Fannie Fierce

Bottoming Blues

Filed By Fannie Fierce | December 21, 2007 10:36 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: anal sex, bottoming, sex

Dear Fannie,

I'm 24, gay, male, white... so the top of the gay pecking order. I've been with my boyfriend for a good 3 months. Like any normal gay couple, we f*ck like bunnies, which is great... if only I liked it. My boyfriend is an out and out top, and I'm... I guess a bottom by default in that I don't like to top. The only problem is that I don't like bottoming either. It's not that I dislike bottoming. It's not excessively painful or anything... It just does nothing for me. And it's not just my boyfriend, I've taken it from plenty of guys, and it's the same with all of them. I'm afraid of telling my boyfriend that I don't like him topping me, since we've been having sex for 3 months, and I still haven't told him.

--Not a Top, but Not Yet a Bottom

NATBNYAB,

First, Thanks for acknowledging your privileged space in the gay hierarchy! There's nothing better than a self-reflexive question to start the day! So your boyfriend is pitching to his heart's delight, but you're an unenthusiastic receiver (I think I'm mixing my sports metaphors). I think your question is really speaks to how gay sexuality is not only scripted, but constructed with traditional notions of masculinity. Also, kudos on the Britney reference, SO much better than the last person to use that same song as a pseudonym.

Not to beat the gender studies gong again (and I do believe it to be a gong), but the more I see of western gayness, the more I see it playing into patriarchy. This includes the way that we think about sex as exclusively penetrative. I find it strange how in gay male sexuality, your sexual identity isn't only constrained by object choice (i.e. men) but also our coital position (top or bottom). Being a top or bottom in many ways defines us in the same way that being gay defines us. And with those labels come a host of associations. Tops are butch and masculine, and bottoms are femme and fabulous. Obviously, plenty of people resist or refute these stereotypes, but chances are that if one see a flame burning bright, one also assumes that he assumes the position.

There's another lovely category that in some ways attempts to resist that binary, being the versatile. But, even that category presumes the preeminence of anal sex as the pinnacle of the homosex acts. To not be a top, but not like bottoming shatters the schema of gay sex.

The fact of the matter, NATBNYAB, anal sex is far from the end all be all of gay sex. It may be hard to believe, especially if you're ever seen gay porn, or listen to Pat Robertson (I swear, I learned more about gay sex from frantic anti-gay Christians than from anywhere else)... but there's a lot less butt sex that happens than most people would believe. I know many gay male couples who seldom perform anal sex, if at all. Don't let the categorization of certain sex acts as "foreplay" deceive you. Those "foreplay" acts can be far more satisfying than taking it up the chute could ever be.

As for telling your boyfriend that you don't like playing hide the sausage, believe it or not... he may already know. Unfortunately for gay men, it's much more difficult to fake an orgasm, than it is for women. So, unless your boyfriend is a complete idiot, or profoundly selfish (both possibilities), it won't be a complete shocker if you reveal your secret. Basically be clear that if he enjoys fucking you, he should know that you're doing him a favor. You don't gain any pleasure from it, so his pleasure debt to you mounts with each fuck. It's only fair that if he gets to fuck you, you should be able to request a pleasurable service from him as well. And if can't pleasure you at all... well you've got bigger problems.

++
fiercely,
fannie

send your questions to fannie@bilerico.com
Read the rest of Fannie's column at belowthebelt.org


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OMG this is so right-on. (Just back from vacation, I'm catching up!)

I'm in the same position to a T. (I'm even 24, although I identify as ethnically latino.) I just don't like bottoming or topping, and people assume that means "bottom but doesn't want to admit it." It's like, no, I just don't like anal.

There's so much possibility out there. I'd hate to see anyone get stuck in one position when there's a whole menu of things to enjoy!

Also about the butch/femme top/bottom stereotypes, gawsh that's just a stereotype considering how every bottom I've been with has been pretty butch. But you're right, it's out there.