You have a deep, dark secret. You’re carrying around something shameful, something you feel like you can’t even tell your best gay friend. No, it’s not some vintage STD like crabs, or a sweaty armpit fetish… you’re simply a gay man… who doesn’t like anal sex. Gasp!
Believe it or not, many gay guys struggle with how to navigate this, feeling like it’s somehow not acceptable in a community that often demands we label ourselves “top,” “bottom,” or “vers.” So let’s explore what if means if you’re a “side”–meaning, you don’t like/partake in anal sex–because it’s way more common among gay men than people think…
The first question to ask yourself is why don’t you like anal sex?
For some guys, it has to do with the idea of not being “clean.” Let’s face it, we’re talking about insertion in the same place where our body eliminates things it doesn’t need. It takes some concerted effort and work to manage feeling, smelling, and looking clean, from certain diet choices to hygiene regimens. For some, this is just an immediate turn off, and isn’t something they want to work through, and that’s OK!
For other guys, it has to do with the penetration or insertion into another body, which can be a very vulnerable thing. If you’re the bottom, you literally have to accept someone else inside you. You can’t feel much more defenseless than that. For the top, it involves taking on that responsibility, and might just seem like too much for some.
There’s also the risk of sexual transmitted diseases. Those who have anal sex are at higher risk for transmitting HIV or other STDs, and the risk is even greater for the person being penetrated. Of course, there several effective ways to prevent HIV and STD transmission–from condoms to PREP or being undetectable–but for some it can simply create an anxiety that’s not worth the payoff.
If any of these are the case, there’s the possibility of working through your fears with a therapist or another supportive person, including a comfortable and patient sex partner with whom you can experiment. Many times, our fears are unfounded or based in something irrational, in which case we can get past them.
But it’s also possible that you simply aren’t that into it. Some guys just aren’t. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that either!
Unfortunately, in the world of Grindr, where people literally identify themselves by their preferred positions, it can seem like not having anal sex isn’t an option. It’s such a part of the cultural norm or conversation in the gay world, that it feels wrong to not be into it. Many guys don’t even refer to it as being “sex” unless it involves anal penetration.
I’d like to begin perpetuating a new belief about this. Sex is sex, no matter what “kind” of sex it is. From oral, to hands, to toys, any kind of sex act is still sex. It doesn’t have to involve anal penetration to be a fulfilling, intimate, and hot. So instead of seeing anything other than anal as “less than,” begin to see it as “equal to.”
When a guy asks you what kind of sex you’re into, you don’t even need to point out that you aren’t into anal sex. You can simply refer to the things you like to do besides anal, as they are just as valid. And if your potential partner rejects you when he finds out you’re not into anal, then it’s his loss, and he is truly limiting himself.
Whatever your reasons for not being into anal sex, it’s OK. Just remember that communication is key. The important thing is to share your feelings, desires, and concerns with your partner(s). And don’t forget these four words: anal sex isn’t everything!
Jake Myers is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and the founder of Gay Therapy Space, the first online therapy platform for and by the LGBTQ community. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy.
It’s really not all that uncommon. I’d say almost half of the homosexual or overall homo-leaning guys I’ve known well either hate anal sex or simply don’t frequently indulge it. “Straight” people and even a decent amount of homosexuals seem to think being into dudes is almost entirely about being into ass and dick. That’s hardly the case. Folks love to reduce attractions, sexual behaviors, passions, romantic feelings, relationships, preferences to mere body parts and behaviors. That’s not the case for many if not most. However, man ass and engaging in anal has always been a thing for me.
Any guy who has the delusion that he’s such a “stud” that he must top every man he hooks up, or it’s not “sex” is incredibly boring. There are a vast number of sexual activities two men can do that are equally, or more exciting than “poke-a-hole”. I have lots of buttons and triggers that can cause me to have an orgasm, including anal; and I hope he is imaginative enough to hit most of those spots before we’ve finished. If he only knows how to do one thing, he can easily be replaced by a dildo. If he’s just looking for a hole to fill, he should find a knothole in a hollow tree.
I’ve had to have an unfortunate amount of conversations with grown ass, seemingly mature and smart adults concerning sex. It’s surprising how ignorant people are when it comes to other folks. A decent amount of “straight” people still seem to think that being “gay” means simply being obsessed with penis and/or being grossed out being grossed out by pvssy. They don’t comprehend loving male affections, loving male passions, loving a male romantic bond, being comfortable/content in a same-sex relationship. Some don’t even understand the concept of topping only or why a dude would be into dudes If he wasn’t all about getting fvcked. We should collectively be past the point of thinking everyone is pleased by the same stuff or has similar motivations. But, oh well.
You’re right man.
I get not enjoying bottoming but who can’t understand the appeal of topping, I mean you jerk off don’t you it’s like that but better…
Ahhh……finally a good article from Queerty. And spot on. Me personally, I don’t like getting poked. It hurts. I never got any pleasure out of it, and I refuse to do a sex act I don’t get any pleasure from. But I love to poke. 🙂 But I’ve also hooked up plenty of times without anal as well. And that’s ok. As the article states, there are many ways to enjoy sex without anal.
Anal sex is great man nothing compares to it.
There many ways to enjoy sex without anal penetration, my lifetime partner of 57 years, married 15 years, had many years of sex.
I don’t tally understand why two tops or bottoms could get married, what for?
Do we go out of our way to make things harder? WHO cares? This is something that should only come up between the man that doesn’t like anal and either a sexual partner or someone they want to date and/or marry. Why does it matter to anyone else? Or is this our latest craze? Should we run around screaming I like to get fracked or I only like to frack or finally I like fracking and getting fracked. Does anyone else see how ridiculous this sounds? Gimme a break.
Seriously, tissue should not be publicly discussed like this, this is a personal issue I or couple’s to get married, why are you making it to look like a dead-end point in a gay world?
Great discussion, so true.
Just tell your potential sex partner about your limits from the start so both of you don’t have to go looking for someone else to feel satisfied for the night because of last minute surprises.
My good friend and travel partner for years now is someone I’d probably be married to except he doesn’t do sex. I’ve always been more a bottom and I’m just not going to go for a no sex guy.
See, you are smart enough to not get involved if you won’t be satisfied. I’ve never understood why two tops or two bottoms get together and then go looking for someone to service them, in any fashion. Maybe I’m old fashioned but we did everything we could to have the right to marry and that marriage is between two people. Not whomever you can find on grindr or however it’s spelled.
I mean you can’t help who you love and prefer to be with and have a romantic bond with. If two people wanna get married but indulge sexual activity outside of that marriage it’s their business. It’s not as if all hetero couples are conventionally monogamous.
I love getting plowed and plowing…for me my prostate loves the stimulation and there is nothing better than a tight hole wrapped around my thick inches…
But totally understand and respect those who feel pain or discomfort…however that is not me
We should understand the fact that bottoming is not for everyone but there are some who are made for bottoming.
Much of gay media would have us believe that unless you’re young, white, thin, rich, and having lots of anal sex you aren’t really gay. Having articles with titles like “The struggle is real for gay men who don’t enjoy anal sex” doesn’t help, regardless of what the article actually says. Scientific research and even informal website polls have shown very consistently that a huge percentage of gay men prefer other sex acts over anal sex, and many avoid it completely.
I HAVE to ask. What gay media states that you aren’t really gay if you aren’t white?
I’m of the opinion that bottoming is 95% the providence of under 30-year-olds.
I feel like, at a certain point, unless you want to be incontinent as An older person, then you should leave bottoming to the bottoms of a certain age.
I’ve never heard or read that having anal sex makes you incontinent.
You are as stupider than Trump so congratulations you are REALLY stupid
@rray3, actually, some men develop a rectal prolapse / prolapse rectum as a result of sustained anal sex or other damage to the rectum and sphincter muscle (caused by fisting, constipation, old age, an injury to the hip or rectum, nerve damage, etc.), etc.
You can get surgery–if you have health care and can afford it, of course–to correct it, but it does occur. It also is more common in women than men, if you can believe that. But Google it if you don’t believe me.
The notion that anal sex leads to a weakened sphincter or even incontinence is a gay urban myth (unless you’re talking fisting or something very extreme). The sphincter is a muscle, and, like all muscles, the more you exercise it, the stronger it is. As anyone who has had sex with a very experience bottom will know, they are generally much tighter and have much more control. The oft-repeated observation that someone who has had loads of anal sex will be loose, is not just wrong, it’s the total opposite of the truth. It’s a shame this article doesn’t do something to challenge some of these myths, rather than just indulging us with more useless “you’re okay” blather.
Glad I’m not alone in this, nothing related to anal is appealing to me, In the past, I’d top guys if they wanted but never really enjoyed it and now with most bottoms demanding you top them bareback it’s a definite no go for me.
jf3.0 Where do you get your information about gay sex – your grandmother, or your pastor? Actually I think you are a Christian troll trying to plant disinformation here to freak people out. Butt sex does not cause incontinence and nobody has ever suggested such a thing except you. What a douche.
I’m in my late 50’s and I have done anal less than 10 times. At first it was the terror of AIDS, then after trying a few times I quit. It took me forever to orgasm while topping and the bottom would get tired. I tried bottoming and toys and it didn’t do anything for me. I could fantasize about it, but the reality was meh. I’ve tried again over the years, but oral is fine and hands are great, too. Never had either complaints about it or trouble finding someone willing. Most straight guys I know have to settle for strictly missionary position so we are still ahead…LOL.
PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
I prefer sideways…..
who care what you prefer?
I used to have a fear/hate of bottoming. I topped frequently and never “got into” bottoming. Then, I had the right partner, who knew how to warm you up and make it enjoyable. Love being vers now. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. Not saying everyone should do it, but if you’re only doing quick and pokey, you are missing out on a real fun experience.
This article is less than useless. First, it peddles tired old misconceptions that being on the receiving end of penetrative sex makes one “defenceless”. Really? Since when? What kind of pathetic notion of bottoming do you have to subscribe to that makes this true? Second, the article does nothing to challenge the myths, fears and fallacies that lead to gay guys being unnecessarily wary and fearful of anal sex. Nor does it offer any practical advice on how to overcome those fears, and possibly discover a whole new world of pleasure. Merely telling people “it’s okay to by fearful” is ridiculously half-arsed, if you’ll pardon the expression.
One cannot have a discussion about gay men and anal sex without talking about what I call the terrible three: stigma, shame and fear. The author tries to do just that with this everyone is “valid” schtick we see so much of from “lgbtq+” therapist.
We are all different individuals and our bodies respond to stimuli in different ways.
But we have to be honest with ourselves;we internalize so many of the negative attitudes about anal sex between men. Knowing the difference between fear and shame and someone’s sexual taste can be tricky. This article was not very helpful in that regard.
I do agree that the article doesn’t dive into the multitude of reasons dudes avoid sex. (And yes, internalized homophobia, paranoia, not wanting to feel “effemisized” and shame are some things that guild people). But you can’t expect any real depth from this site. If anything, the articles are launching pads to more in-depth conversation.
I do feel like the stigma behind anal sex (particularly bottom shaming) is lessening. That’s partially because more men who present themselves as “straight” or at least overall mostly into chicks are admitting to indulging anal play. But just like shaming people for indulging anal sexual acts is slowly lessening so is the shame some men feel about just not being that into it. More men are admitting that they’re really into dudes but just aren’t particularly into anal play. And that’s okay as well. Everyone is driven by different shit. And yes, some of the things that drive some people are problematic.
Anal sex is a sexual fetish, not a sexual orientation.
It’s not a “fetish” in and of itself. It’s just a sexual act. I love eating and fvcking man ass. It’s not nearly all I like about being romantically, sexually, emotionally attached to males, but it is a perk. If anal sex represented all or the entire kick I got out of male connection then it’d be closer to “fetish”. You can sexualize conventional hetero sex. If a guy’s sexual connection to women is all about vagina and fvcking pvssy and he doesn’t have much romantic connection, emotional/relationship contentment towards females then he’s borderline fetishizing women and hetero sexual behaviors. Presenting male-male sexuality, passion, affection to mere anal sex makes “gay” come off as one-note. It is partially our ‘community’s fault considering how there’s still so much focus on “tops” and “bottoms”, how much people overemphasize sex and give so much weight to sexual behaviors, and how there’s still so much reducing people to body parts.
Ultimately, just let people do what they do. If folks are clearly driven by problematic shit then call them out. Otherwise, chill out. There are people (including some homos) who do not understand how someone can be homosexual or identify as “gay“ without being into anal and why a guy would really want to be with a dude if they’re not all that into anal play. That’s the type of ignorance that needs to end. indulging/enjoying anal sex is not a validation of your identity or your preferences or any part of your orientation. We need to stop placing so much importance on sexual acts.
Well said. I totally agree
True, but this never used to be a thing. Unfortunately this phenomenon has gotten worse in recent years. It’s because young guys now get ALL their cues from porn, as discussed often in these comments. Anal sex tends to look more, um, dramatic on video than other kinds of sex. The ubiquity of Grindr reifies those attitudes because they have to label themselves right away. A young guy told me here that hey, there’s no “gay culture” anymore except for porn so that’s all they have to go on.
As for the labels “top” and “bottom,” in the past I doubt anyone thought these labels were strictly limited to anal sex. After all they can easily apply to oral sex too, or simply to a general attitude. Instead we end up with this weird situation where oral sex is not even considered to be “real” sex.
Maybe the simplest way out of this trap is to realize that porn is not really supposed to be a “how to” instruction video for IRL.
Everyone seems to have their own idea of what “gay” is supposed to look like and supposed to be, and it’s done a decent amount of harm. Porn, hook-up apps, social media and identity politics have led to people having to constantly justify their identities and/or their behaviors. The whole “gay” means being into anal sex is one of the many side effects. Just like believing not indulging anal equates to being “cleaner” or equates to being more of a “real man” or equates to being more of a “straight guy”.
Wow! The point has been reached where people are actually answering themselves in the comment section.
Hey Bob, that just means you can label him “versatile” rather than a top or a bottom. Or maybe it’s more like masturbation. One of those two!
OMG, I’m scared to try, I ask my friends and they said it hurt at first. LOL
its shi*tty mess and not worth the effort…. like someone noted above; bottoming is a young man’s sport
I’ve never experienced a shi**y mess in all my years of enjoying anal sex as a top and a bottom. But then, I have never been a lazy slob about my personal hygiene.
The Jesus freaks must be celebrating that their decades of mocking gay men with vile disinformation about anal sex is finally beginning to work.
I’ve only topped maybe 4 times and yes one of those times was a ‘shi**y mess’ but I didn’t enjoy it before that nasty experience or after.
Here we go again… redefining gay sex to mean something that it is not. Anal penetration equals real and proper intimate and connected sex. Anything else is just playing and pretending, all be it meaningfully to some. Sure it is alright not to like anal, but let’s just call a thing a thing and stop making something else an illusion of another thing. If you do not like anal sex fine, but then consider an open or poly relationship so the other person who does like anal can get their joy satisfaction and fulfillment if all you ever only want to do is oral and handjob.
There are couples where both parties don’t particularly enjoy anal sex or at least don’t need it in their lives. It’s not that unusual. Furthermore, you can’t find any definition of “gay” or “homosexual” as indulging and enjoying anal sex. Whether you see things as being about attractions or passions or sexual enjoyment or romantic affections or relationship contentment or some mix of those things- none of that equates to anal activity.
Comments are closed.