Posts Tagged ‘Tracey Emin’

Fifth Base: Why, and Why Not?

November 8, 2008

Anal Sex: so shouldn’t your only motivation be hedonistic, as all in life, since it feels good and doesn’t hurt anyone? (or does it?) Why aren’t we all doing it then? Here are some typical knee-jerk (or sphincter-clench) stereotypes about anal sex.

Stereotype #1: Anal Sex is Dirty
Since solid waste is eliminated from the body via the anus, many believe that butts are ”dirty” by default. This seems logical, and people don’t often think to look beyond it. In fact, the anus and rectum are merely passageways for poop. As Tristan Taormino puts it, the rectum is not a storage facility. If you maintain a healthy diet, with plenty of fiber and water, your bowel movements will be regular and complete, and there will be little, if any, solid matter left at the business end of your guts most of the time. Bear in mind that anal sex and anal play of most kinds involve only (only?) the lower eight inches (I might be generous on the upper limit here) of your thirty-plus feet of intestinal plumbing, and keeping the relevant plumbing in good working order isn’t particularly difficult. All that’s needed for a butt to be play-clean is a little rinse with water and the use of a baby wipe or warm, soapy wash-cloth on the external sphincter. A freshly washed anus is just as clean as a patch of skin a few inches away on a butt cheek you wouldn’t hesitate to kiss. Like they teach in med school: there’s nothing that can’t be washed off. So relax, already.

Now, does this mean that there is no chance of a random encounter with some small quantity of fecal matter despite your best efforts? If you want to explore anal play and anal sex, you must get over your fear of shit. The most common bacterium it contains- E.Coli- can be hazardous to your health in the wrong place in the wrong amount, but some wouldn’t rate its toxicity anywhere near that of say, botulinum, which many pay to get injected into their foreheads. (Ever heard of Botox, anyone?)

Stereotype #2: Anal Sex is Unnatural
I’m never sure exactly what the word means in this context, since many higher mammals engage in anal sex, and humans have been doing it, literally, since before we began standing upright. How common a behavior must become to be considered ”natural” is difficult to quantify. I suppose that if you believe sex is mainly or only for procreation, then butt play or butt sex might be considered ”against nature” (though nature’s intent in making it so common and enjoyable would thus be a bit mysterious), but if you view sex primarily as a means of reproduction, I’m a little curious as to why you’re reading this blog in the first place.

Stereotype #3: Anal Sex is Immoral
At the risk of trespassing on the turf of those whose job it is to parse such imponderables, I believe that no consensual, mutually pleasurable activity should be forbidden between lovers. Labeling anal pleasure ”unnatural” is generally an attempt by social and religious institutions to keep you from trying it for yourself. I think you’re capable of making your own decision here, don’t you? This is your anus we’re talking about.

Stereotype #4: Homophobia
The notion that all receptive anal sex among men is proof positive of gay orientation is a myth of awesome power and reach. The social oppression surrounding it is so brutal that the vast majority of men of all orientations are denied this locus of pleasure altogether.

As any gay man can attest, liking butt play doesn’t make a man gay. Sexual orientation is a matter of partner preference, not behavior. If you, as a man, prefer to have sex with women, regardless of the specific activities involved, you are not gay, so there. However, if you are open to anal stimulation, you are an uninhibited sensualist and damn lucky. Unlike your insecure pals at the gym, you have access to additional sources of mind-blowing orgasms. Just remember that if you see a woman when you look back over your shoulder while it’s happening, you’re no less straight than you would have been had you entertained the fantasy and never acted on it.

Stereotype #5: Butt is ”exit only”
Anatomically speaking, colons are simply tubes, and tubes go both ways. When anal sex is practiced sensibly and safely, there is no anatomical factor that makes it inherently more difficult, dangerous or destructive to the human body than other forms of sex. The common fear that anal penetration will eventually lead to a permanent loosening of the sphincter (incontinence), hemorrhoids, or other irreversible damage has much more to do with what goes on in people’s heads than in regions farther south. Spincter muscles are naturally equipped to dilate and contract repeatedly and will continue to do so normally regardless of direction, if treated with reasonable care and consideration. Indeed, regular anal play both relaxes and strengthens internal muscle tissue and contributes to healthy bowel function.

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Women can have a particularly hard time with the notion of anal sex because some think they’re supposed to be clean, delicate, dainty creatures made out of sugar and spice and everything nice, and our physiologies tend to be inconveniently messy as it is. Moreover, early anal experimentations are often initiated by men, who may not know much about the subject either; often with unpleasant results. One bad poke can put a woman off anal sex for years. (Or so I’ve heard). But it remains true that, in order to enjoy butt play, a woman has to jettison her notions of ”Propriety” and ”Ladylike” behavior, as there is little that is more primal than butt sex.

But saying no, with or without a valid reason, is always an option on your sexual menu. Don’t do it to please anyone. Don’t do it if you don’t want to. Don’t do it if it hurts. Butts can’t lie, so don’t do it to ”prove” anything to anyone, including yourself.

In an upcoming post: Is anal sex really No Pain All Gain? Answers to questions you would only dare ask online.

On another note:
anal
Tracey Emin: major art exhibition in London at one of the UK’s top galleries:”Seduced,” at the Barbican Gallery, is billed as the most sexually explicit fine-art exhibition ever staged. It attempts to show 2,500 years of sexuality in world art, and to explore how attitudes about what is erotic art and what is pornography have changed through the ages.

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