Of the many user-submitted Urban Dictionary definitions for the term “side,” the three most popular all describe a man “who does not partake in anal-penetrative sex” but “will engage in other forms of same-sex activity: fellatio, frottage, mutual masturbation, etc.”
And after one Reddit user in the r/askgaybros forum asked if it was difficult to date with those preferences, a bunch of self-identified sides weighed in.
“Yeah, it’s a little bit of a challenge at times, but I’ve done alright,” one replied. “Lot of guys are often quite relieved they don’t have to do penetrative sex.”
“Side here,” said another. “No, it’s not hard to find partners. Lots of guys are not into anal.”
Replied a third: “Never heard of this term to describe it before, but I would mostly consider myself a side then. I will get into anal play as a top if a partner really wants it, but otherwise, I would way prefer leaving it out. As for is it difficult to find partners? Nah, I just tend to be pretty clear about what I am looking for/into and if that doesn’t do it for someone, then no harm done.”
Indeed, one of the Urban Dictionary contributors echoed those words to the wise: “As with anything, discuss any risks and comfort levels with any potential partner(s) prior to having sex. Have real conversations.”
However, one Reddit user said he’s been communicative about his side identity and hasn’t been so lucky. “I’ve noticed that since I put it on my Grindr profile I don’t get even half as many messages/replies,” he wrote.
That’s frustrating — because as we’ve previously reported here at Queerty, gay guys who aren’t into penetrative sex are surprisingly commonplace. In a study of men who have sex with men that was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2011, more than 60 percent of respondents had not engaged in anal intercourse during their last sexual event.
“Of all sexual behaviors that men reported occurring during their last sexual event, those involving the anus were the least common,” wrote Joseph Rosenberger, lead author of the study. “There is certainly a misguided belief that ‘gay sex equals anal sex,’ which is simply untrue much of the time.”
So sides of the world, you do you. From the bottoms of our hearts, we think you’re the top!