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Mike Alvear Headshot

Free Your Mind Your Crotch Will Follow

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When was the last time you heard someone make fun of a top? Never. But bottoms? Wow. How many times have you heard friends say things like, "Oh, he's just a big bottom." Or heard jokes like, "Why did the gay man cross the road? He heard the chicken was a top."

Can you imagine somebody saying, "There's nothing but tops in this town?" Exactly. You can't. The most exalted thing you can say about a gay man, the biggest compliment you can pay him, is to call him a "top." And the worst thing you can say about him, the best way to put him down, is to call him a "bottom." Why? Because a lot of people buy into the idea that...

Bottoming Makes You A Woman.

This is the single biggest emotional stumbling block gay men have about bottoming -- being labeled less than a man. For many of us, bottoming isn't an opportunity to enjoy a pleasurable sexual experience but an act that threatens our sense of masculinity and the respect that goes with it. Many gay men believe that if they bottom they will become "a bottom." They fear that bottoming will create a new unwanted identity for them; that they'll become, ahem, the butt of everyone's jokes.

It just may be that you haven't been able to bottom (or been able to enjoy it) because you have so many emotional issues around the act. If you can get away from the falsehood of bottoming as an identity and see it for what it is -- an erotic activity -- the more relaxed and receptive you will be. Books like How To Bottom Like A Porn Star or Anal Health & Pleasure can show you just how relaxed and receptive you can get.

It might be helpful to understand how so many of us came to associate bottoming with effeminacy. The answer can be found in one of the most important gay books you'll ever read -- historian Byrne Fone's, Homophobia: A History. He makes well-documented assertions that sex between men in Ancient Greece was "normal" and idealized, but that there were strict rules regarding its conduct. There were Homo Do's and Homo Don'ts. And the biggest Don't was to enjoy penetration.

Being the penetrator was synonymous with being a man. Anything that subverted the concept of masculinity was punished with social ostracism and ridicule. And nothing mocked masculinity more than getting penetrated.

Greeks and Romans didn't really care whom you had sex with (women, men, boys, slaves) as long as you were the penetrator. The Romans even had a word for it: Vir. It was an exalted term, symbolizing the ideal man: He who penetrates other men but is himself not penetrated.

Today we still live out those vestiges of antiquity. We label men "tops" or "bottoms" in part because we're living out antiquity's fear of the feminine. In heterosexual thinking, the penetrator (man) is more valuable than the penetrated (women). We've adapted that consciousness in our own community, where the penetrator (top) is more valuable than the penetrated (bottom).

Clearly, labels like "top" and "bottom" can be useful shorthand for sexual likes and dislikes. But instead of stating what we prefer -- "I like to bottom" -- we turned that preference into an identity -- "I'm a bottom."

By developing identities out of these labels we cut ourselves off of any unlabeled possibilities. In our world, tops can only date or hook up with bottoms and bottoms can only do the same with tops. That's a whole lot of blindness in a sighted community.

So how do you get past the emotional blocks that stop you from blossoming into a full sexual being? Step-by-step directions on the physical aspects of gay sex -- like clever tips for relaxing so it doesn't hurt -- are important but secondary to the tyranny of misplaced beliefs and corrosive thoughts. It's more important to free your mind because your butt will follow.

Check out the author's latest book on gay sex, How To Bottom Like A Porn Star.