Beginning with the publishing of my article on “sides” in the Huffington Post in 2013, I’ve been announcing through any outlet possible that “side” is another option for gay men who are not a “top, “bottom,” or “verse.”
(Tops are the partner who penetrates during intercourse; bottoms are the partner who receives penetration; and verse is someone who enjoys topping and bottoming.)
Finally, Grindr has made it “official.” A few weeks ago, the world’s largest dating app for gay men just added “side” to its choices when seeking a partner.
Sides do not have, or enjoy, anal intercourse. They prefer to kiss, hug and engage in oral sex, rimming, mutual masturbation and rubbing up and down on each other – to name just a few of the sexual activities they enjoy. They may have tried anal penetration and even performed it many times, finding it was not the right source of pleasure for them.
Sides have lived with frustration for far too long. They want love, they want a loving commitment, they want a healthy and satisfying sex life, and they want acceptance for their sexual activity preferences.
Grindr’s announcement is a major breakthrough for the side community who have felt invisible, misunderstood and shamed for decades.
Gay “sides” can, and are, having sex and enjoying it tremendously as a “side.” In fact, research shows that sexual acts involving the anus were the least common preference for gay men.
For years, I lived with incredible guilt because I was not a top or bottom. I kept my “side” secret hidden. I didn’t want to be the oddball who didn’t have penetrative sex or suffer the humiliation of being called a virgin. I experienced plenty of that in college when I was ridiculed and judged for not wanting anal sex, so I stopped talking about it. I learned the hard way, and many times, that gay men often do not support each other; they even attack that which they don’t understand.
But this didn’t stop me from doing my own sole-searching and research. I found nothing about sides and decided to do something about it, so I started using the term “side” in my retreats and presentations.
Every month, nearly 11 million gay men worldwide go on the Grindr app, seeking sex with other men. They not only can peruse thousands of guys, but now they also can choose four preferred sex positions.
Grindr has opened all of these doors that I’ve been trying to open for countless years. When I published my article in 2013 in the Huffington Post, I was amazed and elated at the emails I received from guys telling me how relieved they were that they were not alone as a “side.” They finally felt empowered to enjoy sex the way they wanted to without judgment.
I started a Facebook group called “Side Guys,” and the number of followers from around the world continues to grow. This community of all ages has found a forum for acceptance, where loneliness and shame do not exist.
I’m also pleased to report that Wikipedia recently added a “sides” definition to its homosexuality terminology entry. You also will find plenty of TikTok messages from me on sides: https://www.tiktok.com/@drjoekort, and YouTube messages, too.
Even though the term “side” seems new, the behavior is not. In 2011, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published a survey of some 25,000 gay and bisexual men in America that revealed only 36 percent said they bottomed, and 34 percent said they topped. Nearly 65 percent of gay and bisexual men didn’t have intercourse, the study showed. Most preferred “outercourse,” which the researcher called “side.” Others “side” out of necessity. Men who have undergone prostrate surgery and suffered nerve damage to the penis, or have suffered from other physical issues, now have an option that makes enjoyable sex possible again.
I’d like to note that a side also can be a cisgender male, a transgender male, an intersex male, a masculine male, a feminine male, a nonbinary male, a pansexual male, or an androgynous male.
I also see “sides” as an option for straight people, including women who may find penetrative sex painful, or they prefer oral techniques. It also is a good option for gay and straight men who have erectile issues.
Too many men are still in the closet, and I hope the Grindr app choice will change that. Take a look at my Side Guys Facebook page at and read what other sides are saying. We’ve become a community. There is a real sense of bonding and affirmation. The more we talk about it, the more acceptance will follow.
When talking with my clients, I encourage them to stay true to their authentic self, and what they want and do not want in bed. Thanks to Grindr’s acknowledgement of “sides,” you can find the right partner who enjoys what you enjoy.
If you are interested in joining my Facebook group for sides, visit http://m.facebook.com/groups/sideguys.