“To Be A Bottom Is Not An Insult.” Johnnell Terrell Calls Out Bottom Shaming

“To Be A Bottom Is Not An Insult.” Johnnell Terrell Calls Out Bottom Shaming

The model and inspirational speaker on LGBT issues, Johnnell Terrell, recently took to his Instagram page to address the issue of bottom shaming in the gay community. The IGTV video post was made with the caption: “Some gay men make men who bottom feel less valued or appreciated… As if they are less of a man. If you Top, your role is more masculine… If you Bottom, you’re labelled as the feminine one or “bitch” or wife… When in the end, you’re both still gay men. It should be about pleasing your partner, not placing them into titles.”

In the video, Terrell expounds on this issue by asking why people think of the labels “versatile” and “bottom” as an “insult or read”. “As gay men, we tear ourselves apart,” he says. “We sit up here and we find things to dig at. ‘Oh, you bitch, you ain’t nothing but a bottom. You bend over, you do this, you do that.’ Why is it that that is something that’s an insult? So, because you’re the person who’s not being penetrated, does that make you somewhat not as gay?”

He wonders how the bottom shaming makes the one instigating it any less gay. “If you are the top or the bottom, what it’s going to equal out to in the end (is) that you are both two gay men who are engaging in sex. You’re still gay. We’re all still gay.”

He points out how these discriminations is rooted in the heterosexual norms that exalt men, the dominant ones in a sexual relationship, while dismissing women, the receptive ones, as weak. “We as gay men try to find ways to make ourselves feel like we’re better when we are more of something that is strong, masculine. Any type of femininity in any type of way is looked (at) as demeaning, derogatory, negative.”

Terrell also explains how this kind of toxic masculinity can be limiting to sexual relationships in the gay community, especially when we are too restrained by our masculine expectations to explore the things we want during sex. “This is the way I’ve always looked at love with another man and why I feel relationships in the gay world tend to last sexually when it pertains to compatibility,” he says. “People are too reserved, instead of learning how to let go an explore different parts of sex with your partner and make it more enjoyable to where you’re not being egotistical.”

This is especially insightful for us in a community where we as gay men are held to or hold ourselves to rigid expectations when it pertains to sex based on the extent of our masculinity. You see the scorn in the gay man’s expression when he learns that some muscular guy is in fact a bottom and not a top.

Or the dismissiveness of a Top you’re about to hook up with, who tells you categorically that “Bottoms are supposed to suck the Top’s dick, while Tops are supposed to fuck the Bottom’s ass.” (I have legit encountered one such person myself.)

Or you encounter all these labels like “strictly top” and “super top”, which appear to be an affirmation of one’s masculinity that feels threatened by the fact that anyone would ever ask him to play the receptive role during sex.

All that these restrictions/expectations achieve is limit us from knowing the extent of the things we may find pleasurable during sex. They also spill over from the bedroom and confine us to roles we are supposed to play in relationships – such as Tops expected to be the providers, while Bottoms are seen as the home keepers.

Johnnell Terrell last month commemorated on Instagram the anniversary of his relationship with his partner, Tyrone Wells, who he has apparently been with for six years.

Johnnell Terrell and his partner, Tyrone Wells

Check out the video of Terrell’s words below:

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6 Comments

  1. Rehoboth
    November 26, 08:38 Reply

    There will always be douche bags. While what an idiot thinks will affect someone is what I don’t get.

  2. Black Dynasty
    November 26, 12:50 Reply

    This, i still can’t say i understand why sexual preferences are some sort of definition of a person.. i.e “a bottom” or “a top”.

    When i see people define themselves that way, it’s usually an indicator of insecurity and occasionally lack of substance…. each to his own i guess but heteronormative standards should not be applicable, we’re men having sex 🤷🏿‍♂️

    • Pink Panther
      November 26, 13:58 Reply

      “it’s usually an indicator of insecurity and occasionally lack of substance.”

      This!!! All of this!!!

  3. Tristan
    November 28, 08:38 Reply

    I think it’s time we should go on BOTTOM STRIKE to teach all these callous tops a lesson.

    Bottoms, yeah?..Should I raise the volume?!

  4. Shadow
    November 28, 18:00 Reply

    Sadly bottom shaming won’t stop anytime soon because most bottoms don’t even respect their bodies. That’s all am going to say.

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