Bottom versus Top
Written by Willy Hudson
I think at the moment, particularly in the mainstream male gay community, there is a strong focus on the sexual relationship before actually getting to know people. Hook-ups are great if that’s your thing – and I’m not shaming that – but what happens when you want something more? What is the transition from hook-ups to dating?
From my own experience, I was trapped in a world of quick and immediate sex. I was always a Bottom. I didn’t really mind though, and I always wanted to please the other person. I cared little about emotional connection and whether I actually got on with them. I developed this incredibly passive mental space for sex. And I was always wasted.
When I started dating a guy that I really liked, it felt different and new. It felt a safe enough environment for me to try and Top for the first time. But without the drink, and stepping outside of my ‘normal’ sexual experiences, I became incredibly anxious. I couldn’t get an erection, and nothing happened. I was embarrassed and confused.
It took a lot of learning, patience and communication to finally be able to Top. My sexual confidence was so low, it was like I had to start from the beginning. Having sex without booze was weird at first. Being mentally present felt odd. But my confidence slowly came and I could explore different positions and communicate without tapping out with ED.
I think there are gendered roles and stereotypes that have become embedded in parts of queer culture, even though they may claim to be progressive. I still think within mainstream gay culture, being a Bottom is seen as a passive, submissive and lower position. I also think they are seen as feminine, creating a heavily misogynist atmosphere. I’ve been around people that look at couples and say ‘oh he is definitely the Bottom’, when looking at the weaker, camper, more femme partner. Bottoms are shamed and judged. Tops are respected and idolised as they are seen as a stronger, masculine position.
Writing about my experiences in ‘Bottom’ helped me to understand how these attitudes clearly contributed to my perception of sex, and it took me a long time to unpick and break everything down. Talking about this seems out there, but I think it’s the way forward and past all the assumptions. I think it’s still relevant to use top/bottom when referencing sex, at times that can be helpful. And it’s totally cool to have a preference. But it’s the stereotypes and identities we create around the labels that can be damaging. I think they limit the sexual experience, rather than enhance it.
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY WILLY HUDSON
Tue 14 – Sat 18 May 2019
Willy Hudson’s hilarious solo show ‘Bottom’ is a rough-around-the-edges narrative of gay sexual stereotypes within the gay community, and what it’s like to feel like an outsider. Back at Soho Theatre this spring, it’s a semi-autobiographical mix of honest storytelling, audience interaction, songs, and Beyoncé fanboying.
Back at Soho Theatre due to popular demand following a sell out Christmas run.