Anal sex can be an incredibly pleasurable way to explore new pathways to stimulation, on your own or with a partner. But engaging in anal play for first-timers may be an intimidating prospect! Here, we’ll take a look at why anal sex is worth exploring, and offer a few tips on how to make the experience comfortable and memorable for both you and your partner:
Penetration Isn’t Necessarily Required
Yes, anal penetration by a penis, dildo or strap-on is how anal sex is sometimes defined. In reality, though, anal sex can mean different things to different people, and it can be enjoyed by folks of all gender identities.
For instance, analingus (also known as rimming) is a form of anal play that involves oral stimulation of the anus, either externally, internally, or both. It can be very pleasurable all on it’s own, but is also a great way to stimulate and help relax your or your partner’s butt prior to penetration. If you’re not into using your tongue, simply stroking your or your partner’s anus with a lubed up finger can have the same effect.
People without penises can enjoy anal sex through pegging, which means wearing a strap-on dildo and penetrating your partner (again: of any gender identity!), or can try using another type of anal sex toy — like a butt plug — to stimulate your / their anus while engaging in other sex acts (with a partner, or on your own!). You can also penetrate your partner with your fingers. Experiment with the type of anal stimulation that feels right for you and your partner — there are plenty of pleasure pathways here!
It’s Not Risk-Free
Compared to some other sex acts, having anal sex is considered a higher-risk sexual activity. Because the anal sphincter is susceptible to tearing, unprotected anal sex — when it involves penetration by a penis — runs a higher risk of STI transmission. In addition, there is a higher concentration of microorganisms in the anus than on other parts of the body.
In both cases, the health risks can be mitigated by using a condom and plenty of lube, to reduce the risk of the condom breaking (which can be more likely with anal sex).
It’s important to be aware of the risks of anal sex, and to discuss these risks with your partner ahead of time.
It Can Bring You Closer to Your Partner
Trying new sexual activities with your partner can actually work to strengthen the bond between you, especially if you involve plenty of discussion beforehand and afterward. Meghan Stubbs, a Michigan-based sexologist, suggested to Healthline that post-sex conversation — which can involve discussing what you liked and what you’d like to change or avoid in future — can help you “revel in your afterglow.” Stubbs suggests making “five loving observations to every one request for change”, to keep things positive and productive between you and your partner.
It can unlock incredible new pleasure pathways
Thanks to some lingering ignorance and, homophobia, anal sex is still considered ‘taboo’ in some circles. Luckily, the tide is stating to turn, and people everywhere are realizing that folks of all genders and sexual orientations can, and do, benefit from the incredible, often intense pleasure offered by anal sex and penetration, plus butt play in general.
Yes, it’s true that men and people assigned male at birth often find anal sex extra pleasurable, since the prostate gland can be stimulated during anal penetration. However, women and people assigned female at birth can also enjoy anal penetration. The anterior fornix (also known as the A-spot) is located in the vagina, but it can be stimulated via anal penetration. This can lead to intense pleasure and orgasms.
Top Anal Sex Tips
Whether you prefer penetration with a toy, with fingers, or with a penis, or you tend to stick to external stimulation, there are some important things to keep in mind when engaging in anal play, especially if you’re a butt play beginner.
1. Talk It Out
First thing’s first: if you’re looking to explore anal play with a partner, you should both make sure you’re clear with one another about what you want, what you’re comfortable with, and what you’re not okay with. Because anal penetration may be uncomfortable for first-timers, make sure you both agree to go slow, and to respect any requests to pull back or stop completely.
2. Keep It Clean
Practising good hygiene is an important component of sexual health, in the case of anal sex, cleanliness is all the more important. If you’re planning on having anal sex or playing with your butt, you’ll probably want to shower first. If penetration is going to be involved, you may want to use an anal douche beforehand. Douching is not necessary, but it can make you and your partner feel more comfortable.
3. Go Slow
Whether you’re playing with a butt plug or anal sex toy solo or engaging in anal play with a partner, the best way to ensure a pleasurable experience is to take things extra slow. If you’re engaging in partnered anal sex, it might be best to begin with some oral anal stimulation, to help encourage relaxation. When it comes to penetration, take things a centimeter at the time, and be sure to frequently check in with your partner to make sure things feel comfortable and pleasurable.
4. Use Lube
Like, lots of lube! One of the best ways to ensure an enjoyable anal sex experience that’s free of any discomfort is to lavishly lube up your anus AND your toy or partner’s penis. There’s almost no such thing as too much lube when anal sex is concerned. In addition to helping reduce discomfort, using ample lubrication can help reduce the risk of any tearing of the anal sphincter, which is highly sensitive.
Like most sexual acts, anal is not for everyone. Some poeple just aren’t interested in butt play or anal sex, and that’s okay! If you are, though, remember to play safe, and use lots and lots and lots of lube.