This article is part of our Best of 2014 series. It was originally published on 01-05-2014.
Sex is a rainbow
“Different cultures have had different views on anal sex throughout human history, with some cultures more positive about the activity than others,” states Wikipedia. “While anal sex is commonly associated with male homosexuality, research shows that not all gay males engage in anal sex and that it's not uncommon in heterosexual relationships.”
So at least that’s clear.
Meanwhile, anal sex has been documented throughout the animal world, with sheep and ducks being particularly hot for it. Last month even saw the debut of ‘The Homosexual Necrophiliac Duck Opera’ based on a 2013 TED-talk by Dutch biologist Kees Moeliker who documented the first, and perhaps only, such case.
"Believe me, if there's an animal misbehaving on this planet, I know about it," says Moeliker. He has pictures of a moose trying to hump a bronze statue of a bison, a frog trying to get frisky with a goldfish and “a cane toad trying to have sex with a victim of road kill (notably in the missionary position — a rarity in the animal kingdom).”
It’s a sexually diverse world out there. Perhaps it’s best for everyone if we just accept it.
Putting the ass back into Africa
In response to recent anti-gay legislation in Uganda and Nigeria, scholars are digging up historical examples showing how “homosexuality has been a consistent and logical feature of African societies and belief systems,” according to ‘Gay Ugandan King proves that homosexuality is African’.
King Mwanga II was a notorious ass-man. Bushmen have been known to express themselves through homoerotic paintings. Countless tribes across the continent were socially-accepting of same-sex partnerships. And the list goes on…
So why are there still politicians calling homosexuality a Western “disease” or “perversion”?
They are likely just tapping into existing homophobia to “divert from more pressing issues” such as corruption, according to ‘From colonialism to “kill the gays”: The surprisingly recent roots of homophobia in Africa’.
The ‘Western disease’: homophobia
As some African politicians decry homosexuality as “un-African”, they are imposing anti-gay laws directly based on those imposed during British and French colonial rule.
And there’s more irony: “In order to understand the anti-gay and anti-feminist legislation that is developing across the continent (Burundi, Cameroon, Tanzania are on the paths taken by Uganda and Nigeria), we must also understand the ways in which the American Christian Right, and its neo-liberal supporters, are shaping and nurturing the anti-gay laws,” according to ‘The bigger picture: understanding anti-gay laws in Africa’
American evangelist Scott Lively, author of the absurd The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party which blames the Holocaust on gays, is largely thought of as a crackpot in the US. But by pumping huge sums of money into countries such as Uganda, Nigeria, Russia and Belize to spread myths about gays actively recruiting children, Lively has been instrumental in pushing through anti-gay laws.
Evangelist Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in California does similar anti-gay work around the world. His church also promotes an abstinence-only programme for youth. Unfortunately these programmes don’t work, according to recent studies. In fact, they result in teenagers engaging in more high-risk sexual behaviour such as anal sex – a phenomena now known as ‘saddlebacking’.
“Saddlebacking” is also known to occur in other places where sex education is repressed, such as in regions of the Middle East.
Meanwhile in the “West”…
Heterosexual anal play is getting increased coverage in US magazines, according to ‘Warning: A column on butt play’. Not only has Cosmo published a “how-to” guide, but some Americans claim that “oral is the new sex, and rim jobs are the new oral.”
“That’s not to say that any of this is normalized, exactly. For a variety of reasons, people just get skittish when the subject comes up.”
But just a few years ago, few Americans dared to speak openly about oral sex. “It took a presidential impeachment to bring frank discussion of oral sex into American living rooms.”
Meanwhile, anal sex remains a taboo waiting for its “Lewinsky moment”.
Do you think anal sex will ever get its ‘breakthrough role’? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.
Read the rest of the 'Sex and History' mini-series: ‘The Penis in history’ and ‘Vaginas of yesterday’.