You Want to Put it Where?

September 7, 2013

in Reader Requested, Sexuality

Warning: This will be graphic and possibly disturbing. Feel free to just say no and skip it.

A wife who reads this blog asked if I would “do a piece on anal sex”. Sure, why not – maybe I can upset everyone all at once!

For starters, I’m not going to say anal sex is sin. Frankly I’d like to say it’s sin and leave it there, but I have one little problem with saying that – I can’t find it in the Bible. I could probably paste together some out of context bits of Scripture to “prove” it’s wrong, but I am allergic to that kind of thing. I’ve often said the burden of proof is on the one who wants to add to God’s rules, and I abide by that even when I don’t like it.

Do Not Enter © Yukchong Kwan| Dreamstime.com

Many blame porn for the recent increased popularity of anal sex, and this seem to be valid. While heterosexual anal intercourse is hardly new (there are artistic representations going back to 300 AD), it has become far, far more common in the last few decades, with the increase closely following an increase of anal sex in porn. I have no doubt porn has made anal sex more popular, but that does not make it wrong. Porn includes plenty of sex acts that aren’t wrong (when done by husband and wife) so being done in porn doesn’t make it wrong.

All that said, according to Craig Gross, founder of XXXchurch.com, porn actresses are paid twice as much for doing anal intercourse as for vaginal. Does that mean they are less willing to do anal for some reason? Makes you wonder. I’ve also seen reports those who revice anal in porn do an enima, or two, before hand. Additioanly, grimices or vocilisations of discomfort/pain are apperently clipped from anal porn sceans farily often.

So is it Okay?

“Not sin” and “okay” are two different things… and good is still another matter.

A lot of women who find the idea gross are being pushed to try anal sex, which I find unloving and selfish. Porn and society have convinced many men anal sex is the ultimate, and they feel cheated if their wife says no. Some talk about anal sex as a gift, a way of proving her love for your man. Ladies, if he needs anal to believe you love him, he needs help!

The Harm

It’s difficult to find good information on how harmful anal sex might be. Because the act is associated with homosexuality, speaking against it can bring on the wrath of “pro-gay” groups. I’m aware of several medical articles dealing with anal sex removed from the Internet, and at least one was confirmed to be because of such protests.

The short answer is yes, anal sex can cause damage. It can cause or aggravate haemorrhoids, cause anal fissures (tears), an anal fistula (a tunnel from the anus to some other part of the body, most commonly exiting the body a short distance from the anus), or cause rectal prolapse (a part of the rectum slides out of place). How commonly these result from anal sex is not known. All of these can occur for other reasons, and those who suffer from them may not tell their doctor they engage in anal sex. A 1993 British study compared 40 homosexual men who received anal sex with 18 heterosexual men. Thirty-five percent of the homosexual group suffered regular anal incontinence, while only 6% of the heterosexual men had the same problem. This shows a clear problem, but it can’t be applied to women. Most homosexual men have far more anal sex than heterosexual couples, which would make their risk greater. However, men are usually larger than women, including their rectum and anus, so women would be more easily damaged. It’s been claimed the incidence of anal fissures in women at college clinics has been rising, witj anal sex is the cause. While many will confirm they’ve seen this, no one has done a study.

Most of the research on the danger of anal sex is focused on STDs, which are far more easily contracted through anal sex than any other sex act. Given how big a problem STDs are, it is understandable other problems with anal sex aren’t a top priority. The bottom line is there is a risk, but no one can say how great a risk.

The other danger of anal sex is contamination. The bacteria in the rectum can cause problems, particularly if they make their way to the vagina. Unless a condom is used, the penis should be washed thoroughly immediately after being withdrawn from the anus.

It Hurts!

Those who are in favour of anal sex are fond of saying “If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong”. Their mantra is “go slow and use a lot of lube and it will be fine.” However, some women never get past the pain. One well-done study of women who had tried anal sex more than once found 9% of the women had extreme pain with every attempt. Those who avoid extreme pain may still suffer lesser amounts of pain. Many women who have tried it repeatedly have never been able to do it without pain or discomfort.

Do some women like it?

Yes, some do. Some even say they climax from it (some with added clitoral stimulation, some without). The surveys I could find on this are Internet or magazine surveys, so they’re less than ideal. Rates of women who found it at least somewhat enjoyable range from 5% to 40%. Even on surveys where the “like” rate was high, at least half the women didn’t like it, and most surveys found the dislike rates higher. Clearly, a majority of women do not enjoy anal sex.

The Numbers

How many heterosexuals are engaging in anal sex? The following is based on the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior. This chart shows how many men and woman, by age, say they have engaged in heterosexual intercourse in the year prior to answering the survey:

Age Men Women
14-15       3%         4%
16-17     6%     5%
18-19     6%   18%
20-24   11%   23%
25-29   27%   21%
30-39   24%   22%
40-49   21%   12%
50-59   11%     6%
60-69     6%     4%
70+     2%     1%

 

There is far more anal sex among younger individuals, with a peak in the latter 20’s. Studies asking if people have ever in their life engaged in anal sex find rates for those over 45 are lower than for younger individuals, and it becomes rarer with greater age. This means anal sex isn’t something people do when they are young then give up; rather it is being done more often now than in the past.

Bottom Line

You can’t call anal sex sin without playing loose with the Bible. Some women enjoy it, but most do not, and some can’t do it without physical discomfort – or worse. Insisting on this when your wife doesn’t want to do it is the opposite of love, and asking for it after she has tried it and rejected it is even worse. Unlike oral sex, there is some real potential harm, and many women can’t “learn to enjoy it”.

If you feel cheated because your wife won’t have anal sex with you I would suggest you’ve been brainwashed by porn, or by a culture brainwashed by porn.

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26 comments
3minuterule
3minuterule

I don't get anal sex. I am man in my 40s with a dedecent to even robust sex drive. I love having sex with my wife of 20+years, long foreplay, vaginal intercourse, oral sex, . I wm blessed with a spouce that is equally interested.

However, neither of us has any desire to try anal sex. My wife told mewhen we were first married that she was willing to do almost anything form a sexual standpoint in order to please me/us save for anal sex. She was very inexperienced sexually so this was a surprise and relief to me. I I did not skip a beat and honestly replied "not to worry as I had no desire for the act". In all sincerity it seems disgusting to both of us. My wife is a Physician and we've talked about the health risks of anal sex on numerous occasions because of how prevalent it seems to have become. Those risks seem to greatly outweigh what little pleasure a couple or person would derive from it. To me it seems as though it is something that many men have on their " wish list" and feel the need to cross off one more experiance in life To each his own, and I understand some feel similar about oral sex own but it is one issue that I have no interest in and I am far from being prudish.

forhereyesonly82
forhereyesonly82

This is a great article on a very contraversal topic. My wife has never had any thought to try anal sex and I abide by her wishes. I do like the idea of oral stimulation of that area,any sugestions on how to be protected from bacteria. 

amy65
amy65

Excellent article re: a very sensitive subject.

Although I do not believe anal sex is a sin between a man and wife, I do not think it is necessarily a good thing.  Coming from a medical stand point, the anal sphincter is not designed to be penetrated, just as the urethra is not either.  The vagina on the other hand is specifically designed for penetration as it elongates and opens during arousal.  Having said that though, I do know recognize that stimulation of the anus either manually or orally can produce pleasurable feelings, and that type of sexual play would not be harmful.

Just my .02 cents. ;)



HotHolyHumorous
HotHolyHumorous

I agree with almost everything here, Paul.

However, all of those potentially harmful effects make me believe that this is a practice God does not readily wants us to partake in. Just as there is no prohibition against cocaine in the Bible, but we obviously know that its usage is not something we can condone. It seems to me that we can look to the way God designed our bodies for clues; for instance, the fact that the vagina is so much more elastic than a rectum.

Thus, for my own conscience, anal sex is wrong. Others may conclude differently according to their conscience. Certainly, each married couple must decide where they draw the line for a number of sexual practices, and we will not all agree. Some differences are debatable and not a salvation issue.

Great treatment of the subject! Wonderful article.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@HotHolyHumorous I agree with you personally, but it is one of those things that I don't think I can impose on others - which seems to be what you said.

Astrapto
Astrapto

@HotHolyHumorous "It seems to me that we can look to the way God designed our bodies for clues; for instance, the fact that the vagina is so much more elastic than a rectum."

Because the female mouth does not elongate, and the male's cannot fully penetrate, should not oral sex be wrong by your reasoning?

partanon
partanon

I had already been married for years with no interest in the backdoor till I read an article about a book by a famous ballerina, Toni Bentley (yes, female) who described how anal sex was spiritually and mentally therapeutic. (I didn't read her actual book, however.) It made me think of the Christian spiritual position on it.

First, if we have no bias against homosexuals as persons who control their temptations, it made me think of why homosexuality was most strongly and absolutely forbidden. I think the issue has to do with the proper place of submission. Verses like Leviticus 20:13 forbidding "man having sex with a man as with a woman" obviously cannot refer to vaginal sex. I think it central that anal sex is an act of submissiveness and dominance. It is forbidden for man to be submissive to man as we are to God, and anal sex is a uniquely submissive act representing the Biblical relationship of wife to husband.

So I think anal sex provides a spiritual lesson in the male-female relationship in Judeo-Christian marriage. It requires the man to be extra careful and caring in dominance as it equally requires a wife to surrender (aptly the title of Toni Bentley's book) and trust her husband, hopefully accurately, to act to make submission that could be painful into something pleasurable. In my experience, it only takes a few times a year to provide a spiritual benefit to the marriage even though we have sex at least every other day.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@carltonh In most of the ancient world homosexuality was usually a power thing, and often the "top" men were sexual with both men and women. The "tops" were seen as very manly, and yet Paul specifically condemned both the "bottoms" and the "tops".

partanon
partanon

@TheGenerousHusband @carltonh Agreed. Modern homosexual advocates say that most now are "switches" IIRC, as if switching between submissive and dominance eliminates the innate inequality of the relationship. I tend to disagree, but that goes too far from the topic.

Anonymou2013
Anonymou2013

I am one of those men whose wife enjoys occasional anal sex, even to the point of her being the initiator and can orgasm from it. Occasional as defined as maybe once or twice a month. We believe that anything between husband and wife and only husband and wife is permissible in the marriage bed.

I believe its just like other sex acts such as oral sex.  Some people don't enjoy it and therefore refrain from it, however the issue is that those that don't enjoy certain things are typically the  ones at the forefront of opposition.  They don't enjoy so neither should you, even if they have to declare it as "wrong".

On the issue of it being harmful, I can certainly see how, if and when done wrong or forcefully it can without a doubt, be painful and cause injury.  I do believe there is a MAJOR difference between the topic of homosexual anal sex and heterosexual, married, consenting anal sex.

anonymous servant
anonymous servant

How about "men working with men," the result of a hard heart given over to a reprobate mind.  Seriously, the Bible puts things out there for us to draw conclusions without explicitly saying don't put the penis in the anus!

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@anonymous servant So do we exclude everything homosexuals do? If not, how do we draw the line?

As I said, I'd like to call it sin and leave it at that, but the integrity of God's Word means too much to me.

throwawayMB
throwawayMB

@anonymous servant @TheGenerousHusband That's a great question. The passage in question is Romans 1:24-27. Taking the ESV version since that's a word-for-word translation:

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to tthe dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

I read the heart of this passage as being the "dishonorable passions": in this specific context, that's homosexual / lesbian passions. "Shameless acts" is not talking about a specific act, it could mean anything from anal sex to oral to anything else. Anything sexual between two men is a shameless act according to Scripture, because it is exchanging the God-given other-centeredness commitment of a heterosexual marriage for a mirror image: a man loving a man.

I'd agree that it is stretching Scripture to say this is a command against consensual anal sex within marriage for the purpose of pleasing your spouse.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@anonymous servant @TheGenerousHusband Romans 1:27 says "and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men".

To me this is clearly about homosexuality, and only homosexuality. 

Anonymous78
Anonymous78

Agreed that we can not prove it is called  a sin in the Bible. Just seems wrong on so many levels. Stating an opinion, not a comment to debate. Feel free to disagree.

JeremyLane
JeremyLane

As always, an excellent article Paul. Keep doing what you are doing. Your heart for truth and balance without legalism is always appreciated. One of the books that I was thinking about, you might have read, was one that helped my wife and I agree on things we could and could not do in the bedroom was from the same author and counselor that helped me get healed of my pornography addiction. Dr. Douglass Weiss of Heart To Heart Ministries' book "Intimacy: A 100-Day Guide to Lasting Relationships" was a great foundation for our view of intimacy that we still use today. Hope this is another tool in your toolbox! http://www.drdougweiss.com/

ForgivenWife
ForgivenWife

This would be an interesting subject of one of your surveys, Paul. I would like to know about anal sex in Christian marriages. I've always thought of it as more of an out-there kind of activity, but sometimes I'll hear from a woman who seems very reserved and proper that anal sex has been part of her marriage from the get-go. It occurs to me that those who oppose anal sex or who have had bad experiences with it are simply more vocal than those who enjoy it in their marriage beds.

In a couple weeks, I'll have a post in my comfort zone series featuring a woman who decided to try anal sex because of her husband's interest and grew to love it herself.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@ForgivenWife I was thinking the same. Should have done it before the article, but I promised to do this article this week.

Certainly those who enjoy it, especially in Christian circles, have felt a need to stay quiet about it. The same goes for most who tried it and did not like it.

We've talked to couples who really enjoy it, both the man and the woman. As it is not called sin, I won't tell folks it is wrong. I do have concerns about the possible long term effects as that is a big unknown. I figure you give people the facts and let them decide.

grandpapa
grandpapa

I am not saying I am for anal or against it. But I believe why some consider anal sex a sin, is because it is associated with homosexual men. Going back to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah and why those cities were destroy among other reasons God chose to rain fire down upon them. With that said, my first wife and I tried anal sex a couple of times not knowing what we were doing. We weren't successful, and left it at that. My current wife, told me she had an experience with anal sex in her teen years, and didn't enjoy it. With that said, we leave it out. My wife and I have a great sex life. I think that those couples that try anal sex aren't any different than those that don't.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@grandpapa I understand why people reject it because "homosexuals do it", but homosexuals do many things good Christian couples do, so I find the argument useless. 


grandpapa
grandpapa

@TheGenerousHusband @grandpapa Maybe it is useless. But given your article on it. Medically why do it? Even if it is consensual, why still do it? With that said, I am not saying I am against it. There are people who enjoy it and are probably not suffering medically from it. I know for me, even before becoming a Christian, watching porn that had anal sex in it, was never something that interested me. My first wife wanted to try it, I try to oblige her, but we weren't successful, probably because we were young and didn't know exactly how to execute this act properly. After becoming a Christian, and understanding why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, I received the impression that this act is wrong. But then again, some Christians believe that drinking alcohol is a sin, yet nowhere in the Bible doesn't it state that. We are just told basically not to be a drunkard. So my intent with the questions I just posted are not to receive an answer, because my answer to those is, because I love my wife and don't want to hurt her physically or mentally. Thanks Paul for this great article and may God continue to bless you.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@grandpapa @TheGenerousHusband My personal opinion is the same as what you say. Yes, there are those who enjoy it and never have a problem, but there are others who do have big problems because of it. Since we have no studies that show the relative risk, and what might limit that risk, it seems like a bad plan to me.

I figure I do my best to put out the facts, and the lack of good information, and let people make up their own minds.

throwawayMB
throwawayMB

An excellent post, thanks so much for the balanced view. Just to add an anonymous data point (not signing in with my real name for this reason), my wife absolutely enjoys an occasional anal encounter, especially when she is very turned on. Going very slowly, carefully, and with lots of lube, we have had absolutely no health issues because of it and it's simply a great "tool" to have in the marital toolbox when we feel like doing something special or different.

Trackbacks

  1. […] sex is controversial. The Bible does not say it’s sin (see The Generous Husband‘s post on this), but many have expressed concerns about comfort and health. Because of this, many women […]

  2. […] well, his talk on anal sex was not quite balanced.  Actually, it reminded me a lot of Paul’s post at The Generous Husband a few weeks ago.  The word “risk” got used a lot.  It felt like they were […]

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