A Gut Feeling: Anal Pleasure, Holistic Sexual
Health, and Interpretations of AIDS
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio - Part # 1 of 7
G called the other day--very excited. She said someone found the cause of AIDS. I replied that many of us believe we already know the cause of AIDS. “Isn’t it HIV?” I asked.
She said, “yes, of course, that would be an infectious agent.”
“This is a different cause, then?” I asked, excited.
“Yes, it’s an interpretation that’s not related to an infectious agent, and yet accounts for everything we’ve seen in LGBT communities.”
“Sounds great. An interpretation, you said?” I probed. I know G always thinks in literary terms.
“Yes, an interpretation. That’s what a scientific hypothesis is: a plausible interpretation of data that awaits confirmation.”
“And does this one make sense?”
“So now the alarm is over, we don’t have to be afraid: to hell with protection, lubes, condoms, tests . . . . right?”
“Wait a minute! You’re jumping to conclusions. Did I say anything goes? I said that a biological, organic, holistic interpretation has been found that accounts for why certain behaviors and environmental conditions are so pathogenic, and how to avoid them.”
“Ok. So what’s the condition called?” I asked.
“Intestinal Dysbiosis.” "Intestinal Dysbiosis?" "Intestinal Dysbiosis!" "And what is it?"
“It’s a dysfunction of the gut--also called intestine--that’s due to abusive behavior toward its ecosystem--behavior that does not respect its biological function and integrity,” G explained.
“Sounds like it’s got something to do with anal pleasure. Must be homophobic! Feels like a new religious ploy to condemn anal sex.”
“No. Not at all. First of all, anal sex is a very rich style of sexual pleasure that anyone can enjoy: Women, straight men, transsexuals. Haven’t you read Tristan Taormino’s guides to anal pleasure for women and men?” G asked.
“Yes, I have. They work very well. They teach how to proceed with caution, prepare for penetration, communicate, generate the right amount of arousal first. Anal pleasure is an art as she’d say.”
“Yes, precisely. This new interpretation is also artistic, it’s based on a different epistemic foundation for science that values the arts of loving. It’s Gaian, in the sense that it assumes that life flows through ecosystems that are interconnected and need to be respected to function well.”
“Including our bodies?” I asked, perplexed.
“Including our bodies,” G replied, “why did you think we’d be the exception? Respecting our bodies as ecosystems is the art of loving ourselves."
“Right,” I said, “as your friend Suzann Robins claims, ‘to have healthy relationships we must be healthy.’”
“You got it! I’d say this interpretation is based on a holistic paradigm of sexual health.”
“Ok,” I said. “And what’s holistic about sexual health?”
“Well, it’s a way to respect the body as an ecosystem that needs to stay in balance with itself when you practice love and any style of erotic expression,” G explained.
“And so, is there any kind of pleasure that would threaten this balance?” I asked, uncertain.
“I don’t think so. Not if practiced naturally and in moderation.”
“Ah, ok. . . . What about anal pleasure? Wouldn’t a lot of people qualify anal pleasure as ‘unnatural’ per se?”
“They would if they knew nothing about nature, which is queer and quirky in so many ways. As Betty Dodson says, ‘we are all quite queer’ as long as we love ourselves. Diversity is the secret of life, remember? Gaia is already always gay. And so the arts of loving are infinite as well.”
“Of course, G. That’s your usual point,” I said. “But I’m not sure I follow the connection between Gaia and anal pleasure. Can you get into some more detail?”
“I’d be happy to. Gotto go right now though. Let’s talk tomorrow, ok?”
 Tristan Taormino. The Anal Sex Position Guide. New York: Quiver, 2009. The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. New York: Cleis Press, 2006. Amazon.com: tristan taormino: Books