Many gay men might refuse to believe it. Many straight women might refuse to even think about it. But they exist: straight men (self-identified males who are sexually attracted to females) who greatly enjoy bottoming (being the receptive partner during anal intercourse).
My friend Matt could not find an acceptable explanation for all the moaning and groaning coming from his roommate Lisa's bedroom. The ecstatic voice of Lisa's boyfriend echoed in the apartment for interminable hours. Matt, who always had a very healthy gay sex life, was somewhat intrigued by what sounded like glorious enjoyment. There was something familiar in Lisa's boyfriend vocal epiphany of pleasure, in its rhythm, in its hesitations. Matt and Lisa were good friends, so when curiosity took over, he directly inquired about the details of her sexual practices. Lisa explained that her boyfriend liked to have anal sex (although this was not exactly her choice of words). More precisely, he liked -- loved even -- for Lisa to wear a strap-on dildo and penetrate him.
Anal sex is the new oral sex, the last sexual anathema to be challenged, confronted, and decomposed. It is increasingly more prevalent in heterosexual couples. After centuries of ignored existence, the HIV/AIDS epidemic forced us to acknowledge hetero-anal sexual intercourse. Straight couples discovered anal sex as the next cutting-edge possibility for naughty lovemaking, the porn industry capitalized on the interest, teenagers and young adults started to have anal intercourse as an alternative form of contraception. In other words, the last three decades taught us that anal sex should not be associated exclusively with male homosexuality. However, this seems to be true only when heterosexual anal stimulation is performed by a insertive male on a receptive female.
"Pegging", defined by Dan Savage as the sexual practice in which a woman penetrates a man's anus with a strap-on dildo, is taboo. It's an eventuality surrounded by incredulity. Many gay men look suspiciously -or with hope- at straight men who like to be penetrated. Many straight women look at them terrorized. These men end up suppressing their desires, questioning their sexuality and the essence of their masculinity.
Let's take a step back. Why is anal penetration enjoyable to begin with? The anal and rectal regions have numerous nerve endings that can create pleasure during penetration. Additional amusement can be produced by the flesh or prosthetic penis brushing against the prostate in males or by indirect clitoris stimulation through the rectum in females. Many gay men enjoy anal sex; many don't like it at all. Many women find it stimulating, while others find it horrifying. Ultimately nerve endings don't really have a gender identity or a sexual orientation. Therefore it is not absurd to speculate that while many straight men cannot even start picturing receptive anal intercourse, there must be those who contemplate it, crave it, practice it.
The core problem is, once more, communication -- candidly sharing desires and intentions. It doesn't sound easy for a husband to ask his wife: "Hey honey, why don't you put on this dildo and penetrate me tonight?" Could you picture a man enthusiastically proposing some anilingus action to his beloved girlfriend? Too many variables involved: societal norms, self-esteem, expectations around masculinity, let alone moral directives.
Ben had a very fulfilling marriage: beautiful couple, fantastic apartment in Brooklyn, brilliant careers and plenty of projects for the future. Ben's sexual connection to his wife was good, but he couldn't bring himself to discuss with her his interest in receptive anal intercourse. He was afraid to scare her, to disappoint her. A few years into the marriage he started seeing a prostitute who would wear a strap-on and have sex with him. A couple of months later the marriage was over. Ben is now divorced. He occasionally pays for sex. He says there isn't a single day going by without him thinking about his wife and what could have been. Many pre-operative transgender women who are sex workers explain that there's plenty of married men who pay really good money to have receptive anal intercourse with women like them who wouldn't question their needs.
Point being, when humans intimately and profoundly need something, they will find a way to get it. If men feel like it's shameful or even impossible to discuss receptive anal sex with their female partners, they might end up looking for it in some dark corners. Anal sex in general is linked to several health issues, primarily sexually transmitted infections including HIV /AIDS, and ano-rectal trauma. It is definitely advised to practice it with some sort of peace of mind.
We need to talk about sex, about all kinds of sex, about urges and curiosities. It is the very first step towards a healthy and fulfilling sexual life. Repression and silence often create monsters.
Besides, you might like it.
Lisa, Matt's roommate, was a very happy and gratified top.