Every couple of years, another once-scandalous sex taboo starts making its way toward the commonplace. A decade ago, blow jobs were what people whispered about; then three-ways became the naughty bedroom act. Now, it’s anal sex—but according to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Survey of Family Growth, it’s rapidly becoming a regular feature of hetero couples’ horizontal activities.
The survey, released last year, showed that 38.2 percent of men between 20 and 39 and 32.6 percent of women ages 18 to 44 engage in heterosexual anal sex. Compare that with the CDC’s 1992 National Health and Social Life survey, which found that only 25.6 percent of men 18 to 59 and 20.4 percent of women 18 to 59 indulged in it.
Anecdotal research also demonstrates curiosity is on the rise. Babeland’s anal-sex workshops are now held three or four times a year, instead of once, and they’re filled with straight couples. “More and more, people are devoting themselves to learning about anal pleasure,” says Carolyn Riccardi, education coordinator for Babeland’s New York retail stores. “Male-to-female anal sex has been happening since the dawn of time,” she says. “What’s different now is that women are actively learning how to enjoy it and have fun with it.”