STUDY: Your Face Gives Away Whether You’re A Top Or Bottom

brokebackAccording to that drunk drag queen at the end of the bar a study from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, stereotypes exist for a reason.

The report, Accurate Identification of a Preference for Insertive Versus Receptive Intercourse from Static Facial Cues of Gay Men, claims “naïve observers” (straight strangers?) can correctly identify the top or bottom in a gay male relationship based on facial features and “perceived masculinity”:

In intercourse between men, one of the partners typically assumes the role of an insertive partner (top) while the other assumes a receptive role (bottom). Although some research suggests that the perceptions of potential partners’ sexual roles in gay men’s relationships can affect whether a man will adopt the role of top or bottom during sexual intercourse, it remains unclear whether sexual roles could be perceived accurately by naïve observers.

In Study 1, we found that naïve observers were able to discern men’s sexual roles from photos of their faces with accuracy that was significantly greater than chance guessing. Moreover, in Study 2, we determined that the relationship between men’s perceived and actual sexual roles was mediated by perceived masculinity. Together, these results suggest that people rely on perceptions of characteristics relevant to stereotypical male–female gender roles and heterosexual relationships to accurately infer sexual roles in same-sex relationships.

Thus, same-sex relationships and sexual behavior may be perceptually framed, understood, and possibly structured in ways similar to stereotypes about opposite-sex relationships, suggesting that people may rely on these inferences to form accurate perceptions.

So does this mean that versatile guys are two-faced?

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  • DickGreenleaf

    Have these people never heard of “bossy bottoms”?

  • yaoming

    I’m calling BS.

  • Chris-MI

    I always figured being a bottom had something to do with how your prostrate was wired. Now I see that is mysteriously caused by gay face. Huh.

  • hf2hvit

    @Chris-MI: “PROSTRATE”?!?! REALLY?!?! Are you some ignorant straight guy. Use a dictionary…or GOOGLE. THere’s a huge difference between “PROSTRATE” and “PROSTATE”…

    If you’re going to stroke it, at least know what it is…

  • knoxxy2008

    LOL thats BS.

  • the other Greg

    I’m surprised you’re all so dubious about this. Anyone who came out back in the bar days, before (anti) social media, knows there’s something to this. Most guys could somehow “tell” what the others were into, just by visual cues. Everyone managed to hook up without much verbal interrogation, never mind a lengthy typed questionnaire. It may be difficult to define such things in plain language, but they are real enough. Apparently a natural emotional process like this seems mysterious and arcane to anyone who’s used to spelling everything out explicitly online?

    @hf2hvit: That’s an easy mistake, since stimulating your prostate tends to be more fun when you’re prostrate!

  • TinoTurner

    I had the worlds biggest crush on this guy in DC when I lived there. One day, he asks me out, we begin dating and taking things slow. He came across as a tough guy/macho/uber masculine. We eventually get in bed and he lays there like a total corpse just begging to be banged like a little woman…it was totally a turn off.

  • southsam7

    What if you’re neither top nor bottom? Stupid study.

  • tdx3fan

    I would definitely have to say that is is over generalization. This might apply to their sample, but there is no way this can be generalized to the entire population. Naturally occurring relationships just have way to many variables to be this simplistic. Also, there is no mention of the truly versatile person that switches roles constantly depending on who their partner is or what they feel like that day.

  • John

    I wonder how this study aligns with other studies showing that most gay men are actually vers and 1 in 5 of them don’t have anal sex? If you’re only sampling self-professed total tops and bottoms then obviously you’re not taking a representative sample of the gay population, since they’re a minority. Though I’m sure no gay man would EVER lie about his preference; oh no, us gay men know that that NEVER happens. Rather, we all try to emulate straight people because it is our dream to live heteronormative lives based on the stereotypes created for us by straight people. You can tell from the comment section just how much us gay people can relate to that sentiment in our personal lives. Clearly they nailed it.

  • tdx3fan

    @the other Greg: Personal experience is not a basis for actual science. In your knowledge, everyone knew what everyone was into because you claim you knew what everyone was into… except for all those times that you were wrong that you probably do not remember as well as the times you thought you were right. Even then, you might not have actually been right and the guy just played along because he was into you. Sexuality (bottom/top, gay/straight/bi, etc.) is fluid and always changing.

  • the other Greg

    @TinoTurner: He was breaking the social convention. He may even have been borderline autistic (not that there’s anything wrong with that). When in doubt, grope!

    @southsam7: Well when you meet someone the first time, you’re probably going to be one or the other, at least that one time? And you &/or the other guy can often “tell” somehow, without either of you tediously explaining it. It’s not rocket science.

  • the other Greg

    @tdx3fan: hmm.. you’re definitely on to something, I’ll think about that.

  • rcs831

    @hf2hvit: I dated a bafoon years ago that always called it a prostrate. I was like, “Really? are you that dumb?” He also used to call small figured women ‘pateak’. I think he meant petite. He was so stupid but his IQ was the same as his cock length.

  • jwrappaport

    @TinoTurner: We clearly have radically different notions of the concept of “turn-off.” jaja

  • DonW

    Hmm. I consider myself vers but I sure love to bottom. And yet it’s almost always bottoms who come on to me, and I dutifully bang them. Maybe I need plastic surgery so my face reads more accurately.

  • Spike

    Wow, brilliant study, basically confirms that str8ts project masculine/feminine stereotypes. on gay males, who knew???

  • Cam

    How about Tops nails are shorter but bottoms look better?

  • seaki

    Study is bogus, SOMEONE has NOT heard of *bears & cubs. Typical, straight folks TRYING their hardest to figure us out and place us in neat, little labels! SORRY its NOt going to happen. We are men, and make love to who we want,….and many times that just depends on the MOMENT, chemistry, alcohol,etc. Give it up Straight-ees!

  • Polaro

    Anal sex is over-rated. Just my opinion, mind you.

  • southsam7

    @the other Greg: I don’t have anal sex but I identify as gay so what about that?

  • hyhybt

    As with many other things, a generalization is fine until you take it too seriously and insist everybody fit it.


    Wow, what a bunch of BS. I’m a versatile gay man and this study isn’t real…

  • B Damion

    I love being a bottom.

    A lot of bottoms fail to realize that they have all the power in the relationship. I get lunch delivered to me at work, when I complain I usually get my way in most disagreements.

    I get what I want in the bedroom and then he gets what he wants. My man is trained. Yes..sure he can be a stubborn Taurus..but you just have to break that bull in..wink..wink!

  • Vallin

    Can they tell a switch-bitch on sight? (I’m ve-ry ver-sa-tile…)

  • Studcubmike

    Seriously this has no bearing on anything. Yeah some guys look like tops, some look like bottoms, but you never know until you get them in bed. Even then things may turn out different depending on vibe. But I guess most guys tend to lean significantly one way or the other, but facial recognition of that is lame. Let’s go back to the hanky code of the old days that let you know what was expected, wanted, and appreciated. Yeah I know old school.

  • EvonCook

    Want to make a longer comment about all this BS later when I have more time. Love the comments so far. But I just want to thank you for the very beautiful photo that starts this off. Those are two beautiful and sensitive men, and pretty brave actors in a still homophobic Hollywood, even if the story was ultimately a really sad one.

  • southsam7

    @Studcubmike: yes hanky code

  • dc.196434

    in my 28 yr relationship there is no such thing as a top or bottom- its called whoever is in the mood for what. My spouse is one of the most masculine men you will meet- no one even know he is gay- but lets face it – even he loves when i pound him a good one.

  • Eric Auerbach

    You can totally tell who’s a bottom and who’s a top. You guys are bad at being gay.

  • dc.196434

    @TinoTurner: how could that be a turn off- i would have nailed him hard.

  • hyhybt

    @Eric Auerbach: Is that why certain people like to go on about “practicing homosexuals?”

  • Eric Auerbach

    @hyhybt: Exactly. Practice makes perfect.

  • JustinMar

    28 YEARS?!!?! Congrats to you two!! I’m on year 3 and I cant imagine being with my man for another day and also can imagine life without him. It’s sick.

  • Caleb in SC

    @Eric Auerbach: No, practice makes pervert.

  • mike1988

    Hard to believe that this study was actually accepted by a peer reviewed psychology journal.

  • ecllips

    @tdx3fan: Sexuality is not always fluid and changing. Sorry to burst your bubble. Some people like to play around a bit between thing but that isn’t everyone’s style. I for one know that my sexuality hasn’t changed and I do not see it ever changing.

Comments are closed.