Message from a colo-rectal surgeon
From: “Dr. Rick Shacket”
To: “Richard T. Nolan”
Subject: Reply: Anal Intercourse
Date: Wed, 28 Mar 2001
Hello Richard T. Nolan, Ph.D.:
Anal intercourse is potentially physically harmful. It can cause anal fissures
(cracks), thereby allowing the quick transfer of blood born diseases such as
hepatitis and HIV. There are also other consequences of fissures.
I believe that there has been some research that suggests that the rectal wall
does not provide much of a barrier to the AIDS virus, and that the recipient of
anal intercourse is quite vulnerable to contracting the disease if the
penetrator has the disease and ejaculates.
Less widely known is the fact that men who engage in receptive anal
intercourse have a higher rate of anal cancer than the general population.
This may be associated with the fact that men who have sex with men also
have a greater incidence of anal human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
Feces contain bacteria, which can cause a urinary tract infection (urethritis),
in men who do not wear condoms. Women can also get urinary tract
infections or vaginal infections if the feces laden phallus comes into contact
with the female genitalia. Furthermore, the bedding may also become
contaminated with these same bacteria if care is not taken to clean up
immediately after anal intercourse.
The anal area is rich with nerve endings. Many people find this to be a
pleasurable sexual activity. The difficulty is that the tissue wasn’t designed
for this sort of use. You may be interested to know that in New York, there
have been reports of consenting homosexuals performing on stage using
their fists. The receiving participant reportedly takes a muscle relaxant to
allow this violent form of penetration. This is an extreme form of sodomy,
which combines violence with sexuality. As you might imagine, the effect on
the tissue will have something to do with the level of aggressiveness of the
Also, different people have different levels of susceptibility to anal problems
such as fissures. So, I don’t think that I can settle whether this is harmful to
the body. It would depend upon the care of the participants to ensure that
injury was minimized, the susceptibility of the recipient to anal problems, and
the disease status of the participants – particularly the disease status of the
penetrator. I personally don’t think it is a good idea. But that is just an
A friend who is an expert on sexual violence said that many rapes involve
anal penetration. Since rape is not about sexual pleasure and more about
anger and domination, this might give your students some pause regarding
the merits of sodomy.
Rick A. Shacket, DO
Diplomate American Osteopathic Board of Proctology