Something that has bothered me with fisting and the people into it is the shame and secrecy surrounding it. I’m talking about anal fisting among gay men specifically, and the stigma and shame within the gay community. Of course I don’t expect anyone to be discussing their fisting practices with their family or coworkers, but I’m talking about other gay friends, even sexual partners, with whom it is normal to share and compare sexual experiences. It seems, however, that fisters (bottoms perhaps even more so) are more reluctant to share this part of their sexual life than other pervs.

This is met my a prejudice against fisting from the general gay community, even among the leather/BDSM crowd. Look at, for example, the number of profiles on Recon who include”No scat, blood, or fisting” as their limits. I am trying not to be judgmental here (of course we all have our prejudices), but equating those three practices is ill-informed and self-centered. First of all, fisting is far far safer than the other two, for both parties. The safety implications of breaking skin and of blood contact are obvious, but, faecal matter is also a serious hazzard, both when ingested and when coming into contact with other body parts, such as the eye. (And yes, “brown” can happen during fisting but it is rare and usually easily dealt with). Secondly, the fisting bottom is not putting anybody else at risk with their behaviour – and neither is the top, assuming the session is consensual, whereas blood and scat have an impact on the larger community.

I’m not sure which came first, the shame among the practitioners or the prejudice from outsiders, but I am certain that they reinforce each other. By making the subject taboo, and by making themselves invisible, fisters allow everybody else to believe that this is a very rare, marginal activity, equivalent to other extreme and dangerous sexual practices. It also enables the perception that there is a direct and necessary link between fisting and chemsex, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as curious beginners get the impression that they will never be able to get into fisting without drugs.

This marginalisation of fisting seems particularly true in English-speaking countries, especially the UK. The French, and to some extend the Germans, are more likely to treat fisting as a normal extension of sex. In German personals sites, for example, fisting is usually a searchable category, something not true in most American equivalents. At least in Paris and Berlin, admitting that you are a fister does not cause the same scandal that it does in New York and London. I should probably also note that this seems to be changing generationally. As men appear to be getting into fisting at a much younger age – I blame internet porn but I’m sure I will get to that subject – they also seem to be arming themselves against the prejudice much better. Compare, for example, self-fisting or toy-play videos by men in their late teens and early 20s, to videos by more “senior” buttplayers. The younger men are much more likely to show their faces. So, hopefully, time will actually make this blog post obsolete.

Why do I think this is so? There are probably many factors, but a major one is probably the internalised misogyny of the gay community which equates bottoming (especially extreme bottoming) with the “feminine” role, and femininity with weakness and failure. I can’t really answer this question myself, but perhaps even I would feel much more reluctant to admit to my participation in fisting if I wasn’t a top. I have already explained before that to me bottoms, particularly power bottoms, extreme bottoms and fisting bottoms are highly admirable elite athletes, and that I respect them and perhaps even envy them for what they can put their bodies through. However, this is not the general view of our culture. At the risk of making this too personal for comfort, when I first came out, my father (who eventually died in denial about my homosexuality) insisted on knowing if I was a top or a bottom. In his (Greek) world view, topping would have gone a long way toward salvaging my respectability and my masculinity. (Of course being versatile was completely impossible in his imaginary).

I have already mentioned that I think this unfortunate marginalisation is changing because of the early involvement of younger men with the fisting community. I do think, however, that there is another factor at work – also largely mediated by the Internet. Compare more recent fisting porn to fisting porn from about 20 years ago: The practice seems much less “dirty”, the models much less “perverted”, and you don’t necessarily have to look for studios specialising in fisting or kink any more. And the models themselves do a lot to dispell the taboo as well – the healthier they look, the more butch they look, and the more “mainstream” they look, the more they benefit the visibility and acceptance of the fisting community. The incredible Ashley Ryder is probably the best example of this. I don’t think it’s possible to look at him get fisted (or play on his own with toys) and not admire and respect what he’s able to do.

What do you think? Do your friends know that you are into fisting? I would love to hear back from you.