Yeah. Power bottom. It’s definitely a trope.

The thing is, I personally like to avoid the terms top and bottom as descriptors for people.

To me, topping and bottoming are activities. They’re things people do.

Calling a gay man a top or calling him a bottom feels to me like reducing him, defining him by a label rather than talking about him as a three-dimensional human being.

So, while “power bottom” is quite positive in some ways given that it rejects the idea of submissiveness or passivity in a relationship, it’s still reductive, you know?

It also relies on the negative trope of the weak or passive bottom to even work. If bottoms aren’t inherently weak or passive, then what’s the point of talking about a “power” bottom?

If somebody asks me if I’m a top or bottom, I say I’m neither. I’m a gay man. I usually top. But I’ll bottom for the right guy.

I just personally prefer to be clear that I’m talking about activities and not who I am as a person.

I don’t think what I do in bed says almost anything about me as a person.

If I only liked to bottom, I think that’s what I’d say. “I prefer to bottom. Topping just doesn’t appeal to me. Or at least it hasn’t yet.”

Those are are my thoughts on the matter as an older gay man who’s been active in gay male communities for a long time.

So take them for what they’re worth.

I do hope to see the labels begin to disappear as our younger generations begin to come of age.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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