The social cachet of getting a girl to have anal sex.

Thanks to porn culture, getting a girl to have anal sex carries social cachet. It gives “man points” to boys desperately performing competitive masculinity so they find themselves pressurising, co-ercing, pleading, persuading, or worse taking anal sex from their partners by arguing they “slipped” etc.   The boys admit they don’t necessarily enjoy the activity, and funnily enough neither do the girls (enjoyable anal sex is something that initially requires arousal, relaxation, patience and a lot of lube- circumstances most likely absent from these interactions!) but the prospect of the “man points” is something young men feel they have to achieve. These same boys when asked if they had ever raped or sexually abused anyone would probably answer No.

In school based sex education (secondary), the topic of anal sex is often avoided, it’s a subject of social taboo, and in the clash of sexualities and schooling, schools are sometimes seen as an inappropriate place for discussions on particular sexual practices. However a sex educators job is not to teach sex techniques to teenagers but to teach them that each of them has a right for their bodies to be respected and to be able to confidently negotiate their own pleasure on their own terms, and take responsibility for their partners pleasure and respecting their body. A true understanding of pleasure and consent is the core learning aim.   I think schools and parents have to be having conversations with young people about these issues around anal sex (whilst being very clear not to mislabel it as “gay sex”, as a side issue is anal sex is still often seen as an activity gay men do despite proprotionally more heterosexuals will be having anal sex than gay men*), because otherwise there is a reasonable likelihood they will be being pressured into types of sex they don’t enjoy and are not ready for, and this can have a massive impact on their mental and sexual health.

At the very least I think we have to break down these ideas of competitive masculinities and feminities with young people, where a male must be a stud, getting pornified sex, banging lots of women whilst a female must be somehow a combination of pure and virginal yet sexy and seductive in the correct social formula, lest see become outcast as frigid or a slag.  Even if schools don’t feel able to have a conversation about anal sex with young people, having conversations about rights, negotiation, dealing with pressure, avoiding pressuring a partner, communicating about things you enjoy, being aware of gender issues and navigating stereotypes etc could go a long way to support young men and women be having enjoyable sex they want to be having on their own terms at a time they are ready for (FYI sex education has been shown to delay first sex rather than encourage it).

* One survey suggested that as ~30% of gay men have anal sex, but around 10% of heterosexuals do, as there are more heterosexuals than gay men (less than 5% of population), then proprtionally more heterosexuals are having anal sex than gay men. But also in terms of inclusion it is extremely important to not just frame sex education as “penis in vagina” sex, as for lots of our young people that won’t be the type of sex they will be having or enjoy.


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