Sides don’t belong on the sideline
By: An anonymous side who just wants to be understood
When it comes to preferred sexual positions in the queer world, there is a ton of diversity. Top, bottom, vers, vers top, vers bottom, dom top, sub bottom, power bottom, alpha top... What do all of these sexual positions have in common?
They typically involve penetration.
But what if penetration just isn’t your thing?
This isn’t often talked about, but I’m here to tell you than non-penetrative sex is more common than you think and is an absolutely valid sexual position. It’s called being a side.
Grindr only added sides as a sexual position option this year, so you could be forgiven for missing the memo, but that novelty will wear off very soon... luckily for you, I’m here to help clear up any lingering misconceptions. As a side, I get asked a ton of questions, so this is the perfect opportunity to set the record straight.
Non-penetrative sex is more common than you think and is an absolutely valid sexual position. It’s called being a side.
When did you realise you were a side – and what is it, exactly?
When I started having sex, around the time I was in university, I thought there were two boxes for me to fit in: I was either a top or a bottom. I had a boyfriend back then who was so patient with me. He let me think about it for a whole year before I decided what I wanted to try, but in the end, we broke up before anything actually happened, sex-wise.
In retrospect, it’s obvious that I just didn’t want to do it. I felt a bit guilty and weird. I wasn’t confident to hook up with other people since I expected disappointment from them.
Thankfully, a few years later, I read online about being a side, and it felt so right. Sides don’t generally enjoy anal sex. I say generally because there are different shades, and while some might enjoy it on a rare occasion, others will not want to do it at all.
Do sides ever top or bottom?
Honestly, it usually depends on chemistry. Personally, I’ve tried both topping and bottoming - sometimes it felt right and sometimes it didn’t. But I rarely have the initial impulse to do it. Unfortunately, there’s no scientific way of knowing when it’ll feel right, so hook-ups just need to bear with me. It’s important to know that many sides may also be exclusively sides, and that’s to be respected.
I wasn’t confident to hook up with other people since I expected disappointment from them.
Why don’t sides like topping and/or bottoming?
Obviously, every side will have a different reason. For me, I can’t really explain it… When I first started watching gay porn, I remember enjoying the flirting, the kissing, the oral sex, but then as soon as anal happened I would skip straight to the cum shot. I still do.
I tried topping first and it felt very insipid. A wank always felt so much better. I then tried bottoming, unsuccessfully. I tried again, and again, and again. Always painful, never pleasurable. I tried fingers, dildos, and a menagerie of phallic objects. I still try sometimes, but the process has never been enjoyable.
Isn’t sex just a bit boring without penetration?
I’ve had this question before, and even if it's not asked outright, I can tell people are thinking it. Believe it or not, sex can be incredible without penetration. In my experience, penetration can very quickly lead to cumming and then it’s over – being a side means it’s easier to really take your time and enjoy the moment without needing to race to a climax.
As soon as anal happened I would skip straight to the cum shot.
When it comes to bottoming, it’s not as simple as just ‘pushing through’
A lot of people will tell you that until you’re used to anal sex, bottoming is going to hurt a bit, and that’s just part of the process. I’ve tried letting someone just jam it in. Not a fun process! It’s very disappointing to find out that after you go through all that, it still doesn’t feel good. Even less fun to try again and again because you think you just need to get used to it.
Why should we keep putting ourselves through that when it just doesn’t feel right? There are lots of other ways to have great sex, in my opinion.
Just because we don’t have anal sex doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ass play
While I don’t generally play with peoples' asses, or let them play with mine, I did achieve one of my best orgasms by having my ass eaten! So never say never, I guess. For me, being a side isn’t black and white, it’s very much a scale, and I'm sure this would be the case for many sides. Equally, there will be others that want to keep things to the front.
Pressuring a side to have penetrative sex is a massive turn off
This shouldn’t really need to be said, but just because I do have anal sex from time to time, that doesn’t mean I want to, or am fine to do it just because someone wants me to. It’s totally situational and based on chemistry so if you’re sleeping with a side, let them lead this conversation. If they feel like anal, they’ll tell you. And if they don’t, it’s really not the end of the world. You might find you enjoy it even more than anal!
Honestly, I love being a side. There’s no risk of messy sex, and no long sweaty anal railing sessions that go on forever.
Up until 5 years ago, I had no idea that ‘sides’ were a thing, so I really felt a lot of pressure to fit into the other categories. It was harder when I was younger when I felt the need to please everyone. Some people are anal about anal, you just can’t please everyone!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found it a lot easier to simply say “we’re not a match” and leave it at that. If you have a problem with it, that’s on you.
So, if you do end up hooking up with a side (and it’s bound to happen sooner or later), it might be worth questioning why having anal sex is so important to you. With a curious mind and an open heart, perhaps you’ll find that non-penetrative sex opens up doors you didn’t even know existed. You might find a side that’s big into kinks and BDSM that’ll tie you up and slap you around a bit, or one of the many other ways that our communities get to explore their sexuality with each other.
And when that happens… you’re welcome :)
A quick word for my fellow sides
Consent is the most important part of great sex. If you’re not feeling it and/or someone is pressuring you into anal, get up and walk out that door/bush/toilet cubicle. You do not need to put up with someone’s toxic idea of what sex is.
Even if you said you’d try it first and then decide it’s not working once you’re in the throngs, remove your consent and stop. You’re there for you, not them.