Last week, Teen Vogue published an exhaustive primer on anal sex, and not everyone’s pleased. We are, though. Good on them.
Written by sex educator Gigi Engel’s, the essay is a great, chatty read that demystifies a few common misconceptions about anal sex and teaches Teen Vogue readers how to do it the right way:
“Obviously there is a lot of stuff on the Internet about anal (we don’t suggest you Google it),” she writes, “but most of what you’ll find is either porn or advice for experienced sexual persons looking to try something new.”
“What about the teenagers? What about the LGBTQ young people who need to know about this for their sexual health?”
What follows is a step-by-step primer for curious beginners that starts with the basics: go slow at first, lube is your very best friend in the whole wide anal-sex world, and maybe expect a little bit of poop but don’t totally freak out:
“I want to personally assure you that that you will not poop on anyone during anal sex. Sure, there are horror stories, but aren’t there always?
That being said, yes, you will come in contact with some fecal matter. You are entering a butthole. It is where poop comes out. Expecting to do anal play and see zero poop isn’t particularly realistic. It’s NOT a big deal. Everyone poops. Everyone has a butt.”
Unsurprisingly, criticism is coming from all corners, mostly written by people who seem to think teenagers are too young to know the ins-and-outs of anal play. Which, also not particularly realistic.
There’s plenty of by-the-numbers outrage on Christian site The Stream, and editors clearly worked overtime on the histrionic headline: “The Predator in the Fashion Magazine: Teen Vogue Coaches Teenagers in Sodomy.”
Here’s an excerpt:
“Wake up, Moms and Dads! A magazine produced for your teenage daughters is giving them explicit instructions on how to be sodomized.
It is teaching them to be used by a guy, in a very dangerous way, for his pleasure and satisfaction. It is giving the clear message to every teenage boy that it’s perfectly acceptable to sodomize a girl, to use her, even physically hurt her for the sake of an orgasm.
“It is glorifying as good, normal and healthy, the harmful practice of homosexual sex.”
Smug, stomach-turny YouTuber Wild Smile also published an interminable video on his channel that surmises “this is a bit creepy to push on teenagers, if I am being honest.”
Someone over at The Independent is also jolly cross:
“Our responsibility as adult women influencing the next generation is to raise them up to be confident in their self-worth, and fighting against a culture that seeks to define them by their sexuality and what they can do for men,” author J.J. Barnes writes.
Regardless of whether they consider their vulva to be part of their woman’s body, their clitoris exists, and they are more than just a hole for a penis.”
Teen Vogue’s target audience is not non-prostate owners seeking to provide sexual satisfaction to men through their anus. Teen Vogue’s target audience is teenage girls, most under the legal age of consent, who are deserving of adult women to teach them to value themselves for who they are, not by what they are in relation to men.”
Of course, the magazine’s audience isn’t just teen girls. Readers include gay men, older women, and trans people, too. And in recent history, the magazine has been building a respected name for itself with incisive political articles and thoughtful commentary like “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America.”
Sexual health is important, and since sexual health in high school so rarely covers anal sex, Teen Vogue’s article is needed. As gay men, think if we had something in high school other than Queer as Folk DVDs to teach us in the ins and outs of anal. We may have been a bit better informed and less scared of the sexual act.
The article, worth reading in its entirety, is a great read and emphasizes the fact that at the end of the day, anal sex is just good clean fun — even if it occasionally involves poop.