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A Lowdown on Anal Sex

So, you want to know the ins and outs of anal sex? Maybe you’re curious about the mechanics of it. Maybe you’re wondering how this topic made it into a sex education magazine. Maybe you’re trying to find a good reason to do it or not.


Anal play can be a pleasurable activity for both giver and receiver, and is performed by the insertion of the penis, fingers, toys, etc. into the anus. Preferences vary – check with your partner! Some people dislike anal sex, and others may prefer to be stimulated only on the outside (“rimming”, i.e. anilingus with the tongue, or rubbing with the fingers).

During anal sex, stimulation can occur when the penis (or other objects) hits the prostate in males or the perineal sponge or G-spot through the anal wall in females. The anus and rectum also have many nerve-endings, which can make anal sex deeply pleasurable, painful, or even a mix of both. However, not everyone can achieve orgasm through anal sex; 70-80% of women, for instance, achieve orgasms only with direct clitoral stimulation.


If you are curious about anal sex and you and your partner would like to try it, use protection, and don’t forget to find out about lubricants. The anal cavity does not produce its own lubrication, so some will be needed. Not all lubricants are suitable: some people may have allergic skin reactions to certain types (make sure you try it out beforehand), while petroleum-based lubricant could weaken the efficacy of latex barrier methods or erode latex toys. Water-based lubricant is your best choice, though it may need to be reapplied or reactivated with water or saliva during sex should it be absorbed into the skin or evaporate. Beginners should avoid lubricant with numbing agents because pain is a warning to stop!

A barrier (e.g. condom, latex glove) is essential because there is a high risk of infection with unprotected anal sex, due to the vulnerability of the anal lining. It also makes cleanup easier and makes your lube last a bit longer. Using lubrication also adds protection to the delicate mucous membranes that line the anus, so that’s another good reason to remember your lube; it protects you and makes you feel good too.

The two concerns often raised by people curious about anal sex are hygiene and pain. To ensure hygiene, empty the bowels and clean the anal area.

Most of the time, the pain experienced in anal sex is caused by the stretching of the anal mucosa (the lining of the anal cavity). So it is best to proceed slowly and gently. It might be best to start with one finger, then two, or even various sizes of sex toys, before trying penile penetration. If you aren’t careful or relaxed enough, you might overstretch the mucosa, causing it to tear.

Anal tears usually heal quickly but if an infection occurs, you should see your doctor. There might be a little discomfort for the next few days. Do make sure to keep the area clean and drink lots of water to ease bowel movements.

Having a willing and trustworthy partner is absolutely important because anal sex can get messy or uncomfortable. Don’t ever feel stressed or upset about not being able to relax enough for anal intercourse – listen to your body and respect it! If the recipient is willing but unable to relax, try engaging in some foreplay first and make sure the area is well lubed. Finally, switching directly from anal sex to vaginal sex increases the risk of bacterial infections so you should use a new condom and wash thoroughly beforehand.

ANAL SEX IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. Anal sex can be pleasurable, but it can also be painful. Try it only if both partners are curious and consenting. Remember, consent to vaginal intercourse is not consent to anal intercourse; if the receiving partner is pressured or forced into it, it’s still sexual assault. If you want to stop at any point, notify your partner immediately!Some people can’t get into it, or find it painful, and others are positively repulsed by it. Never ever coerce someone who is reticent into anal sex. Get enthusiastic consent and always exercise good communication, caution and common sense. ALWAYS PRACTICE SAFE SEX. Use protection! The anal sphincter is delicate and easy to tear; a tear could provide entry for pathogens. As such, there is a higher risk of passing on STIs or infections. Condoms on toys make cleanup easier, and dental dams (or cut-up condoms) minimise STI transmission in oral-anal contact.REMEMBER: If you’re a female, you could go from front to back, but may want to refrain from goingback to front! Use a new condom or gloved finger if switching between anal sex and vaginal sex (this includes using your fingers, toys, etc.). The area around your anus can be host to harmful microbes. Cross-contamination can lead to painful infections and the spread of diseases. Using an improvised dental dam during oral-anal contact makes this much easier.