Why Do Republicans' Fantasies Involve Sex They Supposedly Abhor?

Illustration for article titled Why Do Republicans Fantasies Involve Sex They Supposedly Abhor?

Social conservatives are not keen on LGBT Americans. They use the word "abomination," they cite Sodom and Gomorrah, they fund multimillion dollar campaigns to deny same sex couples the right to marry. So why are they obsessed with anal sex?


Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune notes the right's recent fascination with the thought of being anally penetrated by Barack Obama.

Rush Limbaugh has complained, "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles . . . because this is the first black president." You can buy T-shirts and bumper stickers that say, "Bend over, here it comes," with the "o" in "over" duplicating the one in Obama's campaign logo. National Review's latest cover features a cartoon of Obama grinning diabolically in a doctor's lab coat, pulling a latex glove over his hand, and saying, "Just relax."


Certainly, this a step up from Rick Santorum's attraction to dogs, or Glenn Beck's unhealthy fascination with his sister or conservative writers David Klinghoffer and Joshua Berman's entire oeuvre; it's also part of a strikingly similar pattern: conservatives who seem obsessed with sex acts they claim to abhor. (Can anyone say "projection"?)

What's particularly striking about the comments that Chapman calls attention to is the way in which the metaphor consenting to penetration — with the implication that the penetration is anal — is constructed by conservatives as an act of exclusively male submission to something unpleasant. As women know, gynecologists also wear gloves and tell patients to relax, but the National Review cover cited by Chapman is obviously meant to be interpreted as the beginnings of a proctology exam. When Rush tells his listeners "to bend over and grab the ankles," he's isn't telling women to do so, he's suggesting explicitly that his white, male listeners are the ones who will be screwed by Obama's policies. From the proctology exams to the references to forced sodomy, social conservatives are referencing American males' supposed worst fears as a metaphor for what Obama's policies will do to them.

Furthermore, what social conservatives are implying by portraying penetration, anal or otherwise, as an act of unpleasant submission, is that they think that's what women are doing when having sex — and, while that might be true of Mr. Limbaugh's lovers, many women don't view penetration as an act of submission...or themselves as reactive vessels. It's a deeply disturbing, heteronormative, vaguely-rapey and Victorian view of sexuality. No wonder they think so much about fucking dogs.


Political Metaphors Hit Bottom [Chicago Tribune]

Related: Excerpt From Santorum Interview [USA Today]

Earlier: "Conservatives: Just The People You Want In Charge Of Your Sex Life"
Author Asks: If Every Man Could Have Gay Sex, Why Would He Need Women?

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Well, honestly, I don't think this is just a Republican issue, I think it is a jerky straight male issue, where the idea of having anal (and thus "gay") sex is the absolute worst thing that can happen to you. I have plenty of male, liberal friends who say things like "what, so I'm just supposed to bend over and take it?" when they're upset about something, despite the fact that obviously women do that all the time. I think it's unfair to make it a fear of penetration issue - it's a fear of gayness issue. Doesn't really have anything to do with women.