The buttocks (often called butt, buns, bum, booty, ass, arse, rear end or backside) are the two fleshy prominences covering the posterior aspect of the of the anatomy located on the posterior of the pelvic region.
Corporal punishment is often delivered on the buttocks, in the form of spanking, caning or whipping. This is especially true for lighter punishment and domestic discipline. It should be noted that corporal punishment is not only something experienced within BDSM as a sexual fetish. Just because the buttocks are being used for receiving pain, does not imply that the recipient is consenting nor that it has anything to do with BDSM. The buttocks are usually not exposed, making the punishment invisible to outsiders and therefore keeping any play such as caning them a private activity.
While there are many nerve endings in the area (ensuring substantial pain), there is relatively little risk of the victim sustaining long-term injury since internal organs are unlikely to be affected.
Viewing a pair of buttocks of the desired gender is sexually arousing for many, but not all. The sexual aesthetics of the buttocks vary greatly from culture to culture, with some finding leaner buttocks attractive while some find extremely fatty buttocks desirable, from one period of fashion to another and even from person to person.
A woman who has attractive buttocks may be called bootylicious.
Depending on the context, exposure of the buttocks can cause feelings of shame, embarrassment or humiliation in a non-exhibitionist person and having to bare them, especially in public, for discipline or simply by order of the dominant can be humiliating. Displaying the buttocks by pulling down one's trousers and underwear is called mooning, possibly because a pale round bottom is supposed to resemble the moon.
Bare buttocks will often cause embarrassment or amusement in a non-voyeurist audience.
In some societies, bare buttocks are about as likely to be censored as bare breasts .
Because the butocks are not normally publicly exposed, some Masters choose this location when branding their slave. For the same reason, the buttocks are a poor choice for ornamental body markings meant for the public.
Willfully exposing one's own bare buttocks as a protest, a provocation or for fun is called mooning. Mooning someone is generally considered an act of and for the young, but some adults — especially intoxicated — have been known to practice mooning as well.
It is no coincidence that the English verb to spank is the only one specifically meant for physical discipline of a specific part of the body, and various other languages have terms specifically referring to spanking; in many punitive traditions, the buttocks are the preferential target for painful lessons, from educational to judicial, as offering them for punishment (especially bare) adds a psychological dose of embarrassment and sexual humiliation to the pain, which can be meted out with less risk of longterm corporal harm then elsewhere.
The buttocks are formed by the masses of the gluteal muscles or 'glutes' (the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius) superimposed by a layer of adipose tissue (fat). The superior aspect of the buttock ends at the iliac crest, and the lower aspect is outlined by the horizontal gluteal crease. The gluteus maximus has two insertion points: 1/3 superior portion of the linea aspera of the femur, and the superior portion of the iliotibial tractus. The masses of the gluteus maximus muscle are separated by an intermediate gluteal cleft or "crack" in which the anus is situated.
The buttocks are what allows people to sit upright without needing to rest their weight on their feet as quadruped (i.e. four-legged) animals do.
While women and boys generally have smooth so-called 'baby-bottoms', adult men have varying degrees of hairgrowth, as on other parts of their body.
Fashionerogenous zones), so mainstream garments generally cover them completely, even when that is not a practical requirement. An example of another attitude in an otherwise hardly exhibitionist culture is the Japanese fundoshi.
Clothing can be used to accentuate the buttocks. Some articles are designed specifically to show off the buttocks or to expose them, both outer or single layer garments and underwear (visible only in the bedroom or locker room). Wearing only thong underwear or a black PVC dress with a large hole cut out of the back might be examples. Wearing thong underwear is done to hide "VPL", creases in clothing caused by certain underwear that breaks the smooth line of the body. Both of these choices are undertaken for style. However, some articles merely have utilitarian features. The butt flap in long underwear (union suit type), used to allow baring only the bottom with a simple gesture (as for hygiene), is a good example. That flap was so ubiquitous that it was used in cartoons and comics for generations.
Emphasis on one part or another of the body, especially the female body, tends to shift with generations. The 1880s were well-known for the fashion trend called the bustle, which provided even the skinniest woman with seemingly huge buttocks. Like long underwear with its flap, this clothing style was acknowledged in popular media for generations afterward. The popularity of this fashion is shown in the famous Georges Seurat painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in the two women to the far left and right.
Later, the cleavage of the buttocks could be exposed by some women as fashion dictated trousers be worn lower.
Sources and references
- Etymology on line one can also search for most synonyms
- For synonyms: On-line thesaurus
- Catholic Encyclopaedia passim