When done correctly, anal sex can be incredibly pleasurable for some people. If this is your first time being on the giving or receiving end of anal sex, here are some practical tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable experience!
Lubricate! (Saliva doesn’t count!)
Lubricant is ESSENTIAL for safe and pleasurable anal sex. The anus is not a self-lubricating orifice, so use lube and keep the bottle nearby. You can’t use too much! The skin on and around the anus is delicate and very thin, which means it’s easy to scratch and tear, and lubricant helps assure a smooth glide while preventing friction and chafing.
- Some lubricants marketed for anal sex have a desensitizing ingredient, meant to minimize discomfort during anal sex, but these kinds of products aren’t recommended for most people. Anal sex is not supposed to hurt and the sensation of pain or discomfort helps us know when to slow down or stop completely.
- Silicone lubricant is popular for anal sex because it’s smooth and silky and doesn’t require lots of reapplication. If the thin viscosity of silicone doesn’t feel like enough cushion, however, there are thicker formulas (usually either water-based gel or a water/silicone hybrid) that might be better options – though they will likely require reapplication!
- When in doubt, especially when using with silicone sex toys or condoms, thicker water-based or hybrid formulas are a great go-to – they’re compatible with all materials and they typically feature
Anal play takes some prep, especially on the receiving end, so it’s essential not only to be ready physically but also mentally – take time to build arousal before inserting anything inside.
- It’s ideal to start small when exploring anal play – that means easing your way toward insertion. Analingus (rimming) or massaging the outside of the anus is a great way to start, and when you feel ready, insert a finger first to practice receiving something inside. Latex or nitrile gloves are a great way to do this – protects fingernails and cuticles from coming in contact with sensitive skin and body fluids, plus makes clean-up a breeze! Or you can opt for a small butt plug approximately the size of a finger.
- Some people prefer to cleanse their rectums before putting anything inside. Consider a laxative-free method, like a store-bought enema, or a reusable enema bulb you can fill with warm water. There also are special shower adaptors you can purchase to make backdoor cleansing quick and easy.
- For anal fans of all experience levels, it’s essential to prep the anus with something small before inserting something larger, like a toy or penis. Insert a finger or an anal plug to warm up and get in the mood during foreplay – this will help stretch and relax the anus in anticipation of something larger coming along. the anus and relax the muscle in anticipation of something larger.
The anus is a tight muscular sphincter that is not accustomed to stretching wide for long periods of time, so it’s essential for the anus (and the rest of the body) to be physically relaxed before penetration. This means spending time to arouse the body and get circulation flowing, as well as listening to your body.
- Anal sex is meant to feel fun and pleasurable, so pay attention if your body tenses up or feels burning or stinging sensations – that’s your cue to take a break and check in to see if you need more lube, slower movement, or to stop completely and move on to something else.
- Remember to breathe! This not only helps relax the mind and body, it also helps enhance sensation. Try deep inhales through the nose and steady exhales through the mouth – if you’re holding your breath (unintentionally) it might be a sign you’re not quite relaxed just yet.
- If it’s an option, try having an orgasm before anal – it’ll flood your brain with happy-feeling hormones and help put your body in an incredibly relaxed state.
Engaging in active communication is the key to having a fun and highly desirable anal experience. Whether you’re guiding your partner or listening for their direction, staying aware and engaged with each other will make all the difference. Find your voice and feel the comfort of knowing there’s safety through communicating your needs and wants.
- It’s natural to feel nervous when trying something new – especially something involving your butt! – so take the pressure off and feel your feelings. This is a great opportunity to talk to your partner about what’s coming up so you’re both on the same page.
- When you’re on the receiving end, you are in control of speed, pressure, depth, and sensation, and if something doesn’t feel right, speak up. Your partner won’t know how it feels for you unless you say something – they want you to have a good experience just as much as you want that for them!
- When you’re on the giving end, it’s important to check in with your partner. Should we speed up? Should we slow down? All these questions can easily be addressed with active communication, and it’s not all up to your partner to do the talking!
- Remember: If it hurts too much, you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re new to anal and feeling hesitant, try introducing it during masturbation! Start by exploring how it feels to have a finger near (not in!) the anus while playing with yourself. If it feels right, press on the anus and see how it reacts – you might find your butt open up a little, which is a sign it’s feeling ready for something inside.
- Using lube, explore how it feels to have different size fingers in your butt. Start with the pinky and work your way up to your thumb. This is a great way to explore penetration without a partner and without needing to purchase a sex toy.
- Once you feel comfortable with fingers, it might be a good idea to invest in a butt plug – some are available in multi-size kits to help you train up to a larger size. The bonus is you can use these with a partner once you feel ready. These sex toys are not just for solo fun!
Post-Anal Clean Up
We hear a lot about anal prep but not as much about post-anal processes, so here are some tips for after-anal fun
- It’s normal for there to be body fluids (yes, including poop) outside the anus and on whatever was inserted into it, but keep in mind that butt bacteria doesn’t belong anywhere other than the butt – so sterilize any sex toys used, throw away any condoms or gloves, and do your best not to let contaminated objects or body parts come in contact with other surfaces (or orifices).
- Be gentle! The rectal (and surrounding) muscles can be sore after play and it’s not uncommon for there to be micro-tears on the delicate skin. Wash the area with a gentle soap and warm water and avoid scrubbing – it’ll just irritate the area even more.
- Some people like using moist towelettes or baby wipes for quick-and-easy wiping of lube residue or body fluids, but remember that these are not sterilizing tools and should not be reused once they’ve come in contact with the anus. And they don’t take the place of a shower or sterilizing a sex toy. If you’re experiencing some discomfort around the anus, try using medicated wipes made for hemorrhoids to soothe the area.
- It’s also common to have a buildup of air in the rectum after deep penetration, so don’t stress if you find yourself feeling a little gassy. Don’t hold it in – let the air release on its own to reduce discomfort.
- Keep an eye out for signs of damage or distress to the anus. A little bleeding is not uncommon after deep or prolonged penetration (there are lots of little capillaries close to the surface of the skin, so even little cuts or nicks can bleed). This kind of bleeding is minimal and stops quickly, so if you notice a lot of blood or that the bleeding persists, you may want to contact a health care provider for support. Comfort and safety should always be at the forefront of your anal exploration. Keep an open mind, prepare yourself, remember to relax, and most importantly enjoy yourself!
Written by Louie A. Ramos