Select your language

Download HER

Micro History: Let’s Talk About Anal Sex, Baby

Aug 29, 2023

Micro History: Let’s Talk About Anal Sex, Baby
  • How British Colonialism ruined a good thing (again)

    A Brief History of Anal August 

    Back in 2012, a trailblazing declaration emerged, turning August into National Anal Sex Month.

    Who was the founding mother of this movement? A sex-positive retailer selling sex toys & books named Good Vibrations. Why? Because they’re not afraid of delightful surprises and wanted to help destigmatize safe anal sex and encourage people to embrace their sexuality sans shame.

    Anal August is a month-long celebration of anal that hopes to anal-ilate (sorry, had to) the stigma around ass play and help people embrace pleasure in all its forms. 

    But why is anal so taboo to begin with? Haven’t people been doing butt stuff since the literal dawn of time? Glad you asked! 

    Sodomy Laws, British Colonialism, and Homophobia

    Anal is actually pretty ancient. I’m talking Moche Civilization, which flourished from 100 to 700 AD in Peru, and ancient Greek and Roman times. 

    Yet, Sodomy laws remain a thing. Yup, you read that right. In the US, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas still have statutes criminalizing consensual sodomy, aka anal sex, to this day. 

    Why? Simply put, homophobia. No, seriously.

    Sodomy laws were used against the gay community throughout the 60s and 70s in the US, with nine states going as far as rewriting them so they could only be explicitly used against gay people. 

    Sodomy laws have:

    • Kept queer parents from having custody of their children.
    • Made it legal to fire and deny queer people from their jobs.
    • Kept queer people being legally protected under hate crime and civil rights laws.

    Who do we have to thank for Sodomy laws? British Colonialism. Is anyone really shocked? 

    A 66-page report published by Human Rights Watch described how more than half the sodomy loss across the world came from one law against homosexuality that British colonizers imposed on India in 1860.

    Scott Lang, the director of the LGBTQIA+ program at HRW at the time of this research, said, “Half the world’s countries that criminalize homosexual conduct do so because they cling to Victorian morality and colonial laws. Getting rid of these unjust remnants of the British Empire is long overdue.” I couldn’t agree more. 

    So… yeah, I would say this history adds a little fuel to my fire when I think about how amazing it is that we now have a National Anal Sex Month, even though we have ways to go. 

    Daniela Ochoa-Bravo is a writer and creative based in Brooklyn, born in Bogotá. She is the Founder and Editor of Colectivo Tabú, a project dedicated to democratizing the publishing industry by creating a space where the works of emerging and established artists can seamlessly coexist alongside each other.

    Newsletter Sign Up