"Pat Robertson, the prominent televangelist who founded the Christian Broadcasting Network, made the Christian right a powerful political force and unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988, died on Thursday" reports CNN.
Why is this relevant? While I won’t go too deep into his "dystopian legacy" (as Rolling Stone put it), I actually briefly mentioned Robertson in a YouTube video I published in 2019.
In this video, entitled Men’s Anal Pleasure, I show a short clip of Robertson, where he says the following:
“Let me tell you. It doesn’t matter what custom you’ve got. It doesn’t matter what holy thing that you worship on the door. The gays are going to get it. They’re going to make you conform to them. You’re going to say you like anal sex." - Pat Robertson
I chose to show this particular clip because I think it exemplifies a very common belief many people have, that ‘gayness’ is equivalent to anal penetration or, more to the point, that anal sex is solely as the domain of gay men. Because let’s be real, Robertson’s not likely to be thinking of lesbians when he says this.
Not only is Robertson’s opinion explicitly homophobic, but the underlying assumption about anal stimulation is demonstrably untrue. There are plenty of gay men who don’t experience a lot of pleasure from anal play and there are plenty of straight men who do. In fact, the association of doing butt stuff with being gay is so prominent in the work I do with men that I address it at some point with almost every single one of my clients and in the majority of my workshops.
This fear of being labeled “gay” for enjoying having your bum played with is pervasive. First - and hopefully you don’t need me to tell you this - there is nothing wrong with being gay, so that fear is unfounded. Second - and this is an important concept - what you do sexually does not determine who you are sexually. That isn’t how sexual orientation works. There isn’t a switch hidden inside your asshole that, once it gets flipped, turns you gay.
You can enjoy anal play and not be gay just as you can be gay and not enjoy anal play. If you’re a straight man and you receive anal penetration from your female partner, you are, by definition, having heterosexual sex. The act itself means nothing about your orientation. If you are attracted to and desire to have sex with men (which again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with), that is what will determine if you consider yourself gay.
I work with men every week who have this fear around anal play and I can tell you from my observations that working through and letting go of this internalised homophobia is a liberating, empowering, and transformative experience for them. They feel freer, more sexually open, and have a deeper compassion for their partner, as well as the men in their life.
Even though Pat Robertson has died, people like him will continue to spread misinformation and hateful rhetoric about sexuality. I encourage you to seek out the sex-positive, pleasure-positive, information that is out there and be a source of this positivity for others. You’re here reading this, so you’re probably already doing that, so keep it up!