Top, bottom equals dominant, submissive?

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I took an informal leave of absence from being queer many years back. Rather I stopped caring about sex or being gay. An artifact of my five-year flirtation with heterosexuality.

The designations 'top' and 'bottom' for preferences in gay sex emerged while I was homo hiatus. I think I discovered them via the AOL chatrooms: "Any tops here tonight" was a common question, lament.

Beats some of the terminology for queer sexuality I can remember from long ago:

Greek (anal) active (top)or passive (bottom: sodomized).

French (oral) active (bottom) or passive (top: sucked).

Or so you read them in personal ads. Nobody ever asked me if I was Greek active (yes, and how!).

Don't think versatile was about back then (yeah, sure, it is all fun).

In my recollection the gay world was divided between butch and femme guys. But my memory would be, wouldn't it. Not that I remember anybody saying they were butch (but perhaps I wouldn't). Nor anyone bragging that they were femme. I think the latter was seen mostly in those immortal words of the old personals: "no fems or fatties!" (Is that available on a t-shirt?)

There was the innocent divide between those of us who liked pretty boys (which is almost but not quite what twink means now) and hairy men (happy to be one but never wanted one).

Lots of gay guys back then were very fey. Some were surely straight seeming (hence blocked from visibility by my special blinders). What I do remember is the frequent wish for a "real man." A sensibility that reached it's nadir in the older queens' folklore that only heterosexual men were, uh, real (too much so, don't you think?).

My sense of 'top' and 'bottom' is mostly that it distinguishes those who enjoy being inside a guy's bottom from those whose greatest delight is having a man inside them. Being given to nutty abstract sexual curiosity I've often wondered if the term applies equally to anal sex and fellatio. Many gay tops seem almost heterosexual in their aversion to being penetrated. Are they equally opposed to fellating their partner? Admittedly given the number of gay men for whom sucking cock is the supreme moment of their days they may not want to be on the other side.

Hell, I don't know. Typically I have yet to arrive at what I meant to be this entry's theme.

I've been wondering about the sense or role and personal erotic imagery associated with being a top or bottom. Does the sexual preference encompass more than a liking for having certain nerve endings stimulated?

One fellow I was reading seemed to equate being a bottom with being submissive. Sexually submissive at least. I don't think history would accord with a view that equated a desire to be penetrated with humility. In a weblog I read lately the word top was used as a synonym for S&M master. That was a surprise. It invests considerable role in being the man who fucks or is fucked. Not to imply that it can't or shouldn't be. Many guys like to play or be forced to act the bitch and others in placing them in that erotic mental space. But not every gay man. Or I suspect most. Doggie style, as I guess it has to be called for want of someone being more inventive, is the easiest style of sodomy. You can add a leash but you can't kiss or look each other in the eye. Those being the chief glories of frotting. Though many frotters ideologize the absence of penetration. Another vote for the Foucault position that penetration implies a role.

It can. But it seems a loss of nuance to write as though it always does.

Similiarly themed: More gay male bottoms than tops? and The mystery of bottoms' orgasms.

Comments

Top or Bottom? While it used to be strictly a description of anal sex I believe that usage, (while still valid in chat rooms), just doesn’t have the same meaning in the real world anymore. What I see now is top is the partner that is in control of the relationship. The “husband” if you will, the primary decision maker or maybe the greater breadwinner. Generally older, perhaps wiser and better-educated the “Top” controls the relationship more than a specific sex act.

Butch and Fem are still around but as you so clearly note nobody wants to admit to “Fem” everyone wants “straight acting” as their tag and it’s what they’re looking for. I wonder what kind of sex two straight acting boys (men) might do? Surely if they really were straight acting they wouldn’t get naked and hop into bed with another man?

Twink on the other hand has a very specific meaning and more accurately describes my models and my site. A twink is a boy/man-man/boy. When a teen graduates from High school he’s a boy and four years later when he graduates from college he’s a man. Some where in between those two worlds, he’s a twink. A young man out in the world, that hasn’t lost his sense of innocence or had his heart hardened by the realities of life.

Bottoms may or may not be submissive. Pushy bottoms are a dime a dozen and submissive is now used so much in the bd-sm world and bottoms that might truly be submissives are worried that using that term might lead others to believe their into b&d or s&m (Two very different things)

Tops? Bottoms? Does it really matter much anymore? Do we still feel the need to label ourselves? Should we? Why can’t we just have glorious sex and take turns at every end. Enjoying whatever it is that we enjoy with both of us being Tops or both being Bottoms. Perhaps a new tag is needed Botop? Tottoms?

Or how about Equals?

Yeah, I’m the ‘husband’ was it were in my relationship. In the senses of being more mature and bringing in most of the money. Not that my partner meant for the latter to be the case.

I’ve sometimes wondered how many gay male relationships fall into that kind of pattern. My guess would be that it is a minority among young gay men today. But in watching gay movies when there is a pair of lovers one seems to be older or more masculine if only taller and well built. Never sure if that reflects an unconscious perception on the part of movie makers or just an avoidance of having couples that look like a guy who’s looking into a mirror.

I like ‘bossy bottoms.’

The labels aren’t anything that I take too seriously. Mostly I like to play with them and others’ usage makes me curious.

Hmm. Well, in the bedroom I’m the top, but my partner makes several times more money than I do and is far better organized. I have ADD, he’s a Virgo, work it out. :-) Most things we do based on who’s better at them, things nobody likes we share so the load is as equal as possible, we pay proportionately for joint things so it feels equal. I don’t feel particularly dominant - I’m actually better with a strong man - although somebody said he likes “bossy bottoms” and I have to admit that so do I. One friend of mine used to use the phrase “top from below,” I wonder if there’s a concept “bottom from above”?

I imagine for most people it is too complex a mix to simply say dominant or submissive. Except maybe in bed. (Or I only attract the mostly submissive guys.)

I’m the guy who likes bossy bottoms: I like socially aggressive guys, I’m fairly passive socially. Or used to be, that seems to have faded some with age.

Sounds like you two guys have worked out the nuances of balancing the subtleties of relationship balance.

I like to think it is the case. I am bottom and do certainly believe that the Top should be Dominant over me.

I was lucky when I was screwing around. There were clearly defined tops/butch/dominant/penetrator/masculine/man.

Then there were bottom/fem/submissive(which meant the bottom submits to the man’s sexual need to penetrate and fuck him)/penetrated/effeminate/person.

The former inserted their organ in the latter and the man used the person’s orfices for his pleasure. Then there were versatiles like me who often looked semi-androgenous as far as butch and fem went. I myself was and am masculine acting and looking but I both enjoy putting my meat to those less masculine than I am, as well as my enjoyment of being penetrated and used my men more masculine than I am.

I’m a Bi and in Gay sex, a total bottom. I love to be given enemas, fucked and sucked. I also like cock and ball torture in mild S/M play. While I have no interest in being a top, I’m only interested in being with them. Let’s face it, without tops, there would be no need for bottoms. Of course, that door swings both ways. No bottoms, no tops.

Your feelings?

Please share your feelings about Top, bottom equals dominant, submissive?.
Thanks,
Richard

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