While navigating through the emotional highways and byways of my current relationship, I have inevitably (and sometimes irritably) stumbled upon the vestiges of past relationships; both torturing and amusing myself by the lessons learned and the mistakes made. One relationship in particular that was questionably over-documented in conversations and journals (both public and private) is the one I shared for several years with a gentlemen I have always referred to as Dean.
While malady coursed through pretty much every aspect of that relationship, one of the main issues (that many of the other problems eventually funneled down into) was our shared passive aggressive navigation of sexual practices. We fell into the eternal quandary that has stifled, quelled and exasperated male homosexual couples since the beginning of time, “Who is going to be the top? Who is going to be the bottom?”
Sexually speaking, both Dean and I knew exactly what we wanted. But when the anchor was dropped and the relationship was struggling for stability, tougher, more substantial questions bubbled up like, “If I am always taking the sexual role of penetrating, then as a Top, am I the ‘man’ who controls the relationship? Do I want to be the ‘man’ all the time? Does this make me a ‘man’? Do you consider yourself to be a ‘woman’ because you are being penetrated? Can a real man be a bottom? If I want to bottom does that make me a woman?” These questions went on and on and neither one of us bothered to really investigate the answers out of an extreme fear of what they would connote.
Tops” and “Bottoms”, I roll my eyes and grunt thinking that it’s a moot conversation. That eventually, as you get older, you’re inevitably going to be versatile or “Flip-Flop” if you will, so the whole preoccupation is a little pointless. After Hurricane Dean I do have to say that I do look at the matter with more reverence. As gay men, our preference of sexual roles is paramount, annoyingly so. In heterosexual relationships, because of biology, it’s a conversation that is rarely if ever discussed. With a man and a woman there is a plug and an outlet. You can fancy up the plug and you can fancy up the outlet but there is really only one way to get that electricity going and it is a pretty simple fix, you stick it in. With two men however, that predetermined assumption of roles is out the window. So you have find out fairly early on and with a certain level of honesty how your partner gets his electricity… and if you are willing to supply.
I have to admit that I now hold a greater respect for those male on male dating or hook up sites that add the question of sexual roles to their profiles. There may be the intonation that it’s an intimate question, only to be answered when/if the relationship gets serious, but I maintain it’s better to know sooner than later. Picture this: you get to know someone on a deep and spiritual level, create a friendship and companionship that rivals any relationship you have ever had. Cry with them. Share with them. Open yourself up to them. Then you find out they’re into scat. They’re still a beautiful person. They still respect their mom. But are you willing to roll around in shit with them? Are you willing to give up on what could possibly be the best relationship of your life for just one sexual practice? Be it that they are into scat… or a bottom like you… or a top like you… or some other aspect that doesn’t coincide neatly into your sexual practices? And wouldn’t it be better to know this information before you got your heart involved… and before you purchased those 300 count snow white linen bed sheets?
Dick: User's Guide by Dr. Michele Moore and Dr. Caroline de Costa
Written for anyone with a dick or if you are close to someone who does. Lot's of great, useful advice, Dick offers a comprehensive, practical, and entertaining guide to the penis—and all its ups and downs.
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