One of the best proofs that a sexual practice or an erogenous zone still remains in the shadows is to take a look at the series and movies that are supposedly more liberated in matters related to the sheets and see if even they have a cover-up. When in Sex and the City Charlotte’s boyfriend proposes anal sex, after bringing up the proposal at the usual brunch between friends, she finally refuses to do it.
The reason is that she believes that “men don’t marry women who like anal sex”, thus perpetuating the stigma that this practice is especially reprehensible.
Some time later, in 2014, some TV shows dared to even talk about anilingus, resorting to this being the practice employed as a resource na form of to talk about how a character evolves in questionan evolutionary arc of a character. That happened on Girls, where Marnie’s character enjoys the practice to express, as Jenni Konner, executive producer, said, her change. “On other shows, maybe you send that message by cutting the character’s hair, but on this series, that’s what we do,” she said. However, and as much as series like The White Lotus have already given us more than one scene in which anal sex has weight, these sequences scenes are meant to generate headlines and shock the audience, thus making it clear that it is still a taboo. So much so that one of the most talked about things in the first episode of the acclaimed Fleabag was that it included an anal sex scene.
According to a survey conducted by LELO, 35% of respondents practice anal sex. Among those who do not, 44% said that although they are willing to try it, fear of pain or other genuine concerns prevent them from trying it. In addition, one third of participants avoid anal sex because of their partner’s refusal, while 15% choose not to discuss the topic with their partner because of the associated stigma. There are no specific surveys in Spain on this topic, but a British Ministry of Health study on sexual attitudes last year found that in the last decade the proportion of 16-24 year olds who have had heterosexual anal intercourse has risen from 12% to 29%; and that in the United States, 30% to 45%, in both sexes, say they have experimented with it.
Megwyn White, a certified sexologist and director of education at Satisfyer, believes this data “indicates that these stigmas are quite likely to continue in public, despite the fact that curiosity and exploration are more popular than previously assumed in private. These assumptions have been changing as sex education and sex positivity have become the norm. Anal sex says nothing about your sexuality, but rather points to a preference for pleasure that extends to all sexes because of its wildly pleasurable nature. In male individuals, anal sex can provide unprecedented pleasure due to the ability to stimulate what is often referred to as the male G-spot, the prostate or P-spot.” According to the sexologist, “Other reasons why anal sex remains taboo include the fact that it can be dirty, and there is often shame associated with this aspect. While this is an understandable concern, many of the problems associated with the potential messiness of anal sex can be avoided, or at least minimized, with proper preparation and letting go of the attachment to prearranged sex,” she adds.
One of the reasons why so many men fantasize about anal sex is precisely its taboo nature. This is reflected in the aforementioned LELO survey, which says that 26% are turned on by the idea of anal sex being considered taboo. Not only does it go beyond traditional sex, but it requires a change in the physical, emotional and psychological dynamics of sex. Some even talk about this change from the perspective of power dynamics.
Cecilia Bizzott is a sociologist and spokesperson for the dating app JOYclub and believes that “although it is a practice that causes a lot of enjoyment to the penetrator (it is a different sensation than penetrating a vagina), it also has all the stimulating part associated with innovation and new sensations. In addition, getting started in anal sex expands the possibilities: the person receiving the penetration can enjoy a double penetration if desired, can stimulate the clitoris and other erogenous zones ... Come on, it’s very complete! Obviously, we can also have the negative look of: “Men fantasize about anal sex because they have seen it in porn. Let’s not learn how to do anal sex watching porn, please, but let’s use it as a place to discover new practices and eroticize ourselves beyond the conventional”.
Fear of pain and inexperience also contribute to the stigmatization of this practice, but the experts consulted explain that if practiced properly these should not be real concerns. First of all, Megwyn White warns of the importance of not rushing into it, something that can make the experience painful and reinforce a cycle of so-called “anticipatory pain,” which is when the body literally begins to prepare for pain, tensing up and amplifying the experience, in the belief that something is going to be especially painful. “It is important for beginners to understand that anal sex is not simply an act, but rather a progression of pleasure that can take time through a process of training and preparing the body to receive it. The process itself can be very pleasurable when both partners are willing to be intimately present with each other and not rush it. The good news is that when both partners are willing to explore anal sex with patience and care, it can help create new dimensions of intimacy and sexual expression,” she says.
Another fact to keep in mind is that, as Cecilia Bizzotto explains, the doggy style, despite being the one that traditionally comes to mind when thinking about the practice, is not the ideal position for beginners. “The person receiving the penetration does not have much control over the depth or the onslaught. It is best to start with a missionary position with the legs of the person receiving the anal penetration (either with a strap-on or a penis),” he recommends.
Of course, lubrication is key. “Since the anus doesn’t lubricate itself, you’ll always want to have lube on hand when exploring the anus to help reduce friction, amplify sensations and promote safe, comfortable play,” says White. “Be prepared by getting your body primed for pleasure and adopting positions that maximize the enjoyment of anal sex. For the more indirect forms of anal play this will be less of a concern, but if you decide to introduce something more substantial, you’ll need to find a position where your pelvis and the muscles that make up your pelvis can open up and relax, such as doggy style or lying on your back with pillows supporting your pelvis. With internal play you can also consider starting with a finger or anal plug. These are designed with beginners in mind or couples who want to add more points of stimulation to amplify pleasure, and can be worn hands-free while exploring other sex acts,” she says.
The essential thing to remember is that anal sex is a choice, so if it is not something you really want, you should never use it to satisfy your partner. However, if there is a desire to give it a try, patience and conversation will be key to enjoyment.
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