What What In The Butt?

Sitting on the 8th floor of the library, I attempted to avoid writing my history essay by reading an article on the Independent website titled ‘Anal sex study reveals climate of ‘’coercion’’, and I was struck how unsurprising its findings were. It talked about how amongst heterosexual teens coercion and unsafe anal sex are common place, with condoms often not being worn and no lubrication being used, thus causing a lot of pain for the young women involved.

I couldn’t help but sit there and wonder why, in 2014, I was unsurprised – disgusted, but unsurprised – that this was happening to teenagers across the country and then I remembered the kind of sex education I had received as a teenager.

Despite being taught about the birds and the bees and all the different kinds of contraception like so many other people, I was taught very little about sex and relationships.  This means that many teenagers, both boys and girls, seek answers about these things elsewhere. Teenagers who are curious about sex and sexuality go from asking friends to magazines, but one of the most problematic areas they inevitably stumble across is pornography.

Porn, particularly with boys, heavily influences their understanding of sex, which is deeply problematic for a number of reasons. Now, I’m not here to debate whether porn in general is harmful or not, but the harm it does in shaping young men’s view of sex is undeniable. In porn condoms are often not worn and application of lube is edited out meaning that many teenagers who haven’t experienced any form of sex have an unrealistic and unsafe picture of what to expect/is expected. Porn teaches young men that anal sex is easy and requires no preparation, but worst of all it teaches them the assumption that all women like it that way.

There are many women and men out there that do enjoy safe and consensual anal sex, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the issue here is that teenage boys can be lead to assume that all women like anal because of porn. This leads to the situation where many heterosexual teenage couples practice unsafe anal which can not only lead to a spread of STIs, but cause a lot of hurt, both physically and mentally, to young women.  This also creates a situation where many young men pressure their partners into having anal sex creating an unhealthy situation were some give into their partner’s requests ‘because its expected’.

It’s clear to see then that there is a serious issue surrounding the way anal sex is shown to young adults and the assumptions surrounding it that not only requires a serious look at how we approach sex education but also the way young men approach sex and the need for young men to take a look at their behaviour and change it.

As I pondered the topic of anal sex/play, I also started thinking about the attitude and assumptions made when it came to guys on the receiving end of anal. There is an assumption that if you receive anal stimulation as a man you therefore are gay/bi and when straight men mention the fact that they enjoy it as well the quizzical looks begin to appear.  My issue with this is that it creates a situation where people are confused when it comes to exploring their own bodies. As I began to experiment with anal play, I felt I should stop because I was straight and ‘that’s not what straight guys do’ and I know I wasn’t the only person.  It was only when I came to university that I realised just how wrong these assumptions were and that if it was safe and you enjoyed it, who cares what you do with your butt hole? Sure, plenty of guys reading this will be uncomfortable with the idea of anything other than toilet paper going any were near their butt, but no one should feel that they can’t experiment and enjoy parts of sex just because of some bullshit ideas of what is deemed to be masculine and heterosexual being tossed around in the playground at school.  So in answering the question ‘What what in the Butt’, it’s whatever you’d like to be up there.

[Rodney Spalding]

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