Is tops vs bottoms a deal breaker?
Is it just me, or does the conversation of “tops vs bottoms” always come up when talking about gay or lesbian sex?
For clarification, a top is one who gives penetration or stimulation (dominant) and the bottom is one who receives (submissive).
I always thought it was just a gay male thing, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked whether I’m a top or a bottom.
I’ve been asked this question by straight allies, too, although they word it more eloquently by saying, “so are you the boy, or the girl?”
While the question would be a rude one for most, I have a reputation of being an open book at times, so being asked the question never phases me. It usually makes me laugh.
My witty response most often leaves them dumbfounded. “It depends on my mood,” I’ll say. Or, “you think that’s really a thing?”
As a bisexual, very feminine woman, my sexuality has always been fluid. I give, I receive, I take, and I’ve even been known to share. Sometimes I’m the pursuer and sometimes the pursuee. So, I’ve never known how to accurately answer that question.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I enjoy being a bottom, mostly because my partner is a stereotypical top.
After being asked this question for the umpteenth time the other day, I thought, “what happens when both parties are tops or both are bottoms? How does that work? Can it work?”
Like any good researcher, I asked Siri to provide some clarification. Siri led me to Wikipedia, which not only defined top vs bottom, but also the term versatile, meaning someone “who engages in both activities or is open to engaging in either activity.”
“That’s me!” I thought. “But that still doesn’t answer my question.”
So I dug a little further.
It turns out that the term versatile is often paired with the term top or bottom to define someone who is open to being flexible in their role, which often occurs when two parties normally hold similar roles and need to bend a little (pun intended).
“That would make me a versatile bottom,” I reasoned.
After asking a few friends, my findings seemed valid. Some lesbians (and bisexuals) I spoke with said that they couldn’t be in a relationship with someone who held the same role, as it made things too awkward in the bedroom. But several others had no problem “flexing” when needed.
“I usually like to give and I’m not a big fan of receiving. I definitely don’t like to be penetrated with a strap-on,” said one friend who preferred to remain anonymous. “However, I am open to receiving in other ways – orally, with finger penetration, etc. It works for us.”
“The key is open communication from the start,” she continued. “We were very clear from the beginning about our boundaries. We jumped a few hurdles in the beginning, but now we have a very fulfilling sex life. And when we want to try something new, we talk about it and decide who will take on each role so we are both comfortable.”
She also advised that parties in the relationship open their minds to new experiences. What was avoided in past relationships might be enjoyed in a relationship with better communication, openness, and an eagerness to please a partner.
I couldn’t agree more and I’m glad I was able to get to the bottom of things for all of you!