In the last few weeks you have sent us to Maldita.es a content that affirms that there are “medical reasons” why anal sex is “a bad idea” or is “harmful to health”, in which it lists that this type of of practices carries a series of risks or health problems or, on the other hand, indicates that “nature” has not prepared this part of the body for sexuality.
In previous articles we have discussed the importance of condoms to avoid the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during sexual intercourse and we have denied that those sexual practices that are not aimed at procreating are “unnatural” and therefore ” worse” or “harmful”.
In this case, this content for which you have consulted us links anal sex with specific health problems and justifies it, on the one hand, with scientific literature published more than 40 years old and without recent review, so it may be outdated, especially in terms of the population incidence of certain diseases or health problems about which we have more up-to-date knowledge; and on the other, linking to the fact that some practices or parts of the body are more or less “natural” for sex.
Anal sex, if performed with precautions, does not carry health risks (like any sexual practice)
The content states that “anal sex can lead to the destruction of the immune system, intestinal dysbiosis, infections, parasites” and other health problems. As explained to Maldita.es Francisca Molero, president of the Spanish Federation of Sexology Societies (FESS) and director of the Ibero-American Institute of Sexology, all this is flatly false as long as the necessary security measures are used : “Anal sex is a practice more within the range of sexual practices, which there are people who like more or less, and it can be done in a totally safe way”.
The sexologist and sociologist from the State Association of Sexology Professionals (AEPS) Norma Ageitos adds, in statements to Maldita.es , that the risks that the content mentions “are similar to those that can happen in the case of vaginal penetrations if given in the same harmful context (without security).”
Jose Vicente Roig Vila, director of the European Center for Colorectal Surgery and co-director of Coloproctology (specialty of medicine focused on the colon, rectum and anus) of the Hospital Nisa 9 de Octubre in Valencia, who details Maldita.es , expresses himself in this sense that anal sex with all the precautions ” does not carry a particularly significant risk of anorectal lesions or infections.” To this he adds that the possibility of suffering a trauma from practicing it “except for cases of sexual assault, which is not what we are talking about, is negligible “.
The fundamental protection measures for the practice of anal sex are the condom , “the only method that helps prevent the risk of sexually transmitted infections,” and lubricant . Molero adds that for some cases and people “a previous dilation is needed , for which some type of dilator can be used, but always with lubricant and condom.” The expert rules out that an enema or enema is necessary before practicing anal sex: “If a condom is used, it doesn’t have to be done.”
Regarding the fact that anal sex carries the risk of fecal matter mixing with the bloodstream, Molero clarifies that this does not have to happen if condoms are used as protection. In addition, the sexologist recalls that the anus has its own mucosa and that, like the oral or vaginal, have protective functions but can also be exposed to infections or contamination. “That is why it is important, in any sexual practice in which we want to feel more secure, to use protection, even in oral sex.”
Semen has no immunosuppressive effects
At various points in the content it is stated that “allogeneic” or “foreign” semen in the body itself has immunosuppressive effects (lowering the defenses of the immune system). As the president of the FESS explains, “there is no scientific evidence to say that, at all.”
However, he points out that when there is an exchange of fluids between two people, “whether at the level of saliva, with kisses, or other secretions”, the organism is capable of recognizing the entry of external agents present in these fluids (that is, , the microbiota of the other person) and stimulate their immune system if necessary. In fact, there are studies that suggest that people who maintain a more active sexual life have higher levels of certain antibodies than those who are less active, although their results are limited and must be taken with caution.
On the other hand, the blog links the fact of having anal sex and being exposed to someone else’s semen with the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a disease that progressively weakens the immune system. The cause of AIDS is HIV, a virus that is transmitted by certain bodily fluids: blood, semen, precum, rectal secretions, vaginal secretions and breast milk of a person who has HIV. Therefore, it is false that semen is responsible for causing this disease, but that it is only one of the possible vehicles of this pathogen. As Molero points out and we have explained in Maldita.es , the correct use of condoms protects against transmitting or contracting HIV.
There are no parts of the body that are more or less “projected” to have sexual relations
Lastly, the content points out on several occasions that the anus is not an organ that is “projected” or “prepared” for sex, either by stating that” nature has not provided it for this” or by pointing out that it is “the vagina” the part of the organism “that is designed by nature to have sexual relations”.
In this article about hoaxes related to the LGTBI community, we already warned about the arguments that say that sex only has a reproductive function, so that everything that is not oriented to procreate is “unnatural”, but that is not a scientific argument or doctor, but an opinion.
In this case, the expert recalls that there are no parts of our body “that are more prepared than others for sex” , not even the genitals. “That is a very reductionist vision of sexuality, which goes much further than fertility,” she concludes. Ageitos, for his part, emphasizes that human bodies “have tools that are designed for reproduction, but that does not mean that it is their only use.”
Sexuality is not restricted solely to a series of certain parts or organs, nor to the practice of vaginal penetration, but rather involves biological, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual feelings and behaviors. Therefore, pointing out that there are parts of the human body that are more or less oriented for sex is an opinion, and not a scientific or medical statement, despite trying to camouflage it as such.