What I posted yesterday about tops and bottoms in MM Romance certainly sparked a lot of discussion—most of it good. But there also seemed to be a lot of confusion about what my actual point was. One friend got very angry at me for attempting to define his sexuality.
I wasn’t attempting to define anyone’s sexuality. I don’t care what you do in bed. If you like anal sex, go for it. If you like to be on the bottom or the top, that’s your business. (Although I still maintain that those labels are, at the very least, falling out of fashion.)
What I am trying to do is to stop people from defining gay men in relation to anal sex.
Being gay is not about anal sex.
I can’t really even blame this attitude on our society, because it’s thousands of years old. Bizarre connections have been made throughout documented history between men loving men and anal sex. People are perpetually surprised when they discover that a gay man they’ve met doesn’t like anal sex. As if such a thing is biologically impossible.
It’s as if all gay men have brands on our foreheads saying LOVES ANAL.
“Hi, have you met my friend Paul? He loves anal.”
“Oh! Good to meet you, Anal-Loving Paul!”
“Likewise! This is my anal-loving husband, Steve.”
“Will I be seeing the two of you at Anal Pride next week?”
I have witnessed one of our state legislators give a lengthy speech about the evils of same-sex marriage, during which she described how filthy anal sex was in graphic, tedious detail. It is nearly impossible to bring up gay rights without someone mentioning how disgusted they are by two men having anal sex.
We need to stop this automatic connection of gay men to anal sex. I don’t care if someone likes anal sex. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with anal sex. But being gay is not about anal sex. I’m gay because I’m sexually and emotionally attracted to men. It has nothing to do with what I like to do in bed, apart from the general fact that it’s probably going to be with another man. And referring to ourselves as “tops” or “bottoms” reduces us to roles in anal sex. Even calling ourselves “versatile” still defines us in relation to anal sex.
I’m not some radical who objects to any and all labels. I have no problem with the label “gay.” I’m gay and happy to be so. But that label doesn’t mean a thing about specific sexual practices. It says something about attraction and love. I have no problem with people looking at me and thinking about men loving men.
But I have no interest in people looking at me and thinking about anal sex.
That’s just… no.