Sexual Roles Define Our Relationships… Or Do They?

By Brandon Jamil

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In gay culture we define our romantic relationships based on our sexual roles. These roles are top, bottom, versatile. The sub roles include vers top, vers bottom. As we explore our sexuality we choose roles that are succinct with our personalities and personal preferences. Each role is specifically tailored to our desires. But, what happens when we find ourselves attracted to another man that enjoys the same role as we do? Is it possible to forego the idea that we can only play one role and expand our sexual inclinations for our partners or do we loose out on love, because we’re to focused on fitting into an idea of a role verses understanding that our sexual role doesn’t define us within our relationships… Or does it?

Personally, I have found sexual roles in my life to be a journey, and not a set destination or image to uphold. But, of course I didn’t always know that. When I finally embraced my sexuality, I started off as a bottom. Because I am feminine, I thought that I was predisposed to the bottom role, and I had no other choice. Growing up in a two parent house hold, I thought sexual gender roles were required. At the time I only sought out masculine men, because it validated my feminine nature. Also, it’s important to note that other gay men assigned me to that role. At the time I was a baby gay, and I didn’t feel the need to challenge the limitations placed upon me. 

As the years went by, I evolved and enjoyed the art of sex, and it allowed me to connect to various types of people. In my mid-twenties I became a top, and  eventually a versatile. My entire world was changed. First, I learned how to honor and love all of my body, and I felt comfortable allowing another man to love all of me, and not just selective parts of me. Though, I understand why some people choose one role and have no desire to change that. I honestly respect that. This article is for gay men that feel trapped in a sexual role, but feel fearful to get out of the set limitations. 

But, here’s the thing, when we enter into relationships our sexual roles can change. This happens because our partner evolves and changes as we do. The things that stimulated us years ago, may not turn us on now. Our partner may want to explore and try new exciting things, and why would we become irate, and dismantle a relationship because our partner is changing?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed cheating scenario with some of my friends, because they were ashamed to communicate with their partner. They felt that if they were to communicate with their partner, their relationship would disintegrate. 

I think that we’re fixated on playing a certain role that we forget that we’re all MEN; with all equal moving body parts, and our roles don’t have to define our relationships. Allowing ourselves to explore different sexual positions and roles is not only healthy, it also keeps your relationship fun and exciting. Sex is the area of our life that we shouldn’t feel judged for our preferences. All to often, I’ve witnessed an unhealthy judgement and bias against men who prefer to bottom. To gain acceptance and belonging, some gay men will perpetrate that they’re a top, and in reality their sexual desire is to be dominated. But, they feel as if they’re not allowed to explore and liberate themselves, because they’ll be ostracized.

When I was single, I met many men that were publicly tops, but they’d approach me privately, and want me to dominate them. I questioned why they simply didn’t live in their truth, and show up in their life on their terms. But, it wasn’t that simple. These men knew that if they were hyper masculine they were almost expected to be a top and if they were feminine then automatically they were expected to be a bottom. How limiting and such small thinking. 

Some of us only want to play one role and it works for us. Others of us want to be fluid and allow ourselves to become versatile. I have found that being versatile allows me to experience the best of both worlds as a top and bottom. To be honest, I’ve had moments of rejection because I didn’t fit into anyones box or fantasy. I gleefully accepted that I didn’t fit into a box, and that person wasn’t going to be a lifetime partner. A lifetime partner has a desire to make sure that ALL of your sexual needs are met. They may not be able to perform all of them, but we all know about the 80-20 rule. 

When I was single, I discovered it was far easier to connect to someone as a human being first, and sexual roles later. Which at first may seem counter productive, but it’s not. Most of us are wearing societal masks, and when we truly get to know someone, we’re willing to allow ourselves to try something new. People have a willingness and openness once they’ve built a rapport with us. Sometimes you’ll find someone who is set on being a top or bottom, and nothing you do can persuade them. That’s when I realize that they need to be friend zoned, and I have lost interest anyway. 

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that we’ve fought hard for gay love. We’ve fought extremely hard for our rights, and to be who we want to be. The last place we should feel oppressed is in our bedrooms with our partners. We’re not defined by a sexual role and our masculine and feminine nature. In a relationship we’re defined by how well we can love our partner, and how well we’re able to meet our partners needs.

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