Note: In this section the author delivers a rather negative slant toward anal sex. I take issue with this point-of-view. It’s true that many gay and bisexual men have a dislike or outright aversion for anal sex, but many others find it a rewarding and integral part of their sexual lives. I see it as simply a matter of preference, that receiving anal sex does not necessarily emasculate a willing partner. I do respect Garrett’s opinion, which many will also find agreeable, and I also agree with him that anal sex does not have to part of a rewarding relationship and that it is inherently dangerous if practiced carelessly outside of a monogamous, loving relationship.
By Garrett Jones, part four
For those with any first-hand experience of male homosexuality, this will seem an unbelievably naive question. It is, nevertheless, an absolutely crucial question at a time when some gay activists have tried to establish the lie that anal sex is in fact the defining feature of homosexual sex.
In point of fact, anal sex is not homosexual at all. Both genders are endowed with an anus and a male can penetrate the anus of either gender. How then could anal sex possibly be regarded as the definitive homosexual act?
When Edward Carpenter outlined the history of scientific studies of sexuality during the past century and a half, he noted one of the great pioneers of this new science made the following observation after carefully studying a range of predominantly homosexual men:
It is true that Krafft-Ebing insists on the generally strong sexual equipment of this class of persons (among men), but he hastens to say that their emotional love is also “enthusiastic and exalted,” [Note: "Psychopathia Sexualis," 7th ed., p. 227.] and that, while bodily congress is desired, the special act with which they are vulgarly credited is in most cases repugnant to them (Note: Ibid, pp. 229 and 258)[<>Edward Carpenter, The Intermediate Sex, 1908, pp.57f]
When gay men practise anal sex, they do so, not because they are homosexual but because they are denied or deny themselves heterosexual sex, for anal sex is an obviously quasi-heterosexual act in which one of the partners performs the typical male role and the other the typical female role. Even predominantly heterosexual men who are deprived of women for some reason – prisoners, sailors, workers on all-male sites remote from women, etc. – may well resort to anal sex for the time being because it provides them with the closest experience to the one which is not currently available to them. In such cases, the pseudo-woman is either being coerced or has a natural inclination for this role or has agreed to act this way so long as roles can be reversed afterwards.
Clearly, a definitively homosexual act, whether we are talking about gay or lesbian sex, has to be one which can only happen between persons of the same gender, which is the same as saying persons with the same genital organs. As we have seen, anal sex can never fulfil this definition, whilst any interchange between two pricks or two clits or two sets of breasts always can.
An interesting implication of this basic fact is oral sex between persons of the same gender is a very similar experience for the person on the receiving end regardless of the gender of the person whose mouth is engaged. This is certainly not the case for the other person since a man who sucks a prick is in no doubt he is not licking a clit! From a purely physical point of view, only the person whose mouth is engaged is having a homosexual experience, which explains why some men who are overwhelmingly heterosexual may still be very happy to receive the oral attentions of another man.
Oral sex does, however, become a mutually homosexual experience when a same-sex couple is ‘sixty-nine-ing’ since, in this position, both persons are simultaneously active and passive. Again, this applies to both gay and lesbian sex.
Much the same applies when hands are involved. A man being manhandled is getting much the same experience as a man being woman-handled, but the handler is getting either a homosexual or a heterosexual experience depending on what is being handled. Only when persons of the same gender are each using their hands simultaneously, as in mutual wanking, can they be said to be having a mutually homosexual experience.
All of this applies purely at the physical level. From an emotional or relational viewpoint, it might matter a lot to a man that he is being sucked or handled by another man rather than by a woman, even though the physical sensations might be almost identical. We see this very clearly when it comes to kissing. There are times when, if you close your eyes, you could be kissing either a man or a woman. For the moment, there is nothing, not even stubble on chin or cheek, to identify the partner’s gender. But the gender of the partner might still be of great emotional importance to both participants.
Anal sex introduces a new factor however. If a woman has anal sex, she is being penetrated by the back door, as it were, but she is still having the typically female experience of being penetrated. It is quite otherwise when a man becomes the passive partner in anal sex; he ceases to be the penetrator and becomes instead the penetrated. In other words he is having neither a homosexual nor a heterosexual but a transsexual experience.
It is vitally important this little-recognised fact be fully registered because only so can a very widespread confusion about male homosexuality be dissipated.
What it amounts to is there are two main types of homosexual experience, not just one. But this is only true for homosexual men, not for women. A man can be both a penetrator and a penetratee, whilst a woman can only be a penetratee. True, in lesbian sex, one partner can penetrate the other by strapping on a dildo but she cannot have the physical sensation of being the penetrator because she lacks the organ which could register this sensation. A man experiencing anal penetration, on the other hand, can and does have the physical sensation of being penetrated. How closely this resembles the female sensation of vaginal penetration, only a woman who has experienced both anal and vaginal penetration could say.
That there should be so much confusion about all this is not in the least surprising since, at this point, the situation does become quite complex: all we can hope to do is clarify the complexities.
The primary homosexual drive, whether in men or women, is directed towards same-sex genitals since this is the only kind of sex which can only happen between people of the same gender. This urge is felt very widely, though in varying degrees. It stems basically from preoccupation with one’s own organs, especially around the time of puberty, when wanking usually becomes an imperative need. It is the natural next step to graduate to other similar organs [<>Wilhelm Stekel, who wrote Onanie und Homosexualität (Masturbation and Homosexuality) in 1920, part of which was translated in 1922 with the title Bi-Sexual Love, saw very clearly the connection, later corroborated by Kinsey's research, between wanking, homosexuality, then bisexuality, as a natural progression].
Unless there is some strong inhibiting factor, this second phase naturally progresses to mutual wanking with friends. In most cases, this in turn leads on to a preoccupation with organs of the opposite gender and to the first experiments with heterosexual sex.
It is an amusing irony that, even in the homophobic ethos in which most Western lads are reared, the fear of the possible dire consequences of precocious heterosexual involvement can actually encourage an early homo-erotic phase, as the following quotation demonstrates:
Same-sex behavior is quite common in childhood and is not at all unusual in adolescence. Indeed, in the years before puberty people in our culture may have more sexual contact with members of their own than with those of the other sex. During this period, they are often actively discouraged from playing heterosexual games while their homosexual activity attracts little or no attention. It is only later the situation reverses itself. Once they have reached their teens, boys and girls are expected to develop exclusively heterosexual interests, and any homosexual exploration is strongly condemned. Nevertheless, many individuals continue to have homosexual contact well into their old age. For some of them, these contacts represent nothing more than isolated incidents in an otherwise predominantly heterosexual life. For others, they become a frequent, if sporadic, experience, and for still others they are the preferred or even the only form of sexual expression… [<>from the Archiv für Sexualwissenschaft [Courses in Sexology] website of the Robert Koch Institut. As previously mentioned, this is now the Magnus Hirschfield Archive for Sexology ].
Even when this does not happen, it is by no means impossible for the process to happen in reverse. A person with a very strong heterosexual drive may initially pay scant attention to his or her own organs or to other organs of the same gender and become precociously preoccupied with those of the opposite gender. Even so, some experience or circumstance, or simply the ticking of an inner clock, may lead, at a later stage, to a realisation of the erotic potential of his or her own organs per se and therefore of other similar organs.
For most males, the progression is of the first type: preoccupation with one’s own organs > fascination with other similar organs > desire for organs of opposite gender. This progression is more likely because young boys in general prefer playing with boys than with girls and find the very visible cock a lot more interesting than the rather dull slit girls have. It usually takes time, often until way past puberty, for that slit to take on a new significance.
If a person’s innate drive is predominantly homosexual, the process may stop, at least for the time being (as in my own case) at the second stage, i.e. preoccupation with same-sex organs.
If a person is predominantly heterosexual, there will be a tendency for the third stage, i.e. preoccupation with opposite-gender organs, to supersede the others entirely, at least for a time.
In both cases, there is usually a balancing bisexual factor which ensures, sooner or later, the neglected or less dominant drive asserts or re-asserts itself. Thus a person like myself, who for years regarded himself as exclusively gay, gradually finds himself drawn towards a woman and begins to consider the possibility of becoming a father. He is most unlikely to lose his predominantly homosexual drive but may find himself settling quite happily into a lifestyle which is, at least quantitatively and physically, mainly heterosexual.
Similarly the man who has regarded himself as exclusively straight apart from one or two teenage cavortings with male friends (which he has been encouraged to dismiss as an outgrown adolescent interlude) may gradually find himself rediscovering the joys of solitary wanking and, eventually, of mutual wanking with male friends. Assuming the dominant drive really is heterosexual, this counterbalancing return of interest in same-gender organs will remain secondary, but will still come to be valued as an important component of the sexual personality; it does for the main meal what mustard does for ham – if you like mustard.
Up to this point we have been dealing with the types of homosexuality which are, in varying degree, practically universal. There is no reason for anybody to be apprehensive or anxious about them because they do not raise any worrying questions about basic biological gender. A man who loves a man because he is a man, and who regards his sexual involvement with him as being that of a man for a man, is not doing anything to threaten his masculinity. He is not going to cause an unwanted pregnancy or transmit unwanted diseases.
It is quite otherwise with anal sex, since this clearly does raise the whole question of gender identity. It also introduces a new factor into the sexual equation, the factor of androgyny. Above all, it introduces an alarming health hazard.
If bisexuality indicates a person’s capacity to find persons of both genders sexually attractive, though not necessarily (or even usually) both with the same degree of excitement, androgyny, which is simply a compound of the Greek words for ‘man’ and ‘woman’, refers to the innate blend of male and female elements within the same person.
It is now well known everybody stems from a neutral (‘x’) ovary which is either masculinised or feminised according to whether the fertilising sperm has an ‘x’ or a ‘y’ sex chromosome. If the egg is fertilised by an ‘x’ sperm, it will become ‘xx’ (feminine), whilst a ‘y’ sperm produces an ‘xy’ (masculine) baby.
Since all eggs are neutral and have to be ready to develop either way, it is not surprising all males have nipples (incipient mammary glands) and all females a clitoris (incipient penis) – (forgive the lapse into ‘medical’ jargon at this point but, until the medics themselves mend their ways, it is difficult to do otherwise in this rather technical context. It would be quite different if we were talking about ears or eyes, even if we were doctors!).
It is also widely recognised now this androgyny extends beyond the physical. However one tries to define the psychological and emotional traits of ‘masculinity’ or ‘femininity’, there is no way either can be regarded as the sole preserve of just one physical gender. The most masculine of men can manifest a most touching gentleness and tenderness whilst the most feminine of women can exhibit astonishing toughness and single-mindedness.
Carl Jung called attention to this fact by invoking the idea of a shadow-self within each person’s unconscious which has the opposite traits of that self’s biological gender, an animus (‘masculine’) in a woman and an anima (‘feminine’) in a man. This shadow-self always seeks to counterbalance the dominant tendency (usually the biological gender) of the personality [<>Laurens van der Post, in Jung and the Story of our Time, (1975), pp.205-229, shows how important this idea of the shadow-self was in Jung's own experience, especially in his later years].
Only in a very small proportion of individuals does the dominant aspect of the personality so blatantly contradict biological gender the person concerned eventually requests a surgeon and a hormone therapist to adjust the biology to fit the personality, allowing the ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ (or the reverse) to achieve a more congenial, less imprisoning, physical shape.
The obvious problem about this is there are limits to what surgery and hormone therapy can achieve: the transsexual process can never be perfectly carried through. A further problem is that people closely involved with somebody who has changed gender, especially his or her children (if any), have to learn to change their perception of that person: the erstwhile ‘he’ is now a ‘she’ (or vice versa); the erstwhile ‘father’ cannot become a ‘mother’ because the child already has a mother, so he has to become something highly complicated like a ‘secondary-mother-who-was-originally-your-father’.
Anal sex introduces this kind of problem at the sexual level. A male usually first experiences the passive role in anal sex when he is coaxed, powerfully persuaded, or even raped by a man who wants him. This is most likely to happen when the male being pursued is young enough not to have developed the more obvious masculine features. This being so, he is likely to be at a particularly impressionable stage in his sexual development.
Even if he finds this first experience hurtful and/or repugnant, there is a possibility, if the experience is repeated regularly, he may acquire such a taste for it that it takes command of his sexual life, the principal object of which now becomes to get himself anally fucked. If this happens, he tends to lose interest in his male genitals, perhaps to such an extent he repulses any advances made towards them and even eventually opts for a transsexual operation which rids him of them altogether.
Even when this does not happen, a male who has acquired a taste for passive anal sex tends to adopt a ‘camp’ profile, advertising to prospective male partners the kind of role he is interested in adopting.
At this point the complexities intensify because a male who flaunts an effeminate persona, even perhaps to the point of cross-dressing, may not in fact be seeking anal penetration. He may simply be advertising the fact he does not want to be the ‘butch’ partner in an encounter; he wants the other person to take the initiatives and be masterful – though not to the extent of anal penetration.
Over the years, I have come to realise my own preference in malesex is for a partner who is feminine to the extent he enjoys lying back and letting me take control of his body, especially his genitals. My main partner for over a decade (‘A’) is of this type. Although his dominant drive is heterosexual, he has not so far achieved sex with a woman. With me, he has become increasingly ‘feminine’ in our numerous sexual sessions. Although there is nothing the slightest bit ‘camp’ about him, although he wants nothing to do with anal sex, although he is very well-hung and very randy, he makes no bones about preferring to lie back and let me take the initiatives in love-making.
I am by no means averse to reversing roles when I find the right partner, but my experience in casual encounters is it is much easier to find men who want things done to them than men who want to do things to me. This suits me very well as I am not really seeking orgasms when I am with a man but am very happy to ensure my partners get them. I much prefer being with a man who wants badly to be manhandled than with one who brushes off my attempts to get at him and wants only to concentrate on me.
I have, very occasionally, met a man, quite possibly a married man, who makes it clear he wants to be on the receiving end, but anally not genitally. On these occasions, I have had to make it clear I am unable to oblige since this role would for me be merely mimicking my marital role and would be one for which I simply have no taste: I want a man sexually for what only a man can offer.
The answer to this question, then, has to be a resounding NO. Homosexual sex is never anal since arses come with both genders. Men who opt for an exclusively homosexual lifestyle are very likely to feel a need for anal sex because they have no other means of satisfying their penetrative urges. The same applies to men who have to spend long periods in an all-male environment. Oral sex can be a kind of half-way house but it does not normally permit vigorous thrusting. Many cohabiting gay lovers include anal sex in their menu, either both as givers and receivers or with each preferring just one of these roles.
Men on the receiving end are often seduced or coerced and, as we have just noted, this can often happen when they are still young and beautiful. All boys need to be aware of this.
Many men who have had this experience in their adolescence shrug it off and soon switch to a more typically male role in sex. Some of them feel much as a woman would if she had been raped and need help to regain confidence and self-respect. Some discover this role, which they almost never experience initially from choice, does actually suit them very well; they feel more at home in it than in any other. As we have seen, these men cannot strictly be regarded as homosexual since they are veering in a decidedly transsexual direction. There is nothing ‘wrong’ or ‘unnatural’ or ‘immoral’ or ‘sinful’ about going in this direction so long as they are quite sure this is the right direction for them and so long as they realise some of the problems they will face.
What matters most in this context is to be clear about the meaning of the terms we use. When it is said that virtually everybody is bisexual, this means virtually everybody is capable of being sexually attracted to people of both genders; it does not for a moment mean virtually all males are attracted towards anal sex. The latter functions as a quasi-heterosexual act for the active partner and a transsexual act for the passive partner.
It is important to notice anal sex does not, in itself, function as a homosexual act, therefore, for either of the participants since homosexual acts must, by definition, involve the genital interaction of both participants. This can admittedly be off-set to some extent if the passive partner is being wanked at the same time as he is being fucked, but I have encountered more than one man who just wants to be penetrated and declines any approach to his genitals.
If all boys need to be aware they may be vulnerable to predatory males seeking pseudo-girl partners, they also need to be aware this has nothing to do with homosexuality proper. They should never allow their anxiety to avoid an unwelcome kind of predator to inhibit their genuinely homosexual impulses.
Because of the taboo on any serious thought or discussion about homosexuality in our tradition, it is quite astonishing how little effort has been made to differentiate between the various possible expressions of love between males. Edward Carpenter tells us:
A friend (who has placed some notes at my disposal) says that in his time a certain well-known public school was a mass of uncleanness, incontinence, and dirty conversation, while at the same time a great deal of genuine affection, even to heroism, was shown among the boys in their relations with one another. But “all these things were treated by masters and boys alike as more or less unholy, with the result that they were either sought after or flung aside according to the sexual or emotional instinct of the boy. No attempt was made at discrimination. A kiss was by comparison as unclean as the act of fellatio, and no one had any gauge or principle whatever on which to guide the cravings of boyhood [<>Edward Carpenter, The Intermediate Sex, 1908, p.91].
Because this was written at the beginning of the twentieth century, anal sex is not even mentioned amongst the ‘mass of uncleanness’ practised at this school. The distinction made is between a kiss and an ‘act of fellatio’, presumably the wholesomely spiritual as opposed to the grossly physical, whereas, if a line is to be drawn between the homosexual and the quasi-heterosexual, the distinction should have been between acts involving boys’ genitals and those involving their backsides!
It is always possible, of course, a boy or youth will discover, even without being seduced or unduly pressured, he has within himself an innate desire for transsexual lovemaking. If this should happen, he will need a lot of understanding and support because he runs a high risk of falling between two stools. If he goes the whole way and opts for a sex change, (s)he forfeits male options and risks ceasing to be attractive to the males (s)he had hoped to win.
This however is a relatively rare phenomenon and should not be allowed to befog the bisexual issue.Pin It