John Fraser is a Somatic Sex Therapist and Sexological Bodyworker, practicing in Glasgow, Scotland, UK. and on Zoom. To contact him, click here. For a full list of his articles, click here
For Sexuality Practitioners elsewhere in the UK, Resources and worldwide directories, see below and links
Part of my individual work involves bodily touch, which can include anal massage.
This is a wonderful way to remedy deep rooted body tension, which is a major cause of difficulties with sexual arousal.
One client told me that when she was tightening her trouser belt after our session, she noticed her belt tightened 2 notches more than it had beforehand. She attributed this to the effect of our work. And she speculated how much tension she must have unconsciously been holding in her pelvis and stomach, which had been released.
If you mention anal massage, you’re likely to be met with silence, or embarrassed humour. The reasons for this include:
-the anus is dirty
-interest in the anus is perverted
-anal contact is painful
None of this is true. Also, when we think of the anus in a sexual context, a lot of people are going to think of anal sex, or extreme sexuality, of one kind or another. I think this is part and parcel of a performative view of sexuality in our culture, which, amid other calamities, has caused female sexuality to be disastrously misunderstood
Habitually, if we think of the anus in an intimate way at all, we’ll think in terms of something you do, or something that is done to you [often incompetently and painfully] rather than a means of helping you feel, and feel in a very rich way: in terms of sensation, emotion and memory.
One of the innovations of sexological bodywork is working with the anus. And there’s at least 2 very distinct benefits: regulation of the nervous system, and pleasure. I’ll cover these first, and then make some suggestions on why it may be helpful for frequently occurring problems in sexuality, including ‘female sexual dysfunction’ and ‘sexual inexperience‘
For sexological bodyworkers and sex therapists like myself, direct touching of the anal sphincters is one of the few ways to get direct access to the nervous system. And it acts as a major down-regulator (relaxant). If someone is very stressed, relaxation of these sphincters has a major effect on the level of tension they feel in their bodies. Indeed, people very often fall into a deep sleep.
So far as pleasure is concerned, there are a phenomenal amount of nerve endings in the anus. More than almost any other area of the body. Because of this, the anus is an extraordinary landscape of different sensations. Move the finger a tiny amount, and the sensation is entirely different. And it very often comes with a huge and liberating emotional charge too, because it brings back our earliest feelings, which are usually repressed.
So there’s an irony: delicate, thoughtful and minuscule touching around the entrance of the anus is exquisitely pleasurable, and also emotionally very moving. It takes us back to our youngest self. Yet when people think of anal pleasure, they tend to think of anal sex, which often is far from pleasurable, indeed often painful, due to people’s selfishness and ignorance. But I don’t think this is an accident: one of the curses of patriarchy is that it splits our pleasure giving organs artificially into Male and Female. It puts a major block on the development of sexual empathy. And because we all have anuses, our common humanity is kept at bay by thinking of the anus only in terms of penetration, not capacity for feeling, which is part of our common humanity.
But experience of anal touch [women giving to men] can help in another distinct area: helping men appreciate more subtle, slower and more delicate movement, which is of inestimable value in weaning men away from a “harder, faster” notion of intercourse, which can be so calamitous to sexual happiness, and leading to a much broader sense of sexuality in men.
It’s also very relevant to female sexual dysfunction,This term, I think, is a misnomer, caused by us having a restricted view of sexuality which is over reliant on ideas of bodily arousal. On this view, the body is neutral, and the purpose of sexuality is to arouse us through body stimulation, leading to sex, which is turn leads to orgasm.
This view, in my opinion, fails many people, particularly women. From my perspective, the body is inherently pleasurable, but most of us can’t feel that, because we carry a great deal of stress. And because we think of sex in terms of performance and what we should be experiencing, that makes us more stressed. And so, sex is often a competition between physical arousal and stress, which is one reason why it is often jagged, short and unsatisfactory, rather than extended, pleasurable and connecting.
Elsewhere, I describe how this view also largely ignores many aspects of ourselves which should form part of pleasurable sex: our imagination, our feelings and our strong desire to connect and to be seen and accepted, but for my purposes here, which relate to the anus, I’d like to explain why wider knowledge and acceptance of anal touch would be particularly helpful for women.
Firstly, there is the deep relaxation which I’ve already talked about. Once that happens, I think sexuality will arise naturally within a greater landscape of pleasurable relaxation. In body terms, I think that engenders a desire for touch, specifically, a desire for genital, clitoral touch. So, within embodied pleasurable relaxation, the clitoris actually wants touch: it’s the opposite of regarding the clitoris as a kind of wake up mechanism [the g spot is often regarded in a similar way]
Second, anal touch bridges what we often feel as the distinction between bodily feelings of sexual arousal and emotional feelings.
Third, unlike intercourse, there isn’t an expectation or demand about what you should feel. You can just feel whatever is, and that’s critically important, because one of the main sources of dissatisfaction is being drawn out of the present moment by comparison and judgement.
If you’re interested in exploring any of the issues raised here, or have a sexual or intimacy issue which I may be able to assist with, please contact me. You’ll have seen from my Home Page that I offer a free 30 minute Exploratory Zoom consultation.
To find out more about me, click here
So what would a session potentially including anal touch work involve? Well, firstly we would agree the boundaries for what I would do, which I would not go beyond. Second, we would start with a long, slow, relaxing and connecting whole body massage, which would enable you to completely focus, without worry, on what you were actually experiencing, to drop into a slightly trance like state, where you are very awake yet very relaxed, just attending to what you are feeling, and the outside world can drop away. When it comes to contact with the anus, it’s really important to be led by the body, and not to force anything, or proceed along a prearranged plan. What you want next should always be the result of what your body is feeling now, and where it wants to go next. And perhaps I should stop there, because there isn’t a standard way to experience this, only the unique way of each person, but if you want to know more, please get in touch.
If you’d prefer to work with a female practitioner, or would like to work in person but aren’t in Scotland, please see my links page. This predominantly covers the U.K. only, although there are some European and American practitioners there, so if you are further afield and want a comprehensive list, you might want to try:
The Worldwide Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers
The World Association Of Sex Coaches
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