You’ve heard people talk about it. You’ve read a bit about it. Maybe you even know someone who’s done it and enjoyed it.
There are many reasons you may be thinking about trying anal sex. Here, we explore the benefits, as well as what to consider when exploring anal play.
Why try anal sex?
It can be extra pleasurable.
Many women don’t realize that – SURPRISE! You can orgasm from anal sex. Turns out there are many nerve endings in the anus, and one of these – the pudendal nerve – connects to the clitoris, which can stimulate orgasm.
It can spice things up.
Despite our best efforts, sex can get predictable or even stale – especially in long-term relationships. Adding some anal to your routine can help make things feel new and exciting again.
The “forbidden fruit” factor
Anal sex has been considered both acceptable and immoral throughout history, depending on the time period. And though it’s become more common in the last 10-15 years, it’s still largely considered taboo in society. When we engage in it, we still feel like we’re doing something illicit and rebellious. Perhaps that’s why taking a bite of this forbidden fruit can taste oh-so-naughty and delicious! 🍑
Fears around anal play/sex
Perhaps one reason anal play isn’t yet widespread (hee hee) is because folks are hesitant to try it out of fear that it will be painful. Another reason is likely concerns about hygiene and the “ew” factor – in other words, poop.
Let’s talk about both of these concerns.
Does anal sex hurt?
When done correctly, anal sex shouldn’t hurt. So why does it? To understand that, we need to review a bit of anatomy.
Our butts are structured with two sphincters that contain very strong muscles. The first sphincter – the external one – is the one we can control at will (and the one we often contract under pressure). This one is also connected to that pudendal nerve we mentioned earlier, and the clitoris or vulva – which can increase pleasure if stimulated correctly.
But a little further in there is a second internal sphincter. This one is involuntary and out of our control. If crossed too quickly or forcefully, it will hurt (yes, even with the use of lubricant).
How to ease into anal play and anal sex
Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to make butt play safe and enjoyable.
Unlike the vulva or vagina, the anus does not naturally lubricate, no matter how excited you are. That’s why it’s essential to use lubricant when we want to practice anal sex, whether with fingers, a toy, or a penis. We recommend something water-based to avoid allergic reactions, ease in the clean-up process, and – mostly importantly – prevent the breakdown of the latex in condoms.
Try it solo first
Just like vaginal, oral, or any other type of sexual activity, it’s important to feel comfortable with yourself first and understand what you like. It will also help you practice on your own and get comfortable with the process.
First, try exploring the anal area with your finger. Practice relaxing that first sphincter muscle vs. contracting it to loosen things up. And while you’re down there, you may as well enjoy some clitoral and vaginal masturbation. (For some tips, download the Emjoy app and check out the 7 Days of Pleasure collection.)
Start small and go slow
Once you’re ready to explore with a partner, start small and move slowly. Begin with fingers, and then gradually progress to inserting slightly larger items such as butt plugs or small toys. And of course, you can always try using your tongue and gently explore the outer area of the anal opening (also known as “rimming”).
Once you’re comfortable exploring these items pleasurably and pain-free, move on to something larger, like a dildo or penis.
Check in with your partner regularly
Always check in with your partner during anal play to make sure you’re both enjoying things and comfortable. If you feel any pain or discomfort, know that you can stop at any time and try again later.
How to keep anal play clean, hygienic, and safe
Many people mistakenly believe that you don’t need protection during anal play because there’s minimal risk of pregnancy. While there’s low risk for pregnancy, there’s still a great risk of contracting STIs so make sure you stay safe and wear a condom.
Clean up before and after
To ensure good hygiene, clean all toys and body parts before you head for the back door. This includes washing your hands and making sure your nails (and partner’s) are clean and trimmed to avoid potential infection and tearing. And speaking of infections...
Follow the correct penetration pathway
When it comes to penetration, always follow the correct pathway: vagina to anus only, not the other way around. This includes all types of penetration, whether with fingers or a condom. Doing so prevents the bacteria that lives in the anal area from transferring to your vagina and causing an infection.
Take the proper poop precautions
Many people are concerned about the possibility of poop escaping during anal play. If this concerns you, use the bathroom beforehand and wash the area out. We also recommend avoiding spicy foods or others that may stimulate the intestines. Though some people use an enema, this can cause possible dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, as well as other issues, and is not recommended.
But despite how thorough you are, you may encounter poop at some point, given the area. If this makes you uncomfortable, you may want to reconsider engaging in anal play.
As with all sexual activity, the experience should be fun and pleasurable. Relax, go slow, and don’t force anything you’re not ready for.