How to Top

My name is Alexander Cheves. My nickname is Beastly. I write about sex. I wrote a book.

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Hey, I just wanted to thank you so much for the article “17 Tips for Being a Better Top“. I’m 47, have just rejoined the gay scene after an 18-year marriage to a woman (I’m Bi) and I’m dating an incredible young guy. We talked about how I wanted to be inside him and he’s bottomed before. The problem is I’m on the large side down there, 7 up and 6 around. I’m also new to full gay sex, in fact, this young guy was my first. He’s using what he calls “bum tablets” to clean house and we’ve bought some plugs – we’ve managed it twice but I’m really struggling for a third appearance. Every time I ask to try during a hot and heavy session I get the push back and one time I was so stressed, he was ready, and I lost my erection. THAT was a pain in my ass I can tell you! 🙂
Anyway, my question assuming you’re still reading is … what advice can you give to this new top?

Thanks again for the advice in the article.

Hi top,

Congrats on having a nice dick. You really just need practice.

You’re a beginner to a fun — albeit challenging — sport. Like all sports, gay sex requires time, patience (with yourself and your sex partners), and practice to develop your confidence and skill. There’s no fast track to mastery in any area of life and sex is no exception.

I think it’s best for beginners to have sex with many different people for a few years. More information — more data, more partners, more diversity — means faster learning (think of it like taking on a heavier course load, Advanced Gay Sex 101). But if you’re in a monogamous relationship this might not be an option.

At your age, you — like most penis-wielders your age — will have erections with minds of their own. Most men over 30 have a hard time staying hard for extended periods. Some men are lucky, but most of us appreciate some help. I certainly do. Boner pills like Viagra and Cialis are great if you are cleared by a doctor to use them.

When you say your guy takes “bum tablets,” I assume you mean fiber pills. There is not enough space here to write everything I would tell him to encourage him sexually — that’s what I did in this post, this post, this post, and several other posts on this blog (questions about bottoming are the most common ones I receive). Most bottoms struggle with things like cleanliness, shame, performance anxiety, tightness, and much else, yet most bottoms love getting fucked when it happens. The struggles of bottoming are worth the work we put into it. Bottoming is great. “Total tops” go versatile after one successful bottoming experience. Bottoming is transformationally good. So here’s my personal message to him: Don’t give up, and take a look through my blog.

He needs practice, too — ideally with many different partners. I always advocate for non-monogamy and encourage couples to explore it. You both would benefit from more play with more people. If that’s not on the table, you will still grow as a top — and he will still grow as a bottom — but you’ll grow as a top for one kind of bottom: him. And he’ll only learn how to bottom well for you, which might not prepare him for a world of dick that will be even more accessible to him whenever things sour between you two. (Sorry to say that in such blunt terms, but no relationship lasts forever.)

Let’s talk more about the benefits of non-monogamy in the short term — in your immediate sexual future. Let’s say, for example, that he’s a submissive bottom. Think about how much you’d learn how to please him if you were simultaneously fucking a power bottom, a power vers, a toy pig, and other guys who enjoy anal pleasure. Your skills would become varied and diverse. You would discover new things to try out with him. What I’m about to say will rile monogamous people, but strictly, serially monogamous folks are rarely very fun or adventurous in bed. Sluts learn more ways to fuck by having sex with more people. This is why we’re so much fun to bang.

As far as topping goes: Start gentle, go slow, and build up your speed. You’ll feel him gradually relax, though some high-quality silicone lube will help. Vary your speed and rhythm — don’t just jackhammer until you cum. Try deep slow strokes followed by one hard, fast thrust. Build, release, build, release. Monotony kills sex.

Take breaks. Most importantly, you should ask him what he likes and what feels good to him. Don’t pretend to know exactly what you’re doing. Treat sex as something you are figuring out together with complicity and mutual curiosity. Listen to his input. Let him take over sometimes, then take back control. Great sex is a constant exchange of power, sometimes from moment to moment. Even very submissive bottoms constantly have to be wrangled — they are constantly surrendering, then tightening back up, in and out, over and over in a lovely dance of power exchange. Let them resist, breathe, then relax back into getting fucked. When they relax, let you in, and let you make them feel good, it is glorious. This is the best part of using someone’s hole: the moment they let you do what feels good to you because it feels good for them, too.

Sex is a marathon, not a race. Don’t allow thoughts about how long you’re taking to creep into your head. If he rushes you or pressures you to do anything, he’s not being a good playmate, and that’s on him. There’s no ticking clock, no average duration period, and no one tapping their foot for you to orgasm. Just as you should listen to his feedback, he should listen to yours. Tell him what feels good for you, too.

You’ll know when he’s ready for you to plow, but even when he’s begging for it, wait. The most enjoyable elements of sex are expectation, buildup, tension, and denial. You’ll let him have it when you’re ready to give it. But rough, hard sex is never mandatory and some bottoms simply don’t enjoy it, so as with all things, listen and work together to make a fun time happen for both of you.

Love, Beastly

This is a little bit embarrassing but I’ll go ahead. I am a gay 23 yrs old student at university and I have a problem; when I am masturbating by myself I get really hard and enjoy it bust a nut without a problem I can even do it multiple times a day but whenever I am having sex with other guys my dick keeps losing its hard on and sometimes it’s even a problem to get it hard even tho I am attracted to the guy I am having sex with also ejaculating is even a bigger problem this has happens on so many occasion I am starting to think I might have a problem.
Can you get me any advice on how to get this handled
Thank you


You’re experiencing anxiety. Since you’re able to masturbate and orgasm — you say you do so multiple times a day — then your body is able to blow a load, so we can likely rule out a medical problem. That said, I always encourage readers to maintain an ongoing dialogue with a doctor about their sex lives.

Read this post. Your focus for the foreseeable future will be on managing anxiety during sex so that you are able to relax enough to stay hard, and — should you want to — blow a load (ejaculation is always optional and there are many more ways to experience pleasure in sex). You are not a failure by not being able to do either of these things, and you will likely find that doing both — staying hard and cumming — gets easier with time. You’re just one of the millions of penis-bearers across the world who struggle with performance anxiety. You’re not alone.

And you’re very young — a beginner to gay sex, I imagine — so you can be assured by the fact that sex will become less stressful as you gain more experience. Like the gentleman above, you need time, patience, and experience. We learn by doing, so do lots of it.

Love, Beastly

Dear Beastly,

I recently started reading some of your inventive, creative postings online. Congrats on having the stamina to produce content that’s relevant to your wide-ranging readers.

I know you’re not an M.D. but wanted to find out if you, who have zillions more contacts than alter-cocker I, have ever heard good or bad about the costly treatment for ED called GainsWave or any similar acoustic-wave treatment, as well as its similarly wildly-priced but slightly different in effect PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections which allegedly further enhance both function and sensitivity of the penis.

Though you are likely wonderfully young and mostly hang with similar sweet birds of highly-potent youth (generational divide being more pronounced everywhere, but in particular in the gay sub-culture, now than at perhaps anytime in history, thanks to the sheer-line contrast between those suckled on tech from infancy and those of us who came by it too late to consider it fundamental to our beings…), perhaps you’ve parleyed with some older men who’ve tried GainsWave or similar treatment with either success or failure.

If you have ANY insights into this, please share. If I proceed to try this at a local urologist’s group practice in San Francisco, I’ll be blowing about 20% of my yearly income to do so. That’s why I’d greatly appreciate any input, as though at a superannuated vintage of 67, most in gay-dom would privately (or bluntly?) think and say that I’ve outlived all usefulness, sexual & otherwise, but I’d frankly like to feel empowered for one last turn at bat, however thinly-traded a commodity ancients like myself are. And spending such a sum, though fully worth it if the procedure is effective, is beyond sobering.

Thanks in advance for any anecdotally-obtained reviews or impressions you might have obtained thanks to your monumental social and sexual connectedness!


Hi Louis,

I’ll overlook the strange insult tucked into your question. My “suckled on technology” generation has more diversity than you might think — not all of us consider technology “fundamental to our beings” but it has unquestionably changed the world. The irony here is that you are asking me about what is effectively a new technology, one that I — the young sprout — had never heard of before. I guess you’re more up-to-date on medical science than I am.

You might not think much of millennials (or our nihilistic successors, Gen Z) but I promise you that the generation before you thought you and your peers were a bunch of spoiled kids, too.

I’m also afraid that I can’t be much help, as I don’t have any anecdotal yarns about GAINSwave. I’d never heard of it before your question. I did some research of my own, but what I found is likely the same information you have found. And you are right: I am not a doctor, so I’m more than useless in helping here, as it would actually be irresponsible and unethical of me to make any recommendation — affirmative or otherwise — on a medical procedure. This is something you need to talk about with a doctor, and if you don’t have honest rapport with your current physician, you should find a new one. You need an affirming, understanding, sex-positive doctor — the kind that should certainly be findable in San Francisco.

Here’s some interesting info for readers: GAINSwave is a new (and expensive) treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), which affects around 30 million people in the United States. Most of these cases are treated with medications like Viagra and Cialis.

GAINSwave is “low-intensity shock wave therapy” and most articles say this therapy is safe. It has generated much talk because it is a surgery-free and medication-free treatment. Low-intensity shock waves, also known as “low-intensity extracorporeal therapy” and “low-intensity sound wave therapy”, are non-invasive treatments that have been approved for treating things like plantar fasciitis, but the Food and Drug Administration has yet to greenlight this therapy for treating ED. (It’s worth noting that there are other brands, like PhoenixPro, that also use shockwave therapy to treat ED, and lack of FDA approval doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.)

This therapy requires the application of these waves to the penile shaft for an agreed-to number of shocks per minute (I am fascinated and would love to see how this is performed). This happens over an agreed-to number of sessions. GAINSWave usually requires six to 12 sessions for best results and each one lasts around 15 to 20 minutes — but all this happens after a certified GAINSWave provider does a pre-screening and recommends a treatment plan. Each session costs around $500 each, making the total sum of the treatment around $6,000. In comparison, generic Viagra (sildenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) are a fraction of the cost. GAINSwave is not covered by insurance.

Because of the high cost, this therapy is most recommended for people who have not had success with PDE-5 inhibitors like Viagra and Cialis. In particular, those who suffer from conditions that are considered “organic” causes of ED are ideal candidates. Organic causes of ED include damage to blood vessels, problems of the nervous system, medication side effects, endocrine disorders like diabetes, and Peyronie’s disease. If you tick any of these boxes and suffer from ED as a result, you might want to look into GAINSwave. And I agree with you, Louis: if it works and you can afford it, it’s worth it, even if you have to skip this year’s summer trip. And it seems to work.

Louis, I’m sure you knew all this information already. I know I didn’t tell you anything new. I truly wish you the best and wish you good luck, but I cannot tell you what to do with your body. I am not a doctor, and as I state on my Ask page, this blog should not be used in place of appropriate medical consultation.

I will just say this: People are not commodities. It’s a known fact by anyone over 25 that youth is wasted on the young, but that’s something we can only understand by living and getting through youth. We learn how much that precious energy and virility matter by seeing their limitations. We learn to stand by the body as it is by seeing its endless barrage of ailments. You are a valuable sexual creature, not because of any standards or social mores, but because your body — your great instrument — still craves pleasure and still has the ability to give you pleasure.

As long as your senses are working, that ability is inextinguishable. You are not an “ancient.” You are an aged man, a man with some life and years on him, and it’s great that you still have the hunger. Far too many people simply lose the desire. It gets dulled and snuffed out in long-term sexless relationships and marriages and laborsome careers. You have some fire in you left, so I say: do whatever is necessary to feed it.

Love, Beastly


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