Happy New Year from the Urban Dater!
Another year has gone by–oh boy! I can hardly believe it’s 2015. Holy shit, dudes.
I hate to be the bearer of bad (and obvious) news, but we’re all getting older (my little old lady ankles are my unfortunate evidence–I have to feel them EVERY MORNING). Hopefully we’re all getting a little wiser, a little more mature, and a whole lot better in the process–and that includes the Urban Dater.
When I first joined UD, Alex and I had a lot of conversations about what kind of content we wanted to put through, and one of the things that Alex stressed to me was that he wanted the Urban Dater to be a place where all kinds of opinions and perspectives could come through–even the ones that we disagreed with (common), and even the ones that were delivered by misguided jerks (less common).
While not all dating advice may be created equal, Alex told me that he thought there was value in sharing those perspectives, and hell, if we needed to deliver a smackdown, we could provide a rebuttal (or if someone else wanted to do so, we would happily host it). While sometimes we publish things that make me prickly, I have always appreciated Alex’s commitment to creating an open space, and hell, I do love a spirited debate, so why the hell not get on board with that?
Recently, we published an article that I, frankly, wasn’t on board with. Lee-Lee’s EXIT only – No Admittance, No Anal was appallingly inaccurate, sex-negative, and just plain fucking awful, and I’m mortified that it made it through the queue.
From Lee-Lee’s completely unsubstantiated and utterly meaningless anecdotal evidence that she uses to support the argument that women cannot possibly enjoy anal sex, to her (again, factually unsupported) suggestion that male interest in anal sex (and erectile dysfunction) is clearly some sort of repressed homosexual desire is embarrassingly ignorant.
The last time I looked at the anal sex data, I figured that most women who reported having done it meant they'd tried it just once. I was wrong. If you push these women beyond the “have you ever” question, the numbers stay surprisingly high, and they're getting higher. In 1992, the percentage of women in their 20s and 30s who said they'd had anal sex in the past year was around 10 percent. Now that number has doubled to more than 20 percent, and one-third of these women say they've done it in the last month. Among all women surveyed, the number who reported anal sex in their most recent sexual encounter was 3 percent to 4 percent.
That's a lot of butt sex. And remember, this is what women are reporting. If anything, they're probably understating the truth.
So what's with all the buggery? Is it brutality? Coercion? A porn-inspired male fantasy at women's expense?
Apparently not. Check out the orgasm data. Among women who had vaginal sex in their last encounter, the percentage who said they reached orgasm was 65. Among those who received oral sex, it was 81. But among those who had anal sex, it was 94. Anal sex outscored cunnilingus.
Furthermore, while I’m sure that there are many folks out there who haven’t entirely figured out their sexuality (after all, for many of us, men, women, and trans* alike, that can be a moving target), making the assumption that the interest in any particular sex act somehow supersedes an individual’s self-proclaimed sexual identity is patronizing as fuck.
Lee-Lee goes on to mourn the prevalence of sexual exploration and unconventional relationship structures, and laments the loss of the traditional, monogamous, heterosexual unions of yesteryear. She seems to be confused as most of what we’re doing now isn’t that new; instead, there’s just more public conversation about it. Sorry, honeybunches, but we didn’t invent group sex or anal; people have been fucking around and sticking their dicks in anywhere they’ll fit for eons now. In fact, we didn't even do it first.
Round peg. Round hole. Add lube as desired. A tale as old as time!
Lastly, Lee-Lee goes on to concerntroll to the nth degree, stating that she’s really not judging anyone who decides to participate in these activities, but that she just won’t participate “for [her] health,” ignoring the reality that STIs can still be bestowed upon those who limit their number of sex partners.
Reality check: There’s safer sex, but no such thing as safe sex, and the fear around STIs (most of which are preventable, treatable, and incredibly common) is largely perpetuated by a society that actively prohibits factual, substantial sex education and still possesses puritanical values that existed long before this country became what it is today.
It’s also worth mentioning that today, despite the sorry state of sex education in even a supposedly progressive nation like ours, reproductive healthcare (including all forms of birth control–that means condoms too, folks) is more accessible than ever. Oh, and that funny little thing called penicillin has helped us out immensely since most STIs were INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS prior to its existence.
Wait, STIs existed back then? Oh yes, they did.
Her ending example is yeast infections, which most cisgendered women know is a common occurrence that can be caused by sex (which according to WomensHealth.gov is actually rare) but can also be caused by pregnancy, antibiotics, hormonal imbalances due to stress, an impaired immune system, douching, uncontrolled diabetes, and anything else that affects the type/amount of bacteria in the vagina.
The real kicker for me, though, was her second to last line:
“I guess I know too much medical information to ever let the prude out.”
Listen, folks, you can have whatever feelings about sexual acts that you want. Do what you WANT, and hell no, you should never do something you don't want to do. That said, don't use your likes to posture yourself as better than others, and have the ovaries to speak to your experience, to your preferences, without relying on some anecdotal nonsense to back you up. Don't falsely universalize your experience to prop it up. You don't need to. Your preferences are enough as they are. Not wanting to do something is enough of a reason. That's that.
A huge part of maturing is being willing to take accountability. Alex and I discussed the above post, and while the Urban Dater will still be a place for anyone to share their perspective, from now on, the facts fucking matter (especially when it comes to facts on fucking).
This is why we’ve updated our guest posting guidelines to reflect this change, and we’re asking all of our guest contributors from here forth to have something to substantiate their claims–or at least make it damn clear that this is solely their opinion rather than positing themselves as an expert on subjects that they clearly don’t know a single solitary fuck about. We want to make this place to be as good as it can be, and we want your help in doing so.
On behalf of the Urban Dater, I apologize for our perpetuation of misinformation–goodness forbid someone stumble across that article and take its content to heart. We’re making a commitment to you, our audience, to do better. We failed you this time (and truth be told, we will probably fail you again, as we are human and prone to error), but please know that as long as we can, we are working to up our game.
Happy New Year. There’s more good to come.