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‘It makes me closer to his heart’: One fister’s story on brachioproctic insertion

From 10.5% to 34.1% of men who have sex with men (including gay and bisexual men) engaged in fisting at least once throughout their lifetime. Why aren’t we properly discussing , and still stigmatize, this sex act?

Photos by Kris Møklebust from

Marvin (not his real name) was “maybe 35” when he started to fist (that is, engage in the sexual activity that involves inserting a hand into the vagina or, in his case as a gay man, the rectum). And no, he wasn’t “trained”. Instead, “I just learned from watching videos and from books. The rest is based on experiences with different fistees.”

The attraction of the act – that’s also known as handballing, hoofing, fist-fucking, or brachioproctic insertion – for him (leading him to try, in the first place) is in making him “closer” to his partner (the fistee or the bottom, if you will).

“For me, in particular, it is the pride of being in control and dominating the hole of the bottom. I am really fond of seeing a hole open up for me and to penetrate it with my hand. It is as if it makes me closer to his heart. I can really feel the heartbeat of the bottom when my arm is deep within him,” he said, adding with a laugh: “Basta masarap mangwasak ng puke ng bottom (It feels good destroying the bottom’s hole).”

Now… before you start saying “Yuck!”, “Kadiri!”, or whatever self-righteous version of that you can muster, know that fisting – admittedly still a taboo for many, as it’s often packaged as a form of “extreme sex” – is not as rare as you may think. In a 2016 European Commission Sialon II study done in 13 European countries (and funded by the European Union, no less), it was found that from 10.5% to 34.1% of men who have sex with men (yes, that includes gay and bisexual men) engaged in fisting at least once throughout their lifetime. That’s from one to three out of 10 getting THIS version of ass play. So, really, keep those sex negative judgments to yourself.


As FYI, fisting doesn’t necessarily start with the insertion of the entire fist (yes, this is possible… though more on this later). Instead, the fister fingers the fistee, eventually inserting the hand that’s shaped like a duck’s beak (a.k.a. silent duck, or duck-billing). Here, all fingers are kept straight and held close together.

Yes, those who may be more experienced may skip the duck-billing and proceed to the insertion (even forcing) of the clenched fist into the rectum (a.k.a. punching or punchfisting); and some can even accommodate two fists (a.k.a. double-fisting).

For Marvin, an exclusive fister (“I have never been a fistee and never will be”), “you can actually feel when and how to proceed by the way the hole reacts to your penetration.” This “reaction” also needs to be communicated, whether verbally or via the fistee’s body’s reaction. And in his case, “it took me years to be a good fister. The secret lies on how you and your fistee communicates with each other.”

Also in Marvin’s case, using Crisco or Astroglide helps. Know, though, that fitting a fist does not happen just like that (errr… a snap of the finger). “It is… a case to case basis. Some are readily accepting the fist and some need to be opened up gradually before it accepts the whole fist,” Marvin said.

For those interested to be fisted, Marvin recommended starting “with different sizes of dildos to open up your hole.” But he also suggested “using different sizes of eggplants. They simulate more a real cock, soft yet firm to penetrate you. And as you loosen up your hole, try squeezing the eggplant/dildo with your pussy lips so it will develop great muscle control.”

He added that “deep cleaning is needed for the bottom. There is a special douche nozzle being used for this kind of enema.”

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But the “responsibility”, so to speak, doesn’t lie with the fistees alone.

With cleaning, as an example, “a true fister knows if the hole is clean enough to be fisted.”

Though also, “the fister must be sensitive enough to know how his bottom feels. Every penetration must be coordinated (to ensure) the bottom’s pleasure. He must know when to stop and when to proceed based on the… expressions of his bottom,” Marvin said.

And when does one know the session is done?

“Normally it takes more than an hour. It is done when you are both satisfied. You can finish the act with fucking the hole till you cum,” Marvin said.

Oh yeah… when having sex with a bottom after fisting, does it feel looser? And if so, then is it still gratifying for the top/fister?

“Contrary to others’ belief, a hole becomes more elastic and develops a distinct  gripping power through time,” Marvin said with a laugh. “The muscle control becomes much stronger in time. You will get loose, of course, but at the same time, you will develop that gripping power that can really cut a banana into pieces.”

And how long before fisting can be done again after the last session?

“It is advisable that you let your hole rest and heal for days or a week before you give it another try,” Marvin recommended.


While the hand is inside, “you can twist your hand, you can open and close your palm, you can literally fuck with your hand,” Marvin said.

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So yes, even Marvin knows – and admits – there are risks, e.g. “If and when he sees blood, then he must stop at all cost and nurse the bottom then give him time to recuperate before trying it again.”

Writing in Chicago Reader, Dr. Peter Shalit, a physician and author, stated that fisting is actually a “healthy and safe sexual activity so long as the participants are sober”, belying the “misconception that fisting damages the anal sphincter, loosens it, and causes a loss of bowel control over time. This is absolutely false.”

But this is not to say that harm due to this is not a possibility. Aside from fear-mongering contents, some scientific studies actually noted some of these harms, including extensive disruptions of the intestine, albeit with a woman involved; colorectal perforation that may have worsened because of under-reporting due embarrassment, fear of stigmatization, or ignorance regarding the seriousness of their symptoms; and even delayed death, again with a woman involved.

But Shalit added that this could also happen when “engaging in anal play with large sex toys, fists, or even perfectly average cocks.” And so for him, “that’s why it’s crucial to take things slow, use lots of lube, and go at it sober.”


Admittedly, Filipinos are infamous for not being as accepting of alternative practices, including maybe of fisting. And so, Marvin said, “it is hard to find a partner for this.” Nonetheless, “nowadays, there are a lot of fistees available.”

Marvin is actually currently in a relationship; that is, he’s a “Master” in a relationship with “His slave”. As the dom (dominant) in this relationship, “I decide who I fuck and who I don’t.” The bottom, though, has to ask for his position if he is to play around. This would be another arrangement that could rankle moralists/traditionalists/et cetera.

This discourse may even be linked to drug use during sex in the LGBTQIA community (particularly gay and bisexual men, as well as other men who have sex with men), considering that “some (into fisting) are into chem when doing the act,” Marvin admitted, adding that “for ss, poppers is enough.” And this, too, is another issue meriting a closer – yet separate – look.

And Marvin knows that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – as a sex act, or even conceptually. Except that “I am proud of who I am, and I never give a damn to what others might say,” he said.

And this is exactly the attitude to be had when contemplating fisting.

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The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia. He grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City), but he "really came out in Sydney" so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing, and a developed world". Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies), and converse in Filipino Sign Language. He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Arts that Matter - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).


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