In a dissenting opinion for the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, Justice Scalia mentioned how these decisions are basically “legalizing homosexual sodomy.” This struck a chord in me, not only because it’s just ridiculous, but also because, for one, not all gay men have anal sex.
I’ve been thinking about this topic recently, and his remarks were the cherry on top of the bullshit cake. It’s a common misconception that all gay men practice anal sex. And too often society labels gay men by their sex lives, and which practices they prefer. This is present in the common belief that there are two main types of gay men, tops and bottoms (obviously wrong, there are verse guys too, but that’s besides the point). However, this implies that all gay men practice anal sex, and therefore must choose a side or label themselves as versatile. But guess what, some don’t have anal sex.
I know a couple that prefers not to do it. In the 1.5 years that they have been together, they can only count a handful of times in which they have had it up the butt. They think it can be difficult, uncomfortable and rather displeasing. So they get off with other means. The idea of sex for them is what other gay guys would consider standard foreplay. And because of this, they are constantly pestered about their sex lives, and sometimes believe that because they do not prefer anal sex, they stand out from the rest of the gay community.
But they are not alone.
A statistic from Columbia University says that oral sex and mutual masturbation are actually more common than anal sex in gay couples that have been in long-term relationships. These couples prefer oral, mutual masturbation and/or frottage and other non-penetrative forms of sex.
There are many reasons why gay men would choose not to practice anal sex. Some may think it’s actually painful and displeasing. Some think it’s quite gross and worry about the hygiene factor. I also read about the power struggle that can be presented when anal sex is practiced. We’ve all been asked/heard someone ask “who’s the guy and who’s the girl?” when it comes to bedroom practices. Obviously they’re both guys, but this can still resonate with a gay couple because of what the practice of anal sex represents in their intrapersonal and romantic relationship.
So, obviously, anal isn’t the end all be all. But society has taught us to believe that one of the most important aspects of being a gay man is practicing anal sex. The straight world thinks we’re all out butt fucking. Every single one of us. Not true.
Many gay guys view anal sex as something they should and must enjoy, just because they find themselves identifying as homosexual. Jokes referring to a gay man are often times centered on the idea that he enjoys/practices anal. Actually, many gay references in general are related to anal sex, leading society to believe it’s the main sexual practice of gay men and a defining factor of what it means to be gay. Gay pornography easily shows that it is seemingly mandatory to have anal sex to have a stable sexual relationship.
But the role of anal sex is prevalent outside of societal misconceptions and porn. It’s an aspect that even the gay community places too much emphasis on, to the point that it starts to define relationship compatibility. We know the scenario, a guy is at a bar or talking with a guy and when one finds out the other’s role and it’s clashing with their own, all bets are off and any chance of a relationship are just thrown out the window. At times it seems like it’s the defining factor, the thing that makes you a gay man and the thing off which you need to define your future relationships.
Of course, some people enjoy it and make it a regular practice in their sex lives, but the majority cannot speak for the minority. And yet, non-anal-sex-practicing gay men find themselves feeling as if they should be doing it, as if they’re missing out on something by choosing not to do it.
But as gay men we should all step back, think about what works for us and our relationships, and realize a homogeneity in sexual practices in the gay community is just another stereotype we can’t succumb to. And for Scalia, we’re not looking for butt sex to be legal. Just our basic rights.