You are your worst enemy

How does a homosexual friendly female answer the following question: Does anal sex cause incontinence? Well, Tracy Clark-Flory on Salon.com answers the above question in the following steps.

1. Set up a strawman (bad):

Half of us thought it was crazed right-wing propaganda (I was in that camp).

2. Quote from a biased but reliable-ish source (good):

Glickman adds, “Muscles don’t wear out because you use them. If stretching muscles necessarily caused them to tear, long-term yoga practitioners would be in trouble. Just like any other muscle, relaxing and stretching the anus doesn’t cause damage if you listen to your body and don’t force it.”

Glickman has a PhD in Adult Sexuality Education but he is no medical doctor or specialist (gastroenterologist). While his comments make sense, it also does not answer the question of should sphincter muscles be voluntarily stretched through anal sex. Frankly, this is too simplistic to be of any use as a positive argument.

3. Quote a biased and unreliable source (bad):

Similarly, in “The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men,” Bill Brent writes, “Stretching the sphincter and rectal tissue safely over time tends to strengthen rather than loosen the muscles associated with anal sex, as people who practice fisting and using large toys can attest.” That’s a gem of counterintuitive wisdom to share with your friends over Sunday brunch — just maybe wait until the second round of mimosas.

Bill Brent was a bisexual (possible bias) and his book was published by Cleis Press described on Wikipedia as “an independent publisher of books in the areas of sexuality, erotica, feminism, gay and lesbian studies, gender studies, fiction, and human rights.” In other words, not a scientific press.

4. End by unsuccessfully using science to smear the strawman you previously created (very bad):

More reliably, a 1997 study found no higher incidence of fecal incontinence in gay men who bottom and nonreceptive hetero dudes (a control group — what a concept!). Of course, there are also plenty of examples of homophobic right-wing propaganda on the topic (see here) that are not even remotely based in medical fact. It’s hard to say which is to blame for that doctor’s misinformation, but, regardless, it might be time for your friend to find a new one.

First off, what 1997 study is being referring to? I believe she means: Anal sphincter structure and function in homosexual males engaging in anoreceptive intercourse. If she does, she possibly shot herself in the foot because the fecal incontinence seems to be self-reports from only 14 men.

Secondly, that link is to a book which uses multiple medical books and peer-reviewed journal articles, two articles of which are on the same linked page. Additionally, the author does not seem to be homophobic, right-wing or even sympathetic to religious objections to homosexuality (though he seems to be Christian but does not use that in his evaluation). And that’s what one would call, shooting yourself in the foot head.

If LGBTIs and those friendly to their cause want to move into normalcy, they need to stop the cheap shots or risk being viewed as loony as those they themselves view as loony.

14 thoughts on “You are your worst enemy

  1. Mmm. “Move into normalcy”. I don’t want that, so much as for my deviation from the norm to be seen as beautiful human diversity rather than threatening and wrongful difference.

    There are studies, and there are commentaries, some of which are polemic seeking to justify a particular point of view- gays are/ aren’t disgusting- and there are also people taking risks we think justifiable in the circumstances.

    Why should I mind being viewed as loony by the right-winger I view as loony? We disagree, I am sufficiently satisfied I am right to carry on with what I am doing, he thinks I am loony, so what?

    • I think most people want to be normal in that they are not viewed as threatening and/or problematic. While you don’t necessarily have to care about right-wing views, calling a person a right-winger when there isn’t strong evidence for such and making arguments which are blatantly wrong, hurts Clark-Flory’s cause. It also reflects very poorly on the pro-homosex commentators to her post. As for taking justifiable risks, Clark-Flory presented almost nothing scientific to that end. As for so what? There are many people who are on the fence on homosexual behaviour and mud slinging is not going to convince some of them to join your cause. And this is an issue where passions flare and people can end up dead.

  2. Pingback: Whose side are you on? | Clare Flourish

  3. First of all, I’d like to say this is my first time on this site and I love that picture!! It’s simply gorgeous. I’m going to have a little browse round some other posts so I can admire the picture and understand where you’re coming from. I don’t know much about the arguments in this particular topic, if there are physical side effects it’s irrelevant to anything other than healthcare. But I do find your closing line interesting, “If LGBTIs and those friendly to their cause want to move into normalcy …”. Haha, where does it dwell where you come from?? Oh, and excellent point that bisexual people are likely to skew the results of research. Best leave this sort of study to the normal heterosexuals. 😉

    • Thanks violetwisp. However, I think that you are wrong in thinking that if there are negative physical effects of anal sex, then this only pertains to healthcare. Rather, if one takes a purely irreligious view, it can be argued that LGBTIs are not selected for naturally and this would have large repercussions.

      • Why would negative physical effects of anal sex have any bearing on natural selection of specifically LGBTIs? Lots of straight people have anal sex, lots of gay men don’t have anal sex and there’s the small matter of lots of LGBTIs being, well, lesbians.
        If it were proven that there are negative side effects to anal sex this would be of consequence to those who want to prevent or treat the potential side effects. I recently gave birth to a baby and consequently suffer incontinence, like many women. Does this mean we’re not selected for naturally?
        Finally, if we were to ignore all the logic on the planet and accepted that LGBTIs are not selected for naturally – what difference would it make to anything? What would the large repercussions be? All I see is minority group of people struggling for the right to live their lives, harming no-one, in the way that feels natural to them.

      • Evolutionarily speaking, the primary aim is procreation and propagation of genetic code. This is not done in homosexual unions. While many heterosexuals engage in anal sex, they have the option of vaginal sex with child-bearing potential unlike homosexual couples. Additionally, some may argue that they’re actually bisexuals fronting as heterosexuals. Humans all suffer from anal incontinence (flatulence) and many suffer from fecal incontinence (intestinal disorders like IBS) but that does not mean that this is the natural state. Your own experience may have been due to injury and is said to be common among new mothers. But is it natural? Perhaps. If LBGTIs are not naturally selected, then someone is going to argue that they are genetically un-natural. This is then a stone’s throw away from being listed as a psychological disorder. This might then lead to forced institutionalization and treatment (for your own genetic good) and then the usual persecution will follow. Now please don’t misread me, I’m not here or there on the matter. I’m just saying that LGBTIs and those like the Salon author need to be careful in the arguments used.

      • Thanks for the explanation. I find that line of logic lacking in common sense on so many levels, but it’s certainly an interesting perspective and I can imagine some people would go for it. Rather than attempting to clarify my horror that such an opinion even exists on your page, I’ll make post and pingback. I hope you’ll be interested enough to comment.

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  5. This is actually a topic I have done some research on myself (from a laymen perspective). If the argument is about things being done “naturally” instead of for pleasure, one could also call into question eating cake, cookies, drinking soda …(and all of the restaurant and snack manufacturing businesses. 😉 ) What is the purpose of eating? or the need to eat? to survive, for health…should it ever be for pleasure? should it never be for pleasure? Is eating cake as unnatural as having sex for pleasure instead of for procreation?

    As to the topic of anal sex, one can go to any number of medical sites and see that it is in fact an issue that needs to be brought to light. Though I am not anti gay or lgbt, I believe I have seen the opposite of what you are representing. A tendency by the “pro’ side to obscure and minimize the very seriousness of the dangers. It is one of those issues in which it is taking so much effort to swing the pendulum away from fear and hate of those different that it has swung to cover certain facts , things like HIV/aids, and the dangers of anal sex if not using very serious precautions seem to be swept under the rug in efforts to include all as equal.
    Anal sex (from what I have seen) can be done with much less risk, IF several precautions are followed. Until we have finished with the hate, I think it will still be some considerable time before we are able to look at it realistically without assumptions, without fear, and without a willingness to overlook medical facts.

    • An act may be pleasurable and not be natural. In the case of eating nasty carbs, these are indeed pleasurable but they will inevitably lead to poorer health (natural deselection). I am not particularly concerned here about the mechanics of anal sex but more with the strength of arguments used by LGBTIs and those sympathetic to their cause. Unfortunately, as you have mentioned, we humans are too biased to look at issues realistically.

      • Yeah, my personal belief is that we have been raised as closed-minded individuals and have poor thinking skills. As a rule, we dislike debate, confrontation, following the evidence where it leads and questioning cherished axioms. One of the joys of being human I guess.

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