The Definitive Guide to Anal Sex: Your Every Question Answered!
Whether you’re an anal sex virgin, an aficionado looking for ways to further ramp up the pleasure, or have had a less than positive past experience that you’re hoping to rectify, you’ve come to the right place! Anal play can be deeply pleasurable and incredibly intimate. Your backdoor is abundant in deliciously sensitive nerve endings, potentially putting new heights of orgasm firmly on the cards.
But despite compelling reasons to give it go, anal is still unfairly mired in taboo. There are those who dismiss it as dirty – both in a literal sense, and otherwise. For others it’s seen as the preserve of homosexual men. As unashamedly vocal proponents of exploring every single avenue of pleasure, it will come as no surprise whatsoever that we categorically reject all of these prejudices!
First up, backdoor pleasure needn’t involve a penis; strap-ons, fingers and prostate massagers are all more than satisfactory stand-ins. In this sense, anal is one of the most inclusive kinds of loving out there – after all, every single one of us has an anus. Hoorah!
Adding to the taboo factor – as well as the allure – is the simple fact that anal sex isn’t discussed nearly as much as vaginal. However, that silence doesn’t mean that we’re not dabbling: a 2015 US study found that 36.3% of women aged 15-44 had tried anal. In other words, while it’s not exactly as mainstream as other kinds of sex, there’s nothing weird about wanting to give it a go. And if you don’t, well that’s also fine!
First up, some much-needed myth busting!
#1 Women only do it to please men
Not true! Like most things, anal isn’t going to be everyone’s thing. But to assume women who lay out the backdoor welcome mat only do so to please their partners is, frankly, insulting. For many women, the uniquely fulfilling sensation of anal sex is deeply pleasurable – and for good reason: not only is the anus nerve-ending central, the rectum and vagina actually share a ‘wall’ meaning you’ll likely also reach front-side pleasure points.
#2 It hurts
If you’re relaxed, aroused and armed with lots of lube, anal sex needn’t hurt. If it’s uncomfortable, stop, back up and only try again when you’re good and ready. Not only is the anus loaded with nerve endings, first time penetration of what will have previously been an exclusively one-way channel is inevitably an unfamiliar sensation. Our advice? Go slow.
#3 Only gay men are into anal
Again, nope. Being curious about giving or receiving backdoor lovin’ has absolutely zero bearing on sexuality. In fact, anal play presents a direct route to his number one internal pleasure point, the prostate.
Strap-ons, fingers and especially massagers tailor-made for the male anatomy all do a deliciously enjoyable job of arousing gratification galore. For givers, the tightness of a rectum over a vagina or mouth can be deeply satisfying, not to mention the ‘forbidden fruit’ thrill factor!
Myths and half-truths now resolutely dismissed, time to move on to an anal sex checklist. From how to broach the subject with a partner, through the thoughts on positions, here’s what you need to know for smooth entry into the wonderful world of anal sex…
1. Talk it Through
This one’s non-negotiable: Communication is the cornerstone of great sex and essential for informed, enthusiastic consent. If you’d like to explore anal sex, either as a giver or a receiver, you should explicitly say so; trying to subtly drop hints while hoping you’re on the same page isn’t going to cut it! Find a time when you’re both relaxed and be sensitive to your partner’s feelings – you’re not unsatisfied with your sex life; you want to further explore your pleasure potential together. Now’s the time to talk through any concerns, anxieties or past backdoor experiences. Above all, it’s important that the receiver knows they’re in total control of your anal adventure – from an initial green light through to saying stop.
2. Keep it Clean
A common misconception about anal is that it’s dirty. Though understandable – this is the orifice you defecate from, after all – it’s not entirely accurate. In fact there’s very little fecal matter in the rectum: the body stores poop in the colon, with the anatomy involved in anal sex serving more as an exit passageway. That said, if it puts your and your partner’s mind at ease, there’s nothing like sharing a bath or shower together for getting in the mood!
An altogether more important hygiene issue is that of cross-contamination. Transferring the penetrating manhood, finger, toy or whatever from bottom to vagina can cause potentially serious health problems. Don’t do it.
One final note about grooming: if you’re going to start shallow and playful by using fingers to caress your partner’s behind, do make sure nails are trimmed and clean. The lining of the rectum is sensitive, and prone to tearing.
3. Lube Up
Don’t scrimp on a quality silicone or water-based lube! The more you use, the more pleasurable your backdoor foray will feel. For lady receivers, bear in mind that unlike vaginas, your rectum doesn’t naturally self-lubricate no matter how turned on you feel. A generous amount of lube will prevent chafing, pain and tears.
4. Start Slow
Despite what lusty, thrusty porn would have us believe, taking things slow is the key to mutual anal pleasure. Having anything up there will be an entirely new – and potentially very pleasurable – sensation, and absolutely one that takes some getting used to.
As a first step, stroke, caress and touch the anal opening, or have a partner give you a ‘rim job’ – that is, stimulating the anus with the mouth and tongue. Start gently with a lubed up finger, perhaps graduating to two, before introducing a toy designed for anal play (ie, one with a flared base). When you’re both ready for the main event, the giver should enter gradually, and constantly check-in with their partner that they’re comfortable.
5. A Note on Positions
Have fun finding your favorite anal sex position, and bear in mind that might be one that puts the receiver in control of speed and depth. If you’re just embarking on anal forays, here’s some great advice for adapting everything from cowgirl to doggystyle for backdoor passions.
Finally, if the thought of anal sex just doesn’t get you going, that’s completely OK – just like everything else in life, different strokes for different folks! But if you’re keen to explore new sensations and possibilities, just remember: communication and trust is everything. And lube – lots of lube. Have fun, keep safe, and happy exploring!
Donna is a Volonté contributor and freelancer who lives in San Francisco with her understanding husband and not-so-understanding teenage sons. Her work has been published in The Journal of Sexology and she is currently writing a book on love languages.