2. A well-mannered approach
In the earlier installment of this, my first lesson in Gay English etiquette, I introduced the big, bad no-no: asking, "Are you a top or a bottom?" Now I’d like to tell you why I’m banishing it to the ranks of The Taboo.
First of all, where I’m from, we don't ask people this when we first meet them. It's just too personal and just too sexual. Would you ask your mother? No, right? Then you shouldn't ask a stranger--unless you are very, very drunk. If you do, it seems like you are only looking for sex. Nothing is a greater turn off than getting hit with this social faux pas.
Thus, if you’re looking for more than a one-night stand, then this is NOT the right way to start a relationship. Also, it’s important to remember that many people from the US and Europe don't like to label themselves...not as "gay," "lesbian," or "bi”, and ESPECIALLY not as a "top" or a "bottom." Also, let’s keep in mind that sometimes we use these words incorrectly.
Here's what these terms mean: the "top" is, literally, the person on top and the "bottom" is the person on the bottom.
This comes from straight sex where, traditionally, the man was on top and the woman was on the bottom. But, for us, the "top" is the person putting things into, or doing things to, the other person and the "bottom" is the one getting things put into, or done to, her/him. Understand?
And, of course, we can't forget that there are also people who call themselves "versatile." Someone who is "versatile" likes being the "top" and the "bottom." However, this all gets even more confusing because "top" is often used to mean "active" and "bottom" to mean "passive"...but these are NOT always the same!
What active really means is "to be aggressive" in bed, i.e. to say what you want and how you want it and to move around! A passive person doesn't do much, but lets things be done to her/him.
Therefore, two "active" people might easily have sex, but it might be more difficult for two "tops." The same is true for two "bottoms." If you think about it, it‘s impossible for two people to "bottom" or "top" at the same time. You have to take turns.
As far as I see it, “active” and “passive” relate to attitudes or approaches in bed, whereas “top” and “bottom” are clearly-set roles.
So, do you realize, you can be a passive top or an active bottom? You can! Did I just blow your minds? (Though...it would be a tad difficult to be a passive top. But it could happen!)
Ahem, going back to the issue at hand; I was saying that you shouldn’t ask strangers, "Are you a top or a bottom?" and, oh, how true. BUT, if you are only interested in tops and you won't consider dating another bottom, then you can approach the subject in a more well-mannered fashion by asking something else:
"What are you into?"
Indeed, this is much nicer than, "Are you a top or a bottom?" You still shouldn't ASK someone immediately after first meeting them, but after a few minutes, or after a few drinks, it should be safe to go ahead.
In my next installment, we’ll imagine a conversation between you and Mr or Ms Sexy. Be sure to read on...
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