The myths about gay sex

Published: November 10, 2012

Quiet, considered and thoughtful, Nicholas Rose is not perhaps the first person I would have thought of to talk about sex with.

Rose is a counselor and psychotherapist who specializes in working with gay men and gay couples, and it’s clear that not much surprises him when it comes to talking about the complex and sometimes tricky subject of sex.

Why is sex such a big deal?

In all relationship counseling the sex act is a vital and central kind of spotlight on the nature of the relationship.
What happens in bed often reflects the wider relationship – so issues around power and control, or who pleases who, can manifest in the sex act and impact the satisfaction of the couple in their sex life.

What is it about gay relationships or sexual encounters that mean that we often self-categorize in relation to our sexual preferences? A quick scan of dating apps like Grindr suggest gay men have at some stage had an encounter with a Harry Potter-esque sorting hat – ‘Top’; ‘Bottom’; ‘Versatile’.

The sexual roles adopted by gay men in the sex act attract a lot of mythology.

While for some men there may be a physiological element in relation to the amount of pleasure that can be achieved through anal sex, for most people the self-categorization into sexual roles stems primarily from expectations, assumptions, or fantasies about what is sexy and what isn’t.

Mythology and perceptions can be quite unhelpful – for example some of the misconceptions around someone who identifies themselves as a bottom can cause shame, low self-esteem and low self-confidence, when actually, when it’s talked through, that person can realize that they are more powerful with others than they first realized.

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