Surprise! Teen girls are having anal sex because they're being pressured into it

My first boyfriend was pissed that I wouldn’t have anal sex with him. Not just because he, you know, wanted to try out all the super sexy things he’d learned watching porn, but because I’d done it before — with other guys who weren’t him. No fair, amirite?

The fact that the whole, entire reason I wouldn’t have anal sex with him was because I’d tried it already with a couple of other guys and the experience ranged from completely boring and unpleasurable to extremely painful eluded him. My pleasure wasn’t the point. The point was 1) No fair, wah! (i.e. why did other men “get” something he didn’t), 2) The thought of emulating something he masturbated to in porn turned him on, 3) Possible pleasure for him — the idea that it’s “tighter” or some shit. (HA. Anal sex puns, you guys!)

No matter how you do the math, all points add up to barf.

Needless to say, it’s unsurprising that a recent study looking at why teenage heterosexual couples might engage in anal sex revealed, as reported by The Independent:a climate of coercion, with consent and mutuality not always a priority for the boys who are trying to persuade girls into having it.”

The study was conducted by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who interviewed 130 teenagers aged 16-18 in three sites across the country to “explore expectations, experiences and circumstances of anal sex among young people”. They found that anal sex among heterosexual couples was “painful, risky and coercive, particularly for women” and that males expected to persuade or coerce reluctant partners:

Even in otherwise seemingly communicative and caring partnerships, some men seemed to push to have anal sex with their reluctant partner despite believing it likely to hurt her…

…Persuasion of women was a feature to a greater or lesser degree of most men’s and women’s narratives about anal sex events, with repeated, emphatic requests from men commonly mentioned…

…Women seemed to take for granted that they would either acquiesce to or resist their partners’ repeated requests, rather than being equal partners in sexual decision-making. Being able to say ‘no’ was often cited by the women as a positive example of their control of the situation.

It isn’t particularly surprising that anal sex is becoming more and more common among young people, considering how easily and readily they can and do access porn online and how common heterosexual anal sex is in porn. While I have nothing against anal sex if that’s what you’re into — like, at all — it’s worth stating the obvious: in general, anal sex is something men are more likely to enjoy than women.

For starters, as you may or may not be aware, women do not have penises or a prostate and our clits are not located in our buttholes.

Now, let’s all just go ahead and acknowledge that the majority of women do not enjoy anal sex. This is not to say that there aren’t women who do really enjoy anal sex — some find it pleasurable and bully for them —  this is to say that most young women who are having anal sex are not doing it either because they think it will be pleasurable or because it actually is pleasurable for them. They are doing it because porny teenage boys are pressuring them into it and because they’ve learned, as most of us have, that male pleasure, not female pleasure, is the point of sex. They’ve also learned that if they don’t please the boys/men they are having sex with, those boys/men won’t like them and they will be lonely and unloved for life.

What this study found is in line with the results of my own private study wherein I had sex with a bunch of douchebags in my late teens/early twenties: That that there is “competition between boys” to have anal sex with girls (see: my pissy first-boyfriend, who found it unfair that other men had had access to my ass, while he did not) and that boys want to engage in anal sex with girls because they “want to copy what they [see] in pornography.”

The Independent reports that “other reasons for wanting to do it include the claim that ‘people must like it if they do it’ ([despite] the seemingly contradictory expectation that it will be painful for women).”

I suppose what we can conclude from this statement is that “people” = males and that, as discussed above, female pleasure is irrelevant when it comes to hetero sex. Good times for girls all around (And by “girls,” I mean “unpeople,” of course).

Maybe if boys/men are so interested in anal sex they should just stick to doing it with one another, seeing as this is far more likely result in pleasure for both parties.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.