Sebastian Zearing

how to be progressive without being a stupid liberal

Power Orientation

This post was originally published at

Power orientation is an aspect of one’s sexuality that is reminiscent of, yet decisively separate from, what is classically known as one’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation demarcates the gender(s)/sex(es) one finds sexually arousing. Romantic orientation is also often bundled with sexual orientation, even though it relates to higher-level emotional arousal and attraction. Power orientation is, broadly, the degree to which one seeks to direct a sexual encounter. And just like sexual orientation, it can be paired with a higher-level orientation that relates to romance and pair-bonding, rather than just sex: one can enjoy (or be unaware that one might enjoy) directing or being directed in a relationship. Power orientation undoubtedly has many correlates, but the one most clearly bespoken by the gay community is penetration. Power orientation varies from dominant to submissive, where in the gay community dominant partners are very likely to be “tops” who are the insertive partners in anal sex and submissive partners are very likely to be “bottoms” who are the receptive partners in anal sex. Furthermore, an even larger portion of the gay population may very well be “versatile” and enjoy both aspects of penetration. (And of course some gay men refuse to engage in anal sex altogether.) Still, though the correlation between power orientation and penetration exists, they remain distinct things: one is a personality trait, the other a behavior.

As all gay cis-men have both penises and anuses, there is no anatomically-based “natural” way to segregate tops and bottoms. Consequently, the necessity of personal choice and agency in the segregation is always clear. This contrasts sharply with the heteronormative world at large, where men and women segregate quite naturally (and usually thoughtlessly and unreflectively!) into the penetrators and the penetrated. The heteronormative world then suffers from a conflation of three distinct things: gender, penetration, and power orientation.

As a queer man who speaks both very fluent top and very fluent bottom, I can attest to the reality of the power orientation that accompanies penetrative acts. Despite my claim of “personal choice,” I can’t deny that there is whole laundry list of unchosen factors that influence the segregation. Tall, large, hairy, deep-voiced, muscular, and well-endowed gay men are quite often more likely to be tops, and reciprocally, short, small, smooth, high-voiced, weak, and small-dicked gay men are quite often more likely to be bottoms. It could either be the case that power orientation is an intrinsic, in-born characteristic derived from exposure to androgens (like essentially everything in the list in the past sentence), or an extrinsic, cultural characteristic derived from sociological pressure and performance. Both are probably involved, though I suspect the former explains more of the variance.

So what does this have to do with the red pill? If I were to assert the core red pill idea using gay jargon, I would say: women are bottoms, and if you’re a man and you want to get with one, you have to be a top! In other words, women approach sex not only in order to be penetrated, but also in order to be dominated, at least to some degree, in the way a gay man might expect a bottom to want to be dominated. Furthermore, just like there’s absolutely nothing wrong or remotely weird with a top pursuing a bottom and doing so in an optimal fashion, there’s nothing wrong with straight men (the vast majority of whom are tops) pursuing women (the vast majority of whom are bottoms) in an optimal fashion.

I could draw up a list of all the things that such pursuit entails, but I’d rather forward you to the sidebar at /r/TheRedPill.

One last thing regarding power orientation that I’ve observed is that there seems to be an additional segregation of power orientation. This is highly speculative, but the segregation differentiates those tops and bottoms who view dominance as a master-slave ordeal and those who view it as a master-pet ordeal. A possible identifier would be whether the subject of interest engages in acts of humiliation. Specifically in the gay community, another identifier might be whether a top prefers giving or getting oral sex and whether a bottom enjoys choking on a dick. I make no claims as whether this segregation represents an actual binary, or if it could be better understood as a spectrum, or even whether it is particularly useful towards understanding power orientation.


2 responses to “Power Orientation

  1. Pingback: My Sexuality | Sebastian Zearing

  2. Pingback: Sexuality, androphilia, gynephilia, and gay genes | Sebastian Zearing

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