Every single gay male has heard the following naive question: which one of you is “the woman” and which is “the man”?
It’s a question only posed by straight people who are absolutely flummoxed about the nature of gay sex. Flummoxed! Of course the proper retort is, “We’re both men!” That’s the whole point of gay sex. But the thirst to understand which boy is putting his P in an A and which boy has opened his A for P is really about making gay sex legible, and legible in a heterosexual context.
Gay dudes have a term for this, too, it turns out: top or bottom. Then there are the versatile people of the world who like to flip-fuck or who are perfectly at home and talented in either position.
In some way having a label makes gay sex easier because everyone knows what to do. But the problem is that tops are almost always seen as more manly, virile, and aggressive, whereas bottoms are usually linked to effeminacy because we think they have a subservient position. Just don’t tell the power bottoms that.
People are obsessed with knowing who is the top and who is the bottom because gay sex is not necessarily legible in the same manner as straight sex. How many times have you been dating a new guy and you voluntarily told your BFF, “He’s a TOTAL TOP” or “He’s a great bottom,” or how many times have your friends asked you what was going on in the bedroom between you and a new love interest?