If you haven’t tried anal sex, the chances are that you’ve thought about it or even considered it. It’s much less taboo nowadays. One recent British study published in the medical journal, BMJ Open showed that young women aren’t always having anal sex for the right reasons. The study tried to collect information about the reasons why women and men engage in anal sex and when it occurs.
A sample 130 heterosexual women and men between ages 16 and 18 was used. The participants were from the suburbs and cities of England and were part of group and individual interviews conducted by the scientists to discover information about their sexual practices. The results showed significant gender differences in the ways women and men are motivated to have anal sex and how they talk about it.
Interviewees shared an understanding that women were supposed to be begged or forced into participating and that they should expect pain—if they refused anal sex they were uptight. One tactic often used by men to convince women to try it was the idea of telling them they’d like it if they tried it. Many of the participants were not aware about how STIs can be easily transmitted through anal sex.
This study only looked at a small number of young adults in the U.K., so the attitudes do not represent everyone (especially those in committed relationships who are older). But it’s still unfortunate and surprising to see some of the harmful stereotypes and gender norms that surround anal sex.
Still, these attitudes are not uncommon among adults in the U.S. as well, according to Christine Milrod, Ph.D, a licensed sex therapist. Some women are not excited about having anal sex, and others might enjoy it. It can be painful for some and pleasurable for others, but never something anyone should be forced into.