Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Human Body: Multi-functional by Design

@ chuckcat:
(Response to chuckcat's comment)

For starters I would ask you to read question #5 on the FAQ page, as well as take a look at the anal sex question addressed in this blog.  Beyond that, as an evolutionary biologist I can assure you of three things:   (1) Homosexual pairings and homogenital sex acts are readily found throughout the animal kingdom and as such are in fact natural.   (2) The human body is entirely capable of (and in fact even designed to) accommodate sex acts between persons of the same sex.  And (3) our common evolutionary ancestors from approximately 170 MYA were monotremes – mammals with a few reptilian characteristics – including a cloaca, which is a “multi-purpose hole” that acted as a urinary tract, anus, and genital/reproductive pore all in one.

Point three is important because it highlights our evolutionary ancestry as well as the amazing capacity, multi-functionality, and adaptability of animals, including humans.  As a species we retain the calling card of our ancestral past in our embryonic stage, wherein a cloaca still forms and eventually splits.  In a minority of women, however, it never does split, which causes a condition known as persistent cloaca (where the urethra, vagina, and anus remain fused and form one single opening and channel).

The latest research, out of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany, is showing a gene expression in the anorectal region which is also expressed in the reproductive tract.  This suggests that what is now the reproductive tract either evolved out from the anal canal, or that the anal canal evolved out from the reproductive tract.  This was followed by the cloacal evolutionary step, which then split in mammals to form the urethral, anal, and vaginal canals.  This would explain the interconnected pleasure-giving nerves found not only in the penis, vagina, and clitoris, but also in the anus and rectum.  Clearly the evolutionary adaptations of our early ancestors are still carried by modern man today, including the adaptability and multi-functionality of the anus.

It's interesting how some people may say that two males are simply not designed to have sex, while all the while those same people may enjoy anal sex with their opposite-sex partner.  For some reason they fail to see that there is actually no distinction, anatomically speaking.  An anus is an anus – there's no such thing as a “male” anus and a “female” anus, just a human anus.

We could also take a look at the human mouth as an example.  Its uses range from food intake, breathing and talking, to performing oral sex, coughing up sputum, and even vomiting.  The mouth may not have been “designed” to perform sex acts per se (evolutionarily speaking that is open to interpretation), but it does a very good job of it and is entirely accommodating of that purpose.  And bear in mind that we also kiss each other with our mouths, which is actually a very unsanitary thing to do.  The human mouth has approximately 750 species of bacteria crawling inside it at any given time, numbering in the millions per square inch!  A toilet on the other hand has about 50 germs per square inch.  That's right, it's actually safer to lick a toilet seat or paper money than it is to kiss another human.  I hate to kill the romance here, but that's just the cold hard fact of the matter.

Straight people find gay sex to be unseemly and unnatural.  This is no surprise because straight people sexually desire persons of the opposite sex, as dictated by their sexual orientation.  Likewise, gay people find straight sex to be unseemly and unnatural for them, because their sexual orientation dictates an attraction to persons of the same sex.  Both are natural orientations and both contain sexual aspects that will make the other wrinkle their nose and say “ick.”

Another problem that may arise in the minds of more “traditional” people, is the misconception that the rectum is nothing more than a sewer that is constantly full of feces and deadly germs.  This stems largely from our childhood, when mommy told us not to touch or explore our “under regions” because it's dirty and horrible, even though children do derive some level of pleasure from such self-exploration around the same time that they begin to notice and “play with” their penis or vagina.   This is noted in the fact that this particular stage in a child's development is known as the Anal stage (the second of Freud's five psychosexual stages of childhood) for that very reason.

Growing up hearing that we're filthy “down there,” and that it is a part of the body that is never to be seen or touched, we become adults who are anal retentive about our anal region.  It's quite unfortunate actually, because the anus is an erogenous zone and is literally packed with pleasure-inducing nerves which most people never explore or experience.  (As I have already discussed the myth that anal sex is pathologically damaging to the anal sphincter and tissue in a previous post, I will not cover that topic again.)

In regards to the rectum, it is not constantly full of feces.  When someone has the feeling that they need to have a bowel movement, then obviously the rectum is full and obviously that wouldn't be the best time to place a penis (or anything else) inside it.  Cleanliness is key, and it's really not that complicated.  My girlfriend and I happen to enjoy anal sex, and we've actually never encountered any problems with pain or fecal messiness.  A healthy, high fiber diet and cleanliness are key, as well as mutual respect and communication within the relationship.  Simple as that.

The versatility of the human body is able to easily adapt with brilliant multi-functionality, and that is precisely how it was designed
I understand that this may blow your mind, but biologically, anatomically, and evolutionarily speaking, the male body is simply designed for sex – period – and this includes male-female sex and male-male sex.  Equally, the female body is simply designed for sex – period – and this includes female-male sex and female-female sex.  The person with whom one desires to have sex is of course determined by one's individual sexual orientation or gender identity.  The versatility of the human body is able to easily adapt with brilliant multi-functionality, and that is precisely how it was designed.

As for male-male anal sex, the anus is entirely capable of accommodating an erect penis.  The anus is of similar size, flexibility, and location as the vagina, and, in my scientific opinion, it all seems to have been “designed” exactly so.  As an evolutionary biologist I suppose I could chalk it up to mere coincidence that the human body evolved in such a way, but for those who feel that the body is the perfect construction of God's own design, the question must then be begged: why?

Why did God design the human body to be absolutely conducive to anal sex?  Why did He make it the right location, right size, right length and depth and curvature, and why did He go a step further and pack the anorectal region with sexual nerves?  Interestingly enough, these nerves (the pudendal nerve) are the exact same ones that enervate the vagina, clitoris, and penis, and they extend the lining of the rectum to the exact depth to which an erect penis can reach.   A full half of all the nerve endings found in the pelvic region are found in the anus alone.  This isn't even counting the plethora of pleasure-giving nerves in the lower rectum.

The prostate is also perfectly positioned for male sexual pleasure, and is known as "the male G-spot."  If it was evolution, we evolved like that for a reason (adaptability and multi-functionality).  If it was divine design, it looks as though God knew exactly what He was doing.

As for female-female sex, never underestimate the power of the human tongue.  I know we men like to think our penises are the center of the universe, but if you talk to women about this type of thing it doesn't take long to realize that, for them, the clitoris is a major player in the game, and this is no design flaw.  Women achieve amazing orgasms from clitoral stimulation, and when women do not have an orgasm, more often than not it's because of a lack of clitoral involvement in sex.

Furthermore, the first 2 inches of the vagina is the most enervated section, and this is also where the holy grail (a.k.a. the G-spot) is located.  Fingers can easily reach 2 inches in, as can most tongues, so it doesn't take a penis to drive a woman wild!  (On a side note, this also gives hope to straight guys who got the "short end of the stick" in the penis department.)  Needless to say, there are enumerable sex toys and dildos that female-female couples can use as well, including harnesses which clitorally stimulate the one doing the thrusting as well as the one receiving.  And dildos have been around for ages:  archaeological digs have unearthed ancient dildos and sex toys dating back at least 30,000 years.

It's important to note that every woman is different – some prefer direct penetrative stimulation, some prefer clitoral stimulation, some prefer anal stimulation.  To each her own.  One of my friends at university was a bisexual girl, and she told me that sex with a woman was far better than any sex she'd ever had with a man.  Naturally I wanted to know more, and her answer was that women simply know what women like.  “With guys it's all about the penis – their main goal is to push it inside something.  While that can be nice, it usually leaves us ladies unsatisfied because the clitoris isn't stimulated properly enough for long enough, and neither is the G-spot.  Girls just get it – they understand other girls.”

So I think the approach you were taking, chuckcat, as a straight man seeing things purely from your own viewpoint, is the wrong approach.  The male body is designed for sex, period.  The female body is designed for sex, period.  Physiologically, our bodies are designed to go either way (bisexually).  With heterogenital sex the outcome can be procreation; with homogenital sex it cannot.  Given that approximately 93% of all humans are heterosexual (see question #4), this isn't a problem.  Earth's population is set to hit 7 billion this year, so we're in absolutely no danger of dying out as a species, I can assure you of that.

There's nothing unnatural about homogenital sex as long as it's natural for the couple involved.   It may not be natural for you because you're not gay and your brain isn't hardwired that way, but for gays and lesbians it is entirely natural.  This has nothing to do with making babies of course, we're simply addressing sex here.  Obviously two people of the same sex cannot reproduce, but that has no bearing on design, functionality, or "naturalness."  Oral sex doesn't lead to reproduction either, but that certainly isn't stopping anyone from doing it and enjoying every minute of it. :D

So chillax, chuckcat. You stick to what your orientation has set as natural for you, and let LGBTs stick to what their orientation has set as natural for them.  If you haven't done so yet I encourage you to read my page on the current scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, which could also help to clarify some things as well.

By the way, George Orwell also said “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
(Comments may be posted in the field below.)


j said... Best Blogger Tips

What I find silly is that chuckcat's post was made in response to marriage, an expression of love (usually, anyway) and not an expression of anatomical compatibility. Why should anyone have the right to deny that love from another person?

The Philippines is overpopulated and people marry at the drop of an unwanted baby. There's really not much to say about the perceived "sexual design" of opposite-sex couples.

Anyway, thank you, Erik, for your blog. I only wish more people would read it and be enlightened.

Erik said... Best Blogger Tips

A tip of the hat to you, J, and thank you for your kind words. I think you hit the nail on the head: marriage and love deal with the human heart, not with genitalia.

All the best to you.

chuckcat said... Best Blogger Tips

Calm down “j”, it actually does have alot to do with anatomy because of reproduction. That's why it goes with marriage. It isn't silly to address the elephant in the room. But I'll be nice.

Thank you Erik for answering my comment. It's something that isn't talked about alot, atleast not in what I've read before, and that's why I asked the question in the first place. But come on, are you seriously trying to tell us that the ass is made for sex??? I understand the point your making here but it doesn't mean the human body is designed for gay sex. They cannot reproduce and our design is to facilitate reproduction, right? That's the design. And an anus wasn't DESIGNED to have things go in but instead to go OUT. That's the design. I see your point but the fact remains that male and female bodies fit together, and that's the clear design.

Erik said... Best Blogger Tips

Well of course the male and female body are designed to “fit together” and procreate. Nobody is arguing against that. But that doesn't negate evolutionary (or creation-borne) functionality, and it doesn't take away from the fact that couples of the same sex can just as easily fit together.

As for the anus my point was that, in my biological and evolutionary opinion, the anus is in fact multi-functional. This is simply a fact. It's an exit point for feces, it's an erogenous zone, it's an entry point during sex, and it's also a point of entry for rectally-administered medications. Of course for most straight men there is no desire for it to be anything other than a one-way street (an exit), but for receptive bi and gay men, transgenders, and many women, it has a secondary sexual function, and its design does allow for that flexibility. It certainly neither discourages it nor prevents it.

The vagina, too, is clearly multi-functional: it is not merely a channel for men's sexual gratification. It is also a point of sexual pleasure for women, is a birth canal, and also an exit point for menstrual blood, which is the waste product of the uterine lining. Regardless, it cannot be reasonably argued that sex is only natural or “valid” if procreation is the outcome, or that marriage should be denied to same-sex couples for that reason. We do not forbid infertile couples from marrying, or couples that may be too old to have children. That is not the sole or main purpose of marriage, and it's not the sole or main purpose of sex either.

j said... Best Blogger Tips

"chuckcat," I'm not the one all aquiver about anal sex here, which is, by the way, also practiced by heterosexuals and not all practiced by the LGBTQI. So as far as your "sexual design" argument goes, it's pretty lame. Also, I doubt the mouth was made for sex either, but I'd think the straights would have a patent on that.

It has been pointed out by Erik that the ability to procreate isn't a precursor to marriage. Also, people marry for reasons other than raising a family. Some don't marry for love at all, but for the privileges that marriage gives. To say that LGBTQI people shouldn't marry because they can't procreate is naive, to say the least.

What's more, people harp on an on about the LGBTQI being "immoral" or "abnormal." Marriage is a pretty "normalizing" process a person can undergo and yet the community-at-large still deny them this basic right. It seems there is no pleasing the heteronorm, is there?

chuckcat said... Best Blogger Tips

What is this? J and Erik are tag-teaming up on me? Look “j” I really don't care if your gay or trans or into animals or whatever the case may be. If you want to be with whoever you want to be with that's fine, I'm not stopping you. I just don't think society should be forced to celebrate it and recognize it as marriage. Marriage IS normalizing yes, and that's really what you want isn't it?...to be normal. To take something abnormal, normalize it by calling it marriage, and then becoming a new kind of “normal.”

And to Erik, saying that the anus neither discourages nor prevents anal sex is debatable, because it is painful. That's a pretty good sign its not normal. What about an ear? It's an open hole and it doesn't discourage or prevent me from poking a chopstick in it, but that doesn't mean I should and it doesn't mean it's good for my ear if I do that, just because I CAN do that.

"j" said... Best Blogger Tips

Animals, really? Are we honestly going there? Your personal attacks are a true show of your character, "chuckcat."

No one is forcing anyone to marry a same-sex couple. No one is forcing anyone to go to a marriage they don't want to attend. No one is forcing anyone to congratulate married LGBTQI people. However, the state is certainly forced to recognize and uphold the rights of its citizens and not pass judgment on their morality.

Fact of the matter is, no argument against same-sex marriage holds water. No matter how abnormal people think the LGBTQI are, they are perfectly capable of the responsibilities and deserving of the rights marriage gives. If you realize that straight people can same-sex marry too for exactly the same rights, you'll see that the divide between opposite- and same-sex marriage is almost non-existent.

Why are you so obsessed about anal sex? It can be painful (and why do you know that? I wonder), but it can also be pleasurable. The same is true for vaginal sex. And oral sex. Or any kind of sex, for that matter. What's your point?

Obviously, Erik and I share similar opinions on the matter. Call it tag-teaming if you will, but you can't help that two people with the same thoughts argue against another with opposing ideas. Does the logic of that escape you?

Erik said... Best Blogger Tips

If anal sex hurts it means you're doing it wrong. If it's done correctly it's not painful or harmful, the same as applies to vaginal sex and oral sex.

With the ear, I'm afraid you're missing the point, chuckcat. Obviously the ear canal isn't a sexual organ. Its location, size, and non-erogenous quality clearly support that. Additionally, unlike the anus, it is a proven fact that if you go poking things in your ear you will instantly cause severe and potentially irreparable damage to the eardrum, the extremely delicate bones, and the cochlea, and may even cause deafness. A chopstick (or any other blunt, rigid object) is a bad thing to poke anywhere, by the way, including the vagina. I'm sure you meant it as an exaggerated example, but I'm just saying.

It's just not the same and I think you know that. I think you're grasping for straws now.

chuckcat said... Best Blogger Tips

You really have to have uppity answers for everything don't you. I think the George Orwell quote I put in my first comment is true here. You (and j too) are book smart but common sense stupid. Try buying a Bible and reading it. Ok? I'm done.
1 Corinthians 6:9

Erik said... Best Blogger Tips

Chuckcat, we were merely answering your questions and replying to your comments.

I already have a Bible; two actually. One in English and one in Norwegian. And yes, I have read and studied the few so-called “gay verses.” Thank you for your concern, though.

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