Your Questions About Anal Sex Answered
By Elizabeth Reilly of Lora DiCarlo
It’s August and jumpsuits, CBD infused cosmetics, and anal sex are all having a cultural moment. Wait, what? You heard me. If you didn’t know, now you know—it’s officially Anal August!
In this age of sex positivity, anal sex has almost become a merit badge for the sexually empowered and adventurous woman. However, even as our collective knowledge of all things sexuality expands, it seems there are still a lot of questions surrounding this topic, and understandably so. In the recent and unfortunate, puritanical history of the United States, anal sex has been categorized as taboo and deviant sexual activity. This largely stems from the anti-sodomy laws that were initially an attempt to control sex outside of marriage, and eventually championed by conservatives in the 1960’s in order to legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ citizens. All this has led to a less than open dialogue about the matter, and a lack of reliable information. Where do inquiring minds turn for information about getting down and dirty? The internet, of course! We’ve compiled a few of your most common questions about booty lovin’ below. Don’t be shy! You know you’re curious.
Is Anal Sex Safe?
Like any sexual activity, there are parameters that must be met in order to ensure all parties have a positive experience. Even for solo play and exploration, you need to treat your tushy with care. For starters, you must use lube. Even if you typically do not use it with vaginal intercourse, using a high-quality, water-based, personal lubricant during anal play is an absolute necessity. The anus does not self-lubricate like the vagina does, and the skin inside the anal canal is quite delicate. The friction that is created during anal sex can cause irritation and small tears to the tissue, which will not only cause you discomfort, but also increases the risk of STI transmission. Smoothing the passage of a finger, a sex toy, or a phallus with a generous application of lube will get your butt play started off right. If your anal play includes a penis, the use of condoms is also recommended, for safety and comfort. Not only do condoms provide an extra helping of that all important lube, they also provide a smoother ride, and protect you and your partner from potential STI’s should your delicate derrière tear.
Does It Hurt?
Speaking of fingers, this is where it all begins. If you are an anal virgin, do not even think about jumping straight to penetration with anything larger than an index finger. Along with the aforementioned delicate tissue, the anal canal is also home to two sphincter muscles. These muscles are strong. Their entire job is to keep things in (and out) of your butt, so you or your partner are going to need to spend some time getting these muscles to relax in order for penetration to be comfortable. Using a well-lubed finger, apply gentle, circular touch to the anus and perineum. Try massaging the larger muscles of the buttocks and thighs as well, which will increase overall relaxation and enhance intimacy during partner play.
Just like any physical activity, don’t forget to breathe. Connecting with your breath and taking full, deep breathes, oxygenates your blood and promotes circulation to the areas receiving attention. It also stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain all the way down to the colon, almost the entire length of the human body. It branches out and connects to all major organs, and mediates the fight, flight or freeze response. When you include relaxation techniques like massage, deep breathing, and even heat therapy in the process of preparing your body for anal sex, it can be a holistic and nourishing experience, if you commit to taking the time to do it right.
As your muscles begin to relax, and your anus opens up to accept a finger or two, you can move on to slightly larger objects, like butt plugs. Gradually work your way up to larger sizes, and always use toys with a flared base to ensure you have a handle to retrieve it with. A relaxed anus can accept objects that are quite large and if they get past the rectum, they can travel a good distance up the intestinal tract. Don’t end up like one of those cringe-worthy emergency room stories.
My Partner Wants to Try Anal.
Communication and consent are two factors that are crucial to all successful interpersonal relationships. If your partner broaches the topic of anal sex, or any sex for that matter, you’re off to a good start. Having a robust dialogue about the risks and rewards associated with your sexual activity will create trust and a shared knowledge base between consenting adults. Before your clothes come off, talk about your likes and dislikes, your fantasies, your boundaries and ask lots of questions. Go shopping together and purchase that lube! Talk to friends about their experiences, and take all the time you need before jumping into the deep end. The point is—this is your body, your experience—so do it for you, not for them. Having different kinds of sex can be incredibly empowering if you center your pleasure, desires and curiosities first, and engage with partners with whom you have transparent and honest communication.
Can I Orgasm from Anal Sex?
Reports vary on this one. Each body is unique in the way it responds to stimulus. Folks with a prostate are more likely to orgasm from anal stimulation than those without. However, those without a prostate have two erogenous zones that can be stimulated through anal penetration—the A-spot and the G-Spot. These may not induce orgasm through anal stimulation alone, but in combination with clitoral stimulation, some people report experiencing more intense orgasms than normal.
Through erotic exploration, you can learn important and enjoyable things about your unique anatomy, and the many different types of orgasms that are possible. Our bodies have the capacity to experience great amounts of pleasure. Due to cultural stigmas and shame-based sexual education, many of us are never given the space or permission to ask questions about sex, let alone try things out. When you are able to come into a place of self-awareness, bodily knowledge and sexual empowerment, it can have positive and confidence boosting impacts on other areas of your life as well.