Michael Henry Spotlights Gay Men Who Don’t Top Or Bottom

In the gay world, men who don't top or bottom, or avoid penetrative sex, are known as a "side"
L-R Michael Henry, Kevin McDonald, Michael Fariss (screen captures)

The latest short film from funnyman Michael Henry explores the sexual preference of being a “side” and what that constitutes.

The clip opens with Henry hanging with his friends Michael Fariss and Kevin McDonald. Fariss is gossiping about the fun he’s having with “an array of men.”


When McDonald and Henry joke about how worn his ‘bits’ must be, Fariss clarifies that he doesn’t bottom or top: “I’m a side.”

Like…a potato?

Fariss explains: “When it comes to sex, I do everything but butt. A side is a gay man who doesn’t like to do top or bottom. Some still do sometimes, but most sides like to do all the other sexual stuff.”

L-R Kevin McDonald, Michael Fariss

McDonald (rocking a sexy porn stache) chimes in: “Yeah, like kissing, oral, massage, mutual jerking…”

Fariss: “Frottage…”

Henry: “That sounds disgusting…”

McDonald: “It’s not – it’s just like dry humping or heavy petting but it usually doesn’t end in penetration.”


The discussion shifts to needing – or not needing – penetration to make sex “sex,” and what would lead someone down this “side” street. This is includes a graphic demonstration of Henry’s white-knuckle reaction to taking a trip to Pound Town.

Michael Henry’s reaction to bottoming (screen cap)

On the clip’s YouTube page, there were many comments praising Henry for taking on the subject. Just a sample:

• “Thanks for covering this topic. Dan Savage said 25% of gay men do not like anal sex. I am a side and there are men who appreciate my other skills. Yes, it is a deal breaker with some men but I have now a boyfriend who cannot wait to get home from work for some expert oral attention. And yes, oral sex IS sex!”


• “Finally! The concept of anal sex not being the end-all be-all for gay men needs to be more widely embraced.”

• “I feel seen. I identify as a side. Thanks Michael for not making it seem weird or making mockery of it.”

• “Thank you SO MUCH for making a video about this. I came across the term side at a sexual health clinic because I genuinely thought there was something wrong with me for not enjoying anal sex. That’s how unknown this term had been for me at one point.  After finding that out, I put a basic definition of what a side is on my Grindr profile and it ended up helping a lot of guys learn about the term, or even discover that they’re one themselves.”

To be honest, the term “side” was a new one for this writer. Readers – is this a common term in your local community? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Michael Henry Spotlights Gay Men Who Don’t Top Or Bottom”

    • I completely agree. We do exist, and we are everywhere. I’ve been told I’m “too vanilla” but I can’t think of anything hotter than frottage with the right dude.


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