Since we live in a very straight-forward, structured society where right is right and anything else is taboo, anal sex seems to be a reoccurring loop hole. From the article “Anal Sex: Phallic and Other Meanings” by Simon Hardy, we can understand how society constructs and deconstructs what types of anal sex, if any, are socially acceptable and how anal sex is used in general.
Simon Hardy describes “Phallic Sexuality” as “the dominant way of doing and thinking about sexuality in modern Western Culture”; this form of sexuality “centers the penis and its penetrative role in coital intercourse”. It is also “patriarchal because the act of intercourse is understood in terms of an anatomical dichotomy in which the penis is seen as active and the vagina is seen as passive”; therefore, the male partner is superior to the female partner who is inferior (107). Recently anal sex has been included in this phallic sex model when the anus has become the substitute for the passive vagina. Although the male is seen as superior, in such cases of male-to-male anal sex, some men came can take on the inferior role. Hardy’s article looks at how anal sex can be encountered in a variety of guises: as a method of contraception, as a health risk, as a heterosexual substitute, as a perversion, as a routine variation of sexual repertoire, as a special/ultimate intimacy, as a fashionable theme of cultural representation, as an obligatory pornographic number, and as an act of phallic domination (107). I will dissect the method of contraception, the health risks, the heterosexual substitute, the routine variation, and as a fashionable theme.
The method of contraception focuses on how females cannot get pregnant form anal sex. It states that anal sex is practiced as a practical method of contraception by heterosexual couples where anal sex is a direct substitute for “regular” vaginal intercourse. While, this might help the pregnancy rate, it sure does not help the STD/HIV percentages. Maybe not in America as much, but this has been cited by public health agencies in Africa that this is a possible contributing factor to the rapid spread of HIV infections. This could be because since they know they cannot get pregnant from anal sex, they chose not to protect themselves with condoms, therefore exposing them for chance of disease (107).
This leads into how anal intercourse is heavily associated with a number of health issues. In addition it is above all the potential for the sexual transition of HIV infection. This can be seen in the down low community. The Centers of Disease Control released in 2001 estimated that 30 percent of black men where infected with HIV. Of these men, majority of them had had anal intercourse with other men (Hoy 380). This is the practice of “barebacking”: where young gay men have unprotected anal intercourse leaving them for a high chance of being infected (107).
This is a picture of gay porn star Rod Daily who is infected with HIV from having unprotected sex with men.
In is stated that a lot of the men who do gay porn are not really “gay”, but instead they are “gay-for-pay.” This means that they just get into gay porn because of the money they get in return. Do you buy this statement? Why or why not?
Next, is a heterosexual substitute; this focuses mainly on male inmates in prison where male-to-male penetration can substitute vaginal penetration, not for the purpose of not trying to get pregnant like purposes of contraception, but because of the absence of women (108). John Gagnon and William Simon’s classic study of the sexual conduct of the prisoners showed that this “homosexual” acts where between “straight” men. They where not doing so to release their sexual tension but instead to affirm their masculine identity. In prison the performance of sex act is the key of demonstrating a powerful, commanding masculinity. Their masculinity depends more on the roles they take on during sex rather than their actual sexual partner; masculinity is affirmed by anally penetrating (108).
In the movie Lockdown, the character Dre experiences this as soon as he gets to prison. Just shortly after meeting her cellmate, Graffiti, Dre is raped as takes on the passive role in the male-to-male intercourse while Graffiti affirms his masculinity by being the one who does the anal penetration. Below is the scene from the movie:
We can now look at anal sex as a routine variation of the sexual repertoire. In long-term relationships, anal sex brings the erotic force of norm violation to bear as a routine variation, so basically it’s the next step to improve you relationship sexually. Gagnon and Simon’s research on heterosexual couples show that as relationships become more established, anal intercourse was one of the number of variations that is gradually integrated (109). This usually starts by the male partner’s use of his fingers followed by increasingly attempts to penetrate. The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles found that the proportion of men that have experienced anal sex in the past year has risen from 7 percent in 1990 to 12.3 percent in 2000 (109). The proportion of women had increased from 6.5 percent to 11.3 percent over the same about of time.
With support form the figures above, you can see that anal sex has become a fashionable theme of cultural representation. More and more teenagers are not adding anal sex to their daily sex talks. They say that anal sex is the only kind of sex that people are interested in now (109). It is definitely safe to say that anal sex has come from out the closet and hit the cultural mainstream hard. A lot of this has to do with everyone’s obsession with the ass in general. The ass has surly become a symbol for a new cult of voluptuous sensuality (109).
In conclusion, by dissecting anal sex as a method of contraception, a health risks, a heterosexual substitute, a routine variation, and as a fashionable theme we can attempt to imagine anal sex through various lens. On one had the gay practice of reciprocal anal penetration has been seen as de-centering the phallus has been the heart of normative sexuality; while on the other hand, in the heterosexual mainstream erotic imagination anal sex remains as an act generally understood in terms of a symbolic power relation (111).
Afghanistan, a country where most power and dominance is inhabited by men, is ranked one of the worst countries in the world to be born a female. Afghan women who bear only female children are scorned and looked down upon. To combat this inherent female disprivilege, women have started raising their female children as boys. Yes, as boys.
When we discussed feminism we were given this simple definition of the oftentimes-misunderstood word, “a movement for social, political, and economic equality.” That definition was repeated, verbatim, by Emma Watson in her speech this past weekend at the U.N. Headquarters. Watson was named the U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador this past summer. Did I mention she just graduated in May from Brown? Accomplishments. Anyway, Watson is launching a HeForShe campaign that seeks to encourage as many men and boys as possible to become gender equality advocates.
Over the last few years as the LGBTQIA community has become stronger and gay marriage more prominent, I have heard many sayings varying from, “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” to “Jesus had two dads and he turned out fine.” The controversy of gay marriage has erupted in numerous debates and the answer is still not clear to what the US plans to do. As of right now, it is legal in some states and illegal in others, which creates this sense of confusion and a loss of identity for those that are gay and want to get married.
How many times has this philosophy been shoved in our faces through any number of social experiences? From movies, to advertisements for food to clothing, and even books, we can not get past this historical moment where EVERYTHING (just about) is sold with sex. Even the diaper advertisements in this country are sexualized! Surely it has always been like this, right?
If you haven’t yet attended any of the campus events to honor Bisexuality Pride Week, there’s still time!
September 26 at NOON: Bisexuality Day Celebration
Office of LGBTQI Life at the KC Potter Center (312 West Side Row)
Celebration of Bisexual identities! We will have a bisexuality cake and great conversation!
Mary Lamberts song “Secrets” embodies many aspects of what we have talked about in class. First and foremost, she talks about social constructions of a woman and how it ties in to the social constructions of sexuality. She expresses how she does not embody the typical characteristics of a female in Continue reading