Sociological, psychological, and public health studies document that many gay and bisexual men may self-label by their anal penetrative role (i.e., bottom or exclusively receptive; top or exclusively insertive; or versatile, both receptive and insertive during anal intercourse). Yet, what orients men to think of themselves as tops, bottoms or versatiles is poorly understood. We surveyed 429 men engaging in same-sex anal intercourse to investigate the degree to which anal penetrative self-identity was concordant with actual penetrative behavior. Additionally, the roles of masculinity and physical body traits (e.g., penis size, muscularity, height, hairiness, and weight) were tested as correlates of anal penetrative identity and identity-behavior concordance. Tops and bottoms showed a high degree of concordance between identity and enacted behavior; however, only half of versatiles reported concordant identity and behavior (i.e., wanting to be versatile and actually reporting versatile behavior). Generally, tops reported larger penises than bottoms. They also reported being comparatively more masculine than bottoms. Versatiles fell somewhat between the tops and bottoms on these traits. Of the six independent variables, penis size and masculinity were the only two factors to influence concordance or discordance between identity and penetrative behavior. Our study suggests that the correlates of gay men's sexual self-labels may depend on objective traits in addition to the subjective pleasure associated with receptive or insertive anal intercourse.
"A recent study conducted in China found that tops scored higher than bottoms on instrumentality, interests toward things versus people, and self-ascribed masculinity, bottoms scored higher than tops on expressiveness, with versatiles' scores being intermediate between tops and bottoms (Zheng et al., 2012). For example, tops were higher than bottoms on instrumentality and self-reported masculinity (Moskowitz & Hart, 2011; Zheng et al., 2012). Sexual self-labels seem to be related to gender typical behavior both in childhood and adulthood. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gay men across a variety of countries label themselves by their preferences for insertive anal intercourse or receptive anal intercourse. A "top" is defined as someone who prefers the insertive role, a "bottom" as someone who prefers the receptive role, and "versatile" as someone who has no preferences regarding anal sex role. Previous studies documented that tops showed a masculine profile and bottoms showed a feminine profile in gendered personality traits. In this study, we examined the association among sexual self-label groups and empathizing-systemizing (E-S) cognitive styles among 509 gay men across multiple cities in China. There were significant differences in systemizing among sexual self-label groups, with tops scoring higher on systemizing than bottoms and versatiles. Tops were more likely to have S > E and high E and S cognitive styles than bottoms. Bottoms were more likely to have E > S and low E and S cognitive styles than tops. There was a significant indirect effect of systemizing on sexual self-label through Self-MF. There was also a significant indirect effect of sexual self-label on systemizing through Self-MF. The findings suggest that sexual self-labels among adult gay and bisexual men may reflect more than preferences for anal sex.
Archives of Sexual Behavior 02/2015; 44(5). DOI:10.1007/s10508-014-0475-z · 3.53 Impact Factor
"I'm looking more for the person than the position preference.'' Previous studies have found that sexual minority men's selfreported penis size is associated with their sexual position identity (Grov et al., 2010; Moskowitz & Hart, 2011). Our results suggest that partner's absolute and relative penis size may both influence position identity. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent evidence suggests that young sexual minority men's sexual position identities (e.g., "top," "bottom," "versatile") may be governed by dynamic influences. Yet, no study has prospectively examined whether, how, and why this aspect of sexual minority men's sexuality changes over time. Consequently, the present study investigated the extent to which young sexual minority men use sexual position identities consistently over time, typical patterns of position identity change, explanations given for this change, and the correspondence of changing sexual position identities with changing sexual behavior and fantasies. A total of 93 young sexual minority men indicated their sexual position identity, behavior, and fantasies at two assessment points separated by 2 years. Following the second assessment, a subset (n = 28) of participants who represented the various sexual position identity change patterns provided explanations for their change. More than half (n = 48) of participants changed their sexual position identity. Participants showed a significant move away from not using sexual position identities toward using them and a significant move toward using "mostly top." Changes in position identity were reflected, although imperfectly, in changes in sexual behavior and largely not reflected in fantasy changes. Participants offered 11 classes of explanations for their identity changes referencing personal development, practical reasons, changing relationships, and sociocultural influences. Previous investigations of sexual minority men's sexual position identities have not adequately attended to the possibility of the changing use of the sexual position categories "top," "bottom," and "versatile" across young adulthood. Results of the present study suggest the possibility of a more fluid, context-dependent use of these terms than previously documented.
Archives of Sexual Behavior 04/2013; 42(7). DOI:10.1007/s10508-013-0090-4 · 3.53 Impact Factor
"The present study aimed to understand sexual preferences of API gay men using SDO, and posited that SDO should explain variability in two dimensions of sexual preferences among gay men: sexual positioning as''top,''''bottom,''or ''versatile,''and race-based attraction (Moskowitz & Hart, 2011). Because SDO reflects personal preferences for social hierarchy and dominance, level of SDO should correspond with sexual positioning preferences , with those preferring the top sexual positioning scoring higher on SDO than those preferring other or no sexual positioning. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For gay men in the United States, race/ethnicity has been demonstrated to factor importantly into sexual preferences, and race-based beliefs regarding certain racial groups are prevalent within the gay male community. For gay men of color, such beliefs may differentially influence their sexual preferences. Yet, little is known about the social-psychological factors underlying differences in sexual preferences among gay men of color. The present study examined how personal preferences for social hierarchy and dominance may explain variations in sexual positioning preferences, and how this relationship may be further qualified by their race-based sexual attraction among gay Asian/Pacific Islander (API) men. A total of 141 API gay men were recruited to participate in an online survey. Measures assessed participants' sexual positioning preferences, race-based sexual attraction, and preferences for social hierarchy or social dominance orientation (SDO). Self-identified tops scored higher on SDO than bottoms or versatiles. Participants attracted to non-API men scored higher on SDO compared to participants attracted to API men and participants who reported no race-based attraction. Finally, a significant two-way interaction indicated that tops attracted to non-API men scored the highest on SDO, and bottoms with no race-based attraction in men scored the lowest. Race/ethnicity is a prominent factor in sexual attraction and sexual positioning preferences among gay men, and one's proclivity for social hierarchy and dominance explains differences in sexual preferences among API gay men. By demonstrating how API gay men negotiate sexual preferences, present findings help elucidate existing race-based sexual dynamics within gay male culture.
Archives of Sexual Behavior 04/2013; 42(7). DOI:10.1007/s10508-013-0088-y · 3.53 Impact Factor
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