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Chris Kryzan

February 1999

Hi Chris,

I really don't know where to turn. I desperately need relationship advice and I don't know where to call or who to speak with. Here's the problem so maybe you can better help me.

My boyfriend and I have been going out for 1-1/4 years. We are extremely in love and want deeply to remain together. However, here's the problem. In our relationship I am the bottom and he is the top. Recently I've desired to be a top once in a while, however my boyfriend has had a bad experience with being a bottom and is not comfortable being a bottom.

I respect his view and he respects mine. But lately I've felt a little empty when we make love and I find myself resenting not being able to be a top. We stayed up last night hugging and in tears for we don't know how to solve this obstacle in our relationship.

Can you think of or have heard of any solutions or even happy mediums for me. Please take this problem very seriously. If you have any advice or even a helpline number you can refer me to I'd sincerely appreciate it.

Thanks,

Mark

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Hi Mark,

I'm going to tackle this one in kind of reverse order, I think, starting with what's probably the least attractive alternative.

You describe this as an obstacle in your relationship -- of course, one approach would be to view this as insurmountable, since the two of you seem to be at some kind of impasse, and go your separate ways. But I sense that's not something you really want, and I think it's also important to recognize the point that I'm sure sex is just one aspect of your relationship. I would imagine that there is a lot of other things holding the two of you together, especially if you spent the night hugging and in tears. You only do that when you really care about someone, I think.

The next thing would be to just ignore this issue and go on as usual, accepting this as the particular way you'll have sex. That could work, but frankly, I think it's clear that you want to try being a top, and that perhaps this is an important part of the relationship (beyond sex) for you - either a reciprocity of sorts, or the fact that you want to enjoy sex that way, as well. If so, that means that, although you might outwardly seem happy, that resentment would build up below the surface and just explode one day.

The third option (and I really think this more or less covers them all) is that your boyfriend try being a bottom. Now, obviously this has been more or less a brick wall you are both facing, but it is probably helpful for both of you to really talk this through (perhaps you have already). The real issue to get at is exactly why he resists being a bottom.

It could be for medical reasons, in which case you would just have to respect this limitation, I think.

It could be because he found the experience painful in his past. That's not at all uncommon - sometimes the top doesn't pay enough consideration to the comfort (and hopefully enjoyment) of the bottom, or the two people aren't experienced enough to know what to do to make it easier. I suggest you find a book at a local bookstore, or amazon.com (they have a large selection), that discusses techniques for anal sex. Many guys who initially have found the experience to be uncomfortable, or even painful, learn that it can be enjoyable given certain techniques (like "pre-stretching", for example), aids (like lube) and even psychological approaches (like not tensing up and "trying" to be comfortable instead). Beyond reading, you might eventually try a sex therapist, but that's more of a really big step.

It could be that he finds being the bottom as effeminizing or somehow jeopardizing his status as a "real man." This is also not that uncommon -- the gender bias that exists in our society often tries to label the bottom as a "woman," and therefore somehow of lesser value. This bias is frankly just a bunch of b.s., but if this is an issue, then it's something you just need to talk through so he feels secure enough in his masculinity so that it's not an issue.

Much of this comes down to the same thing: continue to discuss this issue, and work on it together. You can even have some fun with it -- make it a joint project: "How to enjoy being a bottom." And give it a month or two of trying.

Now it may turn out that even after all of this you get nowhere. If that's the case, then you have to decide just how important this is to you. you could chalk it up to "that's the way things are and I'll live with it." Or if it's really important, then you either wind up back at the first option, or perhaps you might decide to go a "threesome" route where you invite someone else to join you, allowing you to be a top. However, there are a whole load of issues to deal with if that's a choice, too.

Best wishes to you both,

Chris
chris@kryzan.com


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