Volonté is excited to feature the writings of several sex and relationship experts from Dr. Ian Kerner’s project, Good in Bed. This week we welcome Joe Kort PhD, a licensed sex and relationship therapist who specializes in sex therapy, LGBTQ issues and Imago Relationship Therapy. Below he discusses the benefits of prostate play and some of the societal reasons that make straight men hesitate to try anal play.
Back in January, hip-hop artist Kanye West found himself embroiled in a Twitter feud with rapper Whiz Khalifa. Soon, model and ex-girlfriend Amber Rose got in on the action. “Awww @kanyewest are u mad I’m not around to play in ur a-shole anymore? #FingersInTheBootyA-sBitch,” tweeted Rose.
When West eventually responded, he denied ever having engaged in anal play of any sort, writing, “I stay away from that area all together [sic].” He then added, “I’m not into that kind of s–t…”
Sadly, this knee-jerk defensiveness is common among heterosexual men who are intrigued by—or who enjoy—anal play. As sex researcher, writer, and educator Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D. wrote for the Daily News after the Kanye West-related tweet storm, “If Kanye West likes anal play, I feel sorry for him not being able to admit it.” Unfortunately, many men feel ashamed to admit to such desires, a dilemma that’s not helped by the type of sex-negative shaming tactics others, such as Rose, sometimes use.I’ve seen this shame and reluctance at work among my own clients. Men will say they want to receive anal sex, or they want to engage in anal play, but they’re ashamed to tell their girlfriends or their wives. They’re ashamed to ask their partner to explore that with them. And not just because of the reaction they fear from their partner.
Sometimes, men themselves worry that—because they’re interested in anal play—it automatically means they’re gay… or perhaps even bisexual. I like to tell them: “In the state where I am a board certified sex therapist, your anus doesn’t have a sexual orientation.” That calms them down.
Other men do talk to their partners about it, but their partners aren’t interested. In these cases, the man doesn’t push it because he’s worried she’ll think he’s gay. And sometimes the wife or girlfriend does have this fear. In which case, I also have to educate her on the fact that anuses have no sexual orientation.
In situations such as these, many men turn to other men in order to fulfill their sexual desires. At this point, they may be afraid to go to another woman. They assume a woman—any woman—will shame them. But even in cases in which a man turns to other men in order to fulfill this sexual desire, it still doesn’t mean he’s gay or bisexual. It’s about the sex. It’s not about the man. He really does want to do it with his wife or his girlfriend. But he wants to do it without being shamed.
Why Both Men and Women Should Be Open to Anal Play in Which the Man is the ReceiverFor some men, it may never occur to them to experiment with anal and/or prostate play. Others, however, discover the possibilities for pleasure on their own. They may have used their own fingers to explore their own areas. They may have tried using a dildo or other toy or object. Eventually, they come to realize that solo play is not enough. It occurs to them that, in receiving anal or prostate pleasure, they can be vulnerable. They can feel submissive. They like that idea. They’re just afraid to approach their female partner with their desires because they don’t want to feel humiliated by it.
When I can convince a female to try this with her partner, to perhaps use a strap-on, she is sometimes pleasantly surprised. Many women report back to me that they’ve never been so wet in their life. That they felt dominant. That they were never so turned on before. He, meanwhile, was able to be submissive and vulnerable, often for the very first time. It can be a very positive experience for both partners.
In addition to this shift in the power dynamic, many men find the prostate to be a source of great pleasure. In experimenting with prostate play, the end up experiencing more intense, longer lasting orgasms. Sometimes they even find they can have multiple orgasms.
How to Suggest Anal and Prostate Play to Your Partner
Before discussing anal play with a partner, men first have to come to terms with their own shame. They have to own the fact that this is something they like. If they come into a conversation with their partner with shame, it will only upset her more. He already has to feel that there’s nothing gay about this.
There are some great books out there that help men come to terms with their own shame. Jack Morin, Ph.D., for example, wrote Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men, Women and Couples. In it, he writes about how men can come to confront the taboo around anal pleasure, and to understand the different between sexual orientation and erotic orientation. You can be straight and enjoy anal sex. What we like isn’t related to who we are. If you enjoy anal sex, it’s just because you experience erotic pleasure there.
Once you have dealt with your own shame, you can perhaps share with your partner the prevalence of websites that exist showing women giving anal sex to men. Its commonality may be able to help establish its normalcy.
How to Proceed If You’re New to Anal Play
If you enjoy anal pleasure, you can start exploring by using your fingers to pleasure yourself while in the shower. Start with one finger and, slowly, move up to two fingers, and then three, and then four, and so on. If your partner is willing to play, have her use lubricant on her fingertips. Either way, you can prep your back door by gently massaging the area around your anus before sliding a finger inside. If it feels good, explore further. Take things slow. Your anus will likely need time to adjust to this new sensation.The prostate itself is a chestnut-sized area located about three inches up the front wall of the anal canal. Just as with the g-spot, you or your partner can stimulate your prostate by making a “come hither” gesture with the finger that’s inside you.
In addition to fingers, you could also have your partner use her tongue back there, or a toy. Though once you do start using other objects back there, make sure they’re intended for use in anal play. Anal toys often have flared bases or handles, making them less likely to get stuck inside you. The television remote control, on the other hand, is not a thing you should stick up your butt.
If you’re interested in pegging, you can use a dilator to gently expand the anus, getting it ready for the kind of anal sex you might have if your partner plans to use a strap-on.
In the end, you can rest assured that there are more straight men that enjoy anal play than like to admit it. Once you are able to normalize this desire, you can really start to enjoy yourself.