The hole truth and nothing butt the truth

Anal sex and holding a partner back


Dear Sasha,

I have a question about anal sex.

In Marie Claire magazine, Dr. Drew Pinsky says, basically, that it isn’t good, that a bunch of problems will plague you – he is talking to women – by old age. He says most women are only try-ing to make their boyfriends happy and that if it hurts and is awful, don’t do it.In Marie Claire magazine, Dr. Drew Pinsky says, basically, that it isn’t good, that a bunch of problems will plague you – he is talking to women – by old age. He says most women are only try-ing to make their boyfriends happy and that if it hurts and is awful, don’t do it.

“There will be medical consequences. In the short term, there’s a risk of tears, fissures and fistulas,” he writes. “But I’m much more concerned about the long term. Go talk to a 75-year-old woman sometime who hasn’t had anal sex and you’ll see that as you age, the rectal area has tons of problems associated with it anyway.“There will be medical consequences. In the short term, there’s a risk of tears, fissures and fistulas,” he writes. “But I’m much more concerned about the long term. Go talk to a 75-year-old woman sometime who hasn’t had anal sex and you’ll see that as you age, the rectal area has tons of problems associated with it anyway.

“You can get hemorrhoids and abscesses, and the rectum can prolapse into the vagina or out of the anus – and that’s without ever having anal sex. If you don’t have pain with anal sex, then your body may be tolerating it, although you still run the risk of problems.”“You can get hemorrhoids and abscesses, and the rectum can prolapse into the vagina or out of the anus – and that’s without ever having anal sex. If you don’t have pain with anal sex, then your body may be tolerating it, although you still run the risk of problems.”

Although I’m not a woman, I love having my rear packed with meat every now and then. So is it true? How about guys?Although I’m not a woman, I love having my rear packed with meat every now and then. So is it true? How about guys?

HectorHector

What an opportunity to ring in the new year with an old but appropriate adage. Opinions are like assholes – everybody’s got one.

Pinsky, with his years of experience as a medical doctor and radio and television personality hosting shows with sexuality-based content, undoubtedly has acquired legitimate knowledge on the unpleasant side effects of anal sex.

But he’s just one of many accredited people, and the way these people disseminate information varies considerably.

Using a Venn diagram to compare and contrast, you will notice a couple of things. In one section is the rather grim view (pants will undeniably be pooped), and in the other a view that is more reassuring (done with proper care and attention, there should be no long-term problems that don’t occur naturally with aging). In the middle is the shared opinion that anal sex should be reconsidered if it is consistently painful or if a person is patently disinclined.

But let’s look at the original question, which was simply about how to make anal sex more comfortable. While I agree the word “comfortable” implies that the reader is somewhat indifferent to the act, Pinsky isn’t helping matters by saying most women are trying to placate their lovers and that all women have every reason to be terrified of anal sex because our asses run the risk, even if we have no pain, of caving in to our vaginas if we get them fucked.

Nobody wants their ass to cave in to their vagina. It’s hard enough learning to wipe front to back. What the hell do you do when the front and back become one?

When I first began writing my column, it was difficult to find sex-positive sources on anal sex. I wasn’t even aware they existed. I once spoke to a proctologist who assured me that you’d end up in diapers if you did it for any extended period. And I dutifully recorded his opinion. Why would he say this if it weren’t true? Well, some doctors bring not-so-helpful personal issues into their practices.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, I started enjoying ass play. A lot. In my experience, I’ve only run into trouble when I’ve been too greedy, too impatient or too goddamn wasted to be shoving things up there that were better suited for, say, winter camping or warfare.

I found sources that were more encouraging and realistic. Jack Morin’s classic book Anal Pleasure & Health (published by Patrick D. Goo-nan) offers a more heartening view. Tristan Taormino’s columns and films about anal sex are also more positively focused. You can find them at puckerup.com. In her inimitably enthusiastic way, Betty Dodson advocates for anal pleasure, and I doubt that at 80 she’d be doing so if her back end looked like a slice of pâte de Campagne.

My best advice to you, Hector, is to read all you can about anal sex. If you can email your sources, question them personally. Then you can decide for yourself if you’d like to keep anal sex on your menu. For my part, I’m pretty sure, given my lifestyle, that I’ll be plopping my pants in my senior years anyway. If getting reamed in the rear has anything to do with it, well, better that than just because I strained on the can too often with a Garfield collection.

Dear Sasha,

After a year and a half of love, hope, despair and all the best intentions, my girlfriend and I have decided to end our relationship, which was non-monogamous. It was the first go at this type of relationship for both of us and we were so intent on doing it right. At times we did it well but in the end it seemed like it was the thing that tore us apart. When it worked it worked, when it didn’t, it really didn’t because it just felt so often that we had different goals and ways of approaching it. I don’t want to give up on this idea altogether because I hate the idea of holding a partner back from exploring their sexuality and exploring myself, but I’m left with the feeling that I might be a lunatic for ever having tried this or even hoping that it’s a good idea. Am I crazy to think that this will ever work for me?

Anthony

I’ve been wrestling with non-monogamy for many years, and I’ll be honest, Anthony – it’s been quite a brawl. I often feel that unmentionable-within-the-community combination of envy and suspicion toward people who seem to manage it well.

I can have casual sex and remain committed to my partner, but at times it’s impossible to grasp that my partner can do the same. Yet I remain – idiotically, perhaps – dedicated to this model because I know when I do figure it out with the right person, it will give me what I need, goddamn it.

Maybe that means only sleeping with other people together maybe it means getting to know my girlfriend or boyfriend’s lovers so they’re not so overblown in my imagination may-be it means getting old and tired enough not to give a shit who my partner is banging. I don’t know yet.

What you’ve learned is that people approach this model with many, many different intentions and needs, and that these can shift and change over time. Non-monogamy can be ex-hilarating when it works, but when it’s challenging, it’s gut-wrenching. The bottom line: in every relationship, each person’s expectations and personality deeply affect its chances of success.

It’s easy to assume when we meet someone who also chooses non-mon-ogamy (not polyamory – that’s a whole other kettle of fish) that this commonality implies others. Overjoyed (and sometimes a little smug) to meet someone else who’s chosen a sexually unconventional lifestyle, we forget to read the fine print. Or we read the fine print but, as feelings change, it gets blurry.

Non-monogamists often express frus-tration when monogamists say peo-ple choose non-monogamy because they can’t commit. While I understand that irritation, I can also see that non-monogamy may allow people to keep others, even their primary partner, at a distance.

Just as a lot of people default to monogamy because they can’t handle jealousy, some default to non-monogamy because they can’t tolerate their independence being com-pro-mised. Fair enough. They’ve found a way to maintain their autonomy. Their loyalty to their relationship per se is not up for debate, but it is very much on terms that can feel incompatible with real intimacy.

I think the only way to know what you want out of this type of relationship is the same as in any other: experiment, perhaps painfully, until you recognize your own needs and limitations and are able to express them clearly.

But again, even when you’ve been clear, things can sometimes change radically. Welcome to getting involved with people and pulling your pants down in front of them no matter what heading you choose.[rssbreak]

Ask Sasha: sasha@nowtoronto.com

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