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A British newspaper decided that the coronavirus pandemic was the perfect time to ‘demystify’ anal sex

Vic Parsons March 23, 2020
anal sex

Spoiler alert: The Sunday Times piece did little to demystify anal sex. (Envato/Organic Fruits Peaches by Dream79)

In these strange and uncertain times, it’s good to know that one British newspaper has its priorities straight: The Sunday Times took a break from the coronavirus pandemic yesterday to “demystify” anal sex for its readers.

“Every couple of years – whisper it – anal sex comes back,” the article begins.

Yes, that sound you hear is a million queer men asking the same question: Are the straights OK?

Describing anal sex as a “trend”, the piece manages 700 words on the great “taboo” without once thinking about the fact that, despite its anti-trans coverage, the Sunday Times will surely be read by some members of the LGBT+ community – or at least, it was until now.

“It’s the sex act fraught with judgment from women and men alike, celebrated and vilified in our culture,” the article’s subheading reads.

Let’s get this out of the way first before we dig any deeper: despite The Times‘ insistence on using the language of the outdated Western gender binary, PinkNews is happy to clarify that, based on extensive research, some non-binary people do, in fact, partake in anal sex.

“Our columnist demystifies this relationship taboo,” was The Sunday Times’ promise to readers.

Well, thank goodness. This taboo, which is in no way a practice common to the sex lives of gay and bisexual men and definitely never enjoyed by queer people of all genders, has long needed demystifying.

Another mystery, however, has been inadvertently made by the choice of picture used on The Sunday Times’ article.

“If they’re doing anal in that picture I salute their bending of the laws of physics,” said a Guardian TV live blogger.

The only upside, at a stretch, is that at least this column distracted us from a more pressing problem: the other butt-related news, delivered by scientists just last week, that the coronavirus could be spread by rimming.

But on closer reading, the piece does nothing to actually demystify anal. Focusing on the – very valid – experiences of women who date straight men and who come under pressure to have anal sex, and are made to feel shame when they refuse, the piece completely ignores the main demographic having anal sex.

Obvious anal-sex-related points, like safer sex practices, condom use, lubrication and butt plugs, are all completely absent from the article.

And, perhaps worst of all, it completely ignores the long and shameful history of criminalising gay and bisexual men for having anal sex.

The UK’s Buggery Act was enacted in 1533 and made the “abominable vice” of anal sex between men a crime.

This disgusting law was not repealed until 1967. And in the years following, thousands of gay men were still convicted for having consensual anal sex.

This history, which many gay people alive today lived through, is the real politics of anal sex. What a shame – whisper it – that The Sunday Times failed to mention it.

More: anal sex, are the straights ok, The Sunday Times

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