FS surveyed over 240 gay men to ask something very important. Something that affects every gay man. Something that’s so integral to our way of life it can impact relationships, change friendships and perhaps bring us closer to spiritual enlightenment. We asked: what makes a good bottom and what makes a good top?

We have the answer for you:

What tops think bottoms want

What gets a bottom off? We asked the tops what they think a bottom looks for.

“Respect your partner who is bottoming,” says Mark, 31. “Go at the pace they are comfortable with. Also make sure you lube up the area and yourself well so there isn’t unnecessary friction. Ensure your penis is hard before trying to penetrate.”

Jaspar, 28, has a few suggestions to the tops out there. “Use your full length but don’t go balls deep in your first thrust. Pace yourself and don’t be afraid to get off if you need to, and warm yourself up/calm yourself down. Your bottom might be annoyed by the break, but they’ll thank you in the long run. And good tops eat ass. Get over it.”

“It’s not a marathon or a race; it’s sex. So, go at a pace you find comfortable and that gives your partner pleasure,” advises Rhys, 22. “If your partner is responding well to what you are doing, keep doing it. Don’t be afraid however to change things up with speeds, motions and positions. If you feel like you’re going to cum and it’s too soon, it’s okay to slow down or even stop. You can take a break to pleasure your partner in other ways. And for the love of God don’t copy porn. Your dick is not a drill and shouldn’t be used like one (unless your partner asks for that).”

A final piece of advice from 25-year-old Ben: “Plenty of lube will help you just as much as it will the bottom.”

What bottoms actually want

So, what do bottoms actually require in a top?

“Listen to your bottom,” says Joe, 31. “If he’s telling you to do it harder, then do it. If he says “don’t stop”, then don’t you dare fucking stop. And it you’re biting the shit out of the back of his neck and he tells you to knock it off then you better fucking quit or he might bite your dick off.”

“Create an environment of intense relaxation,” says Jack, 22, “but also be clear about what you want - encouragement is better than a feeling that there’s no impetus to get to where you’re trying to be.”

Adam, 27, wants a bit of care and attention before he gets down to it. “Use lube, too many tops lately don’t think it’s needed. Or foreplay, they just want to stick it in. You better rim or finger me first. Go slow, use kissing, smiling, sounds, body contact as cues to reassure the bottom.”

And 36-year-old Alex agrees that lube is key: “There’s no such thing as too much lube, but god you know it if there not enough.”

What bottoms think tops want

What do bottoms think is expected of them? They all seem to arrive at a similar conclusion.

“Be clean as best you can. Don’t overdo it, it’s not good for your body. Also, accidents happen. It is the ass. It kinda has a purpose to it. Don’t worry about it. You will laugh later,” says Luke, 27.

“Douche like your life depends on it, and then douche some more. Most importantly, relax. It’s meant to be pleasurable, not a chore,” believes Gavin, 44.

“Always douche,” agrees Paul, 27.

James, 39, has similar advice, “Douche. Douche. Douche.”

While John, 32, was a little more emphatic: “Douche!”

What tops actually want

We also asked the tops from our survey what they seek when someone is bottoming.

“Don’t dive on my D too quick. It’s not a race,” says John, 28. “The number of times I’ve seen an over eager bottom get on too quick only to regret it immediately... and it’s really not a big deal if we make a mess. I take full responsibility for putting a foreign object in your butt hole.”

Mark, 31, wants you to breathe. “Try and relax, take it slow and remember to breathe. The more relaxed you are the easier it is to actually have sex. Also, don’t be afraid to take control, sometimes knowing what is going to happen when helps you to relax your mind.”

“Variety makes things more fun for both of you, in terms of both speed and position,” says Will, 22. “If you can try and be prepared both mentally and physically it’s much more enjoyable for both of you. Don’t be afraid to say that you’re not in the mood to bottom, but make this clear early on.

And 43-year-old Lee mention that old favourite: “Douche.”

Top and bottom stats:

We asked tops: Do you think there’s more pressure on the top or the bottom when it comes to ‘performance’?

  • 71% said there’s more pressure on the top
  • 16% said there is pressure on both
  • 5% said the bottom

We asked you all: What’s your preferred sexual position?

  • 10% said top
  • 20% said top but can be versatile
  • 18% said bottom
  • 29% said bottom but can be versatile
  • 21% said completely versatile
  • 2% don’t have anal sex

We asked bottoms: Do you think there’s more pressure on the top or the bottom when it comes to ‘performance’?

  • 40% said there’s more pressure on the top
  • 16% said there is pressure on both
  • 35% said the bottom
  • 9% said neither

First time advice

We asked for your tips and advice for someone looking to try anal for the first time, whether it’s as a top or a bottom.

“Be open with your partner and talk about what each of you likes. Don’t just barge in. Take your time,” advises Mike, 37.

“If you’re the top, don’t be too eager or over-excited. You can end up rushing in and causing pain. Communication is key, check in with your partner throughout but especially on initial penetration. Make sure they are comfortable before increasing speed or force,” says Jake, 35. “If you’re the bottom: Breathe. Relax. Take deep breaths when he first enters you. If it hurts on initial penetration, get him to take it out again and wait for 20 seconds while you breathe and then try again. Your sphincter will get over the initial shock and relax more. Don’t be afraid to tell him to stop, or slow down.”

Tom, 31, thinks relaxation is key. “Don’t stress out too much. Find a person and a place that you’re comfortable with and get exploring. Don’t expect too much from your first time.”

Anal isn’t for everybody

Of course, fucking isn’t the be all and end all. Some people just don’t like it or are scared to try.

“I find it very uncomfortable I just don’t enjoy it at all. And I’ve tried too!” says Jules, 44.

“It’s just a bloody pain in the arse. All that douching and then making sure you don’t eat so that there’s no mess,” thinks Suraj, 24.

“I haven’t had much experience and so it has become daunting to try,” explains Paul, 32.

Maybe you love anal sex, maybe you hate it, but whatever you do, communicate with your partner, make sure that it’s right for you and you choose the safer sex strategy that’s right for you – whether that’s condoms, PrEP, regular sexual health tests or if you’re HIV-positive and on treatment. Most importantly, it should be fun.

The douching mini-guide:

  • Use plain, clean water, preferably at body temperature.
  • Do not use antiseptics, disinfectants or anything else in a douche, as they can all irritate the lining of the arse.
  • A small bulb douche is recommended.
  • If you are using a shower hose remember there’s variable water pressure and heat coming out of the shower and that you will not always be able to control the amount of water.
  • Make sure you expel all the water out of you before sex.
  • Douching can irritate the lining of the arse and may make it easier to be damaged during sex. This can increase the likelihood of HIV and STIs.