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Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012

Oct. 21 Is Fisting Day

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Many of the links in this article are “not safe for work” in that they contain nudity or depictions of sexual acts. They are also awesome and educational. Please do click on them when you’re somewhere that is safe for you to explore sexuality-related topics.

Oct. 21 is the second annual Fisting Day, organized by feminist pornographers Courtney Trouble  and Jiz Lee to raise awareness about this particular sexual activity, which involves inserting the entire hand into a partner’s vagina or anus.

Fisting is not a new practice—I’ve written about it twice in the past. In this column, I discuss fisting safety in response to a reader question,  and in this one I talk about the basic mechanics of anal or vaginal fisting.

So why does it deserve its own day? It is one of a few activities (including menstruation) that are still often censored in pornography due to fear of being labeled “obscene.” Really? It’s OK to show a vagina or anus being penetrated by more than one penis at a time, it’s OK to show gangbangs, it’s even OK to show porn that is straight-up racist by anyone’s standards—but it’s not OK to show a hand in someone’s orifice? This is completely illogical and is due, I think, to a misunderstanding of what fisting is.

Fisting is not a violent act. Fists aren’t always used for punching or hurting—sometimes they’re used to give pleasure. Penetrating a partner with your hand is an incredibly intimate act that takes a lot of time, trust, communication and opening up to one another—literally and figuratively. It’s the sex equivalent of the slow food movement. I believe that its censorship is due to the fact that it is often perceived as a queer act, something done by lesbians, gay men, trans people or others under the queer umbrella, even though this is something that anyone with a hand and a willing partner can try.

This censorship leads to a lack of educational materials about fisting. We carry some books and DVDs that feature fisting at the Tool Shed, we stock nitrile gloves and lube for safer fisting, and we occasionally feature classes that discuss fisting (most notably Midori’s “How to Eat a Peach,” which we host at least once a year). But for Fisting Day 2012, you can participate in an online presentation about fisting for all genders presented by Tobi Hill-Meyer and hosted on Queer Porn TV at 8 pm CST. Fisting may or may not appeal to you and your partner(s). But no safe, consensual sex act should be kept in the dark, and that’s why I think Fisting Day is important.

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than 15 years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.