Sodomy laws popped up all over, criminalizing anal sex. Punishment varied, but you could face imprisonment or fines depending on the state you lived in. That’s right.
On display at Anal Through the Ages at the Museum of Sex.
Photo by Gigi Engle
Prison mate: What are you in for, Jerry?
New Roommate: I liked doing butt stuff. The coppers threw me in the clink.
It seems weird now, but it wasn’t long ago that this was actually happening. The judicial consequences for anal didn’t even begin shifting until the 1960s. It wasn’t until Lawrence v. Texas 2003 that sodomy laws in the Texas were removed, making sex between members of the same sex legal in every U.S. territory. Seriously, 2003.
Anal In the Spotlight
It wasn’t until recent years that anal became somewhat of a media darling; the year 2014 was declared the “Year of the Booty.” What was once so highly taboo had made its way into popular culture. Anal has moved into a place of relative normalcy, rather than a fringe practice. This, of course, brings up more questions about consent and safe anal practices. In response, we are also seeing more education and open discussion.
The event’s last two tables were devoted to how to we think of anal now, and where our attitudes are headed in the future. A multiplicity of cutouts from magazines showed how the mainstream media has taken to glorifying anal sex. Every magazine from Glamour to Cosmo had a piece on anal.
This table also poignantly showed some of the outdated views on anal sex that still run rampant through our society. They even included an article I wrote for Teen Vogue, outlining the basics on anal sex in a scientific, biological and inclusive manner. When I wrote the piece I (and my wonderful editors at TV) aim to provide accurate information to teens. Teens, we believed, needed real, clinical facts about anal sex, a type of sex at least 10% report having had.
As it turned out, my piece received intense public backlash. It was proof that people still harbor intense homophobic and sex-negative attitudes. It was truly shocking to see the word “sodomy” used in not only emails, comments and tweets, but on Fox News, a major network.
“Looking back at how anal play/anal sex have been perceived throughout history really calls attention to how stigmas and taboos are similar to trends in that they come and go, but ultimately have very little to do with actual facts," Sinclair told Kinkly.
"By taking a look at nature as well, we were really able to call attention to the fact that there is no 'natural' or 'normal' - nature, in fact, boasts nearly every sexual feat you could imagine. I think showcases like these - that delve into the origins and evolution of various sexual acts - help dispel modern myths by showing just how fleeting social perceptions towards sex can be,” Sinclair said.
As it turns out, humans aren't the only animals that enjoy a little backdoor action.
Regardless, Anal Through the Ages was an example of how far we've come in our feelings and acceptance around “alternative” sex practices. Fierce women and men, out in the open, holding a little New York party all about the butt.