Until recently, writer C. Brian Smith strictly identified as a top for most of his life, partly from internalized homophobia and partly from a fear of “fear of sh*tt*ng the bed while being impaled by a fencepost.” Yikes.
But thanks to a New Year’s resolution to lose his “receptive anal V-card,” Smith recently saw a “bottoming coach”: Ken Howard, founder of GayTherapyLA, the self-described “leading gay men’s specialist therapist in Los Angeles.”
Smith negatively saw bottoming as “subordinate, submissive and feminine,” but Howard reminded him that the submissive partner in gay sex is often seen as assertive and tough for being able to endure potential discomfort for a long time.
One of the “bottom experts” Smith interviewed told him to be patient with his own discomfort over identifying as a bottom since “It takes time to unblind yourself from lifelong assumptions.”
Smith learned the importance of relaxing his two inner anal sphincters and beginning sex in a position that allows the bottom to control the speed of penetration. He also briefly mentioned how some men use poppers to help relax their bodies’ smooth, involuntary muscles.
He also had his butt waxed (though that’s not absolutely necessary for bottoming). You can see his brief chat with the waxing technician below.
Smith also learned that practice before “game day” is essential for helping reduce pain and nervousness. He writes, “Dry(ish) runs can be done at home using nothing more than fingers, toys and deep breathing.” Practicing alone, one can learn how to relax interior muscles under pressure.
Smith also reduced his fear of poop by learning more about pre-sex douching and the importance of fiber for helping with full evacuations. He also got a prescription for pre-exposure prophylactics (PrEP), a medication with greatly reduces the chance of acquiring HIV.
Dr. Mark McCormack, a professor of sociology at the University of Roehampton, London, told Smith, “Decreased homophobia is allowing straight men to be more emotionally intimate and explore anal, but it’s also enabling some gay men to be less concerned about having to prove they’re as macho as their straight counterparts.”
You really should read Smith’s hilariously honest and full article about his quest to find his inner bottom. He’s also written funny and insightful pieces on the history of men’s no-frill lingerie, masturbating in his childhood home and his attempts to achieve the perfect butt.