I was at a party a few years ago, where Mikey, one of my gay best friends, and I were having one of our heart-to-hearts. “Devon and I broke up,” he announced.
“What, why!? You seemed so perfect together,” I gasped.
“Eh, we were both tops,” he sighed.
Come again? This was the first time I was exposed to the concept of “tops” and “bottoms” in the bedroom. Maybe I was late to the game. But this was before I was an avid Dan Savage listener and, quite honestly, it’s not discussed too often in the boudoirs of the heteros.
After Mikey explained in detail the concept of “tops” (the penetrator), “bottoms” (the penetrated), and “versatiles” (someone who is down for either) to me, I felt excited, like a whole new world of sexuality had been opened up to me. And then I felt cheated that I had been left out of this categorical sexual enlightenment. Traditionally, only humans with penises got to decide what role they wanted to play in the bedroom. I wanted to do that too! I’d like to thank my lesbian friends for explaining the concept further. Being a top or a bottom is less about actual penetration and more about your preferred role in the bedroom. Do you like to be calling all the shots? Would you rather your partner take control? Or maybe both?
As a female who had only ever had the option of being penetrated, I had never even stopped to think about it. Was I a top or a bottom? Well, obviously, I was a top! I like calling the shots, I thought. I am an in-control woman in my daily life, with or without a wang dangling between my legs.
I began to fantasize about “pegging” men. For those of you who don’t know, pegging is when a woman penetrates a man with a strap-on. I became more aggressive, forgoing waiting for guys to ask me out and slipping them my number instead. I started making the first move physically, grabbing an ass cheek and asking, “Have you ever wanted your ass f**ked?”
But after all this posturing as a top, something wasn’t right. I felt like a fraud, like a woman trying to deny my own nature. I realized that, when I stopped thinking about it so much, sex was my way of letting go and feeling free. I was tired of making all the decisions and doing all the planning; when I get naked, I want someone else to do it for me. I like having the guy plan the date. Pay for it. Undress me. Push me up against a wall, bend me over and spank me. As it turns out, I am a total bottom in the bedroom.
As my most recent sex partner and I walked home from dinner, I followed him upstairs to his place. He took off my earrings, unzipped my dress and purred in my ear, “Tell me what you want.”
I confidently whispered back, “You’re in control.”