A Caveat: This article is heavily biased and written in such a way that does NOT celebrate the act but rather acts to impose a sense of horror, shame and disgust. Sad that it's here. It should be removed or re-written by someone experienced in the practice.

Perhaps no sexual activity has caused more gape-mouthed looks of disbelief than fisting. Many a man, upon first hearing about it, has gasped, "No way!" And the insertion of the hand, fist, or forearm into another guy's butt does seem to defy biology, not to mention good sense. Despite this (or maybe because of it), it's a cherished form of recreation for a select segment of the kink community.

Fisting is an extreme form of penetration, sure, but it offers its own very special rewards. While some guys into fisting (or handballing, as it's also known) think of it as down-and-dirty S/M sleaze, others think of it as a spiritual journey, yoga for the butthole. "Sometimes it can be this amazingly intense sensation, like being right on the brink of orgasm and staying there for a long, long time," says one fisting bottom. "Other times, there's just an incredible, overwhelming rush of release."

Fisting is an activity not to be undertaken lightly. Impromptu handballing can and does occur, but the best, safest sessions require a good bit of preparation. For one thing, though the anal sphincter can be stretched pretty damn far without injury, fisting bottoms usually work up slowly to taking a hand. "I wasn't ready overnight," says another fistee. "I started with dildos, learning to take wider and wider ones comfortably, and to take them deeper inside, till I was ready for the real thing."

Tops, too, had better know what they're doing. Immediately past the sphincter is a fairly roomy colon cavern, but as a hand slides further inside, it'll have to navigate some curvy, narrowing passages. Knowledge of anatomy helps, but learning the proper moves from an experienced top is much, much better. With care, knowledge, patience, and practice, it's actually possible to get most of a forearm inside.

Even under the best of circumstances, fisting is not without very real danger. A guy who spots kinky photos on the Internet and rushes off unprepared to try it himself is just asking for trouble. Even the cleanest butthole is, let's face it, chockablock with nasty germs. The anal lining is thin and easily torn, so some blood will probably be present, putting the top at risk of blood-borne diseases, including HIV and hepatitis, and a cut on the hand can send things the other way. Even for the insertion of less than a full hand, lots of long-lasting lubricant, trimmed fingernails, and latex gloves are musts.

Most fisting bottoms prepare with a gentle, thorough douche so as to keep messiness to a minimum. And a good, relaxed mental attitude will help things along enormously. Because fisting's such an extreme activity, some guys use amphetamines as part of the scene. But while speed might make a guy open up, it can lead to horrendously risky play. Because injury can occur without the bottom feeling pain, and because the top literally has his partner's life in his hand, trust and a gradual approach are all-important. Good tops take their cues from their bottom's responses, and the result can be a sexual collaboration that leaves both guys sweaty with satisfaction.

Fisting is an activity on the edge, testing the possibilities of the human body. But as with many other risky activities, from skydiving to motorcycle racing, there can be a tremendous rush involved. Tops get off on the feeling of power, the extreme nature of the sport, the rewards of giving a bottom so much pleasure. Bottoms, meanwhile, can float right off to handball nirvana. And the rest of us, the nonfisting civilians, at least get the voyeuristic thrill of thinking, "Wow! They do that ? Amazing!"

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