Because you are a gay man with almost constant access to the Internet, you’ve already heard about the former Nurse Jackie star, Actor Haaz Sleiman’s, coming out. Mr. Sleiman’s revelation is newsworthy for two (2) reasons.
He proclaimed himself “a gay, Muslim, Arab American man.” And, “not only am I a bottom, but I’m also a total bottom, which means I like it up you know where.”
Interestingly enough, the fact that the 41-year-old actor is Muslim didn’t get as much attention as his proudly letting the world know of his preferred, and only, sexual position. This information was met with a large amount of stigma and bottom shaming. Our friends over at PositiveLite.com raised this issue a few years ago and we think it’s a perfect place to start this conversation.
“It’s drummed into us that being insertive is masculine and that being receptive is feminine – and that femininity is something that men should avoid at all costs. None of this is true. Getting pleasure from prostate stimulation is as definitively masculine as you can get. In any case, perceived masculine and feminine qualities are not right and wrong; they’re just different from each other and are not simply determined by gender either.”
“Homophobes obsess about anal sex because they think it makes us dirty. They argue that just because the arse is used for another biological purpose, it shouldn’t also be used for sex. Of course, this is nonsense. Humans use many bits of our bodies for a range of purposes: we eat, breathe and speak with our mouths; we piss and cum with our cocks. We shouldn’t let the fear and ignorance of others define how we think about our sexuality.”
So, we are dealing with some serious issues of internalized homophobia and personal/community confusion about gender roles and masculinity. Every guy has had some experience with complaints about some other guy they don’t even know being a bottom. As if it is a bad thing. Or a particular city, club, or online site is filled with bottoms. This is the very definition of bottom shaming, which makes no sense. Every top needs a bottom. They go together, well..like tops and bottoms. Our sexual lives are intertwined, and one sexual position is not better than any other; instead, they need and complement each other. Let’s take a moment and look at the two abovementioned issues.
“My dad was basically fine with me being gay, but he wanted to make sure that I didn’t take it up the ass”. This was from a conversation I had with a friend a few years ago. This guy, hyper butch leather man, who looks more like a straight truck driver than a fragile homosexual, is probably the biggest bottom that I know. It’s all he talks about, and he quickly will tell guys convinced he is a top that they are looking down the wrong part of his pants. But even he is still dealing with his father’s words. It is essential for him to let people know that he is a “power bottom.” “I fuck them as much as I’m getting fucked”.
We all were raised and expected to be straight. We come from a heterosexually dominant culture, and all of our communities expect boys to grow up to be very strong and masculine (whatever that means), to date girls, and to make babies. No matter what you have heard or think, no racial group has the lock on hyper-masculinity. It exists in every culture on some level. The idea of a guy being on the receptive end of a dick is foreign, even considered unnatural, and akin to rape to many straights. The more profound concept that a man might like (Read: LOVE) it is more than they can take. These ideals are subtly and directly expressed to us from the moment we are born to the day we die. And without acknowledgment and adjustment of this fact, we shame ourselves and others for enjoying receptive anal sex. This is the root of homophobia, and gays can have it too.
Extreme examples of this are gay guys who are convinced that any type of male penetrative sex is dirty, unnatural, and destructive to men’s physical and mental state. Then there are those homosexuals who strongly believe that contrary to everything we have ever seen or heard, “almost no gay guys have anal sex.” The Age of AIDS didn’t help guys like this much, as fear and ignorance solidified their views.
Realistically, there is a fundamental, biological reason why guys like to bottom for anal sex; it feels fucking great! Your prostate is a marvel of physical science, but it is only matched by the anal and rectal muscles that protect it.
The anus has a relatively high concentration of nerve endings and can be an erogenous zone, which can make anal intercourse pleasurable if performed correctly. The pudendal nerve that branches to supply the external anal sphincter also branches to the dorsal nerve of the clitoris and the dorsal nerve of the penis. In addition to nerve endings, pleasure from anal intercourse occurs due to the shared wall between the anus and the prostate for males. The pleasure from the anus can also be achieved through anal masturbation, fingering, fisting, facesitting, anilingus, and other penetrative and non-penetrative acts. Anal stretching can stimulate the nerves around the anus and can be pleasurable.
There are almost as many erogenous zone-style nerve endings in the anus as in the female clitoris. Men also have bundled nerve clusters near the prostate gland that are the male equivalent of the female G-spot. These nerve clusters hold the potential for men to have full-body and multiple orgasms, just as the G-spot does for women. This is why the prostate is often called the “male G-spot” or the “P-spot” for that nerve cluster’s proximity to the prostate.
Prostate orgasms can feel a bit different as well. While most men are used to having a ‘penile’ orgasm, a prostate orgasm can feel more profound and be concentrated deep in the abdomen. Further, the process of ejaculation can be different from a ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ ejaculation. For instance, if you tend to have more powerful ejaculations, stimulation of the prostate may result in semen dribbling out, and vice-versa. Or there may not be any difference, or some men may ejaculate more powerfully and farther as a result. Just be aware that there may be a difference in ejaculation due to prostate and anal stimulation.
What man wouldn’t love this!? Oh, because to be penetrated means you must be female? It takes a strong man to take a hard cock up his ass. Just sayin’.
We constantly say on this site and Twitter that we are not going to define masculinity for you and that you should not let others do it for you. Your gender expression is a personal dynamic, not even a choice. It’s who you are, and throughout your life, and where you live, this might change, and it might not. Many younger gay males who aren’t on the deeper end of the butch scale grow up to be big buff guys that reek of testosterone. This is neither good nor bad, as long as you dictate your expression. Your sexual orientation should not place you into a position where you feel you must be more delicate, for lack of a better word, and your gender shouldn’t force you to act like a Long Shore man. And don’t forget, there is nothing wrong with finding yourself somewhere in the middle. Give sexual versatility a try; you might like it.
Your sexual desires and enjoyments also have no bearing on your “masculinity.” I’m sure you have watched enough porn where the big burly guy throws his legs up in the air faster than you can say boo. Sex is what you like; it’s what gets you off and brings pleasure to you and your partner(s). It is not who you are; it is what you do and what you enjoy. Bottoming doesn’t make you less of a man, and topping will not make your father want to play catch with you in the backyard after Sunday dinner.
Bottom shaming by other bottoms
While doing what passes for research for articles like this, meaning too much time on Twitter, Facebook, and Grindr, it seems that much of the stigma is coming from other guys that are receptive. Pot, meet kettle. Sometimes this is due to competition, and other times, some guys are just dicks. Either way, no one has the right to critique or belittle anyone due to their sexual positions. But just like women, gay guys who bottom are quickly called whores, sluts, and must deal with the burden of HIV stigma.
The Power in Bottoming
One final thing about this touchy subject. At GMJ, we believe more attention needs to be directed towards bottoms’ power. Not in the sexual sense, but we will talk about that again. We mean in the form of safety. Because of stigma and shaming, many receptive guys end up being victims of sexual abuse. They are taught from an early age that they are there for the total pleasure of the top and that they must do as he wishes. Too many guys that are tops can be very aggressive and even violent sexually, leaving their partner battered and bruised. (Face in the pillow, ass in the air) Of course, we are not talking about BDSM culture; we mean run-of-the-mill vanilla sex. If you are the receptive partner, we would like you to remember a few key messages.
- Just because you are younger, shorter, thinner, or have a smaller dick, shouldn’t make you feel like you must be a bottom.
- Just because your first sexual experiences were receptive doesn’t brand you a bottom for life.
- Just because you are not the most butch boy on the playground doesn’t automatically make you a bottom.
- Sexual roles and enjoyment are personal choices.
- You are giving someone permission to enter your body.
- This permission can be revoked, either before or even during intercourse.
- You have no duty or responsibility to have sex with anyone at any time or place.
- If you don’t feel safe before the sexual act, don’t let it go further because it won’t get any better.
- If you want him to stop, and he doesn’t, it is now a crime called RAPE.
- As the receptive partner, you don’t lose one ounce of your personal power; if anything, you gain more.
Before you go, we found this interesting Matthew J. Dempsey youtube video that gives some visuals to the conversation. Click on the link above.