During an anal sex workshop at Harvard University, Natasha, a representative from Good Vibrations, noted, “not all men have penises, not all women have vaginas…the butthole is the great sexual equalizer. All humans have a butthole.” She spoke zero lies. So why does it seem like anal sex is the caboose on the stigma-breaking train? This Anal August, we’ll be exploring more about this totally normal sexual activity.
Anal sex, like oral sex and non-penetrative sex, is still sex. And anal sex, like any other sex, can be penetrative with a penis or strap-on (sometimes known as pegging), or it can just include play around the opening, and it’s still considered sex. Have you ever met someone who considers penetrative, vaginal intercourse the only valid form of sex? Many people who rely on this argument are doing so to protect some sort of perceived “virginity” while still enjoying sexual acts. But this, as well as a lot of the other fears surrounding anal, derives from homophobia. If penetrative, vaginal intercourse is the only type of “real” sex, then what have queer people been up to?
Similarly, although gay men and straight men alike enjoy anal sex (40%, to be precise, and 35% of women), it’s typically associated exclusively with gay men, which would be great if that association weren’t usually accompanied by a hearty dose of homophobia. Our lack of open dialogue about anal play can often be found in a homophobic person’s immediate shut down of the conversation to avoid any possible threat to his cis-, straight-masculinity. And while women and non-binary partners enjoy anal sex too, straight-women also deal with debilitating stigma in the form of slut-shaming. Many women who enjoy anal often report feeling empowered by the stigma-shattering experience of it, and for those who peg, there’s a level of (consensual) dominance that they enjoy incorporating into their play which may flip traditional gender roles on their heads.
The lack of validity and conversation surrounding anal sex as sex has another problem too – it makes it much harder to know how to enjoy it safely! Risk of STIs persists even in the anus, so it’s important for everyone and their butt-play pals to discuss how they want to approach safe enjoyment. Another tip – the anus does not naturally lubricate, so don’t expect a waterfall of pleasure back there without your trusty lube. And don’t be afraid to add more lube!
We’ll be diving deeper into the world of anal this month, so stay tuned for more myth-busting!
Written by intern, Olivia Poulin.