The Art of Anal Fisting

You can play handball too; just follow these easy steps

 Editor's note: Tristan is on vacation, so here is a classic from those more innocent days of the late, late '90s.


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    Hello. I'm Eugene.
    by Eugene Mirman
  • "Anal fisting: party trick or real sex act?" A writer once posed this question to me during an interview. I giggled, but he did have a point. Most people think anal fisting is either a gay urban legend or a freakish sexual circus feat. Actually, it can be a real sex act and a party trick, if you play your cards right and know what you're doing.

    So where does one learn the art of anal fisting? In Florida, of course. A few weeks ago, the Hollywood Clarion Hotel, just outside Ft. Lauderdale, was the site of one of the few national events of the s/m community: "Living in Leather." This was the 14th annual conference of the National Leather Association International, an umbrella organization for 10 city or state chapters devoted to s/m politics, education, and social events. (There's an affiliate in Calgary, hence NLAI's international scope.) The weekend at the Clarion offered s/m seminar staples: workshops, meetings, shopping, awards, and play parties. As a professional known as Buttgirl, I had the honor of teaching two workshops this year: Anal Toys 101 and Anal Fisting.

    Now, when I say the words anal fisting, most people's immediate reaction is a wide-eyed, half terrified, half titillated "Yikes!" Take a deep breath. (It's all in the breathing.) Anal fisting, also known as handballing, is the gradual process of putting your hand (and for very experienced players, sometimes your forearm) inside someone's ass. Fisting as a term is misleading since you don't go inside all at once like a punch; usually your hand is not in a clenched fist once it is in there. Gay men popularized fisting in the late '60s and '70s during the sexual revolution and founded private fisting clubs in major urban areas.

    I've read and heard tales of these sex clubs, filled with hungry men, waiting slings, and cans of Crisco. Although it is an intense exchange of power between two people, fisting isn't exactly s/m. Because it is an outlaw sexual practice popularized by gay leathermen, it remains associated with and practiced by s/m folk, although not exclusively. Yet like s/m, anal fisting explores and tests the farthest reaches of the mind's and body's inner limits.

    Anal fisting is a rarity among women, even though vaginal fisting has been somewhat accepted. The vagina has long demonstrated its versatility, but sexual adventurers have paid so much attention to this one fabulously flexible orifice that they have overlooked the promise of the other. As a result, unlike gay men, women lack a history to hang on to like a sturdy sling, the legacy of fisting pros, or the role models to pass the skills from generation to generation.

    I was scheduled to teach the anal-fisting class with leatherman and leading handball expert Bert Herrman, author of the only book devoted exclusively to the subject, Trust: The Hand Book (Alamo Square Press). He also publishes Trust: The Handballing Newsletter. Bert, a fisting legend, has been putting his hands in men's asses since I was in diapers. A true meeting of the minds and asses, the workshop in Florida proved to be a unique bridging of different perspectives, genders, and generations. In our introduction, when we talked about warming up for fisting, our differences were readily apparent. An old-school fister, Bert's into getting high on pot and poppers and stuffing gobs of Crisco, whereas I am into endorphin highs and a nice, thick water-based lubricant.

    We viewed Handball Loving (Alamo Square/Erospirit Institute), which is unlike any video I've ever seen. Bert's approach to fisting is very spiritual; he sees it as a path to enlightenment and higher consciousness, a way to connect with a higher power and soul bond with another person. He draws on Eastern religions, particularly the principles of tantric sex. In that way, he is at the forefront of future sex, incorporating spirituality into sexuality.

    Then there is the simple amazement factor of seeing Bert with his arm almost to the elbow up his partner's ass, then later with both hands inside him. It really is a different kind of sex; yes, there's pleasure and intimacy and orgasm, but that's not all. Both men were transported into a deep trance, their bodies melding, their souls merging.

    That night, after the workshop, I was inspired. I've been anally fisted before, but it was a long time ago and I wanted to do it again. My girlfriend, Red, and I had already decided to host a small sex party, a half-dozen of us, in our room. I started with a medium-sized butt plug (appropriately called Voyager) in my ass, which I wore for a while, then switched to a larger, very thick red plug. Whenever that one slides in my ass, it feels too big at first, but inevitably I take a deep breath and in it goes.

    When I felt like my ass was relaxed and ready for more, Red put on a latex glove, slipped out the butt plug, and started working her fingers inside me as I lay on my back. I took lots of deep breaths and concentrated on relaxing and opening up. She eventually got all five fingers up to the final knuckles—the widest part of the hand, the dreaded sticking point. Totally turned-on, totally amazed that there was so much of her in my ass, I tried to flip over on my stomach. "Whoa, whoa," Red insisted. I was so absorbed I didn't realize I would've broken her arm if I continued to roll. I kept asking for more lube, but finally Red said, "Honey, you have a ton of lube in your ass. There's just no more room."

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