There I was, going HAM on bae’s D — “Wait, what’d you just say?” I choked as I looked up from the carnage.
“Stick it in my butt.”
That was the first time someone asked me to even acknowledge his asshole during sex, let alone stick my finger where the sun doesn’t shine. A pretty decent fan of regular old digital penetration, I was, naturally, into it. Since then, I’ve begun asking for consent from subsequent partners to do the same thing to them, but whether they granted it or turned it down for whatever reason, I was surely making headway in the realm of breaking the ass taboo.
I soon discovered that the fortunate deterioration of this taboo is often attributed to us millennials. Not only is our generation way more inclined to touch, lick, grab and smack “dat ass” — with consent, goddamn you — but we’re also way more comfortable talking about it. Go us. The term “rimjob,” still vaguely LOL, is no longer reserved only for middle-school toilet talk. It’s now pretty kosher to whisper “eat my ass” into someone’s ear without seeming like kind of a pervert — thanks, Nicki Minaj.
So what can account for such a renaissance of a practice once commonly considered “deviant” or “shitty”? Why this insistence of the ass as the “new,” trendy source of sexual pleasure? As if a large part of the LGBT community hasn’t been having better sex than any of you heterosexuals for aeons. Much like how any cultural phenomenon or practice previously marginalized by normative society gets inevitably dragged into the mainstream, the recent obsessions with the ass and anus are no exception.
This allegedly youth-driven anal fixation is a phenomenon that is undeniably linked to a wider cultural obsession with the butt — the big butt, more specifically. While the glorification of the ass is mainly centered on women in the media — for better or worse — its repercussions transcend sex and gender. The butt is, in effect, being given more attention than it knows what to do with, and it’s only natural for this overflow to seep into the cracks, so to speak. The correlation between our pop-cultural obsession — mainstream porn included — with everything “ass” and a rise in reported ass eating, finger banging, penile banging, etc. is no coincidence.
U.S. Vogue, similarly to the New York Times, recently received scorn for its article on the “Dawn of the Butt,” claiming that it’s now not only socially acceptable but also “trendy” to embrace our fat asses, thanks to the likes of J-Lo, Iggy, Bey and Nicki, among other sex-positive divas. You can now be decidedly middle-class and do squats — but not too many — and even eat pizza! We’re finally allowed to simultaneously wear Balmain and have cellulite. Sounds great on paper — but only when ignoring the obvious difficulty of appropriating a body part for a fashion statement.
I’ve been constantly reminded of my fat ass since it sprung up on my 5-foot-3 frame at 15. Am I now supposed to feel validated that my butt is socially acceptable thanks to pop music? Does a butthole snap count as a #belfie? Has Anna Wintour even heard of the “Thong Song?” Even more astonishing is that mainstream America has decided to ignore the fact that the hip-hop and Latino music game has been celebrating the badonk since even before people bragged about eating pussy.
Despite the problematic nature of media’s official stamp of approval on the popularized, gentrified ass craze, the sheer face time of the bubble butt is undeniably making waves on our screens and in our bedrooms. Such overexposure — yes, inherently objectifying, but we should all just get over it — of all the “big, fat-ass bitches in the motherfucking club” can’t be all that bad. Whether “Anaconda” gives you a raging headache or a raging boner, Nicki Minaj and her fellow female icons do deserve some credit for their promotion of sex-positive empowerment and a reappropriation of the feminine slut complex. Without claiming that these women are in any way representative of a realistic or unaugmented body, at least the mainstream booty “trend” — if we must call it that — aims to decriminalize curves and break the ass taboo in general.
Beyond mere toleration, our obsession with “butt stuff” has just about knocked the pussy off the pedestal to make way for a rarer gem. This isn’t just about women’s bodies. While butt injections and implants have been popular among women for some time now — I see you, Kim Kardashian — according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, men are also now artificially enhancing their derriere. The struggle is very real for us all, it seems, but this doesn’t have to be entirely negative.
“Anytime anyone goes near my butt, I cum instantly,” my heterosexual friend mentioned to me once. While this might be a bit much, his reaction makes sense to me. Whether our society has turned the asshole into a sexual powder keg begging for attention or it’s precisely this anal taboo that entices and intrigues, the phenomenon goes deeper than J-Lo’s twerking in Spandex and weird red sunglasses. Despite all else, it’s a trend that utilizes its mainstream notoriety to inspire further boundary pushing behind closed doors, regardless of gender, which I’m personally down with. After all, there’s a reason why Khia wants her pussy and her crack licked — get it right.
A previous version of this column may have implied that Lil’ Kim was the artist of “My Neck, My Back.” In fact, Khia wrote and recorded the song.