top or bottom
top or bottom

You’re Not a Top or a Bottom. You Just Don’t Understand Sex.

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In a penetration-obsessed sexual culture, who’s a “top” and who’s a “bottom” becomes a dealbreaker, cock-blocking far too many potentially amazing partners. This massive loss of potentially good sex — as well as love and partnership — occurs because we reduce sex down to just penetration. But when you expand and open up sex, you become compatible with almost everyone, top or bottom.

Rough penetrative sex with erections can be hot and fun, but only having sex this way rules out potential partners, ignores the rest of the body and leads to sexual boredom. Sex that allows for non-penetration bypasses the limits of “top or bottom.” Sex with creative partners — about the use of your entire body sexually, and puts all of you in their mouth — is the key to a long-term hot sex life (and hotter hookups, too).

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The “I’m a top or bottom only” crowd lacks an understanding of the ways to keep arousal high and sex hot and sustainable. It’s anxiety that creates our sexual and bodily limits. Our entire body has the ability to get us off, and penetrative sex not only bypasses a lot of erogenous zones but also ways to build intimacy and connect (and bores the truly kinky).  

We are raised to have shame around our bodies, especially our genitals, and we are trained to avoid exploring pleasure all over our body. Fold in homophobia and toxic masculinity and you get lots of unnecessary anxiety about your body and your partner’s body during sex.

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Fast, hard, penetrative sex can be used as a way to connect but can also be used as a way to avoid intimacy and embodied presence. I teach my patients they can be present in sex and feel more by slowing down and using their full body. This level of connection, which can bring so much arousal, can feel too close for many.

When we use sex to venture away from our phallus obsession, we are all “vers.” Especially with use of the trifecta of topping — toys, fingers, tongues — which is available to us all.

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Great sex is about breaking habits and patterns. Top if you normally bottom. Bottom if you normally top. Assert more if you are typically passive.

Awakening parts of our bodies not usually associated with sex or pleasure shows how plastic our sexuality is. Everything can have pleasure associated with it.  

So let’s can it with the “top or bottom” crap. We’re all versatile.

Dr. Chris Donaghue is a lecturer, therapist and host of the LoveLine podcast, a weekly expert on The Amber Rose Show, and a frequent co-host on TV series The Doctors. He previously hosted WE tv’s Sex Box and Logo’s Bad Sex. He authored the book Sex Outside the Lines: Authentic Sexuality in a Sexually Dysfunctional Culture and has been published in various professional journals and top magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Cosmo and National Geographic. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.