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Out News Global’s new in-house vlogger, Bradley Birkholz is a “side” meaning he doesn’t have anal sex…at all…ever…and here’s why:

Top or Bottom? If I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked that question as a gay man I would have enough to retire at the ripe young age of 20.

I used to respond with ‘versatile’, because it’s just an easy way out of the question – but that never quite fit me either, and was more than a little bit misleading.

The truth of the matter was I didn’t much care for anal sex at all, and even avoided it when I could; and if you think versatile doesn’t get enough credit, try being a ‘side’… the term for a gay man who doesn’t prefer anal sex.

Don’t get me wrong, it can absolutely be enjoyable – but I find there’s more reasons not to do it, than to do it.

Not all sex has to be penetrative, and there’s a lot of great ways for men to have sex that doesn’t involve a top or bottom.

Many, if not most, gay men see sex exclusively as anal intercourse, which vastly oversimplifies a beautifully complex sexuality. A lot of young gay men find themselves picturing sex, specifically anal sex, as this fantasy world shown to us in our questioning teens through the medium of misleading pornography.

But the easy world of hot, risqué sex between men shown on PornHub is a far cry from what actually happens in the often painful, often messy world of anal sex.

I think it’s important to know, whether you’re a virgin, or still confused as to why you react so adversely to the “top or bottom” question, that sex between men goes far beyond this picture of anal sex, and if you find butt sex isn’t for you, that’s okay! You can be a side too, and there’s still a huge world of male-on-male sex out there for you to explore!

For help and advice with sexual health, visit the NHS Live Well website or the GMFA charity for gay men

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