Don’t Ever Do It!
My mother always told me, “Don’t have butt-sex. No, don’t ever do it!” she’d caution, arms flailing, playing her I’m-a-registered-nurse card. “That area was NOT made for that!”
“Have you ever done it?" I would slyly inquire. To this, she’d give a huff and an almost believably-acted, “No!”
At the time, I hadn’t done it either. I didn’t buy her “It’s wrong!” shtick, but I still feared the inevitable anal proposals to come. For the prior three and a half years I had convinced my then born-again Christian boyfriend that we needed something to save for marriage.
It’s a safe bet to say that the anus is the most disowned area of most people’s bodies. To say that the anus and anal sex are taboo does not begin to capture how personally directed the fear and disgust of the anus is.
My mother was wrong about anal sex. The anus is a pleasure center for both men and women. Even Kinsey was aware of its erotic potential during his studies of the ’50s. Yet, to many the feelings we associate with the anus is a polarity of feeling nothing—or feeling pain.
Unlike my mother, I will admit that I’ve had anal sex—twice. The first time it was a decision made out of the self-assertion that I was open-minded and adventurous in bed. Vince and I had a rocky “relationship” which consisted mainly of online stalking (on my part), “accidentally” bumping into him at clubs and going back to his place for long sex sessions. What went on in my head between us felt like a psychological simulacrum of BDSM, and I was addicted to playing his submissive.
When he suggested anal, I wanted to do it for him, to prove I would do it for him—even after we couldn’t find any lube. He was a petite guy, short and hipster-thin, but with one of the largest cocks I've ever encountered. I remember the anal sex as feeling incredibly intense, as he entered me, the words: most painful sex I've ever had, ran through my mind while I gripped a pillow. But I think there were parts of the sex I enjoyed. Then again, I never wanted to repeat the experience; and the fact that Vince would later refer to that night as The Anal Ravaging of ’06 still makes my rosebud tighten.
Unlocking the Back Door
Anal sex not only doesn’t have to hurt; it should [italic|never} hurt. Yet we aren't taught how to do it; we aren’t taught how to feel relaxed in this area, how to enjoy it. While I have a hard time opening myself up to it, I still realize that my anus is a bundle of nerve endings; rife with the power to make me wet, to maybe even get me off.
In rectifying my relationship with my rectum, I decided to take a cue from ’70s feminist-self help literature. I began by staring at the very spot for which I held such disdain. This disregarded locus that made me freeze in reticent rumination over its cleanliness, its very appearance, in any situation in which others might see it.
I arranged myself in a perky-doggy-style position, straight out of Porn 101, and faced the mirror. My anus was kind of cute, after all. But to be honest, I really didn’t car for its color. “I think I’ll get an anal bleaching,” I said aloud, my head between my legs, in an attempt to break the awkward silence with myself. My hand slid over my vagina, touching my anus and after initial pleasantries, I felt an uncomfortable boredom settle in.
According to Dr. Jack Morin in his book Anal Pleasure and Health, growing bored when you touch your anus is often a psychological defense, covering anxiety. Dr. Morin had plenty to say about anxiety, and in turn tension in the anus. His book explains that the anus is a common tension-spot, sometimes veiled beneath a feeling of numbness. This tension-holding can be learned at a young age by mirroring our parents’ body language, and is also often acquired during toilet training. We learn to unnaturally tense the anus when anxious or scared, as the natural response would be to release (think ancient man running away from some large animal, needing to be lighter). As a result, when many of us under stress or encounter fear, we've learned to tense the anus, holding in stress. I would spell out the sociological metaphor in play here, but I wouldn’t presume to insult anyone’s intelligence.
Surrender the Brown
The second time I had anal sex was in a long-term relationship. And while I swear there was a lot of trust and love in the relationship already, I have to admit: Anal Sex (not ravaging) Part II was heightened by the Ecstasy we’d taken. “So...he started rimming me,” I told my friend Alexandra the next day.
“Oh, my God! As you were coming up on E? It must have felt like angels and newborn puppies were licking your ass!” she said.
“The sex was incredible,” I agreed. “It didn’t hurt at all. He was so slow and gentle. Actually we barely moved. He just lay on top of me, syncing our breath, slowly moving all the way into my ass.”
Later, when we tried to replicate the amazing anal ecstasy minus Ecstasy, my anus would again pucker, pout, and pronounce herself to be in strict opposition to any further proceedings.
So again I focused myself there, actually feeling it, learning to relax it. Slowly the old fears began to slip away. I became aware of the charged eroticism of my anus, noticing it during sex. I even began to bring anal exploration into my own solo-play, which had me shocked to think of the number of partners who had slipped a finger up my ass versus the number of times I had done it to myself—zero.
This all became clear, reaching its zenith one afternoon when I decided to masturbate, feeling loving and curious toward myself, anus and all. My anus felt relaxed as a vibrator softly hummed on my clit, so slowly and gently, I probed one finger inside. As I picked up a bottle of Liquid Silk and a butt-plug, the act of experimenting on myself sent shivers down my thighs. I was in charge of how I felt; it was on my own terms. I was exploring my body, for myself not for someone else's enjoyment. I (and my anus) felt alive. As I came, pulsing against the toy inside, I saw it: me finally fully owning and loving my whole body. I was taking charge and I felt instantly more free, more at ease and more me.