Bottom, top, versatile. Dominant, submissive, switch. Safe, bare.
For gay and bi men, much of our lives are built on these words. Some of us embrace them, others reject them. While there is power in labels, they invariably have downsides: bullying, shaming, rejection.
I’m a submissive bottom. I love getting fucked. It’s taken years to say I love it and that I’m good at it. It’s taken time to own that label, see it for what it is, and recognize its problems and limitations. The better I’ve gotten at bottoming, the less I’ve wanted to be seen as just “a bottom.” There are other bottom-leaning men in the world who I love, and sometimes I want to make them feel good.
We all have needs, and our needs are not fixed. Sometimes we want to push our limits. Sometimes we want others to push our limits. No matter what gets us off, we all want to feel sexy and strong.
Browse these 12 life lessons I’ve learned from a life bending over.
My name is Alexander Cheves, and I am known by friends in the kink and leather community as Beastly. I am a sex-positive writer and blogger. The views in this slideshow do not reflect those of The Advocate and are based solely off of my own experiences. Like everything I write, the intent of this piece is to break down the stigmas surrounding the sex lives of gay men.
Those who are sensitive to frank discussions about sex are invited to click elsewhere, but consider this: If you are outraged by content that address sex openly and honestly, I invite you to examine this outrage and ask yourself whether it should instead be directed at those who oppress us by policing our sexuality.
For all others, enjoy the slideshow. And feel free to leave your own suggestions of sex and dating topics in the comments.
Hungry for more? Follow me on Twitter @BadAlexCheves and visit my blog, The Beastly Ex-Boyfriend.
Forget everything you were told. Forget everything you heard from your peers or your parents when you were growing up. Misconceptions abound about how gay men fuck, how our bodies work, how much sex we have, and what we really do. Ignore the hype and see for yourself, and welcome to the beautiful, breathtaking, agonizing, and life-affirming world of gay sex.
You’ll fuck for years before you learn what works for you, how it feels, how you want it to feel, and what you need to do to get better at it. It takes a few awesome hookups as well as some frustrated nights, failed hookups, messy sheets, and angry crying in the shower before you get in your bottoming groove. Don’t give up. You can bottom like a porn star — with practice.
I still feel “bottom shame.” I still feel a little embarrassed when I say I’m a bottom. I was in the closet for the first 18 years of my life and I remember the things my peers in school would say. They knew I was gay and so did I. I think, perhaps, we were all just daring me to say it aloud.
For some reason, homophobes assume all gay men are bottoms — the concept of dom tops must be too much for them. When guys on my varsity football team joked about how I wanted a dick in my butt, it struck a chord of shame in me, because I did want a dick in my butt, and I feared they knew. I wondered if they could read my mind. (I used to fantasize about double penetration with the quarterback and the left tackle.)
Bottoms bear the worst of cultural homophobia. Homophobes hate us because, among other reasons, the only thing they hate more than women is feminized men, and in their warped view of the world, heavy with antiquated gender norms, getting penetrated is the ultimate form of feminization.
Cultures the world over all place heavy ideas on butts. Depending on who you ask and what their background is, big butts are sexy, but their function is disgusting. Get this: Butts are juicy packs of muscle that support your back and work hard every day to make you move. But they are also ports of waste and gas release that may or may not be smelly.
Between those two hurdles (forgive me) falls gay life. Here’s a tip: Don’t glorify asses without forgetting what they are or what they do. Don’t let the unavoidable possibility of encountering shit deter you from loving your butt or loving someone else’s butt. You have to love your butt in order to show it off, wield it as a weapon, shake it on a dance floor, back it up on a guy’s crotch, and rock it on a pool deck at a gay Speedo party (if you’ve never been to one, it’s coming). Love your butt.
On your bottoming journey, you’ll have to learn some biology. Some foods are a no-go. And get this: Not all your no-go foods are no-go foods for everyone else, because some guys can eat whatever they want and bottom like a champ four hours later. You have to learn how your body works. A lot of this is science and biology: the process of digestion and consumption, how fitness and training regimens and certain chemicals reliably quicken or slow your “clock,” and how to “read” your body, relax your muscles, and experience intense, mind-blowing pleasure. You do all this through trial, error, and actual reading. Get on the internet. There are many world-class bottoms out there who are more than willing to share their expertise with the world — myself included. I also recommend Woody Miller’s excellent book How to Bottom Like a Porn Star.
Forget the lie that there are more bottoms than tops in the world, and that tops have their pick of the land. Not only is this subtly sexist, misogynist, and patently false, but you’re also not in a competition with other bottoms to find the best cock. Remember: Anyone who gets to fuck you, even if they’re a random in the back of a sex club, is lucky. Even if you’re into dominant/submissive role play, you are still equal in power to your partner — and good dominants, the ones you want to play with, know this.
Even if you’re a cock-loving, bend-me-over-in-a-bathroom cum dump (ahem), you should face the fact that your aversion to topping will almost certainly change. That’s what sexual interests do.
Gay men the world over agree that most guys become more versatile as they age. I think that at some point we realize how silly it is to close ourselves off to an entire half of the gay sex experience.
Homophobes aren’t the only ones who give us “bottom shame.” We all contribute to it. How often do you hear gay men cracking a joke about tops?
The next time a guy rolls his eyes and says, “She’s a bottom,” tell him, “Fuck, yeah.” Don’t let the jokes defeat your power.
Many, many homos will disagree with me on this, but I stand by it. You can fall for someone who likes getting fucked just as much as you do. That’s because, although we are physically minded creatures, our desires work in weird ways. You like who you like, sexually and romantically, and you can’t change it if you fall for another bottom.
What to do in this situation? Talk about it with them. Do not write them off because you both play for the same team. See people as more than their sex role. I know long-term gay couples who both lean bottom. They play with tops, have relationships with tops, but at the end of the day their primary focus is each other. There are many, many solid gay relationships out there between two tops, and generally we accept these more easily (thanks, again, to traces of cultural misogyny and the warped ways we view people who like to get fucked). But relationships between two bottoms are more common than you might think.
The ass can handle a lot, but there’s nothing worse than those little fissures you get when you play too rough, particularly in the beginning of your bottoming experience, which can take months to heal. Start with small toys, fingers with trimmed nails, lots of lube, and slow speed. Work your way up.
Some guys love getting used, degraded, and reduced to just a hole (raising my hand here). It’s hot. But while this is a space I like to get into for much of my sex life, it’s not my entire sex life and does not reflect how I truly view myself as a person or how I want others to view me. Sometimes I want to be held, appreciated, cared for, and valued — usually by people I care for and value in return. Sometimes I want to get fucked brutally by them. Even if you enjoy degradation scenes, remember that your worth as a person is not the same as the role-play you enjoy. In other words: We are more than our sex role. I’m not just a bottom — submissive or otherwise. I’m a complex, passionate, talented human being who simply likes playing this way. It is important to understand this.
Years ago, my father made it clear he believed gay men were gay because of sex. To him as well as to many other people, gay men would otherwise be heterosexual if not for an urge — one they can get rid of through the power of prayer.
His views have softened since then, but people all over the world feel this way — including many queer people. This idea ignores the truth proved the world over that love, trust, and care can exist between two people — any two people — regardless of their gender.
Regardless if you’re a bottom or a top or how much you love sex, these necessities — love, trust, and care — are what pull us through the dark.