And the act seems to be growing, because in spite of the society’s stance on it and how much it has been condemned by some medical experts, a report by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, under the United States Department of Health and Human Services, shows that 44 per cent of men and 36 per cent of women have had anal sex at least once in their lifetime.
Apart from those who tried it once in a lifetime, a report by WebMD, an American corporation that reports news and information pertaining to human health and well being, found in 2015 that as many as five to 10 per cent of sexually active women engage in receptive anal sex.
Notably, apart from consenting heterosexual adults and homosexuals, it has been observed that some of those who also practise it are young men and women lured into it based on money, while some children; young boys and girls, have been or are being sexually abused by older men.
Regardless, given that some have already embraced this backdoor action, it is however instructive to note that there are serious health risks attached to anal sex, and some of these include:
Severe physical pains:
One of the many adverse effects of anal sex is that it could cause serious physical pain, as the penile penetration could tear the tissue inside the woman’s anus, while the man could also feel some pain on his penis. This is mainly because the anus is not lubricated like the vagina, thus, thrusting might bring about some pains, more so that the skin on the penis is such a flexible one that is prone to tear on slight friction. Even though such people tend to use lubricants like cream, to lessen the pain, Dr. William Blahd, an emergency medicine specialist, who wrote on WebMD, noted that using lubricants does not completely prevent tearing of the tissue in the anus. While both persons may try to enjoy the act, it was also gathered that the pain after the exercise may not go away quickly, especially if the man has a bigger organ. Blahd would also point out that apart from the pain, consistent anal sex could affect the functioning of the anus and affect the overall health of such persons.
He added, “There could be bleeding after anal sex which could be due to hemorrhoid (a swollen vein or group of veins in the region of the anus) or tear, or something more serious such as a perforation (hole) in the colon. This is a dangerous problem that requires immediate medical attention. Treatment involves a hospital stay, surgery, and antibiotics to prevent infection"
While men who engage in masturbation have to contend with seminal leakage, in which case sperm begins to leak out of their penis even when there is no erection, due to excessive masturbation, people, including women and homosexuals, who engage in anal sex tend to have weakened anal sphincter, thereby reducing their ability to hold faeces for a long time. Blahd explained that anal sphincter, which controls the closing of the anus after defecation, is a tight circular muscle that constricts and expands, but that due to repeated penile penetration, the sphincter would be weakened, “making it difficult to hold in faeces until you can get to the toilet.”
Also, a gynaecologist, Dr. Bolanle Shukra-Okesina, said anal sex destroys the inner tissues and that such women or the (receiving) men, in the case of homosexuals, could end up using pampers. She explained, “The anus has a locking mechanism that keeps it close when you finish defecating. So, if somebody continues to traumatise that area, that place relaxes and becomes slack, such that the anus won’t close anymore.
“After a long time of practising it, the person would start having loose release of gas and stool because the sphincter in the anus would have become slack. I’ve heard a lot of young guys that put on pampers because of that. It’s also applicable to young guys who are being abused or lured into it by older men because of money.”
Free ticket to STIs
According to experts, sexually transmitted infections can easily be transmitted through anal sex. According to Blahd, this is partly because if the penetration of the penis tears the tissue inside the anus, it serves as broad opening for viruses and bacteria to penetrate the bloodstream of such persons, and the infections that could be transmitted in this regard include HIV. He said studies had shown that sex through the anus is 30 times more risky for HIV infection than sex through the vagina. He added, “Our external tissue has layers of dead cells that serve as a protective barrier against infection. The tissue inside the anus does not have this natural protection, which leaves it vulnerable to tearing and the spread of infection.” Even though using a condom could reduce the likelihood of getting infection, it has been said that condom is not an absolute (100 per cent) protection against infection.
Shukra-Okesina also explained that there are some organisms in the stool and some in the inner canal of the anus, which a man could easily contact during anal sex. She added, “For people who get involved in it, they contract those organisms and so they are prone to having infections. And the effect of having to treat several infections along the genital tract is that it can block the tract, causing difficulty when they want to make a woman pregnant, because that is the same tract semen passes through.” This is applicable whether the man does it with a male or a female.
And it should equally be noted that the possible health issues connected to STIs include pain with urination and intercourse, vaginal bleeding and discharge, rashes, itching and odour oozing out from the genitals, infertility, reproductive system cancers and inflammation of the coiled tube at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm.
The anus has loads of bacteria
As the canal for human waste (faeces), it has been found that the anus is a breeding ground for bacteria, and Blahd stressed that even if both of the persons involved in the act do not have sexually transmitted disease before the act, the quantum of bacteria in the anus are capable of infecting the man, and that is easily caught through the penile penetration. While anal sex on its own is as risky as can be imagined, Blahd warned that the situation could be worse if the man and the woman engage in vaginal sex after anal sex. He said this could lead to vaginal and urinary tract infections, and the urinary tract includes bladder, ureter, urethra and kidney. And for those who like to put their mouths in the anus, perhaps out of sexual excitement or adventure, Blahd warned that oral contact with the anus could make both persons stand the risk of hepatitis, which is a disease characterised by inflammation of the liver, human papillomavirus infection, which could result in anal cancer or warts, which is a small, hard, benign growth on the skin, caused by a virus. Meanwhile, there are reports that some men who had sex through the anus were found to have the hard-to-treat Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, which is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body and it is tougher to treat because it is resistant to common antibiotics. According to WebMD, it can cause serious skin infections, infect the bloodstream, the lungs and even the urinary tract. Notably, this infection can be passed among sexual partners.
Apart from the infections and other effects that have been identified, anal sex has also been found to cause anal cancer. According to Shukra-Okesina, anal sex could also lead to cancer, due to the changes in the nature of the tissues in the anus. She said, “On the long run, once the nature of the tissues changes, which is known as metaplasia, the mucosa, which is a membrane that lines various cavities in the anus and some other parts of the body and surrounds internal organs, also becomes infected over time. It becomes inflamed. And so these continuous abnormal changes of the mucosa would lead to anal cancer on the long run.”
(Credit: Tunde Ajaja)