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Saddlebacking is the practice of engaging in anal sex as a means by which to ostensibly preserve one's virginity while still gettin' it on. The term typically describes activities undertaken by young people who have been taught to value abstinence, but who rationalize their behavior with the logic that only the act of vaginal penetration "counts" as sex.

The term was coined by the readers of Dan Savage's weekly sex column, who borrowed it from the Saddleback Church, an Evangelical outfit run by Rick Warren, an outspoken homophobe, to point out the hypocrisy of teaching "abstinence" to hormone-riddled teenagers. (A much older term exists in reference to a young woman who indulges in the practise: demi-vierge; there's nothing new about this.)


As abstinence-only programs tend to teach that contraception is wrong or ineffective, "saddlebacking" is likely to be done sans-prophylactic; this prevents one problem but creates another. The lack of a condom during anal sex increases exposure to fecal matter, leading to a greater risk of bacterial infection. Practitioners are also much more likely to transmit STDs, such as HIV, and specifically viruses linked to rectal cancer, such as HPV.

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