"It takes a man to put me on the bottom": gay men's experiences of masculinity and anal intercourse

Ravenhill, James Peter and de Visser, Richard O (2018) "It takes a man to put me on the bottom": gay men's experiences of masculinity and anal intercourse. Journal of Sex Research, 55 (8). pp. 1033-1047. ISSN 0022-4499

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In anal intercourse between gay men, men who are typically insertive (‘tops’) are often perceived as, and may identify as, more masculine than those who are typically receptive (‘bottoms’). ‘Versatile’ men, who may adopt either position, may be perceived as more gender-balanced and may transcend the gender-role stereotypes associated with self-labelling as top or bottom. The aim of this study was to explore how gay men’s beliefs about masculinity were associated with their beliefs about the gendered nature of sexual self-labels, and their behavior in anal intercourse. Individual semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 17, UK-based gay men. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis identified that perceptions of tops and bottoms as gendered social identities varied depending on the extent to which gay men subscribed to the mandates of ‘hegemonic masculinity’, the dominant masculinity in Western society. The findings also suggested that some gay men differentiated between top and bottom as social identities and topping and bottoming as gendered behaviors. This had implications for gay men’s behaviors in anal intercourse. It is suggested that future efforts to engage with gay men about their sexual behavior should account for their beliefs regarding the gender role stereotypes associated with gay sexual self-labels.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Gay men, Masculinity, Anal intercourse
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Social and Applied Psychology Research Group
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0692 Psychology of sex. Sexual behavior
Depositing User: James Ravenhill
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2017 12:10
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2018 02:00
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/72099

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