Can anal sex cause constipation? and other burning questions | Savage Love | Chicago Reader

Can anal sex cause constipation? and other burning questions 

Short answer: no.

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click to enlarge Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights

Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights

Q: Background: I, a 21-year-old male, enjoy receptive fisting. I've also had constipation problems all my life. Question: I saw my doctor recently, and he tried to link my enjoyment of anal sex to my constipation. (Granted, I didn't tell him EVERYTHING I do down there.) My understanding was that there was no causal relationship, assuming no serious injuries occur. Is there something I don't know? Was my doctor just trying to be helpful? —Fearing Inner Sanctum Tarnished

A: "There are many myths about anal sex, but this is the first time I've heard this one," said Dr. Peter Shalit, a physician in Seattle and a member of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

It's also the first time I've heard anyone associate fisting with constipation—typically when fisting is mentioned in the same sentence as constipation, FIST, it's as a cure. But it's a myth that fisting cures constipation, of course, just as it's a myth that anal sex is inherently dangerous.

"Fisting is a safe activity, provided that both the top and bottom are sober at the time," said Shalit. "It does not cause damage or constipation or any other type of bowel problem. The same applies to other anal sexual activities. There is a misconception that these activities can cause damage by stretching or tearing the tissue, when actually the anus is very elastic."

Despite the fact that millions safely engage in anal play, many people believe that anal play does irreparable harm to the anus—or the soul—and that, sadly, includes many doctors.

"If a person suffers from constipation, that should be addressed as its own problem and not blamed on any type of anal sexual activity," said Shalit.

Finally, FIST, if you don't feel comfortable telling your doctor EVERYTHING you're doing "down there," you can look for a new doctor under "find a provider" at GLMA.org.

Q: I'm a 35-year old straight male, engaged to my girlfriend of eight years. While we have a good sex life, she often won't let me finger or lick her. When she does, she enjoys it and easily climaxes while receiving oral sex. But her higher brain functions get in the way, as she has internalized our culture's body shaming. She has likened me "sticking my nose down there" to "sticking my head in the toilet." Whenever I sexy-talk about licking her, she reacts with a mood-killing "eww." But she says she would enjoy it if she could let me. I can't make heads or tails of it! When we have sex, she cuts foreplay short and gets straight to penetration. She feels pleasure and moans, but she really does not value her own orgasm. But I do, and I miss seeing her climax! I wish I could help her overcome her body issues—but when I "use my words," she feels pressured and can't relax. I am at a loss. Please help!
—Loves Inhibited Carnal Killjoy

A: Try again to use your words—but don't use them when you're about to have sex, LICK. Do it at a neutral time when you can't have sex, so she doesn't feel like you're attempting to initiate by raising the subject. First, ask her if she enjoyed oral when she allowed you to go down on her. If oral is pleasurable for her when she can allow you to go down on her, figure out what was different about those times—had she just stepped out of the shower? was she a little tipsy or high?—and give it another try.

Q: My boyfriend and I just got back from Berlin, and we had a great time—until the last night. There was a dark room in the basement of this gay bar, and my boyfriend wanted to check it out and I did not. We are monogamous for now—I'm open to opening things up down the road—and I didn't see the point of going down there. I told him that drunk in a gay bar at 3 AM wasn't the right time to open up our relationship, and he angrily insisted he wasn't trying to do that. But if we're monogamous and want to stay monogamous, why go into a dark room at all? —Dude Into Monogamy

A: If it was your boyfriend's intent to reopen negotiations about monogamy while horny men circled you in a dark room, DIM, that wouldn't be OK. But it is possible for monogamous couples to enter sexually charged environments like dark rooms, sex parties, or swingers' clubs and emerge with their monogamous commitments intact. It's advisable, even—or at least I've dispensed this advise to monogamous couples who want to keep things hot—to visit those kinds of spaces. So next time, go down there. You might have to bat a few hands away, but once the other guys realize you two aren't there for anyone else, they'll turn their attentions to others who are. v

Download the Savage Lovecast every Tuesday at savagelovecast.com.


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