The problem with Kanye’s anal-shaming

Kanye West is always one for prompting conversations, and this week that conversation was about ass play. More specifically, denying that he enjoys anal pleasure, despite assertions to the contrary by ex-girlfriend Amber Rose. And some aren’t too thrilled with the way West responded.

West took to Twitter on Wednesday to pick a fight with Wiz Khalifa, rapper and Rose’s soon-to-be ex-husband. He mistook a tweet from Khalifa about marijuana to be about his wife, Kim Kardashian West, and things only got worse from there.

Even after Khalifa explained that “KK” stood for a strain of weed and not West’s wife, West couldn’t back down. He went on a tirade, attacking Khalifa’s music, and worst of all, his family. In one of his many now-deleted tweets, he wrote “You wouldn’t have a child if it wasn’t for me” and subsequently “You own waves [his upcoming album]??? I own your child!!!!” He’s seemingly referring to the fact that if he hadn’t broken up with Rose, she and Khalifa would not have had their son, Sebastian.

That’s when Rose jumped in.

At first, it seemed like West realized his mistake and was ready to move along:

Then just like that, he was back. This time, to address the accusations of ass play:

While it’s easy to say that West was just defending himself, his responses prompted a conversation about whether or not his language was homophobic. He seems to identify anal sexual pleasure as something to be ashamed of and something with which he doesn’t want to associate.

In an email to the Daily Dot, Fred Wyand, a spokesman for the American Sexual Health Association, weighed in on West’s attitude toward anal: “I don’t know enough about Kanye West or his relationships to comment on the back and forth he had with his ex, but we don’t think anal sex should be stigmatized. If a couple wants to do it, that’s fine!”

He pointed out that “anal sex probably occurs more often than people think,” and shared the Centers for Disease Control’s statistics on heterosexual anal sex. The stats show that “44% of men and 36% of women say they’ve engaged in anal sex with the opposite gender.”

Jamilah Lemieux, senior editor at Ebony, points out that West, with his 18 million Twitter followers, effectively discouraged other men from exploring anal pleasures.

Wyand and the ASHA agree that communication and education are key to reducing the stigma around anal sex. 

As with all things related to sex and relationships, this should include lots of communication about what each partner wants and boundaries so that no one is coerced into having any type of sex with which they aren’t comfortable… The anus doesn’t self-lubricate, so to make it more comfortable a good quality lube should be used. Again, all this takes lots of communication and being clear about what each partner wants or, as it may apply, doesn’t want.

It’s OK if West doesn’t actually enjoy being anally pleasured. But as they say, don’t yuck someone else’s yum. Just because you want to emulate West’s talent and lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to have the same sexual preferences.

“Open, frank communication with a partner is fundamental to giving and receiving maximum sexual pleasure,” Wyand said. “Mutual trust in each other’s desire to please while respecting personal boundaries can lead to heightened enjoyment.”

Photo via Pieter-Jannick Dijkstra/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Marisa Kabas

Marisa Kabas

Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.