Actress Gwyneth Paltrow runs GOOP, “a weekly lifestyle publication” that covers such issues as food stamp cuisine and steam-cleaning your vagina. This week, GOOP ran an interview about anal sex with psychoanalyst and author Paul Joannides. Because Paltrow is heterosexual, the conversation probes deeper into heterosexual anal sex and ignores same-sex anal sex issues like HIV-prevention via PrEP, male prostate stimulation and anal orgasms. However, it does still have a few golden kernels of knowledge for gay and bi men.
Here are three of the most interesting takeaways from the Gwyneth Paltrow anal sex segment:
1. Gay/bi men have anal sex way more than straight couples.
Joannides says internet porn tube sites have “totally blurred the distinction between a woman’s anus and vagina” in an attempt to draw more clicks through increasingly “extreme” sex acts. But even so, 30-40% of women try anal (compared to 50% of gay men). And although 10-15% of heterosexual couples enjoy anal sex, they still have vaginal intercourse about 10 times more often than anal.
2. Anal sex hurts because of the body’s physiology.
Pleasurable anal sex requires “a lot of adjustments” because, unlike the vagina, asses don’t make their own natural lubricant. In order to enjoy it, one must learn to relax their inner sphincter muscles, which is difficult because the anal canal is shaped in such a way as “to keep poop from dropping out” in crowded spaces. (This is an actual quote from the interview.)
3. How about condoms and anal sex?
Joannides says that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration apparently has not cleared condoms for use in anal sex, so “you won’t find too many condoms that say ‘safe for anal sex.'” Studies also show that people who use female condoms for anal sex (as compared to male condoms) have increased rates of slippage and pain.
Lastly, if you’re a top who is not using condoms, small bits of poop can slip up your urethra and cause an infection, so please remember to pee after you top someone. Paltrow says so.