The price of maintaining the anal-sex norm


The price of maintaining the anal-sex norm


Introduction by Bill Weintraub

Webster's defines a norm as "a principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior."

In this brief article, journalist and Alliance communications expert Chuck Tarver examines how those who maintain the dominant culture of anal sex, analists, use norms to control behavior, and looks at the cost to gay men of that control.

The Price of Maintaining



Chuck Tarver

Chuck Tarver

Norms are particularly strong. They relate to how members of groups establish and define their identity within the group. They are so strong that people seek to maintain them, even if doing so causes them personal pain. Most of us conform to norms without even realizing that we are doing so.

People offering advice regarding the performance of norms point group members to solutions that help maintain the norm. Because the norm is so strong and because conformity maintains the norm, it does not occur to them that a better solution may in fact lie outside of the norm.

Case in point is a recent letter to An examination of the letter and the response, indicate how both the questioner/patient and the responding doctor seek to maintain the norm. This is in spite of obvious pain to the patient and the likelihood that pain will continue as long as he continues to practice the norm.


* Anus


Is a fissure causing my pain during anal sex?

Friday, July 25th 2003

I am very uncomfortable after being on the receiving end of anal sex. I find it excruciating to have a bowel movement and there is usually a small amount of blood on the toilet paper. I have been having anal sex for several years and have always been very careful with it. I have never had this problem before, but my partner is probably the largest I have ever been with. In trying to examine myself, I have felt small bumps on my anus. I am not sure if these are skin tags or a fissure (which I have only heard of in one of your other articles). What is a fissure and how can it be treated? I tried applying hemorrhoid treatment for about a week and the problem went away. It was another two weeks until we tried again, and the problem reemerged worse than before. If the bumps are skin tags, how difficult is it to remove them? Will I be able to have normal, uncomplicated anal sex ever again?

We aren't rough with sex although it does take my partner some time to reach climax. Any help or information would be appreciated.


It sounds like you do have a fissure, which is a tear of the lining of the anus. It most often presents with pain during bowel movements and a streak of blood on the stool. You can develop swollen skin on the outside next to the tear, which is a tag. Some people develop bumps inside their anus, which are like little calluses and not warts. The tear can heal with simple measures like fiber supplements and stool softeners. While over the counter creams can also help, there are prescription strength medications from your doctor that will do a better job. The problem, however, is that it is easier to tear your anus again because the scar is never as strong as the original tissue.

Clearly an anus is not a vagina, and the tissue is more sensitive to injury during sex, especially if your partner is thick (length is not as much of a problem). If your partner takes a long time to cum, it can create more friction and promote injury. That said, there are things you can do to make tearing less likely. Experiment with different positions to see if one is easier, because some positions will put less stress on the fissure. Use different lubricants (without nonoxynol-9) and different condoms to see if one is better tolerated. Apply lubricant often to be sure that it doesn't get too dry. If he is taking a long time to cum or if you feel discomfort then stop. You can try stretching yourself with a dildo. Gradually increase the size of the dildo as it becomes comfortable until you reach one approximating the girth of your partner. This will help stretch the muscle slowly so that you are less likely to tear.

Last but not least, if you are concerned about these symptoms or if they persist, make an appointment with your physician. If you do not have a doctor, please look for an LGBT-friendly provider in your area. Check the listing on our site.

Take care.

[end of "" excerpt]

Chuck Tarver:

There is a gag that has been around since the days of Vaudeville. In the gag, the patient hits him/herself in the head with a hammer or is a contortionist who folds him/herself into an odd position.

Patient to doctor: "Doc, it hurts when I do this."

Doctor to patient: "Well stop doing that!"

The gag gets a laugh even to this day. It's based on the common sense notion that you don't inflict pain on yourself.

If I were to say to my doctor: I smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. Recently I've been having a bout of coughing spells. During my most recent spell, I coughed up blood. What should I do?

My doctor would immediately tell me to QUIT SMOKING and order up a battery of tests to determine if I had lung cancer or emphysema. That is the norm.

In the case of the response, we also see the doctor maintaining the norm, even though doing so will more than likely continue to result in pain for the patient. There is even indication that the pain will worsen as it already has. Yet, the norm is maintained.

Nowhere in the response does the doctor suggest, "Perhaps you and your partner might want to consider other ways to have sex." The old, "Well stop doing that," response.

This is just one example of how the anal-sex norm is harming gay/MSM.

In my paper, Fighting the Conformity That Kills, I look at how it contributes to the continued spread of HIV/AIDS.

Chuck Tarver

Click here for more articles by Chuck Tarver.

Afterword from Bill Weintraub

Chuck's paper, Fighting the Conformity That Kills, is terrific, and I encourage you to read it.

Because HIV / AIDS is a completely preventable disease.

Yet the safer-sex boyz, committed as they are to preserving a doctrine of polypartnered pansexualism -- aka anal promiscuity -- refuse to suggest the one measure which is guaranteed to end the epidemic and all other anally-vectored STDs:

Stop doing anal.

A visit to produces the following list of questions that the diligent Dr. Goldstone has answered, always in the way that he has above:

he says that "clearly an anus is not a vagina," but encourages his questioners to go on using it as though it were.

It's Dr. Goldstone's use of analist NewSpeak which gives his site (and his column in The Advocate) its Orwellian tone: an anus is not a vagina, and you should continue treating it like a vagina.


And war is peace and black is white.

Notice that in the Q and A above he doesn't mention that stretching the anal sphincter with increasingly large dildos will result in what gay men quaintly call "leakage."

I guess he's keeping back that vital piece of info for his next column.

Here are the questions about anal listed on the site:

(You can see them for yourself, along with Dr. G's answers, by clicking on this link and scrolling down the page.)

  • Is a nerve in the anus dangerous?

  • Should I worry about bumps on my anus?

  • I love rimming, but how safe is it?

  • My dildo makes me bleed.

  • Can Kegel Tighten My Anus?

  • Worm in my stool?

  • White bump on my anus?

  • Anal bleeding, and my doc is no help!

  • Finding the pleasure spot in my partner's anus...

  • Safe to douche twice a week before sex?

  • Did anal sex cause ulcerative proctitis?

  • What can I do for anal warts?

  • Health concerns associated with pinworm?

  • Gooey discharge after anal sex. Help!

  • Big lump on my anus.

  • How can I clean myself out before anal sex?

  • Is it safe for men to use tampons?

  • Extreme pain after using a dildo. Help!

  • I can't get rid of parasites in my stool!

  • Do I have to worry about anal cancer?

  • Clean bowels?

  • How can I tighten my anus?

  • Will poppers and a sex club relieve my pap pain?

  • Lumps, swelling and painful bowels.

  • Did my dildo cause anal inflammation?

  • Diarrhea, bloody discharge and an aching groin?

  • Unknown growth in anal/rectal area

  • Do I need surgery for my anal tears?

  • Can regular douching damage my colon?

  • Can you give me douching directions?

  • Is it safe to use a butt plug for 8 to 10 hours a day?

  • How can I prepare for anal surgery?

  • What is the horrible pain in my rectum?

  • Is it safe for my SM Master to give me enemas with wine?

  • Colonoscopy and anal cancers

  • Lumps around my anus. Anal warts?

  • Why can't I control my butt muscles?

  • Pain after anal sex.

  • Why can't I ever get clean after I go to the bathroom?

  • Why did I bleed during a bowel movement?

  • Is it safe to stick a bottle up my butt?

  • What is causing the pain when I go to the bathroom?

  • What kind of doctor can give me an anal pap smear?

  • Is sex causing my anal leakage?

  • What will relieve my rectal pain?

  • Is my partner too large for anal sex?

  • Should I avoid sex prior to my gender reassignment surgery?

  • Do anal warts look like anal tags?

  • Pain when I poop.

  • Do you think I have colon cancer?

  • I had sex for the first time and now I am in pain. Help!

  • I don't feel pleasure now. Did surgery damage my prostate?

  • Do I need to get a rectal exam?

  • Why is wiping painful?

  • Why did I find blood in my stool?

  • Mucus covering my stool. Normal?

  • My anus is tight.

  • Losing control with my dildo.

  • Pain during anal sex. STD?

  • Do you recommend enemas?

  • Where is the prostate?

  • Something hard is in my anus.

Quite a price to pay for maintaining the anal sex norm.

Furthermore, in Goldstone's answers to these questions, there's a total lack, as Chuck points out, of discussion of alternatives.

That's true throughout his site.

So if you're a gay-identified kid, or a middle-aged man with same-sex feelings, and you go to, you see a menu with the word "sex."

Clicking on "sex" gives you another menu of "things you can do," which reads:

Male with male sex

  • Oral Sex

  • Using a Condom

  • Water Sports

  • Toys and Fisting

  • Anal Sex

That's it.

There's no mention of frot or JO -- which just happen to be the two safest choices and the two most mutually genital choices available to MSM.

In February of 2002 a group of men from The Alliance emailed and asked Goldstone to put up a page on frottage.

Someone calling herself "Sarah Albert," who said she worked for the site and may or may not be a real person, said they would.

Six months went by, and there was no page.

I queried "Sarah," and she said that such a page was "at the top of her list."

Then she started censoring our posts.

Guess what?

It's now been two years since that initial query, and there's been no change -- and no page on frot.

If that doesn't make you angry, it should.

Because taken with the lists of MSM activities described on sites like and -- frot has been cyber-ed out of existence.

It is impossible, based on the information that the ordinary and reasonable internet user can garner, to know that non-anal alternatives exist and are widely practiced.

That's one of the primary reasons HIV remains so prevalent in the gay male community.

Like I say, if that doesn't make you angry -- it should.

Bill Weintraub

Please note:

In these upcoming Alliance policy papers we will continue to explore the cost of maintaining the anal sex norm:

In An Anus is Not a Vagina we examine the physical, psycho-sexual, and communal consequences of treating the anus as a vagina when it is not.

And in Multipartnered Pansexualism or Heroic Love we examine a host of documents supporting the dominant culture of anal promiscuity among gay and bi men and consider the alternative.


Re: The price of maintaining the anal-sex norm


found an interesting link on the same page

Even the Doc says it, the feeling that most men get from anal sex is psychological not physical. But, he still gives the regular "Now enjoy fucking each other in the ass!" typical response.

Bill Weintraub

Re: The price of maintaining the anal-sex norm


right boomer

Here's the complete Q and A:

Finding the pleasure spot in my partner's anus...

Wednesday, April 4th 2001


When a guy performs anal sex with another guy, what are the sources of pleasure for the guy who's penetrated? Is there a spot in his ass that pleases him when touched? My lover wants to know if there is such a spot and how he could reach it before we engage in anal sex (we haven't tried it yet). Thanks...


Most of the nerve endings that sense pleasure are at the outside of your anus or within the first two inches. The rest of your rectum and colon do not have nerves that sense pleasure. While many guys will disagree with me, there is no physiological basis for most of the pleasure you derive higher up in your colon. There is definitely a psychological pleasure. Your partner's penis can stretch your sphincter and pelvic muscles, but again these are in the lower four to six inches of your rectum. When you have an orgasm, these muscles will contract against his penis and this might heighten the pleasure of your orgasm. Take care and enjoy.

[end of excerpt]

Bill Weintraub:

More of Goldstone's doublespeak: "there is no physiological basis for most of the pleasure you derive higher up in your colon."

If there's no "physiological basis" for it then there's no pleasure to be derived.

It's totally imaginary

Yet the doctor ends his little screed with "take care and enjoy"

Enjoy what?????????

That uncomfortable feeling you have when you need to move your bowels?

There's nothing to enjoy.

It's the emperor's new clothes -- there's nothing there, but no one will say so.


"Men into anal" have to ask where the "pleasure spot" is in the anus.

Not a question men into Frot have to ask about the penis.

I asked Goldstone two years ago if he would compare the sensitivity of the anus to touch with that of, let's say, the arm.

He said he'd get back to me.

He never has -- surprise surprise

Because if he did, as a doctor, he'd have to admit that the anus's ability to sense anything is extremely limited -- as he did above.

The anus is not an organ of pleasure -- as he's careful to say -- "it's not a vagina."

It's just a little sphincter at the end of a pipe filled with feces, which gives you, if you don't abuse it, some measure of control over when you move your bowels.

I doubt that any body part in the history of humanity has had as much symbolic bushwah piled on it as has the anus by gay men.

Because, sexually speaking, that's all the anus is -- a symbol.

A proxy for the female genitals.

The truth is that the anus is not a vagina, it has very limited abilities to sense anything, and it was not meant to be penetrated

All you have to do to understand that is look at Goldstone's site and read the long long list of problems which penetrating the anus creates.

When "men into anal" start telling me how important being penetrated is, my response is:


No man needs to be penetrated by another, it hurts, it's damaging, and it's dangerous.

Men should love each other, not hurt each other.

That's what The Black Lotus says -- and he's right

Stephen Goldstone is a prime example of what I call an analist:

someone who does all he can to support the dominant culture of anal sex

In Goldstone's case, he continues to push anal and pimp for it on his site --

even though as a doctor he knows how dangerous anal is --

while refusing to put up a page on Frot or mutual masturbation.

Why would he do that?

Well, it could be that he's a true believer in free love -- that's what his pal Sarah Albert told me -- and that he believes being anally penetrated by multiple partners is in some way liberating and a basic human need.

But if he does think that -- and he's truly into sexual liberation -- you'd think that he'd post material about Frot and JO too.

Hey, cause it's all sex right?

And it's all good.

(just kidding -- anal isn't sex and it isn't good)

Cause if you're a sexual liberationist, as the doctor says he is, you're going to have up stuff about all sorts of sex -- aren't you?

But there's another possibility:

Which is that he makes money off of people getting sick from doing anal.

That his website, and his practice, and the books he writes, wouldn't exist without people getting sick off of anal.

Visit his site and look at his advertisers.

The two I saw today were for Bo Tox -- not particularly related to anal, though it does relate in an off-hand way to promiscuity --

and for another pharmaceutical -- called Pegasys

Cutesie name

But it's for Hepatitis C -- not a cute disease.

A disease, however, which is transmitted through -- ANAL SEX.

Just like HIV and HPV.

What a surprise

Do you think Dr. Goldstone has a financial interest in Pegasys?

It's possible -- he could hold stock in the company for example.

Or get kickbacks in one form or another.

In the meantime, both David McQuarrie and I have tried to post recently on GayHealth -- and so far our posts haven't appeared.

I wonder why?

Well, maybe because I talked about that 20% failure rate for condoms.

He carries ads from the condom boyz too.

In general, when looking at various gay male enterprises, including websites and other media, it's a good idea to follow the money.

The big advertisers in gay male venues are:


pricey lubes

prescription pharmaceuticals for diseases like AIDS and hep C and over-the-counter products for anal-related probs like hemorrhoids



gay travel agencies

All of those are related to anal sex and promiscuity.

Most gay male travel, in particular, is sex tourism, in which men go to popular gay resorts like Palm Springs and Key West where they can expect to find lots of other gay men with whom they can have anonymous anal sex.

That's one of the reasons that our message isn't popular with the gay media.

If you don't do anal, you don't need condoms, or lube, or meds -- Rx or OTC.

And if you're not promiscuous, you can go to the Scottish Highlands -- and not miss a thing.

Since gay media aren't big on separating their business offices from their editorial offices, I suspect they'll never report on us of their own accord.

All the more reason for you guys to keep spreadin the word:



Re: The price of maintaining the anal-sex norm


Right on, Chuck. We all know how hard it is stand up against society's norms -- we get laughed at, ridiculed, ignored, misunderstood. It's really courageous of you to do this at a conference for an audience. I'm glad you're putting in the effort, and I'll be interested to hear how well you're received. Maybe someone in the audience will listen and we can get this mighty snowball rolling a little faster!


Chuck Tarver

Re: The price of maintaining the anal-sex norm


Brothers, I'm really pleased to report that my presentation at the Black Gay Research conference was well received. People asked good questions during the session. Several folks told me their personal stories throughout the rest of the conference.

This of course is just a small step in what still needs to be done. Interestingly, the numbers from the CDC conference happening at around the same time in Atlanta were coming in during the conference and things did not look good for the condom pushing anal sex crowd.

In some communities, the situation is now critical. Rather than warn people about how the epidemic is kept alive, the good folks at the CDC have decided to launch an all out effort designed to get people tested. This while at the sametime doing nothing to challenge the anal-sex norm.

So the message unfortunately is continue with dangerous behavior as usual but get yourself tested every six months.

A copy of the paper is available here.

You will need Adobe Acrobat reader.

I really must take a moment to thank Bill Weintraub for all of his inspiration and support. I couldn't have presented the work with out his encouragement.

Bill and I have known each other now about two and a half years. When we first began communicating, I told him I didn't think I was fit to speakup, let alone lead any battles. I'm pleased to say his encouragement has changed that.

If you are not aware, Bill is facing a financial crisis. For years now he has been financing these sites from his own resources. Please take a moment to make a contribution. I intend to do just that. The donation page is

I'm also aware that some of you visiting the site have considerable resources. Just as Bill has shared his research, insight and passion with us, I urge you to contribute to all of his hard work.


Delaware Brother aka Chuck

Chuck Tarver

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