Teen Vogue Wrote About Anal Sex — And The Right & The Left BOTH Lost Their Sh*t

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Teen Vogue Wrote About Anal Sex And Both Feminists & Conservatives Are Outraged
Buzz, Sex

Because who wants to teach kids when there's outrage to be had... amiright?

Oh, outrage. How the people of the Internet do love thee these days ...

And really, could there be anything more likely to get people's ire up in today's climate than the powerhouse combo of anal sex, teenagers, sexual orientation, gender identity, feminism, religious/moral self-righteousness and a wildly popular cultural icon that's been seen as incapable of doing anything wrong as of late?

Game on, people!

Because that is exactly the wet dream of a situation that presented itself to the moral superiority police on both the Right AND the Left when Teen Vogue printed the now highly controversial article, Anal Sex: What You Need to Know, by writer and sex educator Gigi Engle.

Over the course of the forward-thinking article, Engle covers a wide spectrum of topics from a teen-friendly POV, including:

  • Why people have anal sex.
  • How anal sex is different for people with male or female anatomy.
  • How to talk to your partner about it in a respectful, non-pressuring way.
  • How to prepare yourself, i.e. starting with small butt plugs, using lots of lube always, etc.
  • The importance of using condoms even though there is no pregnancy risk.
  • The real scoop about the poop factor.

As someone who is both a fan of the activity and the mother of a teenager, I found her take to be refreshingly honest, straightforward and fun. She manages to jam-pack large amounts of crucial information into just the right amount of text to engage and retain the quixotic nature of teens' attention span and sensibility, which is no small feat.

And now, as I suppose should be expected (*SO many sighs*) ... People. Are. Pissed.

An article in Pink News does a great job of summarizing the reasons for the tumult from two vastly divergent perspectives.

In THIS corner we have the champions of all that is wholesome and good.

They claim the article:

1. Encourages chaste and innocent girls to become puppets for the evil sexual desires of boys.

“Wake up, Moms and Dads! ... A magazine produced for your teenage daughters is giving them explicit instructions … It is teaching them to be used by a guy, in a very dangerous way, for his pleasure and satisfaction ... It is giving the clear message to every teenage boy that it’s perfectly acceptable to sodomize a girl, to use her, even physically hurt her for the sake of an orgasm ..."

2. Promotes and validates gay sex.

And, of course, it is glorifying as good, normal and healthy, the harmful practice of homosexual sex.”

And in THIS corner we have the challengers of anything that could possibly hint at being anti-feminist, misogynistic, homophobic, etc.

They claim the article:

1. Encourages chaste and innocent girls to become puppets for the evil sexual desires of boys.

"This sounds like an article that’s trying to convince somebody to try this … And oddly enough, it’s written by a woman.”

2. Reduces female anatomy to holes for men to fill.

"Feminists have attacked the article for using the phrase 'non-prostate owner', and saying that the diagram [pictured below] should have included a clitoris ...

JJ Barnes wrote in the Independent: 'The clitoris, the actual hub of female sexual pleasure, has been removed. The lack of a male body part is the focus of what defines the female body, and what is actually there isn’t identified at all ...

What is this teaching the audience of a magazine aimed at teenage girls? It tells them their identity is not ’woman,’ but rather ’non-man’ … [that] their body is just a hole for the man to penetrate, and the part of their body that is most sensitive and reliable for the female orgasm is so irrelevant that it doesn’t even warrant a label.'”

Well, fancy that!

Points number one from each of these opposite ends of the political/moral spectrum are EXACTLY the same!

Not only are they the same, but all four points are equally self-involved, self-serving and ignorant of what's going on with the population this piece was written for.

Here's my take:

1. Both sides ignore the fact that anal sex can be highly pleasurable for the receiver.

Yes, there are lots of reasons why both men and women find anal sex arousing that have nothing to do with the physical sensations. That said, anal sex can and does feel fan-tab-ulous for many people of any gender — if done mindfully.

Statements about how anal sex provides pleasure for the man only (from the Right) and how it's odd for a woman to write about anal sex for other women (from the Left) are, again, ignorant, judgmental, shaming and entirely without use or merit.

 

Related: What It REALLY Means When Your Man Wants You To Try Anal Sex

 

2. Both sides are implying — wrongly — that female humans are not sexual beings in the way male humans are.

When you argue that talking about anal sex teaches teenage girls "to be used by a guy, in a very dangerous way, for his pleasure" (direct quote from the Right) or as "just a hole for the man to penetrate" (direct quote from the Left), you deny the reality of the range of pleasure and sexual desire that is just as readily accessed by women as by men. In doing so, you are, in fact, insisting on a view of sex that is heteronormative, sex-negative and, frankly, outdated.

And our kids are a whole lot more sophisticated than that.

3. Both sides are being hypersensitive — again.

It would have been nice for the diagram to include a clitoris, but let's take a closer look at the diagrams for both males and females.

Welp, that could also include the clitoral hood, the inner labia, the outer labia and the urethral opening, all of which Teen Vogue has detailed and explained beautifully in the past.

And if we want to stand on the stated importance of the clitoris in relation to this particular article because of its role in female pleasure, we should also note the lack of a G-spot reference. The G-spot is just as likely, if not more so, to be responsible for what makes anal sex so freaking amazing for many women, and is in some ways the female equivalent of the prostate in regard to pleasure.

Oh, and what about the perineum (the diamond-shaped tissue between the vaginal opening and the anus on women)? That's another unlabeled key source of good feels for us gals. 

But wait ... what about the diagram of the male genital anatomy that was included?

Hmmm ... I think I spy with my little eye ... NO mention of: the urethra, the glans (also known as the head; and essentially the sexual pleasure equivalent of the clitoris for men), the corpus cavernosum (the two columns of tissue running along the sides of the penis that cause an erection when filled with blood), the corpus spongiosum (a column of sponge-like tissue running along the front of the penis that fills with blood during an erection to keep the urethra open), the coronal ridge (the flesh circling the penis and connecting the head to the shaft), the frenulum (the junction point on the underside of the penis between the head and shaft, often considered to be the most sensitive part of the penis) or the perineum (see above, but look in between the base of the shaft and the anus in this case).

Most illustrations in articles about sex positions leave some parts out, especially things like nipples and body hair. This article wasn't intended to be a comprehensive look at sexual pleasure, nor was it meant to be an anatomy lesson or a "get to know your body" piece.

Remember the part about the teenage attention span? There's a good reason the KISS model — keep-it-simple-stupid — is the BFF of anyone working with or writing for teens. It just works.

And for those who are up in arms about the term "non-prostate owners," I beg of you ... Give.Me.A.Break.

The phrasing is meant to be casual and conversational, not judgmental.

I've seen plenty of articles written by sex bloggers who use terms like "non-vagina owners," "non-penis owners," "non-uterus owners," etc. Summer's Eve, for example, has an article titled, "The Vagina Owner's Manual," which they adorably rated "VG," for "vaginally graphic."

It's a cheeky turn of phrase meant to do what all students of social work learn on their very first day in class: "Meet the client [or in this case, the reader], where they're at."

And you may not like what I'm about to say if you're on the Left, but if you're even 0.00000000001% honest with yourself you'll know it's true:

  • If Engle had written "for females" you would've been pissed, because women and girls aren't livestock.
  • If she'd used "women," you would've been mortally offended for the trans folx and decried the article as "cissexist."
  • And if she hadn't specified options by gender, you would have said the article was misogynistic AND homophobic AND transphobic.

 

Related: Why Teenagers NEED To Learn About About Foreplay In Sex Education

 

4. Both sides are ignoring the facts on the ground about being a teenager today.

This article was intended for a specific purpose: to provide accurate information for teens whose parents by and large refuse to believe that their kids are already aware that their body parts sometimes (pretty often, in fact) get "special feels," and whose schools refuse to teach this stuff because they think it should be parents' responsibility to do so.

Those kids ARE having sex. And they ARE having anal sex. And if we want them to be safe and responsible and respectful with themselves and each other, someone has simply got to teach them.

For her part, Engle seems only slightly phased by the brouhaha:

In my (somewhat humble) opinion, the people who have a problem with these little points of minutia are doing nothing at all to protect our kids, traditional households, morals or feminism.

They're just being assholes.

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