Last week I posted the survey results of our anal sex and anal play survey, and some of the responses and comments indicated that there were moral objections to anal intercourse. As well, some people explicitly asked for a post discussing the biblical stance on anal sex, if there is any. Far be it from me to back down from that invitation, so here we go.
So, when discussing anal sex and the Bible, there is generally two routes people take when trying to condemn it as a sin from an explicitly Biblical stance. The first is using Sodom and Gomorrah from Genesis 19, and the second is relating anal sex to homosexuality and thereby denouncing the entire thing as immoral. Really they boil down to the same argument though: lumping anal sex in with some obvious sin, stating that it is sin by association, as it were.
Another method is stating that it is medically unsafe/unsound/risky, and thus one shouldn’t do it because to do so is to harm the body, and thus God’s temple.
And lastly, there’s the general “well, God didn’t design it for that” argument. Often, but not always, these same people are against manual sex (using your hands) and oral sex (using your mouth) for the same reasons.
So, let’s tackle these.
Does the Bible talk about anal sex?
Whenever the Bible talks about anal sex, it does so in terms of men having sex with other men. For example, in Genesis 19, the most notable moral infraction of the city come from verse 5.
And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
I should point out that in the Bible the verb “to know” (yada in Hebrew) is a euphemism for “to have sex”. So, the men of the city were calling out to Lot to give up his visitors so they might rape them. So, the argument goes that God destroyed the city because of anal sex, and thus for all time, anal sex is to be known as Sodomy, because of the city of Sodom. The problem is that nowhere in the Bible does it condemn anal sex itself.
We have a few hints at what Sodom and Gomorrah’s sins were:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
This is very vague, unfortunately, all it says is that they “committed abomination”, but in all of the laws of Moses, only one thing uses this phrase “committed abomination”.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
It seems that the great sin was homosexuality. Note that in Leviticus, though it lists many sexually immoral practices, it does not mention anal sex at all. The only other mention that I’m aware of is in Jude 7:
Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
But that doesn’t give any help to this topic.
Now, the Bible does speak against homosexual acts fairly often, both in the New and Old Testaments, but it’s always about sexuality with the same gender, not about the specific sexual acts. I’m not going to get into homosexuality in this post though. We’ll save that for another one.
Is anal sex unsafe?
So, I feel like I should state, for the record: I am not a doctor, a nurse, or any other medical professional. My opinion is my own, and you have to make your own decisions and be as informed as you can about them. Now, any time you see the medical community talking about anal sex, they are quick to denounce it for reasons of:
- STI (we used to call them STDs) transmission (particularly HIV)
- Tissue damage
Now, for myself, I’ve found that medical community, these days, seems to be a lot more interested in risk aversion than it is in actually is in giving sound medical advice. So, I take everything they say with a … well not a grain … but a huge heaping tablespoon of salt.
So, let’s go through these from my non-medical background perspective:
STI/STDs – Just to be clear, this is about transmission of these infections (diseases). If you don’t already have one, and your spouse doesn’t, this isn’t an issue (assuming you are having sex with your spouse, and if you aren’t, well, that I’d clearly categorize as sin). You can’t spontaneously get an STI/STD from anal sex where none existed before between the two of you (to the best of my knowledge).
Tissue damage – Yes, if you have anal sex, and you are either unprepared/unsafe/don’t us lubricant/don’t take your time/are too rough/the penis is very large relative to the anus, then you can definitely get tissue damage. If you feel tearing STOP! Don’t be a hero.
Infection – I think most women know about this. If you get fecal matter, or the associated bacteria, into the vagina, or the urethra, it can cause problems. This is why women wipe “front to back” as it were. It’s not anal sex that causes this, it’s improper cleaning, or being unaware/reckless when having anal sex.
Now, these warnings are good warning. We should be aware of them. We should be cautious and be mindful of avoiding these issues, but to write off anal sex/anal play because of them, in my opinion, would be akin to saying no one should drive a car because someone might get hurt.
Is anal sex unnatural?
This argument takes on a couple of forms as well. The first is a simple “animals don’t have anal sex”. Well, animals don’t do a lot of things humans do, so I always thought this is a bit of ridiculous argument. But, just to satisfy it, actually, giraffes do. Granted, it has more to do with males establishing their domination over other males…but it does happen. It’s not a good defense to the argument, but it’s not a good argument either, so I’m not going to spend any more time on it.
As to it being unnatural to include the anus during sex, I have one question. Does God make mistakes? Now, I believe in an infallible God, and to me, an infallible God would not have blundered this badly if he did not want human beings to include this part of the body in their lovemaking, because, as it turns out, both genders have unique methods of experiencing pleasure when it comes to anal sex/anal play.
For men, the prostate can be stimulated, either by a toy, or a finger, inserted into the anus. But for women, there are still the hypogastric nerve, the vagus nerve and the pudendal nerve which can all be stimulated during anal activities. This is why some women find that flexing their glutes (their butt muscles) can help them achieve orgasm. In fact, bundle of nerves that makes up the clitoris is quite the network. I hope you all know what the clitoris is (if you don’t, it’s the little “nub” above a woman’s vaginal opening, which is usually very sensitive. As far as we know, it serves no purpose other than to give sexual pleasure to women). Some of you know that it has “legs” inside the body that extend down around the vaginal opening, and that stroking, or putting pressure, on them can cause pleasure for the wife. But they also extend into the body, surrounding the vestibule (that’s not a euphemism, that’s an accepted term). What this means is that, as it wraps around the posterior side, it can be stimulated from within the rectum. In short, there’s a lot going on in that region when it comes to nerves and thus pleasure! It also explains why, when done improperly, there can be a lot of pain involved as well.
In fact, there are some women who cannot orgasm from vaginal sex, but can from anal sex, and many more who claim anal sex is more pleasurable than vaginal sex. Simple proximity to the vaginal opening is enough for some couples to try, according to our survey, either intentionally, or by accident.
Lastly, some will argue that anal sex only happens because of porn, but I feel we debunked that myth in our survey results.
What are your thoughts on this topic? We had quite a few people say they had moral objections to anal sex and anal play in our survey. I’m curious to know if I missed an objection, or if I missed some key point somewhere.