STUDY: You Can Tell A Top From A Bottom Just By Looking At Him

What will science think of next?

Researchers have proven (and disproven) the existence of gaydar, but one study claims individuals can correctly identify if a gay man is a top or a bottom just by looking at him.

A 2013 survey saw 23 participants examine photos of 200 gay men taken from dating sites and categorize them based on preferred position. (One hundred of the men self-identified as “tops,” the other half as “bottoms.”)

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It turns out they chose the correct roles at a rate better than chance, although they were biased towards choosing tops—perhaps because of its stereotypical associations with masculinity.

The interviewees, who included women and straight men, admitted they often used stereotypical masculine traits—large noses, thick eyebrows—to make their determination.

And it’s not just a gay thing, apparently.

“It is possible that similar effects may be found in opposite-sex relationships: women may be able to identify submissive versus dominant men from brief observations of appearance or behavior,” wrote head researchers Konstantin O. Tskhay and Nicholas O. Rule in Archives of Sexual Behavior.

It’s an interesting observation, sure, but were not sure we’d bank on it: Rule and Tskhay ignore the preponderance of versatile gay men, as well as those who aren’t that interested in anal sex.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery