The gay community, like all communities, is an evolving landscape of identities, preferences, and expressions. Historically, when discussing sexual roles within the gay male community, the terms "top" and "bottom" have often come to the forefront. These terms categorize individuals based on their preference for either giving (top) or receiving (bottom) in anal intercourse. However, in the last five years, a new term has emerged that is challenging these established categories: "Side."
What is a "Side"?
A "Side" is an individual who prefers forms of intimacy other than anal intercourse. Their range of sexual activities can include, but are not limited to, cuddling, frottage (the act of rubbing bodies together for sexual pleasure), bating, oral sex, and exploring various kinks. The term was coined to give recognition to those who don’t identify strictly with the dominant categorizations of top and bottom, but instead, find pleasure in other intimate acts.
A New Term for Age-Old Practices
Although the term "Side" has gained popularity only in the past half-decade, the practices and preferences it denotes have always been a part of the gay community. Historically, due to the stigmatization and criminalization of homosexual acts, many gay men were pushed into clandestine settings where penetrative sex was not always feasible or desirable. As a result, other forms of intimacy like oral sex, frottage, and mutual masturbation played a significant role in their sexual lives.
Even in more recent times, with greater acceptance and legalization of same-sex relationships in many parts of the world, not all gay men are interested in or find pleasure in penetrative sex. Many choose to engage in the activities that a Side would typically prefer, not as a substitute for anal intercourse, but because they genuinely enjoy them.
Beyond Stereotypes: A Diverse Sexual Landscape
It's essential to note that the majority of male-on-male sexual encounters are, in fact, oral. This observation flies in the face of prevalent stereotypes that might lead one to believe that anal intercourse is the primary form of sexual expression among gay men.
By introducing the term "Side" into the broader vocabulary, we are not only recognizing a wide array of sexual preferences but also challenging the often binary view of gay male sexuality. The term adds depth and nuance to conversations about gay relationships, shedding light on the diversity of experiences within the community.
Validity and Acceptance
It's crucial to understand that being a Side, a Top, a Bottom, or any combination thereof is valid. Sexual preferences are deeply personal and diverse. The gay community has always been at the forefront of sexual liberation, challenging norms, and breaking boundaries. The recognition of Sides is another step in this journey, a testament to the fact that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to intimacy and pleasure.
I asked @d1kluvrcumobsessed on Twitter about their feelings. Here’s what he had to say:
“Being a side brings me infinitely more pleasure than penetrative sex. All of the best orgasms of my life have been through masturbation or mutual masturbation with another person. I can go longer, try new techniques, connect on a deeper level, and listen to the natural ebb and flow of my dick.”
“No hole or mouth or throat can do to my dick what my well-practiced hand can do. Plus covering myself in explosive massive loads of cum turns me on. I’ve been a masturbator since I was 7 years old (almost 30 years now) and having the label of “side” allows me to showcase my sexual preference without shame or unnecessary explanation.”
“There is no prep work needed when penetration is not required; I can masturbate anywhere, anytime with little equipment or preparation.”
“Another aspect of being a side that is often not a part of penetrative sex is the bator brotherhood. The sense of community and camaraderie surrounding guys who identify as bators is really special and makes me feel supported in my journey as a bator and as a side.”
“The biggest pleasure I receive from being a side is really connecting with my body, myself, and my sexuality/sensuality. I am giving myself pleasure and that makes me feel really desirable and sexy. I didn’t feel that way when I used to fuck people as a top.”
The emergence of the term "Side" is a reminder that sexuality is fluid and multi-dimensional. As society continues to evolve and become more understanding, it is our hope that terms like these don't pigeonhole individuals but instead celebrate the diverse spectrum of human sexuality. Whether you identify as a Top, Bottom, Side, or none of the above, your experiences and preferences are valid, valuable, and worthy of recognition and respect.