Fisting is a human sexual behaviour that involves inserting the entire hand, and sometimes part of the arm, into the vagina (vaginal fisting) or anus (handballing or anal fisting) of a sexual partner. Fisting is also called fist fucking, sometimes shortened to "FF". The medical terms for these practices are brachiovaginal eroticism (vaginal) and brachioproctic eroticism (anal).
Despite its name, fisting does not involve forcing the clenched fist into the vagina or anus. Instead, all five fingers are kept straight and held as close together as possible (forming a beak-like shape), then the hand is slowly inserted into a well-lubricated vagina or anus. Once insertion is complete, the fingers either clench into a fist or remain straight.
Due to the potential risks, lack of knowledge, perceived pain level, and taboos, the number of people who engage in fisting of any kind is probably much smaller than for other sexual activities.
While handballing is popularly associated with gay men, it is practised by people of all sexual orientations. Handballing is pleasurable for some men because it results in direct stimulation of the prostate.
Vaginal fisting is known to be practised by lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals; a few women with very flexible bodies and wrists are able to perform it on themselves. Perineal massage, an exercise recommended to couples who are preparing to give birth, sometimes results in fisting.
Health and safety
Fisting is generally considered low risk for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), provided a few basic precautions are followed, but there are other serious health risks that must be taken into careful consideration before engaging in the activity. Fisting is sometimes seen as a violent activity; done properly it is gentle and slow. Done improperly, fisting can result in serious injuries including ruptured bowels and internal tears and infections, as well as urinary tract infections and pelvic inflammatory disease, bruising of the cervix, mucosal laceration, muscle tearing, and temporary fecal incontinence, among other conditions, sterility and even death. When fisting is done slowly and carefully, the risks are quite low.
Fecal matter can cause irritation; any abrasions can easily become infected, but douches and enemas can also cause irritation. The fingernails of the fister must be trimmed and filed, and his or her hands covered with nitrile or latex (but not PVC) gloves or calving gloves. Both the fister's hands and the anus or vagina of the fistee must be very well lubricated, usually with vegetable shortening or mineral oil (latex products and oil-based products should not be used together as oil weakens latex. Oil-free lubricants suitable for use with latex are widely available).
Pain and/or bleeding are warning signs; significant bleeding could indicate a ruptured bowel or a major tear.
While most people do not mix fisting with recreational drugs, the use of muscle relaxants (most notably "poppers"-amyl nitrite) are sometimes used with handballing. The use of drugs may increase the risks serious injury from fisting, for example by reducing the sensation of pain, reducing inhibitions or causing loss of consciousness.
- Addington, Deborah (1999): A Hand In The Bush, The Fine Art Of Vaginal Fisting, paperback; Greenery Press
- Donovan B; Tindall B; Cooper D. Brachioproctic eroticism and transmission of retrovirus associated with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Genitourin Med. 1986 Dec;62(6):390-2.
- Medical terminology and some information on risks were taken from The Intelligent Man's Guide To Handball