By Bobby Box
What Differentiates A Good Top From A Great Top?
Gays are convinced the world is full of bottoms. When I created a Facebook group to chat about the subject of this article with some openly sexual friends – “Gays, spill. What seperates a good top from a great top?”– one of them immediately joked, “Why do you ask? I don’t see a top for miles.” The chat then burst into “hahas”, “lols” and GIFs of Wendy Williams sipping tea.
I confess even I once believed that the world was top-less. However, an article published in Vice suggests tops actually outnumber bottoms. At the time of publication, the writer reported that six percent of daily Grindr users identified as tops and four percent identified as bottoms. Most identify as versatile, yet only half of vers men actually switched things up in the bedroom. Ultimately, it was found that 48 percent of self-reported versatile men were bottoms and 52 percent were tops. But who the hell knows? Like sexuality itself, it’s best to keep things open, and that includes our minds and our butt cheeks.
“As a top, listening to the bottom’s needs and what makes them sing/tick is what’s most important.”
The simple fact of the matter is, tops exist, and as such, they should have access to information that makes sex the best it can be, so I presented this titular question – “what differentiates a good top from a great top?” – through Twitter, Facebook, and other sourcing websites available to journalists. These are the results.
1. A Good Top Lets The Bottom Lead
Not surprisingly, this was the most popular answer of all. In fact, it was unanimous. All agreed that a good top knows how to read a bottom, because all bottoms have different preferences.
“Communication and chemistry are key,” Dennis, a “40-something” daddy-type shares. “As a top, listening to the bottom’s needs and what makes them sing/tick is what’s most important.” He tells me a good top knows that the bottom is in the pilot’s seat, and the way the bottom responds, how hungry/apprehensive he is, and “how he moves on the dick” are all signs that should be used as guidance.
Adult performer Jon Eagle agrees, sharing on Twitter: “Good tops can read their bottoms and gauge the pleasure that both are having.” As such, any communication from the bottom (verbal or non) informs the top what’s working and what’s not.
2. A Good Top Enters Cautiously
“A top who thinks he can just stick his dick in without any sort of lube are amateurs who don’t know that an ass doesn’t self-lubricate like a vagina,” a friend shared over Facebook. Similar sentiments like, “he sticks it in dry”, “he thinks one glob of spit is enough” and “he just rams it in like he’s shooting pool” – were all shared characteristics of a “bad top” based on responses. This means a good top knows to be gentle and be patient, the bum will let him know when it’s ready.
3. A Good Top Knows A Good Lube
When topping, most agreed a silicone-based lube (like Ride Silicone) is your best friend. You can also use water-based (like Ride Water) or a hybrid formula (like Ride Silk Hybrid) if you prefer, but please use lube (trust us, we know). When using condoms, lube is especially important, as the inevitable friction will cause the bottom some discomfort. Whenever you get the sense you need more lube, be a gentleman and reapply.
4. A Good Top Eats Ass
Foreplay is always a good idea. In a bottom’s case, rimming primes the bum for penetration. Basically, the tongue lets the bum know what’s to come. A good top not only eats ass, but knows how to eat ass. Variety like light quick tongue taps, plunging tongue thrusts, kissing and nibbles all contribute to a pleasant rimming experience. Enthusiasm, spanking and lightly tickling with facial hair is also encouraged.
5. A Good Top Doesn’t Stab And Jab
Porn might lead tops to believe bottoms like to get pounded like cheap steak, and while that can be true some of the time, every bottom likes a top who switches it up, be it position-wise (missionary, doggy, cowgirl and reverse cowgirl were the most popular responses) or motion. As a friend suggests, “switch up the rhythm as you’re hitting spots you were born to hit,” and “a good verbal bottom that feels safe taking your dick is the best.” Another social media user described the ideal penetrative rhythm is “fluid and flowing” adding that is is not and should never be “stiff body poking”.
6. A Good Top Is Confident
Let’s first differentiate “confident” from “cocky” as, according to testimony, the latter often results in a top who feels that he doesn’t need to try as hard. Confidence is simply being comfortable in your skin. Whereas, cocky is being closed off and conceited.
“A bad top is one that hasn’t unpacked their shit in terms of their sexuality,” a friend started. “I once had a top who wouldn’t make out with me after I sucked his dick because it was too gay. So I guess fucking me wasn’t gay?” Controversial or not, internalized homophobia plays a huge role in gay men both inside and outside of the bedroom. It is a big reason why being a bottom is so stigmatized. For example, a study published in the journal Psychology & Sexuality wrote gay men use the word “bottom” as a way to criticize those with feminine traits. In doing so, they are bullying these men into conforming with heteronormative gender expectations.
7. A Good Top Has Bottomed Before
All tops should take a stroll on the submissive side. It offers experience, which is the best lesson out there. In bottoming, you understand what anal sex feels like as well as what works and what doesn’t, arguably the most important lesson of all. Every top should read these “3 Tips For Better Anal,” before attempting to bottom.
8. A Good Top Cuddles
This is totally a personal preference.