Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 683–689 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Intercourse Preference Positions and Personality Traits Among Gay Men in China

  • Lijun Zheng
  • Trevor A. Hart
  • Yong Zheng


Distinctions are commonly made regarding preferences for insertive or receptive anal intercourse within the gay male community. Three sexual self-labels are typically specified: “top,” meaning a man who prefers the insertive position, “bottom,” meaning a man who prefers the receptive position, and “versatile,” meaning a man willing to perform either position. The aim of this study was to examine personality differences among these three groups in gay men in China. We sampled 220 Internet-obtained Chinese gay men on instrumentality, expressiveness, gender-related interests, self-ascribed masculinity- femininity (Self-MF), and Big Five personality traits. Significant differences were found among sexual self-label groups in sexual behavior and in gendered traits and interests. Tops scored higher than the bottoms on instrumentality, gender-related interests, and self-ascribed masculinity-femininity (Self-MF) and bottoms scored higher than tops on expressiveness. Versatiles’ scores in gender-related traits were intermediate between that of tops and bottoms. There were no significant differences in Big Five traits among the three groups. Sexual self-labels appear not only to distinguish sexual behavior patterns but may also suggest gender role differences among Chinese gay men.


Gay men Intercourse position preferences Gender role Personality 



This research was supported by Key Discipline Fund of National 211 Project (NSKD11010), China. This research is also supported by Humanities and Social Sciences Planning Fund (05JAXLX010), Ministry of Education, China. Dr. Hart is supported by a New Investigator Salary Award in HIV Research from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (Southwest University), Ministry of EducationChongqingChina
  2. 2.School of PsychologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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