There was a time when talking about sex (particularly anal sex) had to be shrouded in smutty innuendo or (male) workplace camaraderie to avoid you being looked at as perverted or depraved. There were only certain times and places where it was acceptable to openly discuss the fact that we are all sexual animals.
Now of course it’s very different. Yes, I would never discuss my sex life with my parents or colleagues in the way that I discuss it on our blog and with Suze, but sex and sexuality are more openly discussed than ever. One of the hugest taboos is of course anal sex. Oral sex has I think already passed into the “normal” range of sexual activity for the vast majority of people already. But will Anal sex do the same?
Between 1533 and 1967 a person physically expressing their homosexuality constituted a criminal act in the UK. That’s not to say that the law dictates peoples attitudes towards their fellow human beings, undoubtedly there still remains a section of society that disapproves to a greater or lesser extent of homosexual relationships. And even before Henry VIII declared “The abominable act of buggery” illegal there was the petition to Edward III in 1376 that “Lombard brokers” and other foreign traders, particularly “Jews and Saracens.” be banished, because of that “foul act that shall not be named” that they were thought to have brought to Britain. Discrimination and prejudice have no boundaries it seems. Homophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Islamic sentiments all wrapped up in one horrible little package, all for the purposes of commerce.
It would be nice to think we lived in more enlightened times. Although prejudice does remain I think we do. It is now becoming more acceptable to talk about anal sex, both between men and in mixed sex relationships. A lot of men would admit to watching it in a porn movie, but not to actually having anal sex with their partners in case they were accused of latent homosexuality.
When women start admitting to it, as one of Suze’s colleagues did recently, another boundary has been crossed.
Suze didn’t tell me about it when she got home from work, she wrote about it and I found out what her workmate had said when I was proof-reading her post. I was amazed, amused and genuinely heartened by the revelation.
What worries me is that there are certain sections of society that would wish to reverse the changes put in place in 1967 in this country. Worse yet that some politicians seek to impose restrictions on other activities between consenting adults. What we don’t need at this point in the 21st century is to force diversity in sexuality underground again. Doing that would be a retrograde step and ensure that the true danger to our society, ignorance and intolerance, would prevail.