I Am Not My Sexual Position: A Versatile’s Perspective

As gay men, we are classified into different groups. Hell, not just gay men, but humans in general. We like to divide ourselves with labels. In our culture, there is no label more important than one’s sexual position. You can be a top, bottom, versatile, versatile-top, versatile-bottom, total top, power bottom and so on. I completely understand the need to have these labels, but why do they dictate how some of us act?

I’ve had an unconventional journey to my sexual label. My first and second sexual experiences were as a bottom; they were ridiculously awful, so naturally I became a top. During my time as a complete top, I found myself playing some type of role. I put on this façade of what a top was supposed to be. I wasn’t particularly unhappy, just a little tired. Then I got into a relationship that encouraged me to explore myself sexually. After nearly nine months into our relationship, I finally gave the bottom thing another try. Now I’m fully versatile.

Having gone to an area of sex where nothing (position-wise) is off limits, now it’s hard for me to imagine people who refuse to do so. I’ve heard stories of tops that ignore the bottom’s dick and bottoms that want them to; or how about the guy who says he is a top, but has never tried to experience being a bottom? How about the top that doesn’t want you to touch his ass, or the bottom that never gets to orgasm? Is that really fulfilling?

Although this might be an ignorant statement, I perceive strict top/bottom relationships to be a sad mirror of heterosexual relationships. The top has to be dominating because he is the “man,” while the bottom remains submissive because he’s the “woman.” I’ve even heard of this concept going outside of the bedroom; the bottom feels it’s his duty to cook and clean. As a versatile man who wants a man, this whole concept is truly unappealing.

Maybe versatile guys are just naturally freakier, or maybe it’s all about openness and willingness. Granted, some people just simply don’t like it. But a huge majority of strict tops don’t like the feeling of being dominated because it makes them feel less of man.

I’ve been told that fully versatile people don’t exist or that people find them confusing. I laughed at that because I feel the same way about strict tops and bottoms. Sexually, if you like it, I love it. But our community will be a whole lot better if we removed the rules, and the stigma that comes along with these titles. If you’re a top, you don’t have to automatically be the one paying for the dates. Likewise, if you’re a bottom, it’s not your duty to fix his plate. We are not in the 50s; we are all men and we should all be equal. We have to stop letting these titles wear us. Your sexual desire shouldn’t have to conform to what you think your position is. Your sexual title shouldn’t dictate what you’re allowed to enjoy in bed. Sexual stereotypes are exhausting and unnecessary. If you ask five different tops the same question, you’re sure to get five different answers.

I’m not my sexual position, I like what I like and that’s that.

Beyond Steven is a writer, media lover and borderline alcoholic. He has an obsession with boys, foolery and cherry coke. You can find him on Twitter being an insightful hoodrat.

  • Cold Fire

    Well this was enjoyable and I do think Verse is best. If you can not do it, then it’s not a crime, but it would solve a lot of issues. Especially the relationships I’ve only read about where two tops get together. This way people wouldnt always have to resort to letting a third bottom come in. They can be together and find other ways to be intimate. I think that’s an article there that someone at mused should right about. Being intimate means so many different things besides penetration sex. Maybe an article with some tips and a healthy feedback and tips from the readers would be great.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Thanks for your comment! I agree with you that there are different degrees of intimacy. People in general, put too much emphasis on sex and sex roles, that it hinders them from really seeing everything life has to offer.

  • http://www.anorexicescapades.com/ BougieHippie

    This was a very great and relative post. I get people have their sexual preference I just do not like when people use their sexual preference to define their life outside the bedroom. Sometimes forcing them on other or feeling superior because of them. The more I meet people from different walks of “homosexual life” I noticed that most people who use positions to define themselves are those that are still in search of place to fit in.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Thanks for your comment! I completely agree with you.

  • Brent

    I think it’s hard to judge a relationship you’re not in favor for. You’re already bias. I think relationships work best when people can be honest about their sexual position and desires while being theirselves. Gay relationships are too complicated.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Well, it’s not that I’m not in favor of Top/Bottom relationships. I’m more so not in favor of the bottom or top playing these roles outside of the bedroom. Sexual desire is fluid and from my experience there are a lot of people limiting their sexual experiences because of a label. There a lot of people not being honest about their desires because they are playing into a label. Gay relationships are only complicated because people are not taking the time to see what works for them, instead they try to mirror what they’ve been taught by heterosexuals.

  • Emerson

    I agree with this post wholeheartedly! I am guilty of this. I think that versatile relationships are the best because in a sense, there are no boundaries to what can be done sexually. I’m not saying that it is easy letting go of those psychological restrictions that you mentioned but it is something we all can work on.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Exactly. I have no problem with people choosing to just be a top or a bottom, but more-so with people who feel the need to be one or the either and then act a certain way because of it. It’s not healthy lol. Thanks for your comment.

  • chub diva

    Wow!!!! Thanks for this article! I am versatile as well, and men tend to assume that because I “take dick” I’m a botton in “wolf’s clothing” which isnt true.i just happen to like it ALL. I was in a relationship with another versatile and it was soooooo sexually fulfilling!

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Exactly! I’ve heard so many times how I’m just secretly a bottom. We like it all, and we shouldn’t have to be restricted. I could never be in a relationship with a strict top or bottom. Thanks for your comment!

  • Nicholas

    Love the article. I feel the exact same way. A lot of times Gays like to fit into molds society and our surroundings place on the culture instead of living to be themselves.

    I will say that there are many who are naturally dominant or submissive and would prefer to pay for most of the meals or cater to their man, and there is nothing wrong with that as well, as long as they’re being true to who they really are. :)

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Right. If they want to, great, I just don’t think they should feel obligated because of their sexual label. Great comment! Thanks!

  • djhaze.d

    NICE! I have been working so hard to get my boyfriend to explore things sexually with me and i just showed him this article it helped a lot!!! hes a total-top but i on the other hand, even though i do bottom for him, from past experiences, i know I need to top once in a while! actually a few times in a while. lol. Thank you so much! reading this helped him understand me a lot better!!

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Wow, I’m so glad the article could help your relationship! Good luck! :)

  • Shawn

    YES!!!! I’ve been saying this for YEARS!!! Good job sir.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Thanks! i;m glad you can relate!

  • http://twitter.com/HEY__Duke DeVear Peters Jr

    I LIKED THIS!! #Ditto!

  • Rodel

    First i love this article… this is EXACTLY HOW I FEEL… it so agree.. I meet so many man who claim to be this or that or are unwilling to even venture into being the other “role”. I always get the do you top more or do you bottom more.. as if i have to chose one or the other… Being vers is such a pleasure and its freeing its probably the reason i refuse to be with someone who isn’t open… great article great article

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Exactly! Sex with no limits is the only way I can go. Like I said in the article maybe we versatiles are just naturally more open and willing, I’d rather go through life being open than close minded. Thanks for your comment.

      • gstarraw

        Sorry for the repeat comments, and I first want to acknowledge that in reading your opinions, it seems like you aren’t purposely trying to “down” anyone. But it’s still very hard to read biased statements without responding…

        To some, getting fisted would constitute “sex with no limits.” Some bottoms consider getting fucked by two Dicks at the same time “sex with no limits.” I doubt you would accept it if those people LABELED you as “closed-minded” for not doing the same. Food for thought.

        • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

          Comment as much as you like man! I love the feedback.

          I was usually “sex with no limits” in a reference to this article, not the spectrum of all sexual activity. In this reference it’s referring to the tops saying petty things like “don’t touch my ass”.

          Like i said before this isn’t an attack on what you like sexuality, but a call to action on why that dictates how you conduct yourself outside of the bed.

  • Pbart

    Wow, what a strong outlook on ones life in general! Labels have haunting people for years and we as human beings need to simply enjoy our lives and live for ourselves and not let society influence who we are regardless to what lifestyles we may connect with. I have friends that live their lives and I won’t judge them nor will I let their private ventures dictate our friendships.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      My point exactly! Thanks for your comment.

  • BChris

    I like your intellectual association between not taking your sexual position preference into all areas of your personal and relationship behavior. However, the coming argument is going to sound very juvenile, but just explore it: An interesting question is whether the “Versatile” position preference is part of a healthy sexuality in light HIV rates in the gay community. In theory, equality in a male-male relationship sounds good. However, based on anatomy, tops most often transmit HIV, and bottoms most often seroconvert. Are these tops often acquiring infection from instances when they bottom, then transmitting when they reverse roles? If there were stricter sexual roles in the gay community, would HIV rates be as high with a lower risk of infection for the most likely transmitters (those topping)?

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      First off, thanks for your comment. I personally don’t think there’s any proof to say that only tops spread HIV; I’ve never heard of such a statics so I really can’t argue that fact. In my opinion the only thing to blame for high rates in HIV is none use of protection. Being versatile doesn’t increase your chances of catching HIV no more than being heterosexuality. Sex with out protection is the reason people get HIV, your sexual position doesn’t influence that,

      • Sunny

        I totally agree!

      • http://www.facebook.com/ras.kent Ras Kent

        I haven’t either, where did that come from?.@ST3V3N ..lol

        • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

          @facebook-100000074972570:disqus I have no idea… I had to read it three times just to get what he was saying. I was a little offended lol.

  • Sean

    Very insightful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/loverboi.langford Roosevelt Langford

    Look that’s all fine and stuff what you said, but people are put into categories for a reason, and that’s just the way it is, and that’s fine, it makes things easier for people to pick what they want, idk why people think stereotypes are a bad thing, their not, most stereotypes turn out to be true anyway so why try and defie the ultimate truth of it all?

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      First off thanks for your comment, but I think you missed the point. This isn’t about having a label at all. This about feeling like you have to act a certain way because you’ve been label a certain way. Your sexual desires should not dictate how you act in everyday life. Stereotypes are easy, they allow people to judge and place certain people in a box. Hopefully there are plenty of negative stereotypes about black gay men, that are not true about you, and hopefully you aren’t living your life in-order to conform to such negative images.

      • Correcting the misguided

        Could you please explain what you meant when you said “hopefully there are negative stereotypes about black gay men”. Maybe I misunderstood your argument. Could you please clarify?

    • Correcting the misguided

      I totally disagree Roosevelt. Stereotypes do not always turn out to be true. Friends of mine who are bottoms complain all the time that they will meet a very masculine (almost straight acting) guy. They assume that he is a TOTAL TOP because of how he’s been stereotyped. When they take him home they discover that he is a TOTAL BOTTOM!!!! Likewise, tall, muscular tops who meet short guys wearing skinny jeans may assume that they’re taking home a bottom; just to find out that this guy is packing a porn star sausage and is prepared to take control and dominate. All I am saying is you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, as the author alludes to. What he is suggesting is maybe if more guys were prepared to be versatile, they’d find themselves more sexually fulfilled and may not be quite as disappointed when they bring their new partner home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1354402505 Trent Jéter

    I
    agree with the title, the first part “I Am Not My Sexual Position” but
    the second part “A Versatile’s Perspective” makes the author contradict
    himself. In one sentence he’s saying he shouldn’t be seen as his sexual
    position, but then let’s everyone know
    his sexual position. He talks about the sin of gay men labeling each
    other while at the same time labeling himself. It’s a PRO VERSATILE
    OP-ED and versatiles seem to have the opinion that someone they’re
    better because they open minded which to me only means your a freak that
    likes it both ways. Once again it’s all about preference and nothing is
    right or wrong as long as you and your partner agree on the terms of
    your relationship no matter what they are as long as they work for the
    two of you that’s all that matters.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Thanks for your comment Trent. Actually it’s only label “a versatile’s perspective” because a strict top or bottom would naturally have a different opinion of the matter, so it’s not a contradiction. The point of the article, is not to deny anyone’s preference, but to ask why must these preference dictate your behavior outside the bedroom. Of course it’s pro-versatile because I’m versatile, but it’s also pro-choice. If you choose to only top or bottom that’s fine, the article is saying you shouldn’t have to conform to certain role because of your sexual preference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Reddick/100001477525877 John Reddick

    amen brothers! labels, labels needs to go as i have always felt this way since i came out of the closet.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Thanks for the comment! Glad you feel the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515848532 David D. Jones

    I don’t agree with a lot of this, but whatever works man. “We’re both men”……..hmmmmm. So the most important thing is to not feel like a girl?

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      David not at all. What I’m saying is, I want a man, I don’t want a man playing the role of a female, i.e. cooking my food, washing my dishes etc. I’m sorry you don’t agree with my points, but I stand by the fact that just because you like a certain position in bed doesn’t mean you have to play that position in life.

      • gstarraw

        It doesn’t mean they HAVE TO, and many don’t. BUT what if that’s the position a person LIKES TO play in the life of their relationships (and their choice isn’t based on some deep-seated psychcological/societal issue)? Should they change what they actually like just because a vers wants them to do something else? Some bottoms like protective, aggressive tops and they like to be play corresponding roles…outside the bedroom included.

        Can’t tops and bottoms have their preferences like everyone else? Vers arguments often wind up sounding more and more like “the pot calling the kettle black.”

        • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

          If they like it I love it. I can only speak on what I’ve seen, and I’ve seen these strict tops and bottoms act a certain because they were a top or bottom. That doesn’t make sense to me. But like I said in the article, maybe my statements are ignorant.

  • Howard

    This top and bottom thing is over rated! I’m a complete Versatile and I hate it when someone wants to put me in one of these categories of being top or bottom. Give me a break, this top and bottom thing is really getting old!

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Thanks for your comment! :)

  • http://twitter.com/KevinETaylorTM3 KevinETaylor.biz

    BRAVO: I believe that as gay MEN, we can and will be, as a community, SO MUCH MORE, when we stop all of these insinuation about WHAT POSITION makes you more man or less man! WE ARE MEN! Period. When we can be strong enough and bold enough to LIVE in LOVING EACH OTHER, who cares who’s doing what to whom! Being a gay man is already a RADICAL ACT IN AMERICA. Let’s STOP complicating it by declaring that some of us are MORE MAN THAN OTHERS!

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Exactly, there’s no reason one position should hold a stigma. Excuse my frankness, but we all like dick. end of story.

      • Correcting the misguided

        Yes, true-dat! This discussion is so healthy. . .There are gay men who like the male anatomy in its entirety. That includes dick, ass, man-nipples, taint, balls… Someone once told me the gay community of men is made of 60% bottoms, 5% tops and 35% VERSATILE tops. In other words, MOST gay men want their prostate messaged and tickled every now and again LOL. Therefore, compromise is needed in relationships. One has to give and take. The sooner guys recognize this, the less frustrated they’ll be when dating.

        • Correcting the misguided

          MEANT: Massaged and tickled (typo).

  • http://www.facebook.com/c.e.austina Charly Austina

    I so agree. It’s hard being a VERSATILE man in a stereotype world.
    Hm, I have an idea. I am starting a facebook group called, you guessed it, “VERSATILE, I’m not my sexual position” and I am dedicating the group to MUSED, a feature by Beyond Steven

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Yes! Make sure to share the link!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ras.kent Ras Kent

    So sad the GLBT Community fall into the heterosexual conventional notion of who’s the man or woman in the relationship. in a serious, NOTICE I said SERIOUS. In a serious relationship both parties should always put on the table, their wants and expectation. my dude and I been together nine years, in his previous relationships he’s been the top. I was thinking from years of marriage and raising three kids that was the reason of being a top. That wasn’t the case. He shared with me that his previous relations was just that “relations” without the ship. pretty much of what’s still going on to this day, everyone wants a relationship but not willing to give up the meaningless BS to thrive in one. All the short bus labels that has a cloud over the GLBT Community becomes irrelevant wants your in a serious relationship. when I bump, he bump, we bump.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Interesting outlook. I do feel that is what should happen once you’re in a relationship, but sadly that isn’t always the case. Truly someone being a top isn’t an issue, it’s the rules and stigma that comes with the title that I have a problem with.

  • Andrew

    Well said my brother

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Thanks for you comment! Glad you could relate.

  • ASH

    Yes I must said a man should decide what positipon he want to play, Because I’am a TOP from Day one, When it comew to Versatile TOP and Botton, I try but those guys is not show what they want many try to turne the page on mew and I said are you crazy. I’am a Total Top, Sorry and thank.

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      You being a total top is cool. I’m not knocking that, if you like it I love it. But I challenge you to explore why you are a “top”, why won’t you even consider trying to bottom? Also identify if you being a top affects your behavior with guys, do you carry yourself a certain way simply because you are a top. That’s what the article is about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/garry.bess Garry Bess

    perfect out look of the male genders and their roles

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      Thanks for comment man, glad you could relate.

  • Mack j

    I love this article man, this is something that i’ve been talking about for years in the gay community in Chicago and beyond. I myself is a versatile guy; to me it’s just a gay man who has discovered all that’s done sexually in the gay realm and has found what really works and turns him on, i have even i would say helped tops figure that they are versatile and bottoms that they are versatile too. there are no true tops or true bottoms, and on the psychosocial scale; I found out that most tops are men who have major self esteem and personal issues, that they need to iron out

    • http://twitter.com/BeyondSteven ST3V3N!

      @mack_j:disqus Thanks for comment man, I’m so glad you could relate! I also live in Chicago.

      As I do personally think it’s more liberating and pleasurable to be vers, I do believe there are some people who are “true tops and bottoms”; I just don’t believe in a lot their reasoning for being so. You are definitely right about the low self esteem part, I think for a lot of people it goes deeper than “I just don’t like a dick in my ass,” to more of certain role they feel they have to play. At the end of day, if they want to be top, I’m cool with that. I just think it’s narrow-minded of people to not even explore the options.

      • mralvor

        i just wonder: interesting how easily people talk on others choices, others lifes, others identities, others problems, the others … just from their own single experience.
        But i think it has been always like this.

  • Mack j

    I also recongnize that i’m more man than a guy who just have certain limits; how dare you have limits like that: if you want a relationship or be fwb or fuck buddies how is that going to work? full versatility is totally awesome, you get the best of both worlds( top and bottom)

    • Correcting the misguided

      Right on Mack J! I refuse to believe that a man is less manly (or more manly) because of the position he takes in the bedroom.

  • Shane

    And by the way…if ‘versatile’ men did not exist, neither would HIV/AIDS – at least, to no greater degree than the epidemic does, within the heterosexual community.

    • Foxtrot Fox

      You are confusing “bisexual” with “versatile” you naive man, versatile gay people do not have sex with heterosexuals, they just enjoy both roles in the “gay” sex. Yet, it is still such a ludicrous statement you poor misguided soul. You cannot just blame the spread of HIV and AIDS on bisexuals, what are you basing that on?

      • Josiah

        You’ve obviously misunderstood his comment. It’s a known possibility that versatile men may be contributing to much higher degrees of HIV and AIDS within the gay male communities. Versatile men tend to unknowingly bottom (bareback) for HIV+ men and then unknowingly top (bareback) for HIV- men, greatly increasing the risk of transmission. He stated that if versatile men did not exist, HIV/AIDS wouldn’t be as high in the gay male communities as it is in the straight communities, and he may be on to something. He never said anything about bisexuals. In fact, I don’t even see that word anywhere in his comment, nor anything that is even interchangeable with bisexuals. He didn’t confuse anything. His comment was, unfortunately, spot on. Just sayin’.

        “…But “role versatility,” whereby people adopt both “insertive” and “receptive roles,” also plays a part, they add.

        A gay man can be easily infected through unprotected receptive sex, and then infect someone else through insertive sex.

        Gay men are therefore far more susceptible to the spread of the virus through the population, even with the same numbers of unprotected sexual partners.” (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070913132930.htm)

        http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/versatile_sex_1667_24534.shtml

  • Maurice

    This is what I’m talking about…thank you

  • Jakob Hedin

    If so many men, so many minds,
    certainly so many hearts, so many kinds of love.
    Leo Tolstoy

  • http://www.facebook.com/Cat.Bytheroad Jakob Hedin

    If so many men, so many
    minds, certainly so many hearts, so many kinds of love.
    Leo Tolstoy

  • durell

    amazing!

  • wilson

    Seriously, what a HANDFUL od bullcrap.

    • wilson

      of*

  • Micah

    I really like you’re outlook when it comes to this. I’ve had to deal with this stigma in most of my relationships, so I can totally relate being versatile. Thanks for sharing!!

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  • gstarraw

    Thank you so much for this. As a ‘real’ bottom, I would have said every single thing you said (except from my angle). A lot of versatiles I know are a walking definition of “oxymoron” because they claim they want to eradicate labels but then try to convert the rest of us to their chosen label. I also HATE the comment that ‘strict’ tops or bottoms aren’t as freaky based on what doesn’t pleasure them. Playing devil’s advocate, if tops/bottoms get sexual pleasure over “water sports,” double penetration, etc. their first move isn’t to go out and judge a versatile person who doesn’t get into those things. And the insinuation that all bottoms are similar women of the past who never orgasm is simply not true.

    Sorry to take it here, but I need to make this personal point to drive this home: I cum each time I get fucked without touching myself. My piece is 9″ hard but anytime I’ve tried using it on someone else (including getting it sucked) it pretty much immediately goes soft. This may be weird to some of you, but that’s why I’m ME and you’re YOU. Respect others’ differences.

    REAL BOTTOMS get total pleasure from their sexual role, just like REAL TOPS get total pleasure from theirs. Both would feel uncomfortable and turned off by forcing themselves to do something else, like being versatile, just to live up to what someone else wants them to do sexually.

    The point? Do what makes YOU feel good, understand that everyone is different…instead of worrying about/trying to change what gets others off, worry about what gets you off and find people that are into the same.

  • Robocub

    RIGHT ON! thanks you for saying this.

  • Correcting the misguided

    Great article Steven. . . While you are at it, could you please do an article on size, size queens, does size matter, and should guys who LACK size automatically assume the position of bottom, even if they feel like a top?

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  • King

    I appreciate Shane illustrating the emotionally intelligent portion of our community whom are secure in their role at opposite ends. I don’t dispute some men simply prefer to be strictly on top or strictly on the bottom. I also don’t dispute some men who claim versatile are simply hiding from themselves. However, some of us – myself included – will never be satisfied conforming to a ‘yin-yang’ mentality as it was described.

    Sexuality, at it’s core belongs to no one category. It is the manifestation of our true essence as individuals. True versatile men understand this and celebrate it, just as strict top and strict bottom men celebrate their boundaries. Everyone needs to do what makes them happy. Period.

  • Omelio Alexander

    thank you!

  • Foxtrot Fox

    Bravo honey

  • Foxtrot Fox

    As the man said, just a sad mirrored image of the heterosexual relationship. Total tops are just perverts and total bottoms are closeted transexuals. Versatile Gays are the real Gays, free of the heteronormative conceptions that bind you.

  • Alvin

    This is so true.