This post was previously published in 2019 and has been updated and expanded.
Anal sex can be a great way to spice up your sex life and take intimacy with yourself, or your partner, to the next level — but it also calls for extra caution and care. For many, anal play can seem intimidating, risky, or even downright off limits — all of which are valid feelings! But if you’re practising safe anal sex (including condoms, lubricant and communication) there’s no reason that you shouldn’t explore this part of your sexuality in a fun and fulfilling way. In this blog post we’ll explore all aspects of why safe anal sex is important — including how to prepare, mentally and physically.
When Desire Meets Curiosity
If you’re interested in anal play, seeking out anal sex makes perfect sense, and it doesn’t mean you’re weird. Anal gets a lot of bad press but it’s as ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ a desire as vaginal or oral sex. But to get the most out of anal sex, solo or partnered, you’ll need to be informed, prepared, and patient.
Most people (hopefully) know that anal penetration can be very pleasurable, even orgasmic. However, for every happy butt-slut you encounter there will be multiple “exit only” Bad Butt Stuff Survivors. They are usually wide eyed with horror and ready to tell you how it’s the worst. While it’s important not to diminish subjective experiences, it’s equally important to make up your own mind with an informed decision. Do your research and due diligence (i.e.: read more than just this article). Lots of people have no interest in anal play at all and that’s fine! But(t) if you want to try it, make sure you’re ready mentally and physically and go at a pace that works for you.
Before you try it
- Be ready in your head and heart. Do I want to do this or am I doing it for my partner/another reason? How do I feel about this? How will I feel if it’s not pleasurable?
- Am I curious or nervous? (or both?) – If you answered either or both, that’s normal! It can be a conflicting topic but it can also be a really exciting and gratifying sexual experience. Remember that it’s your body and it’s okay to have limits!
- If it’s with a partner, make the safe-sex decisions that are best for each of you. Condoms make for easy cleanup and come with the obvious STI barrier of defence
- Ready =/= Prepared – timing, the right products and enough time to explore are all essentials for beginner’s anal play
- Listen to your body! Ideally you’re feeling well, you’re hydrated and you’ve evacuated your bowels in the last 2-3 hours. You can irrigate/douche if you wish. Here’s a comprehensive article on Anal Douching 101
- Do I have the right kind of toy? – anal penetration requires an object with a flared base. Look for toys made for this purpose (like butt plugs) or dildos that have a wide bottom so you can avoid complications. Butts “swallow” objects and they are very hard to retrieve. Save yourself a trip to the ER and remember: it’s all about that base.
The Geometry of Comfortable Anal Sex
Everyone is different so there is no single position that makes anal easy and effortless, but speed and depth are important considerations. When we think of anal sex, we imagine from-behind-on-hands-and-knees. It can be like that, but that’s not exactly a starter position. In fact, it can be one of the hardest positions, so don’t be discouraged if you have trouble with it. It’s important to start small: a single finger, a slim toy, a modest plug. Go slow, use lube, and take your time! Any position where the muscles of your thighs and butt are engaged will create resistance so comfort is key. Try “spooning” or a fetal position and graduate into other positions once you get comfortable. Don’t forget to breathe (deep inhale, exhale slowly with penetration) and don’t worry if you’re not immediately ready for a lot of movement. Pushing too deep before your body is ready can cause pain and tearing of the delicate rectal tissues, even with lube. Rigorous pumping/fucking motions may be something that you have to work up to.
Anal Sex Needs Lube. Lots of Lube.
When it comes to lubricant you can never have too much and you can always add more. It’s important to remember that rectums are not self-lubricating like vaginas so lube is a safety material, not just a pleasure material. Remember: not all lubes are created equal; always use the right lube/condom/toy combo. If you need a refresher on lubricant and toy compatibility check out this article.
Embrace the Process
The learning curve with anal play can be steep and feel technical, but if you embrace the process and focus on the journey vs. the destination it can also be a lot of fun. If your expectations are a completely clean, energetic pounding with no challenges, you might be disappointed. However, if you’re patient with stopping and starting, you enjoy intensity, and you feel confident about the communication with your partner (if applicable) then you may have a great time. Like any sexual act, if you are safe, comfortable, enthusiastic and aroused, it should go smoothly.
Tried it and loved it? Awesome, keep experimenting with what feels good! Not a fan? That’s cool too. Whether it gets into rotation in your repertoire or not, working through the technical nuts and bolts of anal play can teach you a lot about your desire, your body, your partner and your pleasure. Be safe, have fun and keep growing!