In the wonderful world of gay sex, “bloom” can mean many things: a hole stretching open around a cock, a gape after that first slick pull-out, or a rosebud (or semi-rosebud) which happens after a particularly vigorous fuck session or a standard fist session, when your swollen asslips push outward and “blossom.”
I love the bloom. I love when guys get me to that point that I really get wrecked and open for them. When I top, I love seeing my handiwork, the lips of his hole unable to close completely. What might sound graphic and disgusting to some people signifies the most beautiful, passionate, intimate parts of my queer sex life.
Troye Sivan knows this, because he’s queer, and while we may never sit next to each other at a gay bar and chat, we speak a common sexual languageeven if we’re not into the same things. His new, not-so-heavily-coded bottoming anthem “Bloom,” which dropped on May 2, feels like a sweet poppers rush, a confessional of something I love, and something he probably loves, too.
Bottoming is the butt of so many jokes and the target of so much shame and internalized homophobia that, bizarrely enough, Sivan’s songa chill piece of background pop for a casual hookup or post-workout subway rideis the first song about the receptive side of gay sex that I can recall. This observation is a jarring considering how many aggressive hetero songs exist talking about penis-to-vagina penetration in the most graphic terms possible.
While queer people have been enjoying increased favorable publicity in recent years, our sexual representation has been sterilized. The promiscuous, sex-loving gay man (Brian Kenney, Queer as Folk) has been replaced by Neil Patrick Harris-style pictures of familial cuteness and married stability (Modern Family, Queer Eye). Our sex is still a threatening, underground topic in mainstream media and music. Men who love to get fucked still bear the brunt of so much mockerythe result of a patriarchal, misogynist culture in which feminized men get shamed, and in which bottoming is perceived by many as the ultimate act of feminization.
I love Sivan because he is fem, and sexual, and painstakingly honest in the way we need queer people in the public spotlight to be. His devastatingly intimate debut Blue Neighbourhood took us on an emotional roller coaster of first love and loss with confessionals like “Lost Boy” and “Talk Me Down.” If Sivan was recovering from the pangs of first love in his first studio album, “Bloom” suggests his as-yet-unnamed sophomore will jump into sex and take us along for the ride.
“Bloom” is still a coded sex anthem that shies away from being explicit. Several media outlets including Queerty and PopBuzz note that Sivan tweeted “#BopsBoutBottoming” the day after the song was dropped (Queerty even has a screengrab of the tweet, posted on 5/3/18 at 12:29 AM). The tweet appears to have since been deleted. But Sivan’s teaser video “denied”or, rather, confirmedthe song’s subject matter: Sivan sits up in bed, a guy sleeping beside him, looks at the camera, and saying, “It’s about flowers.” Wink wink.
“Bloom” is definitely not about flowers. The lyrics touch on the trust and surrender of getting fucked: Tell me right before it goes down. Promise me you’ll hold my hand if I get scared now. Might tell you to take a second, baby, slow it down. You should know I, you should know I, I bloom just for you.
And maybe it’s just me, but lyrics like “Take a trip into my garden, I’ve got so much to show ya,” and “put gas into the motor,” suggest Sivan is into more than just plain, vanilla sex. Floral imagery used as innuendo dates back to before the 17th centurythe snake in the garden in Genesis itself is one of the oldest motifs for dick in history. But when you put ideas of “fertilization” and “fueling” in our modern gay language, ideas of breeding and bareback sex come scampering in like the next round of tops to a cumdump’s hotel room. I’m not holding my breath, but I’d love to see a queer celebrity say they love getting loaded with cumthat they enjoy hardcore, intense sexbecause that’s me. That reflects my life, and pulls sex out of the shadows of shame into something we can discuss and improve.
In 2014, Sivan was named one of Time‘s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014 for his wildly popular YouTube series and his role in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I hope his bottom anthem sends a message to queer celebrities everywhere: We can start being sexual again.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/MG18/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue