Are You a Top or a Bottom? Here's How to Find Out

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Thinking about having anal sex, but don't know if you're a top or bottom? First things first: Let's take a look at what the terms mean. Bear in mind that human sexuality is fluid and highly nuanced, and the labels as used here are meant only to help us understand each other, not to stereotype or classify too strictly. 

Top, Bottom, or "It Depends"?

A top is a partner who prefers to penetrate his partner—as opposed to a bottom, who prefers to be penetrated.

Explaining the terms this way, however, is a bit of an oversimplification. These preferences each typically come with preconceived notions about the types of people who fit each one—but whether these ideas ring true matters only to you and your partner.

Some people think that to be a bottom, you must be the more effeminate or less dominant partner; likewise, some people think of tops as men who take the lead and are more assertive and conventionally masculine than a top. This isn't always the case, though. A person's preference for topping and bottoming is most often determined simply by which act gives more pleasure (if any at all), not by how he acts outside of the bedroom.

Be Open, Adventurous, and Respectful

That's why the best way to determine if you're a top or bottom is to experiment with your partner. If you keep an open mind and go into sex without a predetermined idea of what should happen, you and your partner will likely fall into your natural preferences.

Do what feels right to you both, and let nature take its course. Your preference will make itself clear in time.

Sure, some guys know right away which they prefer, even before having sex for the first time. Chances are, even if they've never had anal with other guys, they have experimented during masturbation.

That's also a safe, stress-free way to shed light on your pleasure preference.

Even still, some guys prefer not to label themselves or are more versatile—meaning they enjoy both topping and bottoming. And of course, much depends on your partner: For example, you might prefer bottoming with your new guy, even though you found topping more pleasurable with your ex. Or maybe your partner prefers topping but is open to switching roles out of the desire to please you.

Don't Focus on the Labels

In any case, sex of any kind is best had without anxiety, too-high expectations, and strict labeling. A calm, cool, relaxed body, an open mind, mutual respect, and patience can reward you both with some pretty amazing sexual experiences. Instead of writing the script of what your anal encounter should be, go in with a blank canvas, let nature take control, and listen to your body's signals. If your role feels off or uncomfortable for you, speak up, and encourage your partner to do the same. Sex is a dance of sorts, and who leads isn't quite as important as what happens in the space between the two of you.