Is Anal Sex the New Oral?

According to a new study, the once taboo sexual encounter is becoming more popular than ever.

According to a new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, one in five women between the ages of 20 and 39 had anal sex in 2010, and 46 percent have tried it at least once, compared with just 33 percent in 1992.

Once thought taboo, anal sex is now more mainstream than ever. So are more women having anal sex these days, or are they just more comfortable admitting that they do?

"Men and women have always enjoyed having anal sex, so we're not sure why there's been a sudden increase," says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D. "But it might have something to do with the Internet, which was in its infancy the last time a survey of this magnitude was conducted." Today, people can anonymously surf the Web for how-to guides, order anal-sex toys online, and access a slew of anal-centric porn sites from the privacy of their own homes.

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Pamela Cleo-Godard, a 28-year-old office assistant from New York City, has had anal sex with only two men (one of whom is her current boyfriend), but views it like any other item on the sexual menu. "We have it whenever the mood strikes," she says. "It just isn't a big deal anymore. It's like how oral sex used to be something only a certain type of girl did. Now it's par for the course."

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