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From the Editor

Tribute to the bottom

Have you ever heard someone say: ‘Guwapo nga, bottom naman (He may be handsome, but he’s just a bottom)’? It’s time to dismantle the belittling of bottoms, and highlight instead why they are tops (pun intended).

Photo by Amit Chowdhury from

“All Asians are bottoms. At least when entering into multiracial relationships.”

That, I said to this person from American LGBTQIA organization GLAAD, is NOT true. But many believe it… including Asian men who enter gay or bisexual relationships with White men who have sex with other men. For this is a stereotype we, as Asian gay or bisexual men, have to almost always contend with.

With its “focus” on a sexual preference (a sex act, that is), this may not receive as much coverage as, say, LGBTQIA representation in Hollywood (something that GLAAD “covers” with an annual report). But its implications are insidious. It actually carries imputations that go beyond the role of people in the bedroom, to instead represent notions of Asians being submissive, servile, compliant, and so on, and so forth.

I was reminded of that conversation (somewhere in New York) when – over the weekend – I came across young gay and bisexual Filipino men who, while talking about a guy they all desired (at least so it seemed, with the amount of attention they were giving him), and yet belittled by claiming he’s not “worth the attention” because… he’s (allegedly) a bottom.

And at various points in my gay life, I have heard one, or two or more of statements directed towards (and AGAINST) the “bottom”. That’s the one who gets penetrated, who gets fucked in sexual activities. The one assumed to be “submissive” in bed (and often by extension, in relationships). The one who is supposed to be, or at least “act like the woman”.

Guwapo nga, bottom naman (He may be handsome, but he’s just a bottom).’
Borta nga, bottom naman (Muscular he may be, but he’s just a bottom).’
Walang silbi ang laki ng nota, bottom pala (His big dick is useless, he’s a bottom).’
Kung lumaban akala mo ang tapang, eh bottom naman (When he fights you’d think he’s feisty, but he’s just a bottom).’

Coming across any of these is exasperating in so many levels.

Primarily: An attack on the bottom is an attack on women.

Because belittling the one who supposedly acts as the woman in the relationship (or in any relationship) reflects how lowly we continue to see women – e.g. that they’re “submissive”, that they’re “weaker”, and so on. All B.S., obviously. So we all should know better than use this language, or even continue with this line of thinking.

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But also: Often, this way of seeing carries stereotypes we all should be confronting (if not actually destroying).

That in multiracial relationships, Asians are automatically the bottoms.
That shorter people are automatically the bottoms.
That only those with gargantuan genitals have the right to top.
That only “gays” are bottoms.
That bottoms need to be servile, existing to gratify their tops.
That bottoms should be effeminate.
That being a bottom means taking that “role” outside of the bedroom – e.g. one has to also be “womanly” in life.
And so on, and so forth…

That these have to be stated at all is actually infuriating, particularly having noticed how these continue to be believed as “facts” by bottoms themselves.

And so here’re numerous reasons why bottoms are tops (pun intended).

The eating… or stopping to eat.

From an hour to 24-48 hours… that’s how long (many) bottoms have to stop eating to make sure they’re not full when the sex happens, with full = forcibly shitting while getting penetrated. So those reels you see that differentiate what tops and bottoms eat before they do the deed (i.e. tops remain voracious eaters, and bottoms only eat – if at all – a slice of apple, or a spoonful of broccoli) are true.

And yes, the stuff eaten changes for the bottom, too – e.g. I know porn performers who only eat apple slices; others forego whey protein supplements for a day or two before they have sex; et cetera. These are issues tops almost always never even have to consider.

The cleaning.

Douche. Bidet. Shower head. Garden hose. Coke bottle. Washing machine’s tube. Et cetera.

These are but some of the materials bottoms I know use to prepare themselves (maybe more if those used by others are included). Used for long periods of time; used with lots and lots of water. So yes, only the brave will willingly go through this…

The positions.

Any top can hold just one position – e.g. kneel. Pair that single position with numerous positions by a bottom – e.g. doggie, Flying V, cowboy, DP, et cetera. All while controlling your inside, assessing if THAT cleaning worked/stayed working. And we have not even started talking about the Leila D. (i.e. those who just lie down, feeling like starfish and doing nothing) tops yet…

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Belittling the one who supposedly acts as the woman in the relationship (or in any relationship) reflects how lowly we continue to see women – e.g. that they’re “submissive”, that they’re “weaker”, and so on.
Photo by Amit Chowdhury from

The health risks.

Here’s a truth: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV” and the “receptive partner (bottom) is riskier than being the insertive partner (top)” because “the rectum’s lining is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex”.

The stigma.

And then – again – there’s this shame being attached to being a bottom, many times coming from gay and bisexual men themselves. Completely unnecesary when: 1) you enjoy bottoming yourself, and/or 2) you enjoy the company of a bottom anyway.

To reiterate: Being a bottom does not make you less of anything; just one who enjoys sex while being penetrated. Being one knows no race, gender, color, height, weight, penis size, et cetera; it’s all to do with sexual preference. If you’re into it, do. If not into it, don’t. Drop all the baggage. And that’s all there is to this, really.

The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).


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