Ass You Like It
Statistics rarely make me fall off the chair. But this time I literally fell on my bottom! Turns out that the Center For Disease Control’s (CDC) latest figures on sexuality show that a once-upon-a-time taboo – called anal sex – is now commonplace. From a just a decade ago, anal sex is up 12 per cent to 38.2 per cent among men in the 20 to 39-age category. In women, its up by 11 per cent to 32.6 per cent in the same age category.But that’s not all – CDC says anal sex is increasingly becoming a “normal” heterosexual activity. And what’s more straight men, contrary to popular conception, often prefer to be the penetratee than the penetrator!
When and how did this generational shift exactly take place? Time was when oral sex was talked about in hushed tones, today anal sex is part of chic drawing room conversations, taken down with a dry martini. Okay, I agree CDC figures aren’t India-specific – but given the fact there is very little research done on such subjects in India, I tend to believe that heterosexual anal sex is pretty much prevalent here for a variety of reasons.
One of them being – the commodification of the butt. Mainstream global culture these days seems preoccupied with the sexual propensity of the bottom. Notice how both female and male celebrities in both Bollywood and Hollywood are evaluated on the quality of their behinds. The celebrities themselves have bought into this commodification wholesale – consider all the chatter about J Lo’s stick-out behind or Beyonce’s full-round bottom, mostly propagated by PR agencies of both stars. The but is everywhere from advertising, to literature to mainstream movies. Remember the bedroom scene in Bridget Jones’s Dairy where Renée Zellweger says to Hugh Grant, “What you just did is actually illegal in several countries….”
The other reason is porn. Anal sex, since the late 1990s, has been featuring regularly in mainstream porn — to the point where what was once the feature of edgy hardcore films is now expected in almost every scene. A whole generation has grown up now on this kind of easily available porn. The fact that they can be looking at it in their bedrooms, is affecting how younger people see sex. They see it much more as a commodity. Couples approach sex with the idea that anything goes… threesomes, foursomes, oral sex and anal sex. There’s a lot of pressure to experiment.
And when did straight men get into the habit of being penetrated? I’m not sure. Susie Bright, well known sexuality commentator, seems to think that the rise in anal sex is a byproduct of the AIDS crisis. She has been quoted as follows: “There was such a lot of talk at the height of AIDS about the dangers of anal sex that straight people started thinking, ‘Wow, it must feel really good for people to take such insane risks!’” I’m not sure if I’m buying that.
What makes more sense for me is the medical explanation.
And apparently it all comes down to the male prostate. DatingSense.com, a website for swingers, explains it this way: “The lining of the anal cavity is rich with nerve endings, and deep penetration may allow for stimulation of the prostate gland, which many heterosexual men also find highly arousing.” The bald truth of the matter is that men have an anal G-spot and women don’t. Result: men seem to want heterosexual anal sex much more than women.
Of course, its only the new-age, confident-about-his-sexuality male that indulges in this. For most other men, anything anal, is just too close to homosexuality to be comfortable. But for those ready to bend over for their girlfriends or wives – a whole array of sex toys and explanatory vidoes seems to available on the internet. Babeland, which started the legendary series of videos, “Bend Over Boyfriend” now advertises a whole sub-genre of titles like Babes Balling Boys, Strap Attack, and Boss Bitches. “Pegging” – the popular term for strap-on sex is as common as foreplay among certain straight couples where the man believes that when it’s done right – being penetrated anally is pleasurable regardless of the penetrator’s gender.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Speaking strictly for me, any change in social mores is a move forward. Heterosexual men who acknowledge the pleasure they derive from anal stimulation are probably more centered and grounded over their sexuality. One imagines that the rise and rise of anal sex is striking out in the direction of sexual liberation, of understanding, of the breaking down of barriers. In the end, it may not be for everybody. But as a realisation and rejoicement of satisfying a growing human urge – you can’t help but-be “behind” it.