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Anal Sex – Fact & Fiction

Anal Sex – Fact & Fiction

Anal sex can be defined as any use of the anus for sexual gratification purposes, and includes a variety of behaviours, including penile –anal penetration. The founding texts of many religions specifically ban it, suggesting that the practice was well-recognised in ancient times. Anal sex is therefore not a new phenomenon, nor is it restricted to humans. Epidemiological data suggest that anal sex is increasingly practiced, possibly related to improved access to information and pornography, much of which places a premium on anal penetration. However, despite the increasing media emphasis on anal sex, there are few data with which to underpin evidence-based health promotion approaches.

The presentation will therefore review what is known about the physiology of the anus, and how it responds to the challenges of anal receptive sex. A number of potential adverse consequences will be discussed, and the best evidence regarding their avoidance and management. Emphasis will be placed on how stigmatisation of anal sex significantly contributes to the reluctance of individuals to present for help, and how this potentially leads to poorer health outcomes. The presentation will conclude with an outline of key areas for future research.

Speakers: Richard Hillman