their impact on the formation of contemporaneous 'Gay male' attitudes to anal sex


Martin Finn

Martin Finn

'Something to react against'

Along with many others, my interaction with the Cockrub Warriors site, and with Bill Weintraub in particular, has led me to do a lot of thinking on the subject of 'Gay culture's' obsession with anal sex, and prompted me to read and talk with others as to how this phenomenon has come about. Speaking from the point of view of a man who likes to have sex with men, and who was born and raised in the UK, I offer this essay as a contribution to our ongoing discussion of men and anal sex. I have no 'unassailable truths' to state, but, as Bill has said, simply put forward this current synthesis of my on-going interaction with this cockrub community and my wider reading, talk and research.

Currently, here in the UK, gay media, safe sex organisations and commentators would assert that they do not promote or encourage anal sex, but merely respond to what gay men are doing in their private sexual lives: i.e. fucking and all the risks that go with it. They constantly reaffirm that frottage is not important enough for them to engage with, as, largely: no one is that interested or dying from it. An important thread of their argument supporting this policy is that there is no point telling males 'what not to do', as, along with the majority of humans, there is a chance that men will do just what they are advised NOT to do . for that very reason. We can call this 'the teacher says NO' syndrome. In socio-constructionist terms, proscribed behaviour can lead to a wider knowledge of and therefore higher incidence of said behaviour.

In Great Britain we know that this 'fear' informed the attitudes of legislators right up to the present day. In the late 1800's and early 20th century the prevailing accepted wisdom was that by making laws against homosexual activities, UK society was accepting the fact that such activities were widespread enough in the UK to warrant laws against them. This would undermine the national and international concept of British 'maleness' and 'masculinity'. Latterly the arguments against homosexual male law reform have become polarised around the notion of not undermining the primacy of the 'family' by normalising same-sex relationships within our society.

As some of you will know, the UK establishment (and particularly the police), have a wide armoury of laws with which to harass, stigmatise and punish gay men. They are grouped under laws covering 'indecent behaviour'. However, Buggery laws carried the heaviest prison tariffs and therefore were targeted by reformers.

E.M. Forster stated, ". it is not that the British dislike homosexuality . they dislike having to think about it." Having recently read the debates in parliament (lords & commons) from 1967, this comment rings very true. The British establishment in 1967 was gravely affronted that groups of organised 'buggers' had the audacity to lobby for and push through reform of the antiquated sodomy laws. In the press at the time many commentators opposed to reform dubbed the legislation the 'Sodomites' Charter'. The link between men who like to have sex with men and anal sex was already cemented in society's warped vision of male-to-male love. Enshrining a right to 'unnatural practices' in law, to the man and woman in the street, meant men were now going to go off and fuck one another like bunnies. In the private of their own homes. But by having the law . everyone knew they were doing it.

The fight for the right to fuck left us with a new 'social dynamic' among gay people which celebrated and promoted this new right. Everything else was just playing around. Nascent Homophile organisations and 'out gay men' accused of promoting and practicing anal sex by the moral right-wingers . felt motivated to defend their new found right to fuck . assertively . even if they did not enjoy it themselves. Questioning the 'quality' of this male-to-male interaction could be seen as cultural betrayal. Taking the other side's point of view.

This attitude is manifestly present to this day. By encouraging discussion of and information on frottage and cocktocock sex, activists are branded as 'minority voices', 'promoters of their fetish' or proselytising the interests of gay men who are either 'not developed' or married or in the closet. There seems to be a fundamental mind block from many in the gay media and safe sex establishment about what it means to initiate 'dialogue'.

The AIDS disaster, which continues, offered an opportunity to bring to the surface a frank discussion of homosexual male sexual practices. In my mind, an overdue reassessment by 'gay men' of how they experience intimate love. Instead we have had 20 years of defending and accommodating 'our right to fuck', with no meaningful dialogue of the other ways that men like to have sex with men. (I exclude from this the medical and mechanical analysis of the modalities of viral transmission via fucking, sucking and docking.)

Essentially, because of this law and 'gay culture's' reaction to it . fucking has become a totem within the paradigm of what is seen to be a 'regular gay guy'.

It has been said that because the Warriors site clearly states its opposition to the anal sex hegemony, that we are saying, in a legislative sense, that men should not fuck with men. For some that may be true. The louder clarion call I think increasing numbers of men hear from the site, is that they now have a place where they can say . "I DON'T like getting fucked or fucking another man" -- in fact, "I'm ANGRY at all the pressures I find in gay culture to give it or take it up the ass." "I am a man who likes to have sex with men without fucking.". without being vilified or denigrated. Just the opposite -- men who feel this way are welcomed on the Warriors site -- in a way which they are not on ordinary "gay male" sites anywhere on the web.

Yes we are attacking a gay cultural totem. Yes we are questioning the values and decisions made by our fellow men. The challenge laid down by the frottage movement is simple: remove the blinkers, come out into the fresh air of new thinking and let's talk about what we are doing to our bodies and to ourselves. Examine what our cultural signposts and behavioural examples are saying to young men attempting to fashion a fulfilled sexual identity within our community. We are equipped for the discussion . are you?

It's good to talk .

Keep saying it! Cocktocock rules!!


I am aware that continental Europe, where the Code Napoleon has prevailed for a long time, has a 'gay culture' with a similar anal hegemony. As a frequent visitor to France, Italy and Spain, I am exploring the religious and social structures, which impacted strongly on a gay man's ability to live freely within society ... and which still do to this day.

We may find a similar 'branding' of men who like to have sex with men as, 'sodomites to a man', with similar cultural repercussions on the way male homosexuals fashion their sexual identity and behaviour.

Martin Finn

London, July 2002

Copyright © 2002 by Martin Finn

Copyright © Martin Finn July 2002

All articles, stories, and other material on this site are protected by copyright. They may NOT be reproduced, whole or in part. Webmasters and hard copy publishers must contact Martin Finn for permission to reproduce his work and Bill Weintraub for permission to reproduce his written material or any other part of this HeroicHomosex site.

Other works on this Heroic Homosex site by Mart Finn include two articles in Warriors Speak
The Cockster: Mystical Master of CockToCock and Phallic Mating and the Dickroot Ridge Rub
And, in Heroes, the essay Cock To Cock, and the accompanying story Studs.

In addition, Mart is the author and webmaster of the very popular site

Responses to Mart's article can be posted on

under the header "Sodomy";

and I've posted a response below.

After Word
Bill Weintraub

First of all, I thank Mart for this terrific article.

And for his understanding of the anal hegemony as a response to currents and changes in British culture and law.

In the US, we've never had a nationwide revision of the sodomy laws.

The US Supreme Court had an opportunity to nullify the sodomy laws in 1985, and refused to do so, with crippling consequences for the progress of gay rights in America.

So we still have 15 states in which sodomy is illegal, although sodomy itself is variously defined: in some states it's anal sex regardless of the gender of those involved, in others anal sex between men, and in yet others any sex between men.

But it's still unthinkable that in the US we would have a congressional nullification of sodomy statutes analogous to the parliamentary reforms in the UK.

However, that in no way negates the value of Mart's analysis, for it is indeed the case that in the early days of Gay Liberation here in the US, we believed it essential to defend all same-gender sexual practices, including anal, fisting, and S&M, even if we ourselves never participated in them, and we became even more determined to defend anal when anti-gay bigots attempted to stigmatize PWAs because they'd contracted HIV anally.

So Mart is absolutely correct when he says, "Nascent Homophile organizations and 'out gay men' accused of promoting and practicing anal sex by the moral right-wingers . felt motivated to defend their new found right to fuck . assertively . even if they did not enjoy it themselves. Questioning the 'quality' of this male-to-male interaction could be seen as cultural betrayal. Taking the other side's point of view."

And the same is true of promiscuity. Although many in Gay Liberation were uncomfortable with the explosion in promiscuous sex in the late 1970s (please see A Somber Day and Do Gay Men Have to be Promiscuous? for my discussion of that era), we believed that promiscuity was a natural expression of the gay "folk," and that we had no right to speak against it.

In addition, as I've noted in articles like Frot: The Next Sexual Revolution and the Cockrub Warrior Interview, I also believe that in the latter 1970s gay men, who were becoming increasingly conservative, exalted anal sex because it mimics str8 sex; and I refer interested readers to those articles for a fuller discussion of that historical process.

So the factors which produced the present-day cultural domination of anal sex are complex, and once again I thank Mart for his discussion of the effect of the effort to overturn buggery statutes in the UK, which adds immeasurably to our understanding.

Way to go, Mart!

Now I want to address some of the points Mart brings up that are commonly used by analists -- that is, those people seeking to prop up the anal status quo -- in defense of their antipathy to participating in any discussion of issues around frottage and anal.

First of all, the "teacher says NO" phenomenon which Mart refers to in his 2nd paragraph, can just as well refer to all safer-sex education, and in point of fact, Chuck Tarver and I have argued on this site that safer-sex campaigns geared primarily toward condom use actually increase the level of unsafe sex, a position which researchers in the UK have supported.

Next, the oft-repeated analist canard that frottage is a " fetish."

The term "fetish" refers to an obsessive sexual interest in an object or body part, an interest which is alleged to interfere with "full sexual expression."

But, frottage, like procreative heterosexual sex, is full-body genital-to-genital sex, and as such virtually defines "healthy sex."

Because it's most often practised face-to-face, heart-to-heart, and cock-to-cock, in a full-body embrace.

So frottage is full sexual expression -- genital-to-genital, and full body.

Nevertheless, analists insist on bandying about the word "fetish."

Yet if anything qualifies as a fetish, it's the obsessive interest inculcated in "normal gay men" in the anus, which is not a genital organ, but an organ of fecal elimination, and which promotes a type of sex in which there's very little bodily contact besides that between the penis and anus.

One can see that clearly in the plethora of anal porn in which the "top" brutally penetrates the "bottom" who is kneeling or on all fours, his anus serving as little more than a receptacle for the "top's" penis, while the "top" touches him only when necessary to steady his body or administer a slap to the "bottom's" buttocks.

That use of the anus and buttocks is fetishistic.

And without question putting your penis in a non-genital orifice that's full of pathogenic fecal material is a bizarre form of sex.

The fact that many gay men do just that does not make it in and of itself psychologically healthy.

On the contrary, human beings often engage in bizarre and self-destructive behaviors, particularly if those human beings are members of a despised minority.

But even those in the majority may do things in response to cultural and peer pressures which aren't good for them or even remotely sensible.

Smoking is a good example of a self-destructive behavior which achieved a certain glamour for a time, but is now being discarded because it's perceived, correctly, to be dirty and dangerous.

And that's what's going to happen to anal.

So Frot isn't a fetish -- rather it's a way for men to have sex that connects them genitally, feels great, is full-body, and is remarkably safe.

One simply can't say the same of anal: it's not genital, it's painful, it's not full-body, and it's dangerous -- even with a condom, far more dangerous than frot.

Second analist canard: Men into frot are proselytizing.


On the contrary, it's men into anal who proselytize non-stop.

For example, Dr. Stephen Goldstone of "," who writes an advice column for The Advocate and is author of a book titled "The Ins and Outs of Gay Sex," claimed in a recent Q an A on his site that "many str8 men are discovering the pleasures of anal stimulation," and gave lengthy advice on how str8 men might learn to play with their rectums.

Similarly, Dan Savage, a syndicated gay "sex-advice" columnist currently appearing on the PlanetOut/ monolith, writes that str8 women enjoy gay male porn because "nothing is missing. There's holes, there are cocks, and nothing much is missing. ... [T]wo guys can penetrate each other just fine, thanks, without a woman around."

And then Savage tells a young man that "One potential pitfall of youthful masturbation, however, is habituating yourself to a particular kind of stimulation. If you masturbate in the exact same way every time, or if you hold your cock in a death grip every time, you may find it difficult to climax as the result of other, more subtle sensations. So don't grip yourself too firmly, and don't masturbate by humping the same scratchy bit of your mattress over and over again. Make an effort to vary your style and you'll make an easier transition from your own right hand to the less intense, more subtle, and infinitely more pleasurable sensations provided in your true love's twat, throat, and tush." [emphasis mine]

So gay male writers throughout the media routinely propagandize and proselytize for anal sex, sending out literally thousands of cultural messages that butt play is desirable and anal sex is "infinitely more pleasurable" than "humping."

Those are cultural messages aimed directly at gay and nongay men, and they are proselytizing.

The brutal reality is that men into anal push anal sex the way a dealer pushes heroin -- and with equally disastrous results.

But of course analists have to proselytize for anal.

Anal sex is a learned behavior -- men have to be initiated into it.

Little boys don't grow up finger-fucking themselves; rather, men have to be taught to accept anal penetration -- which is what folks like Steve Goldstone and Dan Savage do, for pay and for profit.

So -- guys into anal claim that frot is a fetish and that we're proselytizing.

The reality is that anal is a fetish, and they're proselytizing, and making money off it to boot.

Do we in the Frot Movement appeal to men who consider themselves str8 or are closeted?

Yes -- because our message resonates for them.

But we're not the problem -- what's keeping those guys in the closet is the insane and narrow definition of gay as anal, effeminate, and promiscuous.

No rational man would want to be part of such a culture.

But when those same rational men, who have been suppressing their same-sex desires, encounter our site, they say -- Wow! this is what I've been looking for -- a way to connect sexually with another man that doesn't destroy me or betray who I am.

There's NOTHING wrong with us offering these men a better way to have sex with men -- we have a right and an obligation to do that, and we will continue to aggressively do so.

Because what we're doing in the Frot Movement is asking our fellow men who have sex with men to make *realistic and accurate* assessments of sexual pleasure and risk.

And pointing out that when they do that, they will see that the pleasure in anal is low and the risk very high, while the opposite is true for frottage -- high pleasure, low risk.

If men into anal don't agree with us, that's their decision. No one is going to take anal sex away from them.


The physical, spiritual, and psychological health of all men who have sex with men is at stake.

For even with new treatments for HIV in the works, the physical aspect is vital. Tom Coates, principal architect of AIDS prevention programs in the US, warned in the SF Chronicle on June 22 2002 that because of the resurgence in anal promiscuity, the next epidemic is out there waiting to happen.

Dr. Coates is right. Unless there's a significant change in behavior, the community will be devastated again.

So Cock to Cock has come out of it's analist-imposed closet, and it's OUT FOR GOOD.

Ordinary men into anal have nothing to fear from the frottage movement. Frot is simply our gift to you, and if you don't like it, or don't agree with our analysis of pleasure and risk, no one's going to coerce or force you to do frot instead of anal.

Even though we've been pressured and coerced for years to do anal instead of frot.

But we will criticize and hold up for public discussion the work of analists -- that is, those men who in print and online and to make money labor to prop up the dominant culture of anal sex -- men like Stephen Goldstone and Dan Savage and Walter Armstrong.

Because we have every right to do so.

And while we're always willing to dialogue, it has to be a two-way street.

I've been writing to Steve and Dan and Walter for two years -- and gotten nothing in response.

So I'm going to take our non-conversation public.

It's time for the anal hegemony to end.

It's time, as Mart says, for fresh air and fresh ideas.

We're more than willing to talk.

But we will not be censored or silenced -- every time you shut us out of one venue, we'll appear in another.

And eventually, the public, gay and nongay, will begin to ask -- why can't these men be heard?


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