The Unintended Consequences of Sodomy
"Richard T. Nolan" wrote:
I teach an undergraduate ethics course at Palm Beach Community
College. During the unit on sexual ethics, the issue of heterosexual and
homosexual anal penetration (intercourse) came up. It seems to me that
at the very least this is a medical issue. Is there any statement I could
use from proctologists that would settle whether this sexual practice
is or is not harmful to the body?
Richard T. Nolan, Ph.D.
From: "Dr. Rick Shacket"
To: "Richard T. Nolan"
Subject: Reply: Anal Intercourse
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001
Hello Richard T. Nolan, Ph.D.:
Anal intercourse is potentially physically harmful. It
can cause anal fissures (cracks), thereby allowing the quick transfer
of blood born diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. There are also other
consequences of fissures.
I believe that there has been some research that suggests
that the rectal wall does not provide much of a barrier to the AIDS virus,
and that the recipient of anal intercourse is quite vulnerable to contracting
the disease if the penetrator has the disease and ejaculates.
Less widely known is the fact that men who engage in receptive
anal intercourse have a higher rate of anal cancer than the general population.
This may be associated with the fact that men who have sex with men also
have a greater incidence of anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Feces contain bacteria, which can cause a urinary tract
infection (urethritis), in men who do not wear condoms. Women can also
get urinary tract infections or vaginal infections if the feces laden
phallus comes into contact with the female genitalia. Furthermore, the
bedding may also become contaminated with these same bacteria if care
is not taken to clean up immediately after anal intercourse.
The anal area is rich with nerve endings. Many people
find this to be a pleasurable sexual activity. The difficulty is that
the tissue wasn't designed for this sort of use. You may be interested
to know there have been reports of "fist fucking" being performed
on stage in New York between consenting homosexual participants. The receiving
participant reportedly takes a muscle relaxant to allow this violent form
of penetration. This is an extreme form of sodomy, which combines violence
with sexuality. As you might imagine, the effect on the tissue will have
something to do with the level of aggressiveness of the penetrator.
Also, different people have different levels of susceptibility
to anal problems such as fissures. So, I don't think that I can settle
whether this is harmful to the body. It would depend upon the care of
the participants to ensure that injury was minimized, the susceptibility
of the recipient to anal problems, and the disease status of the participants
- particularly the disease status of the penetrator. I personally don't
think it is a good idea. But that is just an opinion.
A friend who is an expert on sexual violence said that
many rapes involve anal penetration. Since rape is not about sexual pleasure
and more about anger and domination, this might give your students some
pause regarding the merits of sodomy.
Rick A. Shacket, DO
Diplomate American Osteopathic Board of Proctology