Episode 106: Top, Bottom, Side – What’s Your Position?

July 1, 2022 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast

Episode 106: Top, Bottom, Side – What’s Your Position?


Men who have sex with men often identify themselves in terms of sexual positions, such as top, bottom, or versatile to reference the role they prefer to take during anal sex. But what if none of those terms describe you? Today’s episode is all about the growing number of gay and bisexual men who identify as “sides,” or people who aren’t into penetrative anal sex.

I am joined by Dr Joe Kort, the clinical director and founder of The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health in Royal Oak, Michigan. He is a board-certified clinical sexologist and author of four books. Joe was the first person to coin the term “side” and his efforts to raise awareness of it recently led the sex and dating app Grindr to start offering it as an option for identifying oneself. Some of the topics we explore in this show include:

  • How do gay and bisexual men define “sex?” And what are their most common sexual behaviors?
  • Why is there so much pressure to identify yourself as a sexual position in the gay community?
  • Why are some men into anal sex while others are not?
  • What does it mean to identify as a “side?” And how many gay and bisexual men are sides?
  • How can people be more respectful of others who have different sexual activity preferences without shaming them for wanting something different?
  • What are the positive and negative aspects of identifying yourself as a sexual position?

To learn more about Joe, visit joekort.com and follow him on the socials @drjoekort

Thanks to the Kinsey Institute (kinseyinstitute.org) for sponsoring this episode!

The Kinsey Institute’s (kinseyinstitute.org) 75th anniversary is underway and you are invited to join in the celebration! Follow @kinseyinstitute on social media to learn more about upcoming events. Also, please consider a gift or donation to the Institute to support sex research and education. Click here to donate.


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Credits: LEGIT Audio (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.

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Written by

Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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