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Top/Bottom Sexual Self-labels and Empathizing–Systemizing Cognitive Styles Among Gay Men in China

journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-04, 20:18 authored by Lijun Zheng, Trevor HartTrevor Hart, Yong Zheng

Gay men across a variety of countries label themselves by their preferences for insertive anal intercourse or receptive anal intercourse. A "top" is defined as someone who prefers the insertive role, a "bottom" as someone who prefers the receptive role, and "versatile" as someone who has no preferences regarding anal sex role. Previous studies documented that tops showed a masculine profile and bottoms showed a feminine profile in gendered personality traits. In this study, we examined the association among sexual self-label groups and empathizing-systemizing (E-S) cognitive styles among 509 gay men across multiple cities in China. There were significant differences in systemizing among sexual self-label groups, with tops scoring higher on systemizing than bottoms and versatiles. Tops were more likely to have S > E and high E and S cognitive styles than bottoms. Bottoms were more likely to have E > S and low E and S cognitive styles than tops. There was a significant indirect effect of systemizing on sexual self-label through Self-MF. There was also a significant indirect effect of sexual self-label on systemizing through Self-MF. The findings suggest that sexual self-labels among adult gay and bisexual men may reflect more than preferences for anal sex.

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