What is “top privilege”? According to writer Rembrandt Duran, it’s exactly what it sounds like: the act of a top enjoying certain benefits denied to his bottom counterpart.
“Everything from Fleeting to poop shaming to HIV contraction rate, we start to see that we tops have a kind of privilege that our vers and bottom sisters do not have,” Duran writes in a think piece published by Gay Star News.
Duran breaks “top privilege” down into a few different categories.
First, there’s health. When it comes to things like STDs, bottoms are way more vulnerable than tops.
Not only is the risk of HIV and other STI transmission much lower for tops, “but tops have the distinct luxury of being able to identify symptoms of certain STIs more quickly than bottoms.”
Tops also don’t get slut shamed the same way bottoms do, Duran argues.
“There are still many people who see bottoms’ promiscuity as something more shameful, dirty, or ‘slutty’ than that of tops. There seems to be different reasons people ‘bottom shame’ and, truthfully, all of them are dumb as hell.”
Dumb as hell, indeed!
This thought process comes from internalized homophobia and sexist attitudes towards penetration.
Some seem to feel like, ‘Sure, I’m gay but at least I’m a top.’ This belief stems from residual shame after coming out, and the notion that traditionally masculine expressions of sexuality are somehow more valid.
Luckily as I’ve gotten older and delved into more sexually liberated groups of gay people, I encounter less and less of this. But every now and then I’m reminded that there are plenty of people of all ages who still feel this way.
Then, of course, there is the issue of, ahem, prep work. Duran believes bottoms are “upheld to completely ridiculous standards” when it comes to preparing for penetration.
“Not only dietary wise but also supplementary!” he writes. “I’ve seen threads upon threads of tweets and Facebook statuses about what bottoms can do to make sure they have pristine anuses for their tops.”
He continues, “Some people go to certain extremes as taking six fiber pills a day, using multiple Fleet enemas, and not eating for hours prior to a hookup. And while this humble top is no nutritionist, I can’t imagine that’s healthy.”
“As tops,” he writes, “we have to stop demanding such perfection from bottoms.”
h/t: Gay Star News