The biggest myth about gay sex? That penetration is EVERYTHING

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We are all pretty obsessed with penetration. And if you were to believe pornography—something that, at this stage, we should all know is not an accurate sexual how-to guide—anal sex is the ultimate goal when two guys get together.

The art of anal sex has come to represent gay men. But anal sex isn’t about sexual orientation; in other words: There’s more than one way for gays to fuck.

Not everyone likes anal

Sex isn’t one-size fits all, and that applies to anal. Some people aren’t comfortable with the idea of anal penetration, or have tried it and found that it really isn’t for them. This should be common sense, but it’s worth repeating. Additionally, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker for a partner. To limit oneself to just a single flavor is to shut out a smorgasbord of new experiences.

Preparing for anal sex can be a pain in the ass

Sure, we’re all guilty of getting caught up in the moment and forgoing preparation. But really, there’s a lot more to anal sex than just penetration. Douching and warming things up a bit are recommended for optimal pleasure, and y’all, ain’t nobody got time for that.

It’s probably why, according to a 2011 study of 25,000 men who have sex with men published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, less then 40 percent of respondents reported in engaging in anal sex with their last sexual partner. In reality, we’re just not having anal sex as much as everyone thinks.

Gay sex should be whatever you want it to be

Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not advocating for the end of anal. Instead, I’m attempting to myth-bust presumptions about gay sex. Being gay can be hard enough by itself without then also worrying about the pressures from within our own community to conform to some sort of standard.

Use your sexuality as an opportunity to free yourself from the shackles of sexual expectations. Because if there’s one thing in this gay old life that shouldn’t be formulaic – it’s sex.

Now, go forth and fuck.

Alim Keraj

This article, which first appeared on GQ.com, has been edited for length and clarity.