The Biggest Myth About Gay Sex

We are all pretty obsessed with penetration. And if you were to believe pornography—something that, at this stage, we should all know is not an accurate sexual how-to guide—anal sex is the ultimate goal when two guys get together. It’s what Western culture would have you believe, too; ass-play has long been associated with gayness, and with good reason. Dating back to the ancient Greece, anal sex played a role in the expression of same-sex sexuality (albeit, with fewer varieties of lube).

The art of anal sex is the thing that, both positively and negatively, has come to represent gay men. It’s a thing that’s helped persecute us and it’s a thing that’s helped us fight back against that persecution, one fuck at a time. But anal sex isn’t about sexual orientation, as any straight guy who’s into pegging will tell you. In other words: There’s more than one way for gays to fuck.

Meghan Trainor was wrong; it’s not all about that base. That’s because the concept of first, second, and third base don’t really apply to gay men because our endgame is different. It means that leveling up the bases like you’re playing Super Mario progressing to battling Bowser and rescuing Princess Peach—i.e. penetration—isn’t how our game ends. Rather, gay sex is more like firing up your PlayStation and playing Fallout 4. For the non-gaymers in the house, I’m trying to say that gay sex is an open world. It’s not linear, and your goal should be about exploring as many side quests—whether that’s oral, mutual masturbation, spanking, or rimming—as possible before you reach the game’s conclusion.

Sex isn’t one-size fits all, and that applies to anal. Some people aren’t comfortable with the idea of anal penetration, or have tried it and found that it really isn’t for them. This should be common sense, but it’s worth repeating. Additionally, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker for a partner. To limit oneself to just a single flavor is to shut out a smorgasbord of new experiences.

Sure, we’re all guilty of getting caught up in the moment and forgoing preparation. But really, there’s a lot more to anal sex than just penetration. Douching and warming things up a bit are recommended for optimal pleasure, and y’all, ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s probably why, according to a 2011 study of 25,000 men who have sex with men published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, less then 40 percent of respondents reported in engaging in anal sex with their last sexual partner. In reality, we’re just not having anal sex as much as everyone thinks.

If we’re to believe the above figure (which, for the sake of argument, I am), anal sex really shouldn’t hold the importance that it does. Of course, culturally and historically, gay men have been narrowed down where the act of sex itself defines us. But really, if we minimize anal sex and place it on the same shelf as oral or masturbation, how much pressure would that alleviate? Personally, I found the guiding cultural nudge towards anal sex immensely stressful that it diminished the joyous faucets of sexual expression. For young men who are experimenting with same-sex activity, removing the pressure of reaching the summit of anal sex could be the difference of someone acting upon their desires comfortably and consensually and someone slipping into a hole they’re not that all that happy with.

Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not advocating for the end of anal. Instead, I’m attempting to myth-bust presumptions about gay sex. Being gay can be hard enough by itself without then also worrying about the pressures from within our own community to conform to some sort of standard. Use your sexuality as an opportunity to free yourself from the shackles of sexual expectations. Because if there’s one thing in this gay old life that shouldn’t be formulaic it’s sex. Now, go forth and fuck.

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How to have anal sex: Steps for gay men

If having anal sex was as easy as it appears in gay porn, I’d probably do it every day. However, there is more to it and gay men (women too) need to understand how to have anal sex.

It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I got truly comfortable with anal. When I was younger (I’m still in my very very late 20s, or very early 30s before you ask), I had some really painful experiences as a bottom, and some scarily messy experiences as a top.

During gay sex, whether you’re topbottomversatile or have no idea (we’ll cover this another time), planning, practice, preparation and communication are all vital when taking it up the rear. I wish I knew what I know now, when I was younger. But now I know plenty. We’ve got this sorted. Here’s how to have anal sex.

How to have anal sex: Steps for gay men

1. It takes preparation

One of the best aspects of a sexual experience can be its spontaneity.

An out-of-the-blue moment of passion sounds much more appealing than previously planned sexual activity.

For some gay men, however, sex can be quite regimented.

This is of course down to the sometimes necessary preparations gay men take before engaging in anal sex.

For obvious reasons, anal can be a messy experience if the proper preparation isn’t carried out beforehand, and that prep can be both time-consuming and uncomfortable.

The primary anal sex preparation method for many gay men is douching.

For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, douching is when a person intentionally cleans out their rectum using water and their douching equipment of choice, such as enemas and douche bulbs.

Dwelling on the potential messy risks of anal sex and the activity of cleaning beforehand is a less than romantic thought, but putting in the effort to make sure anal sex goes off without a hitch is worth it in the end.

1. It takes preparation

2. Not everyone is a match

One important element of a gay man’s sex life is their choice of sexual position.

Our heterosexual friends might assume that gay sex is fairly straightforward when it comes to positions and preferences in the bedroom, but this is not the case.

When it comes to anal sex you may have heard the terms top and bottom: a top is a term used to describe a gay man whose preference is to act as the insertive sexual partner, whereas a bottom is a gay man who prefers to act as the receptive partner.

The next most frequently used position preference is known as versatile: a gay man who is happy to act as either.

These variety of positions can sometimes mean that not everyone is a match in the bedroom.

I myself have experienced awkward sexual encounters in which my partner of choice had the same position preference as me. We still managed to enjoy a satisfying sexual experience, but we both acknowledged we had restrictions due to our position identity.

2. Not everyone is a match

4. Not everyone does anal

I’m sure that for many straight people the first thing that springs to mind when asked about gay sex is anal, and there is a misconception that every gay man takes part in and enjoys anal sex.

Many gay men, just like some straight men and women, aren’t attracted to the idea of anal and do not engage in it.

This might lead straight people to wonder if a gay person who doesn’t enjoy anal sex can fully enjoy a sexual experience with other gay people, and the answer is of course yes, they can.

Sexual enjoyment can be experienced in many forms, such as oral, and still lead to a satisfying sex life for a gay man.

4. Not everyone does anal

5. It’s just sex

Referring to sex in the homosexual community as ‘gay sex’ is used to differentiate sexual activity between heterosexual and gay people.

This label can perpetuate the sometimes damaging idea that gay sex is a somehow foreign or unusual activity, but it’s worth noting that to us gay people, gay sex is simply just sex.

Gay people enjoy the same intimate pleasures sex has to offer and are turned on by the excitement and physicality with our sexual partners in the same way straight people are.

There really is no difference between straight and gay sex besides the fact we are having sex with people of the same gender.

This might make the whole conversation about gay sex among straight people seem a lot less interesting, but it’s the truth.

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Safer sex with condoms

Keep a few condoms in your wallet, or in the drawer next to your bed. Keeping them on the bedside table sends a clear message that you’re into safer sex.

Or, it might make you look like you’re f**king every man that catches your eye (you lucky bugger), which might put off a potential boyfriend compared to a casual hook-up, so use your judgement.

What does gay chastity mean, and what’s the difference between a chastity belt and chastity cage?

Read Next

When it comes to having safe and pleasurable anal sex, it’s important to know all the facts. With that in mind, we asked Dr. Joseph Terlizzi, a New York-based colon and rectal surgeon, for the lowdown on how gay and bi men can prepare, how to do the deed, and how to stay safe post-coital. Check out his expert advice on how to make anal sex more pleasurable:

Post-Coital Cleaning

After anal sex, shower normally with a gentle soap. Clean the outside of the anus very gently — do not attempt to scrub. Do not use enemas, including soap suds or Fleets. Get tested for STIs every three months if you are having anal intercourse with more than one partner, and every six months if you are monogamous. You can easily find a gay-friendly or gay-identifying doctor through Lighthouse to avoid negative discrimination or stigma.

Citations

Noor, S. W. & Rosser, B. R. S. Enema Use Among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Behavioral Epidemiologic Study with Implications for HIV/STI Prevention. Archives of Sexual Behavior 43, 755–769 (2014).

Schmelzer, M., Schiller, L. R., Meyer, R., Rugari, S. M. & Case, P. Safety and effectiveness of large-volume enema solutions. Appl Nurs Res 17, 265–274 (2004).

Richel, O., De Vries, H. J. C., Dijkgraaf, M. G. W., Van Noesel, C. J. M. & Prins, J. M. Risk Factors for the Presence of Anal Intraepithelial Neoplasia in HIV+ Men Who Have Sex with Men. PLoS ONE 8, e84030 (2013).

Politch, J. A., Mayer, K. H. & Anderson, D. J. HIV-1 is undetectable in preejaculatory secretions from HIV-1-infected men on suppressive HAART: AIDS 30, 1899–1903 (2016).

Rodger, A. J. et al. Sexual Activity Without Condoms and Risk of HIV Transmission in Serodifferent Couples When the HIV-Positive Partner Is Using Suppressive Antiretroviral Therapy. JAMA 316, 171–181 (2016).

Podnar, S. Clinical elicitation of the penilo-cavernosus reflex in circumcised men. BJU Int. 109, 582–585 (2012).

Goldstone, S. E. The ins and outs of gay sex: a medical handbook for men. (Dell Pub, 1999).

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There may be many who have no clue as to how gay men actually have sex and the quirks that come with it.

Gay people in general are much more well-versed in heterosexual sexual practices due to the educational and cultural bias toward straight people in this area.

It’s worth noting that I am speaking from the perspective of a gay man, not the entire LGBTQ community, and I aim to enlighten members of the straight community on how gay men prepare, engage in and enjoy sex between ourselves.