I’m a Top……….ish.
In the history of my 18-year sexual career I’ve only been on the receiving end 2 times in my entire life (I can even give the exact dates if needed). The fact that I actually enjoyed the second time is the reason that I add the “ish” to being a Top. This was 11 years ago, though, so I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m versatile.
So for the majority of my life as a practicing gay man, I’ve mostly only dealt with Bottoms or Versatile Bottoms when dating. In that time I’ve gotten a quick education on what my perceived duties were as the Top when dealing with Bottoms, even outside of the bedroom.
While it varies depending on the guy I’m seeing, as the Top I’m usually expected to be assertive, opinionated, decisive and aggressive. Many Bottoms have expected me to do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to approaching, initiating conversation and even choosing where we go on a date. Some even expect to be treated to meals and drinks.
True there are Masculine Bottoms, Feminine Bottoms, Versatile Bottoms and Power Bottoms…but all of them are expected to be Submissive to some degree.
Submissive is a loaded word. It instantly makes many tough gay men think of being a “punk” or a “bitch.”
However, by definition, a man who prefers to be on the receiving end of sexual penetration is the submissive partner. There’s no way around that. This shouldn’t be taken as a pejorative. In many occasions, Tops love having a man who lets them take control, not only during sex but also their social interactions.
But can a man be a little TOO submissive?
Early on in my dating career I overheard a couple of black gay men talking in the restroom of a gay club. One of them said to the other, “How you gonna be a Shy Top? These dudes in here are lame! Standing around not saying nothing!”
Up until then, I always assumed that meeting men in bars was not the same as when heterosexuals met each other. I thought, we’re two men…its totally the norm for men to approach each other like guys do, no matter the sexual roles/positions.
Typically in heterosexual situations, the man approaches the woman. If a woman makes the first move, its often seen as desperate, aggressive or off-putting. The woman should be submissive and wait to be approached by the man who was confident and attracted enough to make the first move.
In my online dealings with Feminine Bottom Feminists, they seemed to cry out against Heteronormativity (the perpetuation of stereotypical male/female roles), yet on social media they seemed to display their overt preference for taking on a submissive woman’s role in a heterosexual relationship. This applies to non-feminine Bottoms as well though.
When I go out with one of my friends, who’s also a Bottom (or Versatile Bottom, I’m not quite sure), he always tells me that he “NEVER approaches anyone, he gets CHOSEN.” (An exact quote)
One Bottom that I briefly courted would always ask me, “So when are YOU taking ME out?” He never said, “when are WE going out…” as I expected.
Another Bottom agreed to going out with me after I expressed interest in him only to then insist that I pick him up, even though he had his own car (one much newer and nicer than mine, I might add).
Yet another Bottom I met on Tinder got to the point where we exchanged numbers…only to have him ask, “So when are you gonna call me?” “I’m still waiting for that call.” “You still haven’t used my number.”
Like…you have my number too, bro…Its okay for you to call first too.
Maybe its just me.
In nearly all of the Black gay novels, films, movies and web series created in the past 20 year, the Bottoms are depicted as essentially being the submissive wife or girlfriend. They pine over the Top masculine men, wonder if those men really love them and cry if they even get a hint that they are being cheated on.
So maybe all Bottoms are supposed to be extremely submissive, including the “masculine” ones. Maybe they all want to be wined and dined. Maybe they all want to be pursued. Maybe they all want to become “kept men.” Maybe they want to be swept off their feet.
What are your thoughts? Just how SUBMISSIVE should a Bottom be?