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What is the Side sexual position?

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Tops and bottoms had a good run, but 2023 was without a doubt the year of the side.

If you’re unfamiliar with the terms, then welcome well-meaning straight people! Gays know, but a gay top is the partner who penetrates during sex, and a gay bottom is one who runs a Lana Del Ray Stan Twitter account. Long forced to the sidelines, the sides are having such a moment right now.

A gay side is a person who does not prefer non-anal penetrative sex. While that is the goal for plenty of people, a large portion of the population simply prefers non-penetrative acts like oral, mutual masturbation, or other acts usually considered foreplay. Think of the side as your friend who only orders appetizers at dinner. By the end they’re still satisfied even if they didn’t enjoy the same meal as you.

In May of 2022 Grindr officially added “side” as an option for sexual position. For many people, some sides included, this was their first introduction to the term. Drag Race Alumna Kerri Colby even tweeted her surprise at learning she herself was a side.

This type of revelation isn’t wholly uncommon. The gay world for queer men can seem rather sex-focused from an outside (or inside) perspective. Anyone who’s perused the apps knows how many men are looking to get it on right here, right now. Some are even dismissive of partners seeking out non-penetrative sex.

The appeal of the side lifestyle is obvious. There’s no need for either partner to douche (unless rimming is on the table, in which case please do.) It also allows for a more casual nature to the hookup with less awkwardness surrounding preparing one partner for penetration, or any embarrassment from not getting it up. 

According to The Guardian, sex therapist and author Dr Joe Kort coined the term side in 2013. Back then, he was trying to create a term for men like himself who weren’t interested in the idea of penetrative sex. Kort went on to say he believes many more men would identify as sides without the shame he also felt around his sexual preference.

While there isn’t data readily available on how many men identify as sides, Grindr Unwrapped recently revealed the top 5 countries with the most sides. The list includes Singapore, The Philippines, China, Kenya and New Zealand.  

There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to find a side though. Plenty of men all over the US proudly display side on their Grindr or Scruff profiles. As the term rises in popularity, so too shall the side population.

So the next time a man hits you up for a little side action, embrace it. A man with a good job is hard to find, and if those happen to be blow, hand, or rim done expertly you should consider yourself lucky. The sides are here to stay, and in 2024 we can only expect more of them to come out of the woodwork, and work your wood until you come. 

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