I'm writing in response to your column about "gerbiling." You stated that you don't have to be a gay man to do it, and it's impossible anyway. Your first point, that you don't have to be gay, is absolutely correct: anybody with a butthole can theoretically do it, not just gay men. You were wrong on your second point, however: it's not impossible. I know; I'm a straight man and I've done it. And I'm writing you to tell you that it's not done the way you described.
Here's how I did it:
Because you can't buy gerbils in California, where I was living at the time, I went to the pet store and bought a white rat. I wrapped a thin strip of duct tape around the rat's mouth, holding his jaws shut. A thin strip is necessary so that neither the nose nor the eyes is covered with tape--that would harm the rat. Then I bound the rat's legs (I didn't cut them off!) with more duct tape. Obviously, if the legs were free, the rat would claw the hell out of my butt. Next I tied a string to the rat's rear legs, not to the tail. I tied it to the tail at first, but it slipped off with just a little tugging. Finally I stuffed a length of lubed-up PVC pipe up my butt, not a wet cardboard tube. Using a toilet-plunger handle, I pushed the rat up the pipe and into my ass.
As you might imagine, the rat does thrash around quite a bit. I didn't find the sensation to be pleasurable, however, and pulled the rat out. After washing the rat off, I let him go in my backyard. Overall, I found the experience to be disturbing, and even with the precautions I'd taken I found myself bleeding for a couple of days afterward.
So that's how it's done. And I imagine that you could do it with a gerbil if you live in a state where it's legal to buy them.
I'm sure you're thrilled to find your letter in the column, but don't think it's here because I believe your rat-stuffing story. First, if you'd ever stuffed anything in your butt--besides your head, of course--you'd know a tapered end is an absolute necessity. Everything that God and His angels intended to go into or come out of our butts is tapered at one or both ends. Think digits, dildos, dicks, tongues, and turds. No amount of lube or goodwill, Pet Lover, could safely get one end of a wide-open PVC pipe up your butt.
As for your rat-stuffing tips: I spoke with rat experts in Chicago and New York City--two cities with large rat communities--and both laughed off the suggestion that a "thin strip of duct tape" could hold a rat's jaws shut for more than a minute. "Rats have these incredibly powerful jaws--they can chew through anything," a courteous exterminator in New York City told me. "A rat could pop that tape off his snout quick. It's not possible to tie or tape a rat's mouth shut. And why would someone do that, anyway?" When I explained why, the exterminator asked that I not identify him by name. "I don't want anyone seeing my name near something like that, OK?"
Finally, not that I believe for a minute you actually bought that rat, taped that rat, stuffed that rat, and retrieved that rat, but if your story is true, by far the cruelest thing you did to that poor rat was release him into your backyard. According to Jeff at Pets on Lex in Manhattan, a store-bought rat wouldn't survive long in the wild. "They don't know how to hunt," Jeff told me, "and the city rats will kill them." How long did that rat survive after you released him? "A day or two, tops."
Thanks for your column debunking the gay-men-and-gerbils urban legend. I was dumbfounded the first time I heard about "gerbiling," and understandably offended as a gay man and an animal-rights activist. All gay males should do more to expose gerbiling as the myth it so clearly is. If not for ourselves, then for the animals. --Tom
Yes, by all means, gay males and our straight-but-not-narrow allies should do more to expose the gerbiling myth. If not for our own sake, then for the sake of defenseless gerbils that--well, aren't really being harmed, since gerbil stuffing is, after all, a myth. But so long as this urban legend is given credence by 13-year-old boys and broadcast by grown-up shock jocks, other rodents in pet stores will continue to harass gerbil youth. And studies have shown that the suicide rate among gerbil youth is two to three times higher than the suicide rates among other rodent youth. PETA, why are you silent?
A little warning to Voyeur, the man who wants to watch his girlfriend be serviced by a hoard of horny guys: My boyfriend and I had an identical fantasy. I had some apprehension, but convinced myself I was reacting to sex-negative attitudes imposed by society. My boyfriend enlisted the studs; we had a few drinks and got down to business.
The physical experience, while pleasurable, was a letdown. Frankly it didn't measure up to my fantasy. In my fantasies, all the guys were wonderful lovers who knew what to do with their hands, mouths, and tongues. In reality I had a bunch of half-drunk guys poking and probing me and showing off their supposed prowess in front of their buddies. And then there was the uncomfortable aftermath: What do you do after getting off with three or four guys? Cuddle them all? Tally up the score and have a victory drink? Or kick them all out and debrief with the boyfriend?
And after we'd realized this fantasy, we had some reality to deal with: My boyfriend had a harder time coping with the gang bang then he thought he would, and this experience complicated our relationship. While my boyfriend appeared to be open-minded, he still struggled with the classic maiden-whore complex. All of a sudden I wasn't just a free-spirited, sex-loving girl. I was a dangerously oversexed nympho. I ended up having to deal with some unexpected guilt of my own--and the fact that word of our adventure had spread to every single person I knew.
Maybe my boyfriend and I experienced these problems because we had sexual hang-ups, but hang-ups or not, they are still real problems, and they may plague Voyeur and his girlfriend too. My boyfriend and I resolved our problems and still have a great sex life, but now most of our adventures take place in the realm of fantasy
. --Recovering Nympho
Knowing which of our fantasies should remain fantasies can sometimes be difficult. Fantasies that are highly illegal or wildly dangerous--rape fantasies (victim or perp), pedophile fantasies (victim or perp)--are easy to recognize as better left unacted on, but others, well...sometimes the only way you'll ever know if your fantasy should remain fantasy is to give it a whirl. You gave it a whirl, didn't dig it, and don't have to do it again. But there was only one way to find out, wasn't there?
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.