Anal, orgasms, and advertising

One of the most popular and commented-on posts of our home site,, is about strap-on sex. It’s not exactly a point of pride for us. We’re much more about the happy feel-good feminist relationship posts. And we worry that this prominent butt-sex mention is what keeps the advertisers away (of course, it could be the vibrators we peddle in our sidebar). But then we see Bank of America and Bing ads right along side Slate’s article “Riddle of the Sphincter,” about the correlation between anal sex and orgasms for women, and we can’t help but think “No fair!”

Fair or not, we must admit it’s a fascinating article — one that’s been among their top read pieces all month. Columnist William Saletan first tried to make sense of a new national sex survey published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine which reported an increase of receptive anal sex among women and its possible link to female orgasm. In this first article, “The Ass Man Cometh,” he inferred from the data that “female orgasms caused anal sex rather than the other way around. The other acts reported by women who engaged in anal sex—vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, partnered masturbation—delivered the orgasms. In turn, these women indulged their male partners’ requests for anal sex.” But Saletan was swiftly bombarded by comments from anal enthusiasts who begged to differ as to why there’s a correlation between anal sex and orgasms for women.

So in the subsequent “Riddle” column he painstakingly listed all the myriad theories out there. It’s actually a fascinating, thoughtful read — despite its rather low-brow topic. And it made us feel a lot better — proud even — about the strap-on post on our site.


photo by rhys alton