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Willy Hudson: ‘Top and bottom labels need to disappear’

Amy Ashenden March 12, 2019
Willy Hudson compares top and bottom stereotypes (PinkNews)

Queer playwright Willy Hudson on top, bottom and verse labels (PinkNews)

Top, bottom and versatile labels are “so unhelpful and so unnatural” that we should “dissolve” the categories, says queer playwright Willy Hudson.

Hudson has written an autobiographical show called Bottom, exploring the labels often plastered over apps such as Grindr.

He tells PinkNews: “We do need to reshape the way we think about sex.

“Top or bottom is something we all talk about and we all joke about but we don’t really challenge it and interrogate it, and think: Is this actually helpful for me?”

What do top, bottom and vers mean?

Top, bottom and vers labels aren’t reflective of all the different kinds of sex and intimacy that can exist, says Hudson.

“Sex is about connection, it’s about vulnerability, it’s about intimacy,” he explains.

“There’s a whole world which is way more than just top, bottom or vers.”

The queer performer from Devon began exploring the top and bottom labels more seriously after moving to London and finding himself trying to place himself within a narrow category.

“I’d always been a bottom when I was having sex,” he tells PinkNews.

“I was getting lost in partying all the time and working loads of jobs.

“All of my life was kind of falling apart a bit. I was dating this guy for a bit and I felt that I needed to be a top and was reading some signs that I thought were there.”

“I tried to be a top, couldn’t do it, got erectile dysfunction, had loads of sexual anxiety, and kind of fell apart from there.”

Hudson’s experiences helped shape his show, Bottom.

“So that is the reason why I started thinking: What is this top or bottom thing? Why is everyone talking about it? Why is it such a huge problem?” he says.

“There’s so much about gender, expectations in the queer community and labels that I felt were so interesting because they were happening to me—I could see it everywhere.

“The whole show I try to break down a stereotypical top and bottom.

“I think the labels can be useful if you’re just communicating how you want to have sex but ultimately it shouldn’t exist in the wider sense.”

Hudson adds: “The characteristics and the stereotypes of that are just so unhelpful and so unnatural in so many ways that it just needs to dissolve and disappear.

“I think slowly people are more challenging all of that and understanding how it’s so problematic so hopefully, eventually, it will do.”

Why is being a bottom sometimes seen as a negative thing?

The stereotypes around being a bottom are seen “as a negative thing because of internalised homophobia within the community,” Hudson believes.

“A bottom is seen as feminine, as submissive, which is seen as negative. It’s just internalised homophobia. It’s not seen as a strength.

“The show has taught me to be vulnerable in sex, to have sex beyond the top and bottom labels. It can be more about love and connection.”

Bottom is touring the UK throughout March 2019.

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