First came the power bottoms. Then the Short Kings. The latest all-inclusive, body-positive community to bloom? Tall Bottoms — six-foot-plus gays who like to get fucked.
Tall Bottoms are misunderstood. Sure, tall men in general are privileged professionally and personally, more likely to find economic success and better luck on dating apps. Yet they subvert the tired queer sexual tropes we’re expected to adhere to. Bottoms are stereotyped as petite and more feminine (with a thicc ass, though); an idealized top is tall, muscular and masculine. So where does a lanky 6-foot-3 vers bottom — like writer Sam Van Pykeren — fit in?
“When I say that I bottom, there’s something really fun about the way people are surprised,” Van Pykeren says. He likes to be “the one to confront that and talk about how ridiculous it is that we (as queer people) often fall into the same traps that have been used to oppress us by heteros.”
The other fun thing? “Whenever you’re getting topped by a short guy (which is more often than not), you get to pretend you have a jetpack,” Van Pykeren says.
The Tall Bottom movement has long had a presence online; however, it recently picked up momentum when porn star, writer and noted bottom-rights activist Ty Mitchell uncharacteristically came for his butt brothers.
Mitchell says his attacks are all tongue-in-cheek. “My war on Tall Bottoms is pretty much entirely in satire (of bottoms competing for top attention or of bottoms competing for most oppressed, or something like that). I love Tall Bottoms the most, and any resentment I’ve ever held toward them has come merely from the hopelessness of my desires toward them.”
Trees in Need of Climbing
The Tall Bottoms I spoke with say their sex life can get more complicated — and difficult — than Mitchell is making it out to be. “We are tall trees to climb, and not everyone is — or can be — a lumberjack,” says Chris, a 6-foot-3 North Carolinian. Fortunately, though, “many men enjoy the challenge of chopping down tall trees.”
This has led to many jokes about the perceived awkwardness of Tall Bottoms hooking up with Short Kings:
And that’s true — it can be a challenge to find a mutually satisfying sex position when the top is shorter. Samael, an adult-content creator who is 5-foot-3, often can’t reach a Tall Bottom’s lips or neck in the missionary position. “It does intimidate me sometimes, meeting up and hooking up with taller people,” he says. “On camera, I look like a Chihuahua mounting a Labrador.”
(I can tell you it all comes down to a willingness to find the right sexual position. If missionary doesn’t work, try doggy style or cowgirl. Either way, communication is key.)
Hank, a 19-year-old college student in North Carolina, is 6-foot-4 and considers himself vers. There’s nothing worse than when his hookups expect him to top even when he prepared his body to bottom, he says. “We have to put up with 5-foot-0 tops sometimes, so we better get rights 😭,” he tells me in a direct message on Twitter. “At the end of the day, they’re satisfied though. 🙈”
Summiting the Mountain
Many Short Kings are glad to support (and penetrate) their tall brethren. “We need to be stanning Tall Bottoms because they’re beautiful,” says Octavius, a 22-year-old from Brooklyn.
Josh, a feminine 5-foot-7 Short King, often looks for men with the opposite characteristics. He prefers submissive bottoms. “If they’re tall, it’s hard to find someone taller to feel that dominance,” he says — and he’s happy to fill that dominant-daddy role for them. “Plus,” he adds, “Tall Bottoms have nice butts. 🤷♂️”
Key, a 6-foot-1 25-year-old in North Carolina, has seen real-life dividends from the Tall Bottom movement. When he first started having sex, at 19, he was disappointed to find the tall tops he was into weren’t as appreciative of his height or thickness. After a few years of experiments with shorter tops, he says, things are different and he’s more confident than ever. “Now I get guys asking to climb the mountain.”