Trimble: Despite reservations, no need to shush the tush

By Leah Trimble

Even though crazy fetishes are common in this world of sexual diversity, it seems that there is… Even though crazy fetishes are common in this world of sexual diversity, it seems that there is always a sexual taboo that comes out of the woodwork. Though not always horribly conspicuous, these hush-hush actions become so famously awkward that they eventually become popular — sort of like Ugg boots.

Anal sex is like a Twitter topic — trending all over the country. It’s making its way into the mainstream, not only for couples but also for experimental hookups. For those sexually active folks out there, I believe anal behavior is something you should be open to, in action or conversation, without shame and without restraint — as long as whoever’s involved is comfortable with it. Moreover, it’s perfect timing to free yourself from your own chains of sexual misconceptions, as norms are rapidly changing.

A few decades ago, people were scared of oral sex. Then threesomes made the list of trial and error. Everyone wanted to be in one, yet no one could admit they fantasized about it or had already participated. Now, from my vantage point, it seems anal sex has made its way into the spotlight. I’m not talking just penetration, but also oral-anal action, fingering and “butt-cheek” sex.

Anal isn’t just for gay couples. This is a popularly circulated falsehood that continues to be a part of homosexual stereotypes. And it’s not just for partners looking for something new and frisky to try. In fact, it’s everywhere, particularly in the bedrooms of heterosexual couples.

In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth found that 38 percent of men aged between 20 and 39 and 33 percent of women aged 18 to 44 had engaged in heterosexual anal sex. These statistics represent a significant increase from those calculated in the CDC’s 1992 National Health and Social Life survey, which recorded the prevalence at 26 percent of men aged 18 to 59 and 20 percent of women aged 18 to 59.

One surprising statistic in the 2005 data that caught my eye was the one for the age group 15 to 21. Of these individuals, 16 percent had engaged in anal sex in the three months leading up to the survey.

Today, I can’t have a conversation about sex without one of my friends telling me they love it when someone performs oral sex back there. Most don’t even think twice when they admit they would do just about anything when it comes to the back door.

So how the heck did this happen? I’m not too young to remember the grossed-out faces and looks of terror when the derrière was brought up. Sinclair Intimacy Institute’s sex therapist, Mark Schoen, has one hypothesis. “I recall that … in the 1970s, the taboo topics were oral sex and masturbation. I now think anal sex is where those topics were 20 years ago. We are all about breaking taboos now.” Schoen has a point. This is an age in which people lose their virginity before marriage and then brag about it, a time when our pre-teen role models like Britney and Rihanna create songs like “If You Seek Amy” and “S&M.” It’s not strange to see full frontal nudity when watching a contemporary movie.

Schoen’s not the only sex expert fascinated by the explosion in anal activity.

A couple of years ago, Indiana University scientist Kimberly McBride wrote an article in The Journal of Sex Research which stated that “changing norms may affect the frequency of heterosexual anal sex behaviors and suggests that there is a role for the exotic in the sexual repertoires of some heterosexuals. For a certain number of heterosexuals, anal intercourse is pleasurable, exciting and perhaps considered more intimate than vaginal sex.”

But don’t worry. Intercourse doesn’t have to be the only way to experiment with this area. You can massage the area with a finger during regular oral sex, for example. Don’t be afraid to take your sexuality and experimentation to new places in baby steps, especially if you’ve never considered this previously.

McBride and her team investigated this in another study, researching non-intercourse anal action among both men and women. They found that 51 percent of men and 43 percent of women had participated in at least one act of oral-anal sex, manual-anal sex or anal sex toy use.

If you’ve tried it and you enjoy it, don’t be ashamed. You’re not alone. And if you’re one of those people against everything sexually enjoyable for whatever reason, you might want to rethink the reality of the world around you.

After seeing these statistics, there’s even more evidence that at least half of us aren’t afraid to mix it up in the bedroom. Maybe you should find yourself a toy for starters and see what the hype is about. Just don’t forget to protect yourself when you pursue new adventures.

Even though I’m still amazed at how prevalent anal escapades have become, I think this trend is here to stay. And as long as it’s practiced safely and is pleasurable for everyone involved, participants shouldn’t be afraid to try out all the anal activities available.

Write Leah at [email protected]