Dominate Me

I turn 25 in a couple of weeks so I have spent time reflecting on my growth as a person, including my sexual identity and romantic attraction to men. While I have unsurprisingly not yet met a man I want to date, I have learned something about the guys I’m generally into: I’m turned on by guys who can dominate me. In other words, I’m a bottom.

It feels weird to out myself as a bottom on the internet, though it feels weirder to claim that identity given the stigma I’ve internalized about it, especially as a gay Asian man. It oftentimes feels like tops are venerated in the gay community, perhaps because of topping’s association with masculinity, whereas bottoming is devalued given its association with femininity. As a gay Asian man, I’m highly aware that gay Asians are often typecast as bottoms even when we’re not, as well as that gay Asians are perceived to love white dick – often to the extent that some gay Asians internalize this white supremacy and crave white male approval. So, as I reckon with my bottom identity more, I often wonder: am I complicit in maintaining a problematic hierarchy within the queer community? Am I perpetuating racism through this preference for submission?

holesome

I went back and forth quite a bit on whether to share this post because writing about your sexual identity on the internet feels kinda daunting, then one of my best friends replied to my concern with this and I thought, well, might as well. 

I also freak out a little when I think about this sexual preference because I wonder: does identifying as a bottom mean that I feel incomplete without a man? Like, if I like when a guy can take control of me in the bedroom, does that mean I want a man to control my life in general? Am I actually a fraud of an empowered gay Asian man, a disappointment to my queens Audre Lorde and Caroline Knapp, a scourge on this earth who deserves to be tossed into a dumpster along with all the Asian takeout containers I’ve gone through during this pandemic?

When I take a step back from this dramatic introspection, I remember though that I also know tops who perpetuate problematic or at least questionable behaviors and attitudes. I talked with a friend yesterday about tops who are overly aggressive in bed, and I’m aware of tops who prefer white men over men of color, as well as tops who fetishize men of color. In regard to identifying as a bottom equaling wanting a man to take control of my life in general, I remember early in my grad program, I talked with an older gay top about how I would never, ever settle for a man who doesn’t meet my standards, no matter my age. He looked at me while we stood outside a Dunkin’ Donuts in DC and said “Thomas, I feel like as I’ve gotten older, it’s become less a matter of if you’ll settle and more a matter of who you’re willing to settle for,” a statement that honestly disturbs me to this day.

friend support about bottoming post

Perhaps this post’s true intention is to showcase how supportive and iconic my best friends are! These messages helped me feel more aligned with my values in sharing this post even though some slight fear remains.

The other day I felt sad about the lack of a man in my life, then I felt sadder that I felt sad about a lack of a man in my life. I searched for narratives about gay men of color falling in love to give myself some hope, felt disappointed when I could not find anything new, and then remembered: I’m freaking iconic and I can write my own narrative. Toni Morrison once wrote that “if there’s a book you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” While I’m not writing a book, I am writing this blog about a gay Asian man who falls in love, with someone even better than another man – himself.

There are a lot of narratives about gay Asian men, especially gay Asian male bottoms, being generally passive or deferential. I’m here to say, fuck that shit, because I know my worth. I know who I am without a man. And any man who wants a chance with me would have to really bring it, it being a lot truckload of books, lots of pints of Jeni’s ice cream, a willingness to listen to me fanboy about the colors in BlackPink’s “As If It’s Your Last music video, etc. because I don’t have time for a mediocre man when I already have my close friends, meaningful work, fulfilling hobbies, and an oddly self-disclosing blog to maintain. I’m not sure if I’ll ever meet a top or a vers guy who can match my power, though I’m okay with that, because I’m confident that my work will help the next generation unlearn toxic masculinity and racism. I’m confident in my own power.

How do you reckon with sexual identity and power, especially for any queer readers of this blog? I still have a lot to learn about this aspect of my sexual orientation and identity, so any resources, especially anti-racist resources, about bottoming and submission? General reactions to this post? Until next time!

13 Comments

Filed under Personal, Society

13 responses to “Dominate Me

  1. It’s always interesting to read your blog. I’m looking forward to more entries graphically illustrated by pictures. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, they will help make your entries more concise. You could turn your blog into an artsy soft core porn blog with a strong academic bent.

    It’s a strange gay culture we have. Once we find out a person’s name, the next question (whether is asked or not) is almost always top / bottom / vers, cut / uncut etc… I do think we have to get rid of this association that bottoms are the submissive. And tops are dominant.

    What’s also causing some stress in your entry is that the battery level in your phone is at 18%!!!!

    • Hahahahahah omg Matt this comment is so funny, thank you for taking my slight discomfort in sharing this post and pushing it even further! It is a strange gay culture we have, I appreciate parts of it and loathe others. I agree that we should get rid of these stereotypes and associations. And yeahhh usually I’m not one to be that risky with my battery level but in a pandemic anything goes I guess. (:

  2. Reading your blog for some time, i’d say, that no matter what is preferred setting in bed, you won’t let someone dominate you in life.

    Feeling incomplete without partner is a different topic, happening to all – girls, boys, straight etc. I wouldn’t associate it with bottom gay boys.

    But of course, i might be wrong.

    • Aw, thank you so much for this vote of confidence! And, thank you even more for having read my blog for some time. That means a lot. Your comment has def helped me internalize the necessity of questioning stereotypes associated with tops and bottoms.

  3. You are iconic and you will write your way into whatever you need to express and write about. I don’t think one’s sexual wiring and one’s externally presenting self have to “match” in some way and I don’t think you’re perpetuating a stereotype and undermining your people if you choose to behave a certain way behind closed doors. I mean, I like to read and sew, right, and I tend to do the main cleaning in the house, but that doesn’t undermine me being a feminist as far as I can tell. Not sure if that’s the right analogy but I’m not going to go on about my sex life. Be yourself and be proud of yourself as you should be. And your friends are also iconic!

    • Aw thank you so much for your encouragement and belief in me, Liz! I appreciate so many things about this comment including: you validating my desire to write about potentially risky topics on this blog, you thoughtfully sharing what from your life relates in a way that feels comfortable for you, and your general compassion. Thank you. Yes, I think we can be complex as humans and I think as long as I do think about whether I am being and feeling empowered in real life and in the bedroom (even if that empowerment may come in a certain way) I think I’ll maintain my standards and values. (:

  4. x

    Hi Thomas,
    This is definitely a topic that worth good discussion and exploring in real life. Reading this reminds me that, recently I read about this age of aquarius and dying of the old world thing. (I am interested in astrology and some spiritual stuff. quite good at it tbh. haha). I remember I had a bit of fear that as human beings we will get less and less physical connection. Though I do love personal space and my privacy, but I do fear that in this new era, sex and all sorts of physical contact will die.
    I’m a straight woman but from my own experience, i think that sexuality is a preference and a tendency. For me, I have both bottom and top fantasies and I think, sometimes the fantasies matches the real life, sometimes it doesn’t. And I know what I like, but there’s always something new, or something would surprise me. Also I think it’s part of your liking, about everything: food; clothes; items in home… overall I have a taste and style but there are some changes through the years… Sorry to much rambling.
    Well, not sure if you would like it or not, the dear sugars podcast had several episodes talking about sexual experiences. (they have great guests to provide good insights). I do remember particularly, in one episode, Sheryl Strayed talked about her fantasy of being with dominative men and feeling ashamed. Really great episode. Oh i love her.
    Talk soon!
    Xin

    • Ooooh that’s so cool that you’re into astrology! I’m a gemini, so if you want/have the resources, please let me know what you make of that. (: I do hope that physical proximity and touch won’t go away even if it takes some time for things to go back toward what they were before. I appreciate you so vulnerably sharing your experiences with sexual desire and from what it sounds like, your openness and your non-judgmental stance. I think I can definitely approach my feelings about this more from a place of non-judgment so I can continue to introspect and learn and grow. No need to apologize for rambling, I like it all, and yes, I’ve read the book Dear Sugar but haven’t listened to the podcast so maybe I’ll check it out. Thank you for the recommendation and thank you for praising my texts with my friends – we’re all into writing so I suppose our style of communication may stem from that. (:

  5. x

    Ah, i forgot to say I like how standard you and your friends’ texts are! that’s nice. I hate one word tests or super short, ungramatical texts! haha

  6. priya

    Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable and personal post (as you do usually haha). I don’t have any sexual experience, so can’t really comment on that. But I totally get your worries about having the preferences of a stereotypical gay Asian man. It’s really hard to separate your individual likes and dislikes from what you’re expected to like and dislike, which is again different from the norm in your own culture. Queer communities have a LONG way to go in terms of accepting poc and it’s getting harder to interact, even online. But I really appreciate writers of colour, like you, who share their own experiences and thoughts about the intersection of queerness and racism.

    Also, your worry about validating stereotypes is one I totally relate with aghhhh. It’s really sad how passiveness is associated with Asians and femininity, which is bad in itself, but it simultaneously puts women down. I’m not a gay man, but I do have similar fears -does being non binary mean I’m rejecting femininity for something better (more masculine)?? I don’t know,,, I used to get some direction from the feminist movement, with all its racism issues, but once I started questioning my gender, I realised how exclusionary the feminist community is towards trans people.

    Sorry, this tunes into another super long comment yikesss I hope you have a good day and get to dance to As if it’s Your Last!! It’s my favourite BP song too, and sadly the most disliked :(((

    • Hi Priya, thank you so much for this thoughtful and vulnerable comment, it means a lot to me! Yeah I agree about how it can be hard to separate your individual likes and dislikes from what society tells you to like and dislike; I’m glad for myself that I definitely have not internalized (or at least have thoroughly rooted out any internalization) about cis white gay men being the most attractive in the gay community as any cis white gay man would have to really prove himself to even get a glance in his direction from me, at least in a dating/romantic/sexual context. Totally hear you and appreciate you naming how racist the queer community can be/is and how there’s more work to do, and thank you for validating my writing and my sharing of my voice. It’s especially important for me because I think gay Asians are perceived as people who don’t speak out about these things and I’m like nah f that I’m gonna say what I want about it.

      Thank you for sharing your experience of being nonbinary, and it sucks that you’ve encountered transphobia from the feminist community. TERFs really are hateful and exclusionary and awful. I hope you’re able to find resources and community to continue processing what your nonbinary identity means to you in a way that feels safe and healthful for you. Sometimes when I think about femininity and masculinity I think about how large portions of those constructs, if not the constructs entirely, are socially constructed and how we can make them what we want them to be, or at least take certain parts and reject others (e.g., valuing the confidence associated with masculinity while leaving behind the degradation of women and queer people, as well as the lack of emotional reflection and sensitivity).

      No need to apologize, I love reading and responding to comments like this, they mean a lot to me. Yayyyy for another AIIYL stan – that’s interesting about it being their most hated song, I didn’t know that. Oh well I’m glad the two of us have enough taste to enjoy it though. (:

  7. Pingback: Athletic, Kinda | the quiet voice

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