This article appeared in the Gauntlet on September 15th, 2011.
Slavoj Žižek — the quick-witted, foul-mouthed philosopher — punctiliously proclaimed “fist-fucking” to be — simply — “Edenic,” and ultimately, under my auspicious observation, Žižek is correct. Anal-fisting, a sexual act whose relatively high level of difficulty to perform with success, foreseeably prompting revulsion in sensitive ears, is the fullest and most intense manifestation of sexual capacity, pleasurability and sexual expression.
Žižek’s insights — contained in his 1997 work The Plague of Fantasies — were predominantly theological-sexual speculations about Adam and Eve before the Fall. However, with a dash of courage, the thrustful arguments made by the Slovenian wit can conveniently be extended into contemporary sexual discourse, especially in respects to homosexuality/homophobia, issues of dominance and control and the powerful symbolic role of the hand as the object of penetration. Anal-fisting is the culmination not of just unquantifiable personal sexual orgasmic experiences, which commonly limits discussions of sexual pleasure, but rather it is the fullest manifestation of the sexual act as it relates to sexual ability, limits, pleasure, expression and symbolic relations and power. But, of course, as one anonymous Montreal author stated, “Why fisting? Why not? We all are constantly searching for higher and more fulfilling planes of sexual pleasure.”
Sexual activity involving anal play, particularly the act of anal-fisting, is seen by a significant majority of present society as being a predominantly perverted homosexual act. In the words of sex-blogger Tristan Taormino, “Most people think anal-fisting is either a gay urban legend or some freakish sexual circus feat.” The present efforts seek to dissolve and move past such judgements, which are themselves the actual perversion. Anal-fisting is not the sole property of any one orientation or partner relationship. Whether performed by a single individual, two men, two women, a man and woman, two people of whatever sexual identity or multiple people of whatever sexual identity, fist-fucking oversteps the demoded hetero/homosexual dichotomy, receiving the entire sexual spectrum much as the ass receives the hand: in a steady, lubricated thrust. As anal-fisting knows no sexual boundaries, it is the crowning jewel of omnisexuality activity — the prime pansexual pleasure.
The next feature in favour of fist-fucking being considered the fullest manifestation — the most ‘Edenic’ expression — of the sexual act is the necessity of Will that is required to succeed in the act itself. The necessity of Will divides into two intertwined points: resistance and overcoming. From a physical standpoint the ass is a highly flexible orifice, more than capable of receiving a fist (hand) into it. The difficulty of the act resides in the psychological determination required to surmount the mind’s own opposition. In Žižek’s words, one is “penetrated in the region in which ‘closure,’ resistance to penetration, is the natural reaction.” The term ‘closure’ as used by Žižek is specially meaningful, as its antonym, ‘opening,’ is reflectant of both what is necessary physically and of the ‘openness’ of Mind required. To relax — akin to a meditation — and overcome the mental difficulties present and accept the fist of one’s partner is to lay down all judgements, physical and psychological, in the pursuit of pleasures oft forbidden to unopened Minds.
One of the most striking properties of fist-fucking is the symbolic role of the hand. As Žižek notes, the hand is “not the phallus (as in ‘normal’ anal intercourse) but the fist (hand), the organ par excellence not of spontaneous pleasure but of instrumental activity . . . What enters me is not the phallus, but a pre-phallic partial object.” The hand, in psychoanalytic terms, cannot be rendered into the receiving subject’s ‘narcissistic illusion of completeness,’ obliterating the phallic-centred desire/dominance ego struggle so characteristic of contemporary sexuality.
Furthermore, anal-fisting requires passivity on the part of the receiver. It is through passivity that anal-fisting transcends homophobic tendencies, extends beyond dominance and control and provides the intense experience of pleasure. Forced to remain passive, especially in a culture whose sexuality still suffers the nightmares of patriarchal dominance, the receiver must overcome their own inhibitions, so often homophobic in nature, in order to succeed in the edenic enjoyment available.
The determination of Will required to quell the tendency towards closure and control. The pre-phallic symbolic nature of the hand as a giver of pleasure. The breaking of restrictive limits so common in sexuality, the understanding of one’s body and of sexuality imbued from the knowledge gained through exploration. The passivity required for receiving and the blurring of sexual-orientation distinctions into pansexual unity all astoundingly announce that anal-fisting is the prime pansexual penetrative pleasure — the fullest manifestation of the sexual act.