The picture accompanying the article is odiously twee and threatening simultaneously, and as virtually every respondent noted for starters, when is it ever OK to demand any kind of sex? (The title mysteriously changed to Is Anal Sex a Deal-Breaker?)
The particularly repellent men interviewed openly admit that their pursuit of anal penetration from casual partners is about strutting an achievement in front of their mates: the achievement of persuading women to “give in” and agree to behaviour that they will find painful (at least initially) and which is regarded by the men themselves as degrading. (Language from here on NSFW – Not Safe For Work – comprehensive sexual education lies ahead).
Twisty entertainingly rants about “Anal being the new third base” as yet another sign of the pornification of mainstream culture, and Violet Socks agrees that at least part of the entitlement expectation is that mainstream porn today appears to be incomplete without anal penetration in a way that wasn’t true when she and I were young. I think they’re on to something.
My exposure to porn has been thankfully minimal, but the bits and pieces I have seen did make me aware of a seachange – mid-80s porn in Australia tended to be largely of the cheesy 70s British variety – silly bawdy scenarios with lots of blowjobs followed by a few minutes of rhythmic penetration and finally the money shot. The female participants always outnumbered the males, and sometimes looked bored but didn’t look as if they were in pain. Porn where the women seemed to be in pain would have been considered seriously kinky. By the mid-90s porn was glossier, the all-good-fun bawdy scenes had changed to more intimidating raunchy scenes where male participants outnumbered the (often solo) female participant, the woman’s placement in a vulnerable position where she was subjected to multiple orifice penetration by several men became de rigeur and only an idiot could watch the action and fail to notice that the women were in substantial physical discomfort from what was happening, but were continuing the sexual act regardless, because the men were just so irresistible, apparently. None of this intimidation and discomfort is considered kinky any more – this is totally mainstream.
This is what I really find disturbing. This discomfort and overt domination of the women seemed to be part of the attraction of the new porn, as the tamer, old-fashioned sort was overlooked while the hardcore stuff flew off the shelves. It also coincided with the more “vanilla” kind of cheerfully enthusiastic heterosexual sex actually becoming far more common – young women became sexually liberated enough to enjoy casual sexual encounters of the type once reserved for porn fantasies. Porn creators and merchants seem to believe that now that men had more access to casual extramarital sex then simply watching other people have vaginal intercourse wouldn’t be enough of a fantasy. Are they right? And does the escalation of the fantasy feed the expectations of ordinary sexual encounters?
One commentor at Feministing made a very good point: the porntastic fantasy has always been about the madonna/whore dichotomy where the man finds a sexually-conventional woman and entices her to sully her purity. Now the conventions have shifted: instead of persuading apprehensive virgins to cheerfully enjoy PIV sex, the fantasy becomes persuading sexually experienced women with sexually-egalitarian expectations to agree to engage in a non-reciprocal sexual act, usually without adequate preparation. And it’s in the lack of adequate preparation that the intent to degrade and damage is made clear.
Because that’s the thing about anal sex. Those women who look so horribly uncomfortable as they are double and triple penetrated for the benefit of the cameras have at least had the benefit of preparing beforehand through enemas, high colonics, fasting and buckets of lube. They need to do this to avoid moving from discomfort into pain and tissue damage. This is basic sexual hygiene and technique. (Edited to add: To clarify, this is basic technique for being buttfucked for hours for the cameras with oversized penises attached to uncaring men huffing Viagra. Normal sex needn’t be quite so extra-fastidious.)
It’s not hard to find this stuff out. I’m a very vanilla heterosexual middle-aged monogamous woman, and all I had to do was type “anal sex preparation” into my search engine and everything anyone needs to know about safe, clean, enjoyable anal intercourse was right there in front of me. The top hits were all for homosexual advice sites, not heterosexual advice sites, even though there’s no great differences between male and female anuses. There is however a great difference in attitudes towards anal sex.
Homosexual men don’t seem to have romant-o-porn misconceptions about anal sex as something which can just happen spontaneously on a first date with an inexperienced partner and be enjoyed by the receiving partner. Why? Because men have cultural permission to refuse to engage in sexual activities which they’re not enjoying. Such fantasies in gay porn are much more clearly fantasy than the straight porn equivalent, and are far less likely to be mistaken for reality. Homosexual men know all about anal and rectal hygiene and preparing for anal penetration, and that if it’s going to be enjoyable for the person being penetrated then there needs to be plenty of free space in the intestinal system to avoid internal pressure pain. Enemas are the go, my friends. It’s the big difference I see between advice about homosexual anal sex and heterosexual anal sex. Enema, enema, enema. For the uninhibited, it can even be part of foreplay. Read this gay guide for anal virgins and this guide for women preparing for anal sex, then compare it to what the men in the Details article are saying. Do you think those guys are preparing their female partners for anal penetration over the recommended several weeks of trusting play and experimentation with various sized accessories to ensure them a painfree introduction to anal sex?
“[It’s] basically getting someone in a position where they’re most vulnerable. My friends enjoy that and they tell their friends they did it. But it’s not like girls are ready for it””it’s something they do when they’re really drunk.”
Leaving aside (ETA: for the moment and because the other bloggers above covered it comprehensively) that penetrating women who are really drunk and “not ready for it” is rape, let’s just look at what that statement says about the actual mechanics of the sexual act. I’m guessing no carefully planned enema then. Probably no caring prestretching with a well-lubed trainer dildo either. No wonder these men report that the women find it painful the first time.
Even Albert, the one who won’t tie the knot without a key to the back door, admits that. “You’re thinking, ‘I don’t want to hurt her, and I don’t want shit to squirt out at me,'” he says.
Hey Albert! If you prepare for anal penetration with a preparatory enema, shit will never squirt out at you. Fancy that! And she’ll enjoy it more, too, if that matters at all to you.
So if you can’t be certain whether the woman’s enjoying herself or just submitting to peer pressure, and the act itself can be unpleasant, what’s the motivation for demanding it? For Todd, so his friend says, it was about maintaining emotional distance. Albert says it’s about enhancing the intimacy between two people. But the more plausible explanation is that it’s about accessibility””and instant gratification.
If the men are simply after instant gratification, then they’re certainly not caring about the health and wellbeing of the anuses of their female partners, as treating said anuses as if they do actually have nerve endings and blood vessels does actually take some time and effort that would delay gratification for a while. I’m not the first to point out that these men don’t seem to be offering to see what it’s like to be penetrated by a dildo themselves, either (even the Details author noted that). I shudder to think of the distinct possibility that these men don’t know or care enough about sexual hygiene to ensure that they don’t transfer body fluids between the rectum and the vagina, which is a risk behaviour for all sorts of vaginal and uterine infections, many of which are threats to fertility.
Why is there this huge difference in terms of knowing the simple mechanics of safe, clean, enjoyable anal intercourse between homosexuals and heterosexuals generally? These men seem to want their anal penetrations to be dirtier and more dangerous than they need to be, or than any competent sex educator would recommend. They want their women sullied and degraded and hurt. These men are sadists. But why don’t the women know more about safe, clean enjoyable anal intercourse and demand that level of consideration for themselves?
Noting the different emphasis on enemas in the heterosexual/homosexual anal preparation advice, I posit that heterosexuals generally think anal sex is much kinkier, whereas homosexuals treat anal sex in a very matter of fact fashion. For those who view the anus as still inherently kinky and nasty, then touching it at all is fraught with significance, including touching it to clean it. Get down and dirty, sure! Get into a cleaning routine? Ewww, what a freak.
Which ends up coming down to the old patriarchal standby, Romance with that capital R. Don’t plan and prepare for sex, it’s too important and special and romantic for that! Wait for marriage if you’re a good little handmaiden, and if you’re a disobedient slut then don’t you dare think that it’s OK to be sexual any time you want to be. Better impregnated than prepared in the Bible Belt, apparently, and better a bruised and torn anus than being intimidatingly supplied with variously-sized dildos, butt-plugs and lube-jars. How’s a man to compare?
If a woman wants sex openly enough to prepare safely and knowledgeably beforehand then although she may well be the ideal “disgusting pig who wants it” such an unromantic slut might not want it “only with you” (more gem-studded quotes from the lips of Albert). Romance must be denigrated by patriarchal tropes as a fantasy that only women are silly enough to take on face value, but FSM forbid that women actually display the capacity to see beyond romantic impetuosity and plan for sex as if it’s a health matter or something, so goes the double-standard: women being unromantic about sex is apparently scary, emasculating even.
Which is why they have to be punished by sadistic buttfuckers, obviously.
As a commentor at Details says:
And in case anyone above didn’t make it clear enough: ANAL SEX SHOULD NOT HURT. IF IT DOES, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, YOU NEANDERTHAL.
My recommendation: whether you’re a man or a woman, if some man tries to sweet-talk you into buttfucking by saying “it will only hurt the first time” they are either ignorant or sadistic. Ignorance can be remedied. Sadists need to be kicked to the kerb.