Am I "Top", "Bottom", or "Versatile"?
This is not a stupid question. It's the one people are afraid to ask even themselves. It's because of sometimes deep seated prejudices about being gay. So let's get one thing totally clear: Being gay not about being effeminate. It just is not. Being effeminate is many different things. And you can be heterosexual and be effeminate, too. If you discover that you are a bottom, that does not mean that you are effeminate, nor does it mean that you are "girly", nor does it mean that you are playing a feminine or female part.
Look, I can't prove this to you. But I can tell you how long it took me to be able to say "I am a natural bottom," and not to feel slightly less of a "man" because of it. But none of my friends has ever even suspected that I am gay. I am masculine, manly, even macho. I like manly men, and I am a manly man. I just know beyond any doubt that my sexual needs, preferences in a potential sexual encounter, are to be a bottom. I have almost no interest in being a top. I would be one to please a loved partner, but it is not my preference. It does not excite me. It took me two years after admitting to myself that I am a gay man. And I felt amazingly embarrassed the first time I said it. Almost less of a man. So if that's how you feel, then you aren't alone.
And that is part of the reason for these pages. To show you that you aren't alone. To let you ask the unaskable questions.
To be simplistic, a top is a gay man who desires above all things to provide his partner with penetrative pleasure and to provide himself with the pleasure of penetrating. He has an overriding desire for an orgasm produced by stimulation of his penis in another man's anus. He desires the tightness and heat of penetrating. He does not, except very occasionally, desire to be penetrated.
Continuing simplistic descriptions, a bottom is a gay man who has no real interest in penetrating. He wishes to receive almost all his sexual stimulation from inside his anus. He desires to feel his partner's penis inside him, to feel opened up by him, to feel the filling and emptying of deep thrusts into his core, to feel his prostate stimulated by his partner. He may even have no desire during sex to achieve orgasm, feeling sufficient stimulation from being filled.
Pretty obviously a versatile man wishes to be both top and bottom.
Top and bottom is nothing to do with being dominated or dominating. That is unless you wish it to be. It is not subjugating a partner nor being subjugated. It is simply allowing your sexual needs and desires to have free reign. Being able to try either activity and to decide which you prefer is your free choice. Let no-one tell you otherwise.
And remember that you have no need to do any sexual act that you do not choose to. No-one has a right to penetrate, nor to be penetrated. Penetrative sex is not the be all and end all of love making. It is simply an activity that many find enjoyable. But not all. An amazing number of gay men have absolutely no interest in anal sex in either role; it just doesn't form part of the fun they have with a partner. That's allowed and normal.
"So, why do people think that bottoms are effeminate?" Well the answer is that those who think this just have no idea. We can all point out effeminate men. We can all point out masculine women. But how many of these men and women prefer same sex partners? Effeminacy is not the same as gayness, nor the same as being a bottom. Effeminacy is a state of mind. Be effeminate or be masculine, but do not believe that this defines your sexual needs.