Are You a Top, Bottom…or Side?

Note: This post is about sex but it isn’t graphic. You should be mature enough to read this post.

When it comes to the gay male community, we have had some constants in our lives. For as long as anyone can remember, we’ve always had two predominant roles when it comes to sex. Top and bottom.

For anyone not down with LGBT terms like those, here is a quick run down:

Top: The person who prefers to do the penetrating during anal sex

Bottom: The person who prefers to be penetrated during anal sex

There is also a third option here: Versatile. Versatile means a person prefers to both top and bottom and can switch between the two roles.

I think it’s always been assumed that these are the main roles that gay men take when engaging in hook ups or relationships with each other.

It seems that in the recent years though, a new position has emerged. How do I know that? I have been doing some research. Why? I have never really cared for the realm of anal sex. I always thought that to be a bit peculiar because I am a gay man. Naturally, I should be into it somehow.

But I’m not. I don’t identify with either role. The idea of them don’t really turn me on. In searching the vast landscape of knowledge called the internet, I learned of a growing group of men who identity as what is called a “side”.

A side is a person who prefers making out and oral as sexual role. Anal sex is not our desire. I say our because I identify as this. A side. This is still confusing for a lot of people so that is why I am sharing this knowledge with all of you.

Just a few weeks ago I hooked up with a handsome gentleman. He asked me about my role preference and I shared with him the idea of a side. He was fascinated by the idea but also confused. Again, it’s new.

The challenge that people seem to have with this approach to sex is that, to them, it’s not sex. It’s just messing around. How can you possibly be in a relationship with someone and not have penetration? For a side, making out and oral are the equivalent to getting off in a top or bottom role.

I think it is incredibly important for anyone who identifies as a side to be able to come out and express their sexual preferences. In order to that, we need more visibility around this. I am sure there are plenty of sides who also top/bottom as well. But knowing what someone’s primary preference is could go a really long way for intimacy, and more importantly, respect for that person.

Intimacy is allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open up to someone. Letting them into parts of ourselves we don’t just share with everyone. How we express intimacy is unique to each of us.

Let me know what questions you have!

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