We get a lot of advice questions into EMandLO.com around the concern many straight men have with receiving -- and, heaven forbid, enjoying -- a little anal attention from their female partners. Just this week we got another comment on the topic:
So let's review what enjoying anal play is (and is not) all about:
My boyfriend has recently discovered he likes [it]. I think it's amazing and I really enjoy doing it to him, and knowing that he has been so open about it is great. The only thing ruining it a little is that he feels it's wrong because of so many people making comments about it being wrong and that enjoying it must mean you're gay.... I have found in the past that most of the men who think it's wrong and gay are most commonly the ones that actually enjoy it and only deny it because everyone else does.
- A well-adjusted person's pleasant, consensual and safe sexual experience -- whatever that may be -- with another well-adjusted adult is is good thing. If we're specifically talking about backdoor play, then engaging in it with someone you trust is well within the realm of healthy sexual experimentation, no matter your sexual orientation.
- Nerve endings aren't gay or straight, people are. Sex is all about context, which is why almost no women get turned on by tampon insertion. You engage in sexual activities with people you are attracted to -- that's a large part of what makes them enjoyable. If you're not attracted to the person on a primal level, you're not going to enjoy the sex. So if he's not into guys, he's not going to enjoy one of them intimately massaging his prostate. But if he's into women, then he may very well like having a lady-friend explore that route, because it's chock-full of nerves that respond to stimulation (the right kind of stimulation, whatever that is for him).
- Speaking of the right kind of stimulation, the prostrate and its surrounding nerves play an important role in male orgasm, so having it stimulated indirectly or directly can actually increase sensation and thus pleasure for him, whether he's gay or straight. There's nothing "unnatural" about it -- it's the nature of male anatomy!
- People who think being penetrated is feminine are sexist. People who think enjoying anal play is gay are homophobic.
- Women who encourage their male partners to accept a little anal attention or who enjoy wearing strap-ons are not sexual manipulators stripping men of all willpower and masculinity without a care for anything but their own sexual fantasies and satisfaction. It takes two to tango. If a guy doesn't want his backdoor knocked on, there's no way his girlfriend is somehow sneaking in a strap-on dildo. Even if his girlfriend is Angelina Jolie. (Okay, maybe he'd make an exception...)
- Plenty of guys will try being on the receiving end of butt sex and not like it. That doesn't necessarily mean they're not gay!
- Some suggest that bum-loving is a ride you can never get off, a ride you will do anything to stay on, even if that means suddenly switching sexual identity 180 degrees mid-life. We will happily admit that some people may try a sexual activity, enjoy it thoroughly, and then want to include it in their repertoire on a regular basis from then on. Everyone has their preferences. But the suggestion that once you go "back" you can never go back -- no matter who you are -- is ludicrous. Plenty of people are happy to try new things, enjoy them, but then can take them or leave them. Again, the average person could certainly go without, due to a breakup or an unwilling partner they really cared about.
- All this is not to say that for some people sexual orientation is not fluid. Many people are bisexual, of course. And there's nothing wrong with experimenting with partners one trusts, whether they fall in line with one's current sexual orientation or not. Would that make a person gay? Only if they wanted it to. The range of sexual activity is so wide that we believe one should define it however they see fit, even if it's not neatly black or white. It's your sexual identity -- own it! You're free to play around with sexual roles. That's usually where you can broaden your horizons, see how ridiculous some of the assumptions you have about sex or gender roles are, and have the most fun!
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