I find it weird that straight people cannot get their minds out of our asses. They’re obsessed with how we have sex, what happens before and after. It’s even weirder when they’re homophobic. Like you hate it, so why are you always thinking about it?
I met this lady a few weeks ago, claiming to be an LGBT ally and all, and we were having fun until she honestly asked me, “I heard that lots of gay people that have had anal sex eventually end up wearing diapers and even come down with anal cancer. If they know the end from the beginning, why do they still engage in anal sex? Aren’t there other ways of showing they love each other?”
In one sentence, she brought together two of the most commonly used myths about gay people, that they use diapers and that they come down with anal cancer.
So, I decided to set her straight. Let’s begin.
Gay Men And Diapers
I swear, this rumor is so pervasive that I definitely believed it growing up. I think many other gay men did too. The myth states that when gay men have too much sex, the sphincters become too loose and they become incontinent and can’t keep shit in, literally, hence the diapers. Well, it’s been years and I’m yet to find a single incontinent gay person. Seriously, gay men, how many of your friends use diapers? None? You know why? It doesn’t work like that. Anal sex is not about loosening the sphincter permanently. It’s about voluntarily relaxing it temporarily. You learn over time how best to relax the sphincter so that there are no tears to it.
Now, occasionally, tears may occur to the sphincter, most commonly to the external anal sphincter. These tears are usually small, incredibly painful and cause great difficulty or pain when taking a shit or having anal sex. This is an ANAL FISSURE. Here, the person can get constipated because of how long it takes him to summon the courage to take that painful shit. Notice however that they do not become incontinent. They become the very opposite.
In cases of significant tears or other factors, it can actually cause incontinence, but the rate is miniscule, about a 6.3% increased risk compared to men who do not have anal sex.
Compare this to the myths that make it seem like diapers are top of a gay man’s starter pack list.
Gay Men And Anal Cancer
This one upsets me because it’s used like such a curse. “I hope you die of anal cancer” and other threats get thrown about on the daily, and like most other things, it’s much ado about nothing. How morally bankrupt do you have to be to wish another human being cancer.
Anal cancer can be caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, the same virus that causes cervical and vulvar cancer in women that have had sex (or been exposed in some other form) and some types of Nasopharyngeal (throat) cancer in men and women that perform oral sex. Exposure to the virus is all that is needed to create the likelihood that a person can get certain forms of the cancer. Condoms reduce the area of exposure of the HPV virus but not completely, as it can still be passed through whatever genital or pubic areas that are not covered by the condom.
So, people who have anal sex aren’t special. They just have anal exposure while others have other exposure. Even then, their risk of getting anal cancer is substantially low unless the person is co-infected with HIV. And then, only with the reduced immunity that comes if the HIV is poorly managed does the risk of anal cancer significantly increase.
The United States estimated the risk at 131 men per 100,000. That’s 1.3 men for every 1000. Note also that the rate according to this study is 46 men per 100, 000 for men who have HIV but have never had sex with other men. So, it’s more linked to HIV infection and the reduced immunity it brings.
Yet, the myth has spread quickly as though it’s this thing that all gay men eventually get.
Regardless of your views on homosexuality and anal sex, it remains important not to let myths guide your prejudices.