It is pretty clear that gay men have major thing for all things anal. We don’t mean to rain on your patootie parade, but there are important things about your (second) favorite body part that you need to know so you don’t get any unwanted junk in your trunk.
Most of this applies to every single one of us, so listen up. We’re talking to you, total tops! (And hey, call us.)
Queerty spoke to expert fanny physician Elie Schochet, MD, of Ft Lauderdale, who has become a popular go-to man on anal health. His town hall events on the subject are swarming with gay men, and his “Team Happy Hineys” is even the largest AIDS Walk group in south Florida this year.
“I’m a straight man who tells gay guys how to use their ass right,” he told us. “It’s been a real education on both sides. But the medical facts are way too important not to talk about this openly.” The good doctor definitely has no anal shame.
Let’s see if you can say the same by checking out these important messages…
1. Respect your sphincter!
Pain is a signal from our body that something is wrong. Yes, anal sex can hurt as you learn to relax, but real pain should never be ignored, no matter how insistent the top might be. Your anus needs to last you a really long time and injuries can mean a lifetime of problems.
Just because you’re watching a porn movie with a guy shoving dining room furniture up his moneymaker doesn’t mean you should have his dexterity. Don’t let your eyes get bigger than your booty.
If your ass swallows a foreign object, seek medical help if it doesn’t come out easily. (Fun fact: the most interesting object Dr. Schochet has removed from someone’s caboose was a Buzz Lightyear action figure. “In the owner’s defense, the wings were not extended,” said the doctor.)
“Don’t try removing it yourself,” cautions Dr. Schochet. “I tell gay men in the area that I will make a house call if necessary. Regardless, an embarrassing trip to the ER is better than doing yourself permanent damage.
2. Not everyone is built to be a bottom.
We’re all different, and that includes how our insides are built. “Everyone lives with a different level of sphincter muscle tone” said Dr. Schochet. “There will be some that no matter how willing (or how drunk) they are, they will never be able to accommodate even small objects without discomfort.” If you have constant pain from being penetrated and you know it isn’t just nerves, your days on the bottom bunk may be over.
“If you’re not sure, try using increasing sizes of dildos to see if it’s just a stretching issue,” suggests Dr. Schochet. “You don’t work out with 50 pound dumbbells before the 25 pound ones, so don’t try the salami before the pepperoni.” If you’re still unsure, see a doctor about what’s up with your love canal before you damage something.
3. Fiber is your friend.
This isn’t just about older people needing a dependable bathroom break. Fiber keeps your digestive track clear of debris that can cause infections or worse. And the benefits to bottoms who like to be spontaneous are pretty obvious.
For gym rats who love squats and have the hemorrhoids to prove it, fiber can also help keep the hemorrhoids from flaring. “Fruits and vegetables are good, but oatmeal and whole grains are better,” said Dr. Schochet, “and a daily supplement of Psyllium husk is the best.”
4. Gay men have a dangerous risk of anal cancer and it isn’t getting better.
Anal cancer rates among gay men are higher than cervical cancer in all women prior to the introduction of pap smears. If you are living with HIV, your cancer risk is more than 100 times greater than average.
“My hospital is in the middle of a very gay city and sees anal cancer 400% more than the national average,” said Dr. Schochet. “Why isn’t anyone talking about this?”
A little blood in your stool now and then is normal, and everybody gets an itch, a rash, or a bump on occasion. Go ahead and try home remedies or over-the-counter treatments. But seek help if it doesn’t get better. “Cancers don’t start as big lumps,” says Dr. Schochet. “They start as a small lump or bump that gets ignored over time.”
The culprit is usually Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the most common type of sexually transmitted disease. It has hundreds of strains and most of us are likely to be carrying several of them and never see symptoms. That’s why early detection is important. So…
5. Real men ask for a pap smear.
Anal pap smears are a must for gay men over 50, and make that 40 if you’re HIV positive. It’s a simple swab of your anus and not to be confused with a basic anal exam. Pap smears can detect cancerous cells that are invisible to the naked eye or touch, and finding them early can mean the difference between developing cancer or not.
Ditto that for a colonoscopy, which aren’t nearly as bad as their reputation. You drink the special booty cocktail the night before, poop a lot, and then enjoy a lovely nap while they take a deep look inside you. They even give you photos of your innermost terrain, so your next Christmas card is all set!