"From now on, whatever she does, Toni Bentley will always be known as the woman who loves to take it up the ass." Readers react to Rebecca Traister's interview with an anal sex memoirist.

Published October 12, 2004 7:00AM (EDT)

[Read "Rectal Romance" by Rebecca Traister]

I'm not sure what's more astonishing: that Toni Bentley really thinks anyone cares about what's been up her ass, or that she actually said that a feminine man and woman in a relationship together should just "go off and be gay." Way to think outside of "the box," Toni.

-- Alaina Lamothe

When Toni Bentley talked with Rebecca Traister about her new sex memoir, the author seemed to be under the impression that the observations Bentley made are quite unique. I beg to differ.

Bentley's own self-obsession seems to completely undermine her rather overzealous attempt to equate anal pleasure with finding God. Her conclusions rank with a "world is round" realization, in the sense that many before her have walked this same terrain with much less self-preoccupation, despite her claims to be less egregiously absorbed post-coitus. To paraphrase Frost: She has definitely not taken the road less traveled.

Surely Bentley can't possibly believe that she is the first (or last) to be dazzled by anal sex. It would have been interesting to hear Bentley's thoughts on sodomy within the homosexual community. Any research into gay fiction will deliver quite a bit of material about the same subject, although with less of a goal to shock, and more of a purpose to arouse. The fact that a heterosexual woman has become enlightened about an act that is as ancient as the Greeks is hardly interesting.

The other amusing irony within the interview was when Bentley refrained from discussing her personal life further. Was she serious? To not share any further information about what the author ranked as a life-changing exercise hardly seems just. If she were discussing how yoga changed her life, naturally the interviewer would ask how this realization translates today. Is she still doing yoga? Is yoga as fulfilling now as it was then?

One doesn't write memoirs about one's anus and still reserve the right to be private.

-- Natalie Hope McDonald

I was ready to dismiss Toni Bentley's "The Surrender" as another pseudo-highbrow wankfest along the lines of "The Sexual Life of Catherine M." But Bentley surprised me with an eloquent description of her unusual love affair.

However, here's what I don't get: Bentley took it up the ass 250 times, never met her lover outside of the bedroom, and shunned the parameters of monogamy. Still, the A-man (as she somewhat obviously christened him) dumped her. What was his complaint? That she didn't do his laundry? It just goes to show that there's no pleasing some people.

-- Litsa Dremousis

Must we be forced to read memoirs (or interviews with memoirists) that are nothing more than people talking about subjects they should keep to themselves? Reading about Bentley's confessional book, I thought immediately of Kathryn Harrison's "The Kiss." Both are essentially reality TV in book form (sort of like X-rated "Fear Factor" episodes). Anal sex? Great! Whatever works for you! Revealing God to you through anal sex? Anal sex as spiritual experience? I think not.

Ms. Bentley: Dish it up with the girls or with a pricey shrink. But now, whatever you do you will always, always be known as the woman who loves to take it up the ass.

-- Suzanne Smith

Speaking on behalf of the millions of gay men worldwide, living and dead (a weighty responsibility), I have but two words in response to Ms. Bentley's earth-shattering revelations:

Yeah, so?

-- Todd Michaels

By Salon Staff

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