Sex is cool; Sex is exciting; Sex is fun; Sex is productive. But, like our people say, handshake that goes beyond the elbow ceases to be a friendly gesture; Sex that veered off the vagina penetration to penetrate the non-smooth but patchy anus/rectum path for sexual satisfaction may be heading for a disastrous ending.
Anal sex is any type of sexual activity that involves the anal area. It could be penetrating the anus with a penis, penetrating the anus with fingers or sex toys, such as vibrators or stimulating the anus using the mouth or tongue, popularly known as oral anal sex or fancifully refers to as rimming/ analingus.
Anal Sex & HIV
There might be no big deal in the socio-cultural construct of anal sex elsewhere, but in sub- Sahara African clime, it is almost a taboo to engage in heterosexual anal intercourse (HAI) not to even talk of MSM (Man sex Man) anal intercourse. Yet, anal intercourse is mentioned in the top 10 harbingers of death in the low-income countries of the world. Whereas, HIV/AIDS is among the leading cause of death in Low-income countries, Anal Intercourse is the big culprit in the transmission of HIV from person to person.
Anal Intercourse & Fecal Incontinence
Experts have established link between anal intercourse and fecal incontinence. In a study published by Frederick Gandolfo in the American Journal of Gastroenterology titled “Anal Intercourse and Fecal Incontinence: Evidence from the 2009–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” the studied 4170 men and women strongly linked anal sex with fecal incontinence. Fecal incontinence here means leakage or inability to hold liquid or solid stools or mucus. Imaging the discomfiture of going about in pampers because of a 2-hour odd intercourse. This is how the study linked fecal incontinence to anal sex.
The internal anal sphincter muscle, that is responsible for maintaining the resting pressure of the anus (i.e., keeping the anus closed, and keeping stool inside where it belongs), can be damaged by anal sex. Penile penetration can cause the sphincter muscle to dilate and stretch to the point that it lost sensation and control.
Here are a few key points from the study.
- About 37 percent of women and 5 percent of men have had receptive anal intercourse in their adult lives.
- Contrary to popular belief, women have the most anal sex in their twenties, and the rate drops off as they get older. In men, there are two peak decades in anal activity: the 30s and the 50s.
- Whites and “non-Mexican Hispanics” had the most anal sex when compared to blacks.
- Graduating high school increases the rate of anal sex dramatically. Graduating from college then decreases the rate to a small degree. People who did not graduate from high school had anal sex the least.
- A history of major depression was strongly associated with having anal sex in both men and women.
- Receiving anal sex results in a 34 percent increased risk of fecal incontinence in women, and a 119 percent increased risk of fecal incontinence in men.
It was not only Fredrick that linked incontinence to anal sex. A report from Lisa Rapaport of Reuters Health also linked Anal sex to increased risk of fecal incontinence among men who have sex with men. According to Reuters health report, researchers saw a relationship between the practice of anal sex and fecal incontinence more among men than women.
More Anal Sex Problems
Penetrative anal sex has a higher risk of spreading sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than many other types of sexual activity. This is because the lining of the anus is thin and can be easily damaged, which makes it more vulnerable to infection.
STIs that can be passed on through anal sex include:
- Chlamydia: This STI causes burning sensation during urination; yellow or green discharge from penis; pain in the lower abdomen and pain in the testicles(men); inflammation of the cervix (women). Oral sex with someone who has the infection raises the risk of getting chlamydia in the throat.
- Genital Herpes: symptoms include pain, itching and sores in the genital area
- Genital Warts: Soft growths that appear on the genitals causing pain discomfort and itching
Hepatitis B: It is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is a major global health problem. It can cause chronic infection and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer. Key facts of this STI include:
It Attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.
The virus is most commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth and delivery, as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids during sex with an infected partner, unsafe injections or exposures to sharp instruments.
WHO estimates that 296 million people were living with chronic hepatitis B infection in 2019, with 1.5 million new infections each year.
In 2019, hepatitis B resulted in an estimated 820 000 deaths, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer).
Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccines that are safe, available and effect
- Syphilis: It’s a bacterial infection that starts as a painless sore on the genitals, rectum or even in the mouth. Without treatment experts say the infection can damage the heart, brain or other organs and it can be life threatening.
Other infections caused by bacteria or viruses that can be passed on through oral-anal sex include hepatitis A and E. coli.
Medical conditions: Like hemorrhoids and fissures can be aggravated by anal sex. These are swollen veins in the anal region that can bleed when disturbed. Fissures are small cracks in the anal region, that also bleed and sting when aggravated. Both these conditions can be aggravated by anal sex.
From Anal Hole to Vagina Hole
Experts say the risk of spreading the STI becomes double when you switch unhygienically from anal intercourse to vagina intercourse with or without protective sheath. According to gastroenterologists’ journals, switching from anal to vaginal sex without washing the genitalia or changing the condom is very dangerous. This can cause transmission of certain dangerous bacteria. Bacteria that are harmless in the anus/rectum chambers become vicious when they are dispatched from their comfort zone to a less comfortable zone like the vagina.
With all these associated risks, why do people still engage in anal sex, particularly Heterosexual Anal Intercourse? What are the dangers of HAI on pregnant women? Join us next time for another interesting episode of sex health on citizen Comfort.
Source: Dare Agbeluyi, Chief Publisher.
Featured image photo by Jennifer. S
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