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Top or bottom: Learn about the common anal sex roles
#Anal Play Advice#Beyond The Booty#Partner Play

Top or bottom? On the Roles for the Hole

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2024

Think anal sex is as simple as finding a willing bum, applying some lube, and going for it? Not if you're a b-Vibe fan, you don't! We've covered the basics of turning anal sex and butt plug play into your new favorite activity, but you might not realize that there's so much more to this ultra-intimate act than prepping the lube and doing lots of foreplay.

Anal play takes many shapes and power dynamics depending on who's doing the playing. Who does the penetrating, with what, and how that can completely change based on what sort of couple is in our proverbial b-Vibe bedroom.

Let's take a look at some common anal sex roles and terms to learn how an individual's emotional relationship with their partner and sexual identity can influence their physical displays of anal affection. What you read might just surprise you!

Are you a top or bottom?

You might already have heard or asked someone this phrase. These terms are generally used in the gay and kink communities as a means to identify oneself as the person who will be doing the penetrating/ dominating or the person who will be on the receiving/ submissive end.

Are you a top or bottom? Is there a third option?

Broadly speaking,  a “top,” is the person who does the giving ("dominate"). They usually prefer to be the penetrator during anal sex, and they might choose to never allow their partner to mount up and penetrate their anus. The “bottom,” similarly, is the person on the receiving ("submissive") end. Just like many tops, a bottom might have zero interest in ever switching roles and penetrating their partner.

Top or bottom, it isn't absolute

Many tops and bottoms pick one role and stick with it. These roles influence what sort of partners they find attractive, as a pair of bottoms might not have a very enjoyable sex life together if no one wants to do the giving. You might assume all penis-wielding tops are uber-masculine dudes bound with muscles and all bottoms are slender and more effeminate. Stereotypes are sometimes the truth, but labeling the individuals in a couple based on their looks or your assumptions is both embarrassing and close-minded for you, and offensive and annoying to them in question.

Many sexually-active folks readily switch between both top and bottom roles based on their changing preferences or which partner they've got in the bedroom at the time. Anal pleasure feels amazing, after all, and some guys can get turned on by both dominant and submissive partner roles.

Did you know: Multiple studies have found that the majority men who have sex with men identify as versatile, for instance, this study in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome on versatility's relationship to HIV transmission. 

'Top or bottom?' - Refrain from asking

For the straight peeps, it might be tempting to peek into your gay bestie's sex life because it's so different from yours. If you're really curious about whether your gay friend is a top or bottom in the bedroom, understand that it's none of your business, and leave it at that. If they feel like telling you about their bedroom escapades, you won't have to ask twice. Folks in the LGBTQ+ community deal with enough nasty rumors, discrimination, and assumptions on a daily basis, and the last place they should have to expect ignorance is with a group of friends.

Pegging - Bottoming for the Straight Dude

If you're a totally-straight dude and you love a little anal action, you might be into the idea of pegging with your partner. In short, pegging happens when your partner dons a strap-on dildo and takes on a dominant role, penetrating your butt and doing all the back-breaking thrusting (and if you've never been the one on top before -- You'll have a new appreciation for your partner's typical bedroom role after you've experienced the sexual work-out that is being the penetrator).

Top or bottom: It can be a question for straight guys too - ever heard of the word "pegging"?

Anal is inclusive

Contrary to a whole lot of weird rumors, getting off on anal pleasure doesn't change which gender you find sexually attractive. If you weren't gay before, your sexual orientation is not going to suddenly change after you orgasm with an anal toy in your booty.

Read more: Does Anal Play Make Me or My Boyfriend Gay?

Here's how you peg...

Thanks to the plethora of strap-on harnesses AKA pegging sex toys and anal sex toys, most couples can find a pairing that works for them. As with all types of anal play, start with a small, thin dildo or butt plug that fits comfortably into your harness. Apply lots of lube to the person on bottom's bum hole and the toy, and slowly work the toy into his anus, making sure to check in with them for comfort's sake. A lot of people like to play with their penis and testicles during this time, which can also help to relax and start feeling those incredibly pleasurable anal sensations. Once the receiver gives the go-ahead, start to slowly thrust back and forth. From here, keep your ears and mouths open, and find a rhythm, speed, and depth that feels great for both of you.

But not so fast! Guess who else can get into pegging? Literally anyone! The term “pegging” simply means that the couple in question is using a strap on dildo for penetration in the backdoor. Unless you're using your personal body parts to do the penetrating, your strap-on anal play just might fall under this surprisingly broad umbrella.

Choose Your Own Anal Adventure

Top or bottom: There's no need to confine to stereotypes. Choose your own anal adventure.

Sexual roles can be fun, and for some of us, strictly defining our identities and preferred sexual acts help us feel more comfortable. Without comfort and peace of mind, we can't truly let go in the bedroom and explore our incredible potential for pleasure, especially of the anal sort. When it comes to butt sex, always take it slow in the beginning, and figure out what makes your booty moan for more. As long as your sex-capades are imbued with honesty, a good talk, active consent and the right lube for anal, you're fully prepped for a mind-opening anal adventure.

New around here? Read our most-popular anal play guides on analingus, the best anal lube, prostate play, and how to prep for anal sex.

Ready to enter the world of butt stuff?
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