Dear Level

On the Philosophical Implications of Playing With the Booty

Don’t worry, we can take turns getting the groceries

Illustration: Janet Sung

II don’t know any other way to begin this, so I’ll just dive right in: You should probably consider adding anal play to your sex repertoire. Fingers. Toys. Tongue. There’s a whole world out there that you’re neglecting. Don’t be afraid to explore the infinite pleasure bounds of your butthole.

Oh, dear. I was afraid this would happen. Are you still there?

Listen! It’s normal. It’s fun. And lots of men are already enjoying it. (They really are — they’re just not telling you. Yes, even your barber.)

It’s never been wholly acceptable for heterosexual men to stimulate the area where the sun don’t shine. And although our culture has come a long way with regards to sex positivity, anal play is, for many, the final frontier — the one hump we’re still trying to surmount. For context, let’s rewind to the pre-Trump era.

[Insert wavy flashback transition effect here.]

January 27, 2016. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Obama was still president! And in a Twitter beef for the ages, Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa unloaded a barrage of insults toward each other — including Ye repeatedly insulting Wiz’s girlfriend, and his own ex, Amber Rose. Muva stepped into the fray and shut it all down with a Hail Mary, half-court buzzer-beater of a tweet.

There was a collective gasp. Social media was in shambles. For many, it was considered an ultimate comeback burn: “Fingers in the booty ass bitch.” But some of us thought: Why is this an insult? Why would we all gasp? And why would she frame a totally normal sex act as something that should be embarrassing?

The subtext was clear. The idea that Kanye wanted her to play with his butt was somehow wrong. Yet in trying to denigrate Kanye (who, for the record, deserved it), she reinforced the idea that assplay in general is a no-no — and that a lover could publicly shame you for it.

We know you’ve been raised in a culture that tells young men not to use straws, lick ice cream, or eat bananas. And we’re proud that so many of you have left those old ways of thinking behind.

Kanye responded with a (since-deleted) tweet the following day: “Exes can be mad but just know I never let them play with my ass… I don’t do that… I stay away from that area altogether.”

Whether Kanye was tweeting the truth or simply trying to cover his ass is your call to make. But the fact remains that for many men, rimjobs (aka analingus) and assplay are strictly taboo. Even the most forward-thinking modern man may avoid discussing or exploring anything to do with the backdoor. But why?

Is it because:

  1. You believe any man who receives anus-related stimulation is homosexual.
  2. You don’t think it would feel good.
  3. You don’t have a partner you would trust to try it.
  4. Just nah.

If you answered 1., you can see yourself out of this grown-up discussion. For the rest of you, it’s science time!

Here’s what researchers know about male erogenous zones: Y’all can be aroused with attention to the penis, scrotum, foreskin (if you have one), and definitely around the anus. It’s very common for men to have sensitivity near the anus, which is the most effective method to stimulate the prostate, that magical gland hidden between your bladder and penis that produces seminal fluid. (It’s often described as the P-spot, the equivalent of a woman’s G-spot).

Look, we know you’ve been raised in a culture that tells young men not to use straws, lick ice cream, or eat bananas. And we’re proud that so many of you have left those old ways of thinking behind. Not trying to pressure you into experimenting, but we’re here if you want to have the conversation.

And while we’re having the conversation? Women have a similar set of erogenous zones, including, yeah, there. We’re probably not talking about it with you — perhaps for the same reasons many men don’t consider the pleasure possibilities. But if you’re interested in seeing where we stand, we just might be able to help each other expand our horizons.

Don’t freak out. We’re all working against years of culture wars about male sexuality and what it means. We’re taking it slow with you.

We’ll get to pegging later.

Aliya S. King is an author, freelance writer and editor.

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