How to Be a Better Bottom

When I was little, my father would drag my sister and me out in the cold morning in camouflage outfits and orange hats to sit with him in a deer stand and practice shooting his gun. This was a necessity for a young boy in the South. While his tutelage never stuck, he might be surprised to learn that I still grew up to be a hunter. 

All I need is a drawstring shoulder bag carrying my keys, wallet, cell phone, and a douching bulb for emergency visits to the nearest bathroom. Depending on the environment — a dive bar versus a dance club, a bathhouse or a play party — I might be wearing more clothes or less, but the target is the same: men and anal sex. 

As gay men, a good portion of some of our lives will be dedicated to the art and craft of anal sex. It is one of my favorite ways to pass an evening and one of the most enjoyable parts of my life. At its best, bottoming is a mind-blowing and carnal experience that feels really good. At its worst, it is painful and unpleasant. Clearly there is a right and wrong way to do it, and a learning curve — few guys start off as bottoming champions. You need years of practice, and sometimes you need tips from someone who knows what he is doing. Hi, I’m Alex. 

The tips in this slideshow progress from beginner bottoms to more advanced bottoms, so if you are just beginning your magical bottoming journey, the advice at the beginning may be more useful to you than those in the back. Enjoy the ride. 

A Word of Warning From Writer Alexander Cheves

My name is Alexander Cheves, and I am known by friends in the kink and leather community as Beastly. I am a sex-positive writer and blogger. The views in this slideshow do not reflect those of The Advocate and are based solely on my own experiences. As with everything I write, the intent of this piece is to break down the stigmas surrounding the sex lives of gay men.

Those who are sensitive regarding frank discussions about sex are invited to click elsewhere, but consider this: If you are outraged by content that addresses sex openly and honestly, I invite you to examine this outrage and ask yourself whether it should instead be directed at those who oppress us by policing our sexuality.

For all others, enjoy the slideshow. And feel free to leave your own suggestions for sex and dating topics in the comments.

Hungry for more? Follow me on Twitter @BadAlexCheves and visit my blog, The Beastly Ex-Boyfriend. 

A Word of Warning From Writer Alexander Cheves

1. Consume high amounts of fiber.

The first rule of gay sex applies to bottoms of all calibers: watch what you eat. 

My vegetarian friends say that they hardly need to clean before sex — they simply use the bathroom and are good to go. This is because they consume a high fiber diet, which cleanses the colon. Meat-eaters like myself benefit from fiber regimens like daily Metamucil or Benefiber to keep our runways clear. In my experience, the best fiber regimens are those that come in powder form that you mix in a glass of water, and most contain psyllium husk — a natural fiber with multiple health benefits. 

Sugar-free psyllium husk fiber can be purchased on its own, and I have even seen it sold in capsule form. I have not had the same good results from fiber capsules as I have from Metamucil, but some guys might. Metamucil is part of my daily routine. 

Fiber is extremely good for you, and when it comes time to clean out your butt for sex, your stools will be compact and “together,” making cleaning considerably easier. Loose, runny stool is a nightmare to clean out. 

Too much fiber can dehydrate you and cause cramps and hemorrhoids, so do not take more than the recommend dose. Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated — something every healthy person should do anyway.

1. Consume high amounts of fiber.

2. Find a cleaning regimen that works for you.

Some guys can simply tell when they’re good. These men have an uncanny ability to just know without a shadow of doubt that their colons are clear and ready for a pounding, no douching required. These men are mysteries to me. I respect them the way I respect firefighters and contortionists. I cannot quite believe they can do what they do, but they do it nevertheless. 

I always have to make sure things are good down there before having sex. Some guys do a pre-sex check with a lubed finger, but I do not trust my fingers, which are shorter than most of dicks I want to take. So while a finger check might be convincing for some, I always fear there may be stuff further up. This is why I almost always clean out beforehand. 

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Let’s face a fact: douching, using an enema, and frequently cleaning out the ass would probably be frowned upon by most healthcare specialists. Some consider it an acceptable occasional practice to relieve constipation, but most would frown at the idea of douching as frequently as every week (or more). 

I choose to clean frequently because I like to have mess-free anal sex, and have not had any problems from excessive douching. Many straight people have this idea that gay sex is a messy affair, but as Dan Savage wrote in his book American Savage, “You don’t have anal sex with an ass full of shit for the same reason that you don’t have oral sex with a mouth full of food. Because it’s uncomfortable and it makes a mess.” 

Most guys have different cleaning methods depending on the kind of sex they want to have. Most guys begin cleaning in the shower with water and a finger, and for some that is enough. Many guys move on to using a douching bulb or enema. This works for most guys too, although douching bulbs and enemas will not clean your ass as deeply and thoroughly as hoses and shower attachments can. I use a hose — a shower attachment with a short, smooth nozzle — with slightly warm water and low pressure (high pressure is not recommended — ouch). These different cleaning methods have different benefits and different risks which I will go into in the following slides. 

2. Find a cleaning regimen that works for you.

5. Train your butt with toys.

I have a delightful condition I call “classic bottom syndrome.” I have learned to enjoy the feeling of getting fucked and having stuff in my butt so much that my brain now links orgasm with anal. You could say that my pleasure focus point has shifted from my dick to my butt. I admittedly do not masturbate as much as I used to, and it takes me much longer to cum when I do not have something in me. 

Not only are anal prostate orgasms more intense for men, but some, like myself, learn to love the feeling of the anal spinchter (the circular muscle that opens and closes at the base of the colon, which is clenched tight and shut for most of your life and opens when you have to use the bathroom) opening around an object, whether it be a penis, a butt plug, or hand. The opening and closing of this muscle on its own can be very erotic. 

I discovered this sensation through toy play. Gay sex tends to focus only on the prostate, since a good top is basically rubbing the prostate with his dick. When my ex-boyfriend and I decided to start playing with toys, I discovered sensations that I had never experienced before. He started pushing a small butt plug in my ass during foreplay, and I learned that the feeling of being opened can be just as intense as being fucked. 

Toy play has made me a better bottom and, for many guys, is the gateway to becoming more comfortable with sex. Toys open you up and get you used to the feeling of penetration at your own speed. 

5. Train your butt with toys.

7. Experiment with lubes until you find your favorite.

My favorite lube is Pjur Back Door silicone lube. I know this after experimenting with every kind of lube imaginable, from lotions to kitchen ingredients to Elbow Grease and more. Browse my list of must-try lubes in “30 Liquid Assets Every Gay Man Should Know.” 

A good lube makes a big difference. Many guys prefer spit — I do — but spit typically will not work for rough sex or extended play. When I go hard, I use silicone lube. Silicone lube is messy and stays slick forever, meaning it can sometimes present clean-up problems (avoid touching door handles), but it works fine with latex and non-latex condoms and keeps your ass lubed up longer than water-based lube. Silicone lube can also be used in the shower, since it will not wash off with water, meaning you can use it for douching and for shower sex. 

11. Bareback bottoms should get tested regularly.

We now live in an age when PrEP gives HIV-negative men and women extra precaution against HIV transmission — a precaution that, according to every statistic available, is more dependable than regular condom use. But while PrEP has the potential to lower HIV transmission rates among the people who can get access to the costly medication, rates for other STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea and syphilis are soaring among gay men. 

I do not shame barebacking because most of my sex is bare and condom-less. I am a piggy guy who loves male bodily fluids — cum, sweat, piss, spit, in that order — but I also know my sex practices involve STI infection. Most clinics and LGBT centers say that sexually active gay men should receive a full-range testing every three months. Since I am having regular bareback sex, I get tested every month, no exceptions. 

Getting tested every month is not a preventative healthcare practice, but a responsive one. While I agree that most responsive healthcare regimens are less healthy in the long run than preventative care — our overmedicated society is evidence of that — I concede here that monthly STI testing and PrEP jointly face a present reality: gay men are having bareback sex, and lots of it. 

The thinking goes that if you get tested regularly for everything then you will catch STIs and treat them before they become bigger problems (and let’s face it, if you are a sexually active gay man, you are going to get an STI at least once in your life). This thinking does not work so well for HIV, since HIV can stay in the body for months before it registers on an HIV test, during which time the virus is very transmissible. But for men on PrEP who make the decision not to use condoms, monthly testing is the minimum degree of self-care that you should practice. 

While bareback pigs frequently incur shaming and anger from people both in and outside the gay community, stigmatizing a lifestyle does little to address its reality. Barebacking is in, and the vast majority of homos I know do it. This fact is probably a nightmare to public health workers and a damning picture of gay promiscuity to sex-phobic and homophobic people all over the world, but neither of those opinions change the fact that many of us (I am tempted to say “most”) are fucking bare and not apologizing for it. So rather than cast blame, the wisest response is for me and every health care worker and conscientious gay man to urge guys who bareback to get tested as frequently as possible.

13. Anti-diarrhea treatments will keep you clean — most of the time.

There is a trick I learned at the Folsom Street Fair a couple years ago. If you take Imodium or some anti-diarrhea treatment (and you do not, in fact, have diarrhea) it will stop everything. After cleaning once or twice, the treatment will stop your body’s poop-making processes, especially if you take the maximum dosage, and keep you clean for a long, wild evening. 

Different gay men have argued the health benefits of doing this. It is probably not the best thing to do, but neither is excessive cleaning or really rough sex, which can cause hemorrhoids and fissures and other ailments. Gay men do not always make the healthiest choices — in fact, my experience shows that we tend to make a lot of unhealthy ones — but we have perfected the art of fucking. 

There is a caveat to this trick: it might not work perfectly. While I have generally had good success with Imodium, over-dosage has messed up my stomach and actually caused me to have a bowel movement. It can make you feel cramped and give you a stomachache, especially if you eat food after taking it. My backup plan is to always carry a douche in a drawstring bag, but this is not always doable. I have cleaned in strange places — in the bathrooms of clubs and bathhouses, in the showers at truck stops, and once in the bar owner’s apartment over the club (the music was pounding through the floor below). 

14. If you want to get fisted, do it the right way.

Fisting — inserting the whole hand into the anus — tends to draw gasps from people who are not into it, gay men included. Regardless, fisting is one of the most intimate and erotic sex practices I have ever experienced. Guys into fisting understand pleasure and ass limits in a way that few others do, and theirs is a fraternity unified by red socks and red hankies and a gleeful love of all things ass. 

There are many books and websites on how to fist properly — Fist Me! The Complete Guide To Fisting by Stephan Niederwieser is a great one — but the biggest challenge for someone with dreams of being a fisting bottom is the hours of patience and practice that must come before he finally pushes past the knuckle. You will probably not take his fist the first time you try, and that should not be your goal. Get comfortable, first and foremost, with getting fucked. Then start with anal toys, gradually working up to larger and larger sizes.

When you feel you are ready to get fisted, only do it with someone with years of fisting experience. You do not want an amateur or beginner playing in your butt. Not only is getting fisted a sensory overload, but it requires more trust and vulnerability than perhaps any other sex act (with the exception of various kink and BDSM scenes). Improper fisting can cause severe rectal damage and send you to the hospital, so only explore fisting with someone who knows what they are doing and someone who is sober.

Go slowly and use lots of lube. You cannot use too much lube in fisting. While Crisco is certainly the most old-school fisting lube, J-Lube and the French product Fist Powder Tech are also recommended. Try different lubes to figure out which one you like the most. 

17. Celebrate being a bottom!

There is a lot of bottom shaming in the world. Invariably bottoms are the ones that get teased and mocked the most in gay discourse, and tops glorified. There is a very ugly, misogynist, heteronormative reason for this that invariably comes from the idea that guys who fuck are a step closer to being “straight” and even “male” while guys who get fucked are automatically feminized, degraded, “gayer,” and a step closer to “women.” The deeply misogynist and homophobic tones of this discourse should not be surprising, since misogyny is no stranger to gay culture and some of the worst homophobes in the world are gay men who direct this hatred at themselves and their own kind. 

When I first came out of the closet, I announced myself as a top. I did this so that the straight men around me would see me closer to being an equal. I was afraid of femininity and afraid of what I perceived as gay stereotypes and “flamboyance,” and I did everything I could to appear differently — including calling guys “bro” and topping only (badly, I might add). 

My topping phase lasted through two brief college relationships before I accepted a truth that I had known all along: I was a bottom. And not just any kind of bottom. I wanted to be unable to sit afterward. I masturbated to the idea of using Preparation H after a rough night to decrease the swelling. I wanted my hole wrecked. 

When I finally tried to carry out these fantasies, I could not take anything bigger than a pinky finger. But I worked at it and learned by body and made mistakes, and now I can enjoy hours of marathon sex and go exercising the next day — no Preparation H required. I am a bottom without shame or apology. I love my butt, I love men, and I love men being in my butt. 

The next time you go hunting, do so with confidence and self-love. You are not lucky to find a good top — a good top is lucky to find you. 

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The Gay Bottom Diet.

with unicorns and leprechauns, the so-called “bottom diet” is always elusive.

I’ve been writing this blog for several years. And one of the most popular food-related questions that I get asked is about this very issue. In varying forms, the question goes something like this: What foods can I eat to ensure that I’ll be a clean bottom?

Seeing as this is a nutrition and fitness blog, I haven’t felt the need to address the issue. That is, until this morning when I came across an email from a young man in Vancouver:

I’m 21 and I pride myself as being a good bottom. That means being a clean bottom. Before I bottom, I generally avoid eating solid foods for 24-hours but was wondering if there are certain foods that I should eat more of or less of to be a better bottom?

I understand that sex doesn’t come with a manual. And that you can’t ask your mom or dad for bottoming advice. For a lot of us, gay intercourse is learned through trial and error. Lots of errors.

But in my experience there are a few things that I’ve come to learn. And here they are:

Having said all of that, is there really a healthy, sustainable diet that can result in cleaner anal intercourse?

In browsing forums and discussion boards around bottoming, many commentators encourage eating more fiber. Bottoming aside, we know that 95% of Americans don’t get enough fiber – so this could be a worthwhile consideration. However, fiber comes in two forms.

Soluble fiber adds bulk to stools and is a great way for treating diarrhea. Soluble fiber also helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugar, and is found in oats, beans, potatoes, apples, mangos, berries, peaches and so on.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is not digestible. It softens stools and makes diarrhea worse. It is found in the skins of fruit, the skins of beans, whole wheat, cereal products, brown rice, seeds, broccoli, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and so on.

In other words, the type of fiber may greatly influence results. And having distinguished between the two fiber types, it’s also important to remember that foods like whole wheat, brown price, seeds and broccoli are all healthy, nourishing choices – and that they shouldn’t be avoided in your diet for the sake of sex.

At the end of the day, we are all very unique and we all process and digest foods in different ways. It’s unlikely that there’s really any magical solution to the so-called Bottom Diet. And maybe that’s a good thing. Sure, pre-intercourse preparation is important. But let’s keep our focus on what really matters: Ourselves, our partners and the connection we make.

P.S. If you have a fitness or nutrition question for Davey, send it to .

1. Avoid constipation

For many gay men, the joy of bottoming remains elusive because they struggle with ongoing constipation. Part of this relates to the fact that most Americans – over 50% – are regularly backed up.

The reason is fairly simple; most of us aren’t getting enough fiber. If this has been a challenge for you, see our post on bottoming and constipation.

Final Thoughts

If you are a gay bottom man, you owe it to yourself and your partner to learn all you can about digestive health. A great book to consider is by Mike Miller.

Believe it or not, preparing to bottom begins well before your top man even shows up!