Did you know that self-described tops and bottoms don’t just conform to that specific job description? Tops aren’t just about sticking it in a butt, and bottoms aren’t just about taking it in the rear. For instance, tops are also more likely to be the dominant partner in (consensual) verbal abuse during sex, and even piss on their partners.
Because being a top is more than just being the one who finds a hole to stick it in. It’s about behavior as much as action. For Scientific American, Jesse Bering goes through recent studies about men who have sex with other men, and finds plenty of generalizations for us to argue with!
Compared to bottoms, tops are more frequently engaged in (or at least they acknowledge being attracted to) other insertive sexual behaviors. For example, tops also tend to be the more frequent insertive partner during oral intercourse. In fact, this finding of the generalizability of top/bottom self-labels to other types of sexual practices was also uncovered in a correlational study by David Moskowitz, Gerulf Reiger and Michael Roloff. In a 2008 issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, these scientists reported that tops were more likely to be the insertive partner in everything from sex-toy play to verbal abuse to urination play.
Oh, and tops hate themselves more!
Tops were more likely than both bottoms and versatiles to reject a gay self-identity and to have had sex with a woman in the past three months. They also manifested higher internalized homophobia—essentially the degree of self-loathing linked to their homosexual desires.
But what about that grey area we haven’t mentioned yet? You know, the versatile guys? Good news!
Versatiles seem to enjoy better psychological health. Hart and his coauthors speculate that this may be due to their greater sexual sensation seeking, lower erotophobia (fear of sex), and greater comfort with a variety of roles and activities.
And how about guys who refuse any anal play at all? Sorry, we’ve got nothing for you, but we hope you’re satisfied with that.