he said. “I think we have a culture that tells people that the way we talk, act, and dress means we want certain things done to us in bed. Which simply isn’t true.”
As with any sexual encounter, communication is key. You have to ask and find out what your partner is into, not just assume.
“You can be gay and not like anal sex at all, and that’s absolutely fine, and you can use the labels of top or bottom, and that’s fine, too,” Birkholz said. “There’s nothing wrong with those labels — just don’t apply them to other people because you assume they identify with it.”
9 DIFFERENT TYPES OF TOPS
Pride.com wrote a bit of a tongue-in-cheek article about the types of tops you might run into at a bar. The point is that we are as varied in our sexual roles as in our gender expression.
1. The Cocky Top
This is a man who is blatantly exploiting his top privilege. He knows he’s in high demand, so he’s cocky about it (pun intended). He is a monster that needs to be stopped. Despite your desire to go home with him, you mustn’t. That will only make him worse. Don’t let his corny pickup lines and sleazy smile get to you. You are a magical bottom who deserves a goddamn Warlock to top you.
2. The Drag Queen Top
Some of the best sex I’ve ever had is with drag queens who top. I didn’t realize how prevalent drag queen tops are in the gay community, but it’s definitely more than the occasional performer, and that’s because sexual position preference has nothing to do with gender expression. Also, PSA, (and not be crass) but when drag queens untuck – and I know this from the times I’ve done drag – they often shoot the biggest loads after. (Something about the testies being tucked away for hours!)
3. The Short Top
These poor guys are always assumed to be a bottom, especially if they have a plump, bubble butt. Sadly, there’s no good way to bring up in conversation that they top without sounding super, sexually aggressive. You can’t say, “Oh, I’m actually a top,” when you haven’t reached the sexual part of the convo yet. The guy will likely be like, “OK… well, we were just talking,” The catch-22, however, is that you can only reach the sexual part of the convo if he believes or knows that you’re sexually compatible. What is a short top to do?
4. The Checking-Out-All=The-Options Top
He has no intention of going home with the first, second, or even third guy he talks to. He’s all around the bar abusing his top privilege, knowing that any of the bottoms would likely go back with him at the end of the night. Another word for him is a dirty flirt.
5. The Masculine, Bearded, Daddy Top
Basic bottoms love a masculine, bearded, hairy man… and this is where I come out as a basic bottom. What is it about a bearded man that makes us weak in the knees?
6. The Femme Top
And who doesn’t love a good, smooth femme top? A pink booty-short flaunting, Marek + Richard tank top-wearing top who stomps around in heels. (OK, maybe I’m not a basic bottom, I just like all men.) Werkkkk.
7. The Overly-Confident, Aggressive Top
He comes on way too strong, touching your butt when you definitely did not give him any consent or indication that you want him to touch you. He’s usually had one too many and is a mess of a human. Despite being the one top in the club, you still rather go home alone.
8. The Crop-Top Top
Honestly, this is the same as the femme top. I really just wanted an excuse to say crop-top top. But I love me a good top (or bottom) who likes to show a little midriff. Jonathan van Ness would definitely agree.
9. The “Verse” Top
Alright, so this is not a top you’ll be able to recognize just by looking at him. This has to do more with gay dating/sex apps. Nevertheless, I thought it worthwhile to include. He claims to be verse, but at the end of the day, when you’re both naked, he just… he can’t top. Or if he does, it’s painfully awkward… Learn from this. If you’re a bottom, embrace it honey, and be the biggest ol’ bottom you can possibly be.
Is it all in the genes?
A fascinating new study supporting this idea was recently published in the journal PLoS ONE. This study focused specifically on exploring the potential origins of male homosexuality but did so in a way that was very different from almost all previous studies on this topic. Whereas most research in this area has treated gay men as a homogeneous group, the researchers leading this study instead looked at subgroups of gay men who differed based on their preferred anal sex role: “tops” (the insertive partner), “bottoms” (the receptive partner), and “versatile” (those who are open to switching roles).
Preferred anal sex role has been linked to gay men’s degree of gender nonconformity: research has found that tops tend to score higher in masculine personality traits, whereas bottoms tend to score higher in feminine personality traits. This is by no means a universal difference—there are certainly feminine tops and masculine bottoms in the world. The point here is simply that there’s a correlation between preferred sexual roles and gender nonconformity.
What the researchers leading this study wanted to look at was how preferred anal sex roles and gender nonconformity are linked to one specific biological factor previously shown to be associated with elevated rates of homosexuality in general: being non-right-handed. Study after study has found that homosexuality—as well as gender nonconformity—is linked to being non-right-handed. This has been taken as evidence in favor of a biological basis for homosexuality, given that handedness is something that is determined in the womb by biological factors. As such, scientists have concluded that whatever it is that’s affecting handedness is also affecting sexual orientation.
Gay men with a bottom/versatile preference were less likely to be right-handed than tops—but tops and straight men did not differ when it came to which hand was dominant. This suggests that gay men’s anal sex role preferences are rooted, to some degree, in their biology. In other words, although tops and bottoms both have the same sexual orientation, they may arrive at that orientation via very different biological pathways.
What all of this tells us is that understanding the origin of sexual orientation is a very complicated matter. While there’s still a lot we don’t know, what the research suggests is that there seem to be different kinds of homosexuality that have different causes. It also suggests that the search for a simple answer to the question of why some people are gay—like the elusive “gay gene”—is one that’s likely to prove futile.
Because the number of gay males is relatively small compared to the straight male population, there will always be an air of mystery and even fear around our activities. Yes, mainstream media is beginning to share our stories, and social media has become an outlet to create a community around our sex lives and even educate each other. However, we are still far from escaping our negative image.
As a gay male community, the best thing we can do is to fact-check what we hear about our sex lives, roles, and identity. Use science and logic as a gauge rather than fear and inexperience. Finally, when we hear myths being told as facts, we must gather the strength to counter them, lest they become lies for another generation to fight.
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