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Origins and Historical Information

Publication Details

Author: Finn Vortex

Published: 17 September 2016

Duration: 20 Minutes

Quick Links / Topics in this Article

Origination of Anal Fisting | Historical References and Innuendos | Modern Fisting

Executive Summary

Historical details and cultural references regarding the creation, development, and advancement of fisting.

Origination of Anal Fisting

There are several theories about when, where, and how fisting began. Some individuals propose fisting is a relatively recent phenomena—starting as late as the 1960s. Others suppose it began after the industrial revolution and the advent of indoor plumbing. Records are scarce, leaving room for speculation.

Requirements & Limiting Factors

There are only five items required fisting:

Tom of Finland
  • Desire
  • Consent
  • Hole
  • Fist
  • Lube

Since these items have been available from the dawn of recorded history, even across socio-economic classes, it is safe to assume that fisting occurred throughout the ages.

It is noteworthy that the general practice of fisting has always had a limiting factor: shit. Fecal material can be so limiting that interfemoral sex was a common homosexual practice prior to the sexual revolution. Without a way to overcome this barrier, anal sex and fisting remained uncommon activities in the realm of human sexuality. They were generally practiced in secrecy or extreme privacy.

VOCABULARY

Interfemoral Sex

  1. (noun) fucking between the upper thighs, without any penetration of the anus or vagina
Egyptian Hierogliphs Explaining Fisting

Documented use of enema technology (anal douching) appears as early as ancient Egypt; however, the equipment to perform shallow or deeper cleaning didn't become ubiquitous until the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. After the equipment became available and was perfected, fisting increased to level practiced today.

Historical References and Innuendos

Regardless of the development of the enema, there are references and innuendo peppered throughout cultural documents of the Common Era.

Caligula (40 AD)

The 1979 cult classic Caligula has a fisting sequence during the wedding of the Roman hero Proculus. Rumor is that the original script had Caligula sodomizing Proculus immediately after raping his wife; however, Malcolm McDowell refused to fuck (or simulate fucking) any men in the film.

For the record, there is no historical record of Caligula fisting anybody; however, for a fisting scene to be included in popular culture in 1978 indicates practice was sufficiently established and known by the mid-1970s.

The Rape of Proculus
The Rape of Proculus

Pop cultural depiction of Roman fisting from the 1978 film Caligula. The inclusion of the scene in the film indicates that fisting in the 1970s was common enough to be known by the general population as a gay sex practice.

Caligula[1] (Queued to Scene: Rape of Proculus)

Freyr (1000 AD)

Freyr: God of Fuck
Freyr - God of Fuck

Freyr, his boar, and his bore were signs of strength and power.

In ancient Norse society, the ithyphallic deity and God of Fuck was named Freyr. Three animals were sacred to him: the stag, the stallion, and the boar.

VOCABULARY

Ithyphallic

  1. | adjective | of or pertaining to the erect penis
  2. | adjective | lascivious, obscene

Some traditions indicate that Freyr's priesthood was composed of gay men—or at least situationally gay men—who practiced homosexuality during sacred rituals. As a member of this priesthood, supernatural power originated from being penetrated or fucked by Freyr. Both dildos crafted from horse dicks and fists were used as stand-ins for the phallus of the God of Fuck. It is unclear how often fisting was used in comparison to dildo penetration in these ceremonies.

In handball culture today, the pig is highly symbolic of the carnal nature of the fisting. It is likely unrelated to Freyr and his priests who fisted each other in sacred communion. Certainly, they were the very first Nasty Pigs.

Chaucer (1400 AD)

Queer theorists have argued that the Summoner's Tale from the work Canterbury Tales (~1386 - 1400 A.D.) contains a 'scene of eroticized male-male groping, of a male hand entering a male anus:'[3].

Middle English

"Now wel," quod he, "and somwhat shall I yive
Unto youre hooly covent while I lyve;
And in thyn hand thou shalt have it anon, 
On this condicion, and oother noon,
That thou departe it so, my deere brother, 
That every frere have also muche as oother.
This shaltou swere on thy professioun, 
Withouten fraude or cavillacioun."

"I swere it," quod this frere, "by my feith"
And therewithal his hand in his he leith, 
"lo, heer my feith; in me shal be no lak."

"Now thane, put in thyn hand doun by my bak,"
Seyde this man, "and grope wel bihynde.
Bynethe my buttok there shaltow fynde
A thyng that I have hyd in pryvetee."

"A!" thoghte this frere, "That shal go with me!"
And doun his hand he launcheth to the clifte
In hope for to fynde there a yifte.
And whan this sike man felt this frere 
Aboute his tuwel grope there and here,
Amydde his hand he leet the frere a fart."
Chaucer's Canterbury Tale - Summoner
The Friar and Sir Thomas

Chaucer depicts the friar from the Summoner's Tale as a shallow and vile conman. According to many scholars, the bedridden Sir Thomas (a former victim) pranks the friar by encouraging him to search for coin hidden near his hole. The intent is to fart into the friar's hand. At least one queer theorist postulates that the fingering was actually a little deeper—a subtle fisting reference.

Modern English

"Very well," he said, "This reward shall I give 
to your holy monastary while I still live;
In your hand, you will have it, 
but upon this condition and no other,
That you share it, dear brother, 
equally amongst your fellow friars.
Swear to me this upon your profession, 
being truthful and without objection.

"I swear to God to share it! replied the friar,
And made this oath with his hand upraised, 
"I swear without deception, God be praised."

"Good, now slide your hand down my back,"
said the man, "and feel me from behind.
Just below my butt you will find 
the reward that I have hid."

"Ah ha!" thought the friar "It will be mine!"
And he slid his hand down through the crack
in hope to find the reward.
And when the man felt the friar's hand 
feeling around his asshole,
He let one go and farted into the friar's hand.

Michelangelo (1540 AD)

The lower right-hand quadrant of Michelangelo's The Last Judgement inside the Sistine Chapel supposedly portrays a sodomite being fisted. At least that is what some individuals have anachronized.

Sistine Chapel
The Last Judgement

The far-right corner of the Last Judgement portrays a demon either yanking very hard on the scrotum of a damned soul, or it portrays the damned soul being fisted shallowly. Regardless, the pervert seems to enjoy the acts of sexual depravity that are being forced upon him.

Modern Fisting

Fisting and the Sexual Revolution

Rictor Norton proclaimed in his essay, History of Homoerotica, the following:

Some marked changes in gay sexuality have occurred especially since the 1950s and 1960s. Fisting, for example, has no historical precedent—although impalement features in some early gay fantasies. ... Surveys of diaries, news reports, and the gay media have established that fisting was invented in the summer of 1971, in the 'backroom' of a gay bar in New York City. The practice quickly spread to the backroom bars of San Francisco, and was exported thence to Japan and Europe.[2]

Many reviewers of his essay rebutted this claim, noting that documentation may first appear on the record during the sexual revolution, but suggesting that fisting didn't occur until then is like saying:

...that everyone in the world was too stupid to make nachos until 1943.

My presumption is that two things have spurred growth in anal fisting as sexual activity: ubiquity of enemas/douches and fisting porn (both professional and amateur).

Incidentally, my first post elbow experience was with a guy who had been fisting for almost fifty years. His first fisting experience was prior to my birth. He was introduced to the practice by individuals who had been fisting for decades. Sadly, many of his contemporaries and mentors were lost in the epidemic.

Academic/Non-pornographical Fisting Literature

Several members of academia have attempted to dissect and define fisting from a psychological or anthropological viewpoint.

  • Gayle Rubin - Cultural Anthropologist. In literature, she is often attributed to the fallacy that fisting was invented in the 20th century. Other than that incorrect assumption, which probably occurred early in her career, her material is thoughtful and positive.
  • Michel Foucault - Philosopher and Historian. Michel focuses highly on power relationships and BDSM. He participated heavily in the emergent BDSM culture and his perception of fisting is seen strictly through that window.

Additional content for this section is currently in development.

Want to contribute?

Video/Media Documentation

Classic/Vintage Pornography

The following film demonstrates the existence of advanced fisting techniques from the gay sexual revolution.

Vintage Fisting[4]

Pop Culture

With the advent of smart phones and the internet, fisting has become more commonplace as a general sex activity. Amateur pornography has increased the acceptance within the gay community and has infiltrated discussions or references outside of gay culture.

RuPaul's Accidents in Fisting
Oh No She Didn't

Aquaria, clearly demonstrating reactive sarcasm, claims there are no accidents in fisting during RuPaul's Drage Race.

RuPaul's Accidents in Fisting
Jurassic Depths

Jurassic World's Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Mills (Rafe Spall) discuss techniques for reaching the bicep quickly and efficiently.