Rosebud Porn

Warning: This post discusses a sex act that some people may find disquieting. If you’re easily squicked-out, you may want to skip this post.

There’s a surprising amount of rosebud porn on BDSMLR. I encounter it almost every time I log onto the site. And a quick Google search turns up rosebudding videos on sites like Pornhub. For those unfamiliar with it, ‘rosebud’ is the porn term for a rectal prolapse, when the rectum is exposed through extreme dilation of the sphincter or actually emerges from the anus. Rosebudding is associated with extreme ass play, such as heavy fisting, enormous dildos, and the like, because those things require dilating the sphincter considerably, and rosebud porn celebrates this. It’s the extreme end of fisting porn, and stills and videos of rosebuds get posted online. This has been a thing in gay porn for a while (probably about as long as fisting porn has been a thing) and has become a thing in straight fetish porn as well in the past half decade or so, with some models specializing in it. So let’s talk about the medical and ethical issues here.

Rectal prolapse is an injury to the body. It represents a weakening of the muscles and ligaments whose job is to hold the rectum inside the anus. Some mild rectal prolapses can heal on their own, but many require surgery to correct. Repeated prolapses increase the risk that surgery will be required. There is also a risk of permanent incontinence—you know, having to wear adult diapers for the rest of your life because you are literally losing your shit all the time. Medically, it’s primarily a problem for older women, for whom it tends to be progressive, meaning that it will slowly get worse over time until surgery is required. Because it’s mostly a condition of old age, there isn’t a whole lot of information about whether it’s progressive in younger people.

Most porn performers insist publicly that the practice is safe, but when they discuss it candidly, they often say they need to “heal” or “recover” after doing a scene, tacitly admitting that prolapsing is hard on their bodies.

The most-widespread watchword of kink is Safe, Sane, and Consensual. As I see it, part of SSC is knowing the risks of your kinks, and other standards such as RACK and PRICK also emphasize risk-awareness. So if you decide you’re willing to take the medical complications of rectal prolapse as a risk of extreme ass play, great! Go for it. I’m not, but your standards don’t have to be my standards. So I don’t want anyone to think I’m coming down on rosebudding as a form of play. Most of the press coverage of rosebudding indulges in heavy kink-shaming, describing the practice as ‘grotesque’ and ‘disgusting’, and I want to avoid that kind of language. While the practice is extreme and disquieting to those who aren’t familiar with it, lots of kink practices fall into those categories.

However, rosebud porn is, in my opinion, unethical. Here’s why. The porn industry has long tended to toward extremes. Bigger is always better, more extreme is always better. No studio wants to be left out of the next big trend. So fetish producers push their performers to more and more extreme forms of play to meet audience demand. Unsafe flogging is a common example, especially in Russian porn. So as rosebud porn has become more popular in the past decade, studios have responded to the demand by making more rosebud porn.

Most porn performers are paid a per-scene fee that is scaled according to which sex acts they will be performing, with more extreme acts being paid more money. For example, a scene while only requires giving a blow job might earn them $500, while vaginal or anal penetration as well as sucking might pay $1000 or $1200. Getting fisted might offer another $500 on top of that, and rosebudding might add another $500 or $800 (assuming that a scene would involve all four of these acts, whereas often fisting and rosebudding are filmed as separate scenes from oral and anal). Typically, a performer starts out with fairly tame sex acts and as they become more popular they may move into more extreme things like group sex, gang-bangs, and fisting. because unless they become one of the really big-name performers, one of the few ways to increase their pay is to go into more extreme forms of sex. In other words, the system as it exists now actively incentivizes performers to do more extreme forms of sex. This is one of the reasons that so many gay performers do side work as escorts.

But studios do little to support performers who are injured by their work, beyond perhaps basic first aid. To the best of my knowledge, no porn studio provides actual health insurance to their workers (they do generally do testing for sexually-transmitted diseases, although in some cases the performers are required to foot the bill for that testing). Most performers also sign a liability waiver that makes it hard for them to claim workman’s compensation for work-related injuries. So if a performer does a rosebud scene and develops one of the possible complications (which include things like rectal tearing and anal fissures) and needs serious medical treatment, they’re on their own. They’re expected to pay for whatever medical treatment they need without any assistance from the studio.

There’s a debate about concussions in football. Is it ethical to watch football, knowing that the players are risking permanent, severe injury and sharply reduced life span for spectator enjoyment? I think the exact same issue is relevant here, with the added fact that porn stars don’t make NFL levels of money for their work. When you watch rosebud porn, you’re watching a performer literally injure themselves for your arousal. When you circulate rosebud porn, you’re encouraging the porn industry to keep pressuring porn stars into injuring themselves, because the industry responds to perceived viewer demand. If viewers stop consuming this material, studios will stop making it. 

It’s one thing for a performer to risk an injury filming a porn scene (bondage and impact play both carry risks of injury, but those risks can generally be minimized); it’s a totally different thing for a performer to actually injure themselves. Rosebudding is a literal injury, like dislocating a joint. And to my mind, watching someone intentionally injure themselves for a small amount of money is unethical and exploitative.

So give a thought to your ethical responsibilities as a porn consumer. If you want to experience rectal prolapse for yourself, you are taking the risks for your pleasure. But if you’re not willing to risk those complications yourself, why are you comfortable with other people taking those risks for your pleasure? 

Demand more ethical porn.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close