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Recently I came across an article posted on the UrbanDater written by a woman who just doesn’t believe women can actually enjoy anal sex. She even insinuates that articles written in praise of the amazing orgasms women can sometimes experience from anal penetration may actually be written by men propagating a falsehood in the hopes of encouraging more women to spread their cheeks for the dicks of men everywhere. She claims she has evidence (anecdotal from her friends) that the large majority of women don’t like anal sex and that they shouldn’t have to put up with a growing societal expectation of it becoming a normal sex practice.
UrbanDater has since posted a rebuttal piece (hehehe, rebuttal), although whether it’s an apology from the site or infighting among its writers is unclear. Mostly the article apologizes for the sex-negativity that is squicking another’s squee and for the fact that the original piece relied heavily on anecdotal evidence that is contrary to what actual statistics about anal sex have to say.
But it’s not an uncommon stance lately, particularly after Gillian Flynn’s now-infamous “cool girl” rant from “Gone Girl” that says women who enjoy sex acts that may be perceived as male-appeasing fantasies, such as anal penetration, are faking their interest in order to attract and keep men in a competitive dating environment.
So, hi. I’m a woman who likes anal sex, and I’m going to turn the tables here and say I think it’s weird that you think that’s weird.
First of all, the fact that I say I enjoy anal sex should be enough for you to believe me. I shouldn’t have to back up my sexual preferences with science, but I will anyway. In 2010, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published the results of a national sex survey stating 20 percent of women in their 20s and 30s copped to having anal sex within the past year, with one-third of those women having had it within the past month.
But maybe you believe that one in every five women is faking it in order to look cool. Well, let’s look a little bit further. “Among women who had vaginal sex in their last encounter, the percentage who said they reached orgasm was 65. Among those who received oral sex, it was 81. But among those who had anal sex, it was 94. Anal sex outscored cunnilingus.”
Of course, correlation doesn’t equate causation. Some folks theorize that it is the orgasms (resulting from oral, manual or vaginal sex) that satisfy and relax women enough for them to be open to anal penetration, rather than the anal sex that is causing orgasms. But ultimately, does it really matter? If people are happy and fucking and coming, who are we to tell them they’re not actually enjoying themselves?
(*as long as it’s consensual, but come on, do I really have to specify that?)
Some women do report stronger orgasms as a direct result of anal sex. While there seems to be no data explicitly on female anal orgasms (shocking, I know. Like come on, it’s 2015), many women report that ass-fucking allows for a unique kind of G-spot stimulation that can be orgasmic in and of itself. Some women report masturbating anally on their own or engaging in anal penetration with female partners, meaning it is possible to achieve pleasure from anal sex that has nothing to do with the involvement of men.
Then there are women like me who self-identify as masochists and for whom anal sex is enjoyable precisely because it is an act of suffering. I’m not sure anal sex will ever feel let’s say “soothing” to me in the way that cunnilingus does, but it is the pain, the sacrifice and the extremism of it that turns me on. (I also like getting beaten with canes. Don’t judge.) The idea that only men are sexual thrill-seekers while women are tasked with the duty of either fending off or reluctantly indulging their porn-like preferences is just wrong and unfair. Plenty of women also enjoy the psychological thrill of sex that is different.
Finally there are women who may enjoy anal sex because they enjoy pleasing their partners. (As a service-oriented submissive, I fall into this category, too.) And newsflash: It’s totally OK to enjoy something because you enjoy pleasing the person you’re with. That doesn’t make it any less valid a form of enjoyment. Many humans of all genders take immense pleasure in seeing the person they’re fucking having a grand time. To imply that women who choose to have a certain kind of sex because they enjoy satisfying their partners aren’t actually enjoying said sex is offensively patronizing. Personally I think most women are big girls who are capable of making decisions about the kinds of sex they do and do not want to have, and I trust every consenting adult to act in their own best interest.
I’m sure there are many more reasons why a woman might enjoy anal sex, but frankly I don’t really care about them. If someone tells me they like something, I am prone to believing them.
Another complaint the original UrbanDater author had was that many guys subscribe to a double-standard regarding anal penetration. “I know men that freak out when people even joke about going near their anal cavity,” she writes, “yet have no problem encouraging a woman to take it up the ass.”
I actually tend to agree with her on this particular gripe, although I believe there is a far more complex system at work here for which it is not entirely fair to blame men as individuals. Men are held to such rigid standards of masculinity that often imply that any behavior that might appear “gay” or “feminine,” such as being the penetratee rather than the penetrator, is a threat to their very status as a man.
That’s particularly fucked up when you think about it because it means men are being conditioned to fear one of their own body parts. I shouldn’t have to explain that it is the gender of the people you choose as partners and not the activities you choose to do with those partners that determines your sexual orientation (and nor is any one sexual orientation better than another, although some are unfortunately afforded more privileges at this point in our history), but somehow it’s a revelation that is still just occurring to some people.
As Charlie Glickman, author of “The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure,” has famously said, “When you can’t be present in your ass, you can’t be fully present in your body.” I don’t expect every guy to be into anal penetration. Some men enjoy external stimulation only, such as analingus or anal massage, and other guys don’t find any pleasure there at all. A man has just as much right to his preference for certain sexual acts over others as a woman does because we are all human beings who enjoy different things.
But if a man acts downright afraid of his own asshole, to me that signals a kind of insecurity and discomfort that I find unattractive in a potential partner. So yeah, I vote with my vag in cases like those and instead choose to fuck people who are more comfortable with themselves, which is my prerogative as well as the author’s in selecting our respective partners.
Luckily the same philosophy I subscribe to that advocates for women to have the right to enjoy the kind of sex they like without being judged for it also ascribes the same right to men. Do what ye will an ye harm none, all of you.
And yet it is that very taboo, that shame that is caught up in our asses, that is the very reason I find anal sex so important. It’s about accepting your partner’s (and your own) full self in bodily form. If you can’t accept and love someone’s whole body, how are you ever going to accept and love their whole heart? Have you seen people’s hearts? Many times what’s in people’s hearts is far dirtier and more shameful than what’s in their assholes.
When I let a partner into my ass, or when I show them that I’m not afraid of theirs, what I’m so often saying without words is I hope there is nothing with which we cannot trust each other. In my language, a rimjob essentially translates to I am going to take that part of you that society tells you you should be most ashamed of, and I am going to put it in my mouth and taste it because I am not afraid of your darkness. Letting a partner penetrate my ass sounds something like I trust you with me, and there is no part of me that is off-limits to you because I trust you with my darkness, too.
This isn’t the first time I’ve said this on this website, but the whole point of sex is intimacy, a physical expression of a growing closeness with another person in which your desire for each other manifests itself as an excruciating need for the most clandestine parts of your bodies to touch and entwine. So it’s probably going to turn out best for all involved if everyone shows up with their full self.