How Sexual Self-labels Can Help You Live a Better Life

There I am sitting on my couch swapping quips with the latest guy I’m vibing with on Tinder, Grindr or Wasp and it’s going great. I’m two seconds away from materializing an IRL date when the question gets dropped. Are you top or bottom?

And this is still someone being a gentleman or gentle-gay whatever the fuck the gay equivalent is. It’s the instant messaging equivalent of a cold shower. Congrats, my dick’s retracted into itself. You happy?

And props for some guys getting creative as fuck with how you phrase this. In one article I came across, on one of these dating apps someone asked the interviewee if they play sports, to suss out how feminine (femm) they were. Or taking it one step further, someone would request a voice note to determine where on the femm scale they fell.

Worse still are the countless dating bio’s that have ‘masc4masc’ or ‘straight acting only’ in the description.

To me that says more about the internalized homophobia of said person than the reflection of their preference.

Worse still are how cyber bullies and internet trolls target those who prefer the option of bottoming.

For someone who’s been on ‘the scene’ for about a decade-ish now, this one question still irks the bejesus out of me. The moment you answer, the person asking pigeonholes you into either a someone who’s butch or a more femm. The gist is the terms ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ refer to your sexual preference in the bedroom. Think pitcher and catcher, they’re the crasser synonyms for these terms.

The messed up thing is that the gay male community, while preaching love and acceptance of all, still categorizes men into binary classes depending on how you answer the aforementioned question. In defense of my gay brothers, we model gay dating around the hetero-normative equivalent. I’d like to think there are trailblazers in the fold, most still use the outdated concept because it’s all they’ve seen. Off the top of your head, name five gay romantic comedies or even five gay romantic movies. If you could do that without using Google, you’re my new bestie! Shantay you stay. Bow down to the new gay deity, but I’ll hazard a guess and say it’s pretty tough. And why’s that the case?

Simple, there’s not a variety of examples to choose from. Sure, straight romantic comedies are there in spades. I could easily name ten plus without batting an eyelid. But for the gay man, we don’t have that luxury. It’s slim pickings out here when trying to get an example from the media on how gay dating is supposed to look which of course leads us to replicate our straight peers.

On top (seriously an unintentional pun there, scout’s honour), of the aforementioned bottom segregation, you’re also further discriminated against based on your skin colour and body shape. And that’s not just South Africa.

Having read an article from The Independent (, this happens internationally too. Oh, and don’t get me started on the tribes. The notion that twinks are pure fuck boys whose sole function is to get masc (masculine) tops off, is gross.

Who’s your dzaddy

One of the first places I heard this term was from South African personality Lasizwe’and I’d dare say one of the reasons it’s become part of the mainstream zeitgeist. It wasn’t his intent; I don’t think, to perpetuate the toxic masculinity that most of us gays unconsciously assign to it but that’s exactly it’s function. Real talk for second, we worship daddy-like traits because we’re told it’s the ideal. We told to aspire to it and anything short of it, make you less.

Again, not here to judge, if you get your rocks off by indulging your daddy fetish, do you boo. I’m trying to get at us recognizing toxic masculinity for what it is.

Let’s take a page from celebrities like Harry Styles who caused some noteworthy backlash when he wore a dress on the cover of vogue.

Can we take back what it means to be gay and aim to become genuine reflections of the rainbow flag we so eagerly wave around? Down with the femmephobia and up with acceptance and inclusivity.

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