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What it does (and doesn't) mean to be vers in the bedroom

What it does (and doesn't) mean to be vers in the bedroom

What it does (and doesn't) mean to be totally versatile in the bedroom
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Flipping really is the most fun, isn't it?

@andrewjstillman


Flipping really is the most fun, isn't it?

What it does (and doesn't) mean to be totally versatile in the bedroom

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There are numerous sexual roles you can take in the bedroom, from topping to bottoming and anywhere in between. Maybe you’re interested in only giving or receiving oral, or perhaps you’re all about the penetration either way.

Among the roles is one that’s growing in popularity for all the right reasons: Being versatile aka vers

Although versatile gay men have struggles of their own, let’s take a closer look at what it does (and doesn’t) mean to be totally vers in the bedroom.

What does "vers" mean?

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Being versatile, or “vers,” essentially means you’re happy either giving or receiving when it comes to sex. Although this could include oral sex, it more often refers to the actual act of penetration itself (and yes I’ve already used that word twice.) Vers guys are basically happy to either take the top, the bottom, or the middle in a sexual encounter. Just like blondes, the vers guys definitely know how to have all of the fun.

Aren't all gay men either tops or bottoms?

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Aren’t all straight people supposed to want kids? Isn’t everyone supposed to strive for marriage? Is independence overrated?

Okay, I’m getting carried away, but the point still stays the same — there are stereotypes that exist and societal expectations that aren’t always exactly how things go down. Of course, these days it’s pretty awesome that people are even thinking about the roles gay men take in the bedroom, so at least we have a few points toward that progression, as well.

But the long story short here? No. Not all gay men fit into either a “top” or a “bottom” category.

Is versatility common in gay relationships?

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If it’s not, it should be! But, seriously, it is becoming a more common thing within relationships, and it’s probably all for the better. Oftentimes, there’s old school thinking about the power dynamic (which we’ll talk more about in a minute) that would suggest that the “top” of the relationship would be the “man,” whereas the “bottom” of the relationship would be the “woman.” Ooh boy, this is wildly inaccurate for way more reasons than we have time to get into today, but that type of dynamic can shift when two versatile lovers enter the picture because for some couples may feel it that puts them on more equal footing.

To be very clear, being a top, bottom, or vers partner does not automatically equate to being more, less, or equally powerful in the relationship dynamic — hello, have you heard of power tops and power bottoms? Clinging to those outdated ideas can potentially be harmful. Every relationship is different in and out of the bedroom so proceed accordingly.

But while we’re on that topic...

Does versatility support equality?

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This is mostly expanding on the last point, but it does deserve to have its own highlighted section. Again, since tops are stereotypically more thought of as the dominant partner and bottoms are expected to be submissive, being vers can sometimes help break out of those old school ideas. But isn't one of the best things about being queer that we don't have to align with traditional roles? But I digress. There are plenty of tops and bottoms who are more than happy in their roles — and we’re certainly not trying to tell them they’re wrong — but sometimes, a partner enters into a relationship and isn’t aligned with the role they’re supposed to be.

For example, somebody who doesn’t bottom often or who might not have ever bottomed at all could end up in a relationship with someone in the same boat. This can cover many different situations, but at the end of the day, if each partner decides to take on a role they’re not necessarily usually comfortable with, it can create deeper intimacy and trust between the two partners, which also helps bring them closer to that equality.

Versatility is strictly sexual, right?

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No. Well, yes, but no. It is a sexual position, of course, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it only refers to sex. As mentioned above, maybe you’re taking on a role you wouldn’t otherwise take on if you didn’t love your partner. It’s definitely important to make sure you’re making those adjustments for you and not for him, but doing so also helps you be a little more versatile in other ways, too. This can mean you and your partner open up a better line of communication, learn how to explore each other’s love languages more, and take your relationship even deeper than just the physical.

However, if you’re just in it for some hook-ups and not at all for the relationship aspect, then yes. Being versatile is totally strictly sexual.

Is being vers something new?

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Not at all, but as with a lot of queer-related topics, it’s more so just that we’re starting to hear these terms and be more accepting of them on a basic societal level. Sometimes it’s hard enough as it is to dig into history and figure out who was actually secretly closeted and who was just the victim of rumors, which is still an unfortunate circumstance happening today. Still, although we don’t necessarily have any hard proof (get it?) that versatility extends back to the dawn of man, we’re going to base it on assumption, seeing as how good it feels to be on both sides of that coin.

Does being vers lead to better orgasms?

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This could be a total opinion, but… yes. Yes it does.

But opinion aside, let’s actually think about this for a second. In a threesome situation especially, being versatile is the most ideal place to be. That’s both your prostate and your penis getting massaged at the same time, and the person in the middle is constantly in control of the speed at which everybody else moves. In a one-on-one situation, flipping — or taking turns with each position — can extend the session for quite some time. If you’re familiar with edging, which is withholding your ejaculation as long as possible, this becomes a little easier if you switch up your position every time you think you’re close.

I think I'm vers... Now what?

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Go out, explore, stay safe, and remember that every person is different. You yourself may identify as vers, but that doesn’t always mean your partner will, too. As stated above, if you’re taking on a different role, make sure you’re doing it for you. On the flip side (no pun intended), treat your partner with the same respect and don’t push them into anything they’re not down for, either.

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Andrew J. Stillman

Contributing Writer for Pride.com

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at andrewjstillman.com or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at andrewjstillman.com or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.