By Spencer D Gear
Anal sex is intercourse via the anus/rectum rather than using the vagina. It is sexual activity that involves inserting the penis in the rear end (anus) rather than the front end (vagina).
What is fisting? ‘Fisting is a type of sexual activity that involves using the whole hand (fist) to penetrate the body. People engage in both vaginal fisting — inserting the hand inside the vagina — and anal fisting, inserting the hand into the rectum’ (Elizabeth Boskey 2011, Fisting: Sexually Transmitted Diseases [STDs]).
In a reply on a Christian forum, I wrote:
I cannot begin to tell you what happens with anal sex and the diseases caused.
There are practical reasons why God tells Christians to avoid fornication, adultery, sex outside of marriage.
And we haven’t dealt with what God says that happens when a man and a woman join in sex – the effects of bonding. But that’s for another time.
There are biblical and practical reasons why God forbids sex outside of marriage – porneia.
A mature Christian responded:
Our family had a huge discussion on this very subject. My sister who is a counselor talked very frankly to all the young people in our family about how it became such a common practice among heterosexuals and the disastrous physical effects it has on the body.
How should I reply? Be honest, avoid the topic, or give a compromised position that will not cause offense? I chose the line of honesty and gave a
A. Warning rather than falling victim
If people find this topic too offensive (what follows), I or the moderators can delete it. But I thought that we needed to get back to grassroots here. Warning might be better than becoming a victim. I can put the topic on my homepage and give a link to those who want to visit it.
The topic I have introduced is not new to the medical, psychological and counselling professions. I speak as a long-term counsellor and counselling manager who has recently retired.
For some of the evidence and the danger of anal/rectal sex, I recommend a read of,
- ‘Gay Men Should Be Checked for Anal Cancer, Experts Say‘,
- ‘The Health Risks of Gay Sex‘, and
- ‘Gay Bowel Syndrome’.
You’ll appreciate that this is not a disease restricted to the homosexuals as I know of heterosexuals who are getting into the practice as well. As a counsellor, I’m deeply concerned at what people don’t know about anal intercourse and the damage of fisting.
B. Vaginal vs. anal intercourse and the dangers
Here’s a graphic of the rectum and anus:
God made the vagina with thick walls for sexual penetration. The rectum and its entrance, the anus, are not designed by God for sexual penetration. Therefore, anal/rectal sex is at a higher risk of disease as medical experts tell us. I’m not inventing this.
God knew what he was about when his law restricted sexual intercourse to a man and woman and in the place that God made for such sexual activity.
Then there is the added problem that comes with ‘fisting’ in vagina and rectum. See the article, ‘Sexual trauma associated with fisting and recreational drugs‘.
These may not be nice topics to discuss, but I have to be honest in exposing the consequences of what is happening in our sexualised society.
I don’t enjoy having to deal openly with this kind of topic. I’m grieved that people get into it without knowing the consequences. One doesn’t have to be a Christian to know of the harm that anal/rectal intercourse and fisting do to the human body.
There are disgusting photos online of fisting action.
C. Is anal sex safe?
I went to WebMD Sexual Health Center and the article, ‘Anal sex safety and health concerns’ and learned that anal sex is risky sexual activity:
An estimated 90% of men who have sex with men and as many as 5% to 10% of sexually active women engage in receptive anal intercourse.
Often referred to simply as anal sex, anal intercourse is sexual activity that involves inserting the penis into the anus. People may engage in anal intercourse, which has health risks, because the anus is full of nerve endings, making it very sensitive. For some recipients of anal sex, the anus can be an erogenous zone that responds to sexual stimulation. For the giving partner, the anus may provide a pleasing tightness around the penis.
While some people find anal sex enjoyable, the practice has downsides and requires special safety precautions.
Anal sex has a number of health risks. Anal intercourse is the riskiest form of sexual activity for several reasons, including the following:
The anus lacks the natural lubrication the vagina has. Penetration can tear the tissue inside the anus, allowing bacteria and viruses to enter the bloodstream. This can result in the spread of sexually transmitted infections including HIV. Studies have suggested that anal exposure to HIV poses 30 times more risk for the receptive partner than vaginal exposure. Exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) may also lead to the development of anal warts and anal cancer. Using lubricants can help some, but doesn’t completely prevent tearing.
The tissue inside the anus is not as well protected as the skin outside the anus.Our external tissue has layers of dead cells that serve as a protective barrier against infection. The tissue inside the anus does not have this natural protection, which leaves it vulnerable to tearing and the spread of infection.
The anus was designed to hold in feces. The anus is surrounded with a ring-like muscle, called the anal sphincter, which tightens after we defecate. When the muscle is tight, anal penetration can be painful and difficult. Repetitive anal sex may lead to weakening of the anal sphincter, making it difficult to hold in feces until you can get to the toilet. However, Kegel exercises to strengthen the sphincter may help prevent this problem or correct it.
The anus is full of bacteria. Even if both partners do not have a sexually-transmitted infection or disease, bacteria normally in the anus can potentially infect the giving partner. Practicing vaginal sex after anal sex can also lead to vaginal and urinary tract infections.
Anal sex can carry other risks as well. Oral contact with the anus can put both partners at risk for hepatitis, herpes, HPV, and other infections. For heterosexual couples, pregnancy can occur if semen is deposited near the opening to the vagina.
Even though serious injury from anal sex is not common, it can occur. Bleeding after anal sex could be due to a hemorrhoid or tear, or something more serious such as a perforation (hole) in the colon. This is a dangerous problem that requires immediate medical attention. Treatment involves a hospital stay, surgery, and antibiotics to prevent infection.
Surely this should be sending a strong message to avoid anal sex. The anus and rectum were not made for penetration. The vagina is.
As for fisting, get the gist of the feisty, fantastic, outlandish way of abusing your body – sexually. Become an advocate for healthy living and give up the practice and recommendation of sexual fisting.
D. A feisty response
One fellow got rather feisty when I provided a link to this article on Christian Fellowship Forum. He wrote:
You cited a single article by a doctor as your soul scientific reference — completely without peer review, then launched into an opinion piece based on nothing more than your personal opinion about a subject you’re not qualified to write about with any authority.
Bring in real scientific studies and facts, then your credibility will rise (‘Five things I wish Christians would admit about the Bible’, George #130).
My response was (ozspen #165):
For heaven’s sake, I was writing a popular level article on fisting and the dangers of anal intercourse and I cited an article that was written by Elizabeth Boskey, written or reviewed by a board-certified physician that dealt with the dangers of this activity. It was not written for an academic audience to provide peer-reviewed research articles. However, the information is consistent with the peer-reviewed articles I have read down through my 34 years as a counsellor and counselling manager.
It’s time he got with the programme of why I have a homepage and the nature of my audience. In addition, he is as capable as I to Google peer-reviewed articles that deal with the dangers of anal intercourse. But no, he spoofed at my article because it didn’t provide peer-reviewed information. That was not its purpose. My homepage audience, based on the feedback I receive, is not interested in peer-reviewed material . They want the practical facts of the dangers of such risky sexual behaviour as anal intercourse and fisting.
In this article, The dangers of anal sex and fisting, I included information from the Cancer Health Center which concluded that ‘Gay Men Should Be Checked for Anal Cancer, Experts Say‘. I provided a link to an article by John Riggs MD on ‘The health risks of gay sex‘. ‘The Gay Bowel Syndrome‘ provided details of the problem and then had a bibliography that provided links to peer-reviewed articles.
As for peer-reviewed journals that document this problem with anal intercourse, see:
- Prevalence of Unprotected Anal Intercourse among Men Who Have Sex with Men in China: An Updated Meta-Analysis;
- Anal sex practices in heterosexual and male homosexual populations: A review of population-based data (Anal sex is known to be an important risk factor for anal cancer);
- Anal sex among young people and implications for health promotion: A qualitative study in the UK (British Medical Journal);
- A qualitative assessment of health seeking practices among and provision practices for men who have sex with men in Malawi (It found that men who have sex with men (MSM) in Malawi have a disproportionate burden of HIV compared to other adults)
- A systematic review of HIV interventions for black men who have sex with men (MSM) (It found that Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately burdened by HIV/AID);
- Anal sex and associated HIV-related sexual risk factors among female sex workers in Andhra Pradesh, India (Anal sex is associated with STI symptoms, a factor for HIV risk. HIV intervention programmes need to educate female sex workers about the risks associated with anal sex).
 Christian Fellowship Forum, Christian Morals, ‘Shacking up before marriage’, ozspen #39, available at: http://community.compuserve.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=33&nav=messages&webtag=ws-fellowship&tid=122551 (Accessed 28 November 2013).
 Ibid., Noelle #43.
 Ibid., ozspen #46.
Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 12 November 2015.