I am a huge fan of anal play. A ‘butt slut’, if you will.

Due to the puritanical underpinnings of much of western society, anal is commonly lauded as an intermediate to advanced sex act; not for the general public, not for the faint of heart. Taboos aside, there is a very real moment in anal play that I call The Do or Die Moment. In short it is the moment when the human anus appears to become sentient in response to having something (safe) stuffed into it. It’s as if suddenly your asshole has a whole personality unto itself, and it can go one of two ways: Hell Yes Give Me More, in which it sucks at and gobbles whatever you’ve lubed up and begun to push into it, or,  Nope, Get It OUT! All bodies are different, but this is how mine works, and I doubt I’m alone. The culprit? It’s almost always the angle.

Most people (hopefully) know that anal penetration, with a partner or solo, can truly be amazing and very pleasurable, even orgasmic. However, for every happy butt-slut you encounter there will be multiple “exit only” Bad Butt Stuff survivors, wide eyed and ready to tell you how it’s the worst. I don’t want to diminish subjective experiences or pain or trauma, but I will also say this: 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’re going to try it, make sure you’re ready mentally and physically and take the time to go at a pace that works for you. Here are my personal recommendations on exploring anal play, you may have had different experiences and I’d love to hear about them in the comments – everyone is so different!

First Things First

  • Be ready in your head and heart – do I want to do this or am I doing it for a partner or other reason? How do I feel about this? How will I feel if it’s not pleasurable?
  • Am I curious or scared? (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 you. Condoms make for easy cleanup and come with the obvious STI barrier of defense
  • Ready =/= Prepared – timing, the right products and enough time to explore are all essentials for anal play
  • Listen to your body! Ideally you’re feeling well, you’re hydrated and you’ve vacated 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.

Lube, lube, lube … and more lube

The rule of bum, (see what I did there?) when it comes to lubricant, is this: you can almost 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 becomes a safety material not just a pleasure material. It’s also important to start small: a single finger, a slim toy, a modest plug. Go slow and take your time! Please remember that 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.

Geometry Is Everything

That damn angle! It seems obvious that anal must be a from-behind-on-hands-and-knees type event, right? Well, it can be but in my personal experience, that’s not a starter position, in fact it can be one of the most challenging so don’t be discouraged if you have trouble with it. I can’t stress enough that everyone is different so there is no universal how-to or position that makes anal easy and effortless. For many people, using their body weight to push onto a toy (or a person’s appendage like fingers or penises) allows them control of the speed and depth. Any position where the muscles of your thighs and butt are engaged will create resistance so comfort is key. Don’t forget to breathe (deep inhale, exhale slowly with penetration) and don’t worry if you’re not ready at first for a lot of movement. Rigorous pumping/fucking motions may be something that you work up to.

Embrace the Process

The learning curve with anal play can be steep and feel, well, technical, but if you embrace the process and focus on the journey vs. the destination it can also be a lot of fun and feel really good. 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.

Chalk it up to Experience

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!




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Violet Fawkes (she/her) is a freelance writer and sex blogger focusing on pleasure education, erotic fiction, and the intersection of identity, kink and mental health.