What do you do when you’re stuck in love during a pandemic? Ariana Grande knows: You fuck away the boredom.
Ms. Ponytail Princess dropped her sixth album, Positions, on Friday. Sonically, it’s the latest in Grande’s ongoing era of white-woman R&B, following Sweetener and Thank U, Next. Lyrically, though, I hear an evolution: Grande is explicitly horny and in position.
Positions is a Magna Carta of mating. It’s a litany of all the different things she’d like to do to her new beau, normie Los Angeles realtor Dalton Gomez. She’s proving once and for all that normal dudes are almost always better at sex than celebrities. (Sorry, Pete Davidson.)
Throughout the record, there’s one sexual pose Grande truly makes her own: 69ing, as evidenced by the song “34+35” (use a calculator if you need to). But “34+35” isn’t just a moody, mid-tempo ode to all-night sex. It’s a bottom’s rights anthem.
“She’s opened herself up in a way that I don’t think we’ve really seen from her,” gay OnlyFans creator Brock Bottom says. “She’s really dirty, and something about that just kind of makes me want to be penetrated.”
Let’s back up. If you’re unfamiliar with the 69, that’s okay! It’s slang for mutual oral sex — just like how the number 69 looks. It’s a position often used as a warmup to bottoming. During the song’s outro, Grande says it straight: “Means I wanna 69 with you / Aww shit,” she whispers.
In the pre-chorus, Grande goes on to explain how to be the best bottom. “I’ve been drinking coffee / And I’ve been eating healthy / You know I keep it squeaky, yeah / Saving up my energy,” Grande sings. Get her a bottle of PSL poppers and a water-based lube, because Grande is ready to do anal.
What does she mean? Well, it takes some planning to take it up the ass without creating a mess. (And don’t worry if a little discharge comes out; we’re proud Shit Dick Summer supporters here.) Drinking coffee functions as a more natural, less effective enema to clean out your insides so nothing comes out when you’re getting down — aka “keeping it squeaky.” Same with eating healthy. It’s all about fiber pills and avoiding dairy.
The entirety of “34+35” is erotic, which is new for the artist known for lovelorn sensuality on “Into You” and sexual innuendos like station cycling (i.e., riding) on “Side to Side.” “Baby, you might need a seatbelt when I ride it / I’mma leave it open like a door, come inside it,” she sings. Whew! Sorry again, Pete. Seems like Grande is over Big Dick Energy. She’s all about ass-up excellence.
To be clear, sexuality is fluid and so are the positions you embrace when getting intimate. You don’t have to be penetrated to have sex. There are no special criteria to meet, and the stereotype of being an inherently subservient bottom is retrograde. Still, some queer people find it empowering to identify as a bottom, exploring the pleasures of stimulating their prostate. It’s fun to imagine the idea that Grande is out here lifting the veil and embracing sexual positions often mocked for being too feminine.
If anything, Grande is showing us the power of a power bottom. And not just on “34+35.” Positions is a trap-pop guide on the importance of intimate honesty when having sex. “I can’t think of a time when someone has sung about 69ing in a way that’s not childish,” Brock Bottom says.
Two months ago, I called for straight people to stop calling themselves a “bottom.” “Unless that dick or object thrust inside you has made your asshole feel like it’s going to rip in half, you don’t get to call yourself a bottom,” I wrote. I still stand by this excellent prose, but today I’m making an addendum.
Grande and anyone else who refers to a hole as wide as a door, you get to call yourself a bottom. That shit is iconic.