I am a cis-female who personally enjoys anal sex. If you would have asked me a year ago if anal sex would be something I’d ever do, I would have probably told you “no” because of all the misinformation about it out there. However, after educating myself, I made the decision to try it with my partner and ended up loving it.
First, some common questions.
Q: Does anal sex hurt?
A: Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that anal sex or anal play “has” to hurt. They are wrong and misinformed. While it may not be for everybody, there is no reason that it has to hurt and can be very pleasurable for both the giver and the receiver. Through this guide, I hope I can give you a better idea of how to engage in pain-free anal sex or anal play.
Q: Isn’t anal sex really dirty?
A: Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite sex books:
Let’s review a little anatomy. The anal canal is less than an inch long and leads into the rectum, which is anywhere from five to nine inches long. The rectum leads, in turn, to the colon. The rectum itself is only a passageway, not a storageplace, so it is unlikely that you’ll come across more than a few traces of feces in the course of your explorations. The fact that the rectum’s sexual status suffers due to its participation in the digestive process is somewhat arbitrary. After all, the digestive process stars with your mouth, and nobody considers kissing a disgusting activity.
If you’re still skittish, take a shower or bath before engaging in anal penetration, or better yet, use latex gloves or a condom when you engage in anal penetration. Unless you’re an expert, enemas aren’t necessary or recommended, a simple dip in the tub is sufficient preparation for most anal activities. That said, the bacteria found in one’s anus/rectum is not safe for vaginas. While it’s okay to switch from vaginal penetration to anal penetration, never switch from anal penetration to vaginal penetration without changing condoms or washing what you were being penetrated with, whether that’s a penis, fingers, or toys.
Q: Is anal sex just for gay men?
A: There are many physiological reasons for both people with penises and people with vaginas to enjoy anal sex or anal play. No matter what gender you are or what sexual orientation you identify with, the anus is rich in nerve endings. Pressure and fullness in the rectum feels pleasurable to some people, in the same way that pressure and fullness in the vagina feels pleasurable to some people. Anal penetration can stimulate both the perineal area and G-spot in women and the bulb of the penis and prostate gland in men.
Q: Do I have to use a condom for anal sex?
A: It is a good idea (dare I say, necessary?) to use a condom unless both you and your partner/s have been tested negative for STD’s.
Now onto the good stuff! Note that everything I’m about to say is what I know works for me and is one possible way to approach anal play/anal sex. You may approach it a different way.
Lube, lube, and more lube! Since anuses and rectums don’t produce any natural lubrication, you must use lube if you are looking for a pain-free anal experience. Some people prefer oil-based lubes since they don’t dry up as quickly, but it is not recommended by experts, especially since it destroys condoms. Try to find a thicker water-based lubricant without nonoxynol-9 (it’s potentially irritating) or benzocaine (I’ll explain this in a bit) and apply it lavishly. Use more lube than you think you’d ever need, and try to get it inside of your anus/rectum if possible rather than just whatever you’re being penetrated with.
Relaxation is of the utmost importance when it comes to pain-free anal sex and anal play. The anus is ringed by two sphincter muscles, one right on top of the other. The external sphincter is the one you voluntarily control; the internal sphincter is involuntary. I get so many questions from women whose partners have asked them to engage in anal sex with them. If you’re not comfortable with the idea of anal play or anal sex, do not try it. When you’re tense and not relaxed, as you’re probably going to be if you’re engaging in something that you are scared of or uncomfortable with, then the likelihood of anal sex being painful is going to shoot up exponentially. This is because that muscle — the internal sphincter — will tighten up reflexively if you try to force your way into your anus, which can result in excruciating pain. With practice and the right mindset, though, it is possible to gain some control over the internal sphincter.
It took me several months of mental preparation and research to become comfortable enough with the idea of anal sex to try it with my partner, so don’t feel bad if you’re not ready to try it just yet (or if you never want to try it!) If you think you’re ready to try anal sex/anal play now, it’s time to figure out what helps you relax. I prefer to engage in anal sex and anal play after I’ve engaged in a LOT of foreplay with my partner, because it helps me relax and puts me more in the “up for anything” mindset.
Respect what your body is telling you. This, my friends, is the reason I told you earlier to stay away from lube with benzocaine (or other anesthetic ingredients) in it. These are specifically marketed for anal sex to numb your anus/rectum, but I would strongly suggest staying away from them. The network of nerve endings in your anus and outer rectum is your best defense against hurting yourself. As with any kind of penetration, pain is a warning signal that you should stop what you’re doing — the last thing you want to do is take away that signal and risk harming yourself.
Communication, trust, and patience are key. My current partner is the only partner I’ve engaged in anal sex with because he is the only one I’ve trusted enough to, partly due to the excellent communication we have regarding sex. Discuss your expectations for anal sex/play, discuss how you’d like it to progress. Tell your partner what feels good and tell your partner immediately when something hurts. Trusting that your partner will respect your boundaries and stop if something is painful will help you relax, which will likely make anal penetration more enjoyable. It is also good to keep in mind that anal penetration is generally more time consuming and requires more preparation than vaginal penetration. It’s best not to embark on it on the spur of the moment. One bad anal penetration experience can ruin it forever. Take your time, and try not to be so goal-oriented — enjoy exploring the range of new sensations and the new experience and the ebb and flow of arousal.
Okay! Now that we’ve got that covered, we can talk about how my partner and I usually engage in anal play and anal sex. We’ll start with a lot of kissing and erotic touching. He’ll nibble my ears, neck, and nipples. He’ll lightly trace his fingers over my ribcage. He’ll flip me over on my stomach and perform analingus on me (which, by the way, you can use dental dams for!) Generally, he’ll perform cunnilingus on me and give me at least one orgasm (I am the type of person who can have multiple orgasms, but some people are too sensitive after one orgasm to continue, so this may be a good or bad idea depending on what type of person you are). Sometimes when he goes down on me he will play with my ass with one finger, which I’d definitely recommend doing during oral sex if you’re preparing for anal penetration. After I’ve had one orgasm of a few, we’ll move onto vaginal penetration. Again, this is to help me relax and get into the right mindset for anal penetration. Usually, while we’re doing this, he will insert 1-2 fingers into my ass (with lube) to start stretching me out. Once I’ve decided I’m ready to get into it, my partner will take a 5-10 minutes stretching me out. He will start massaging lube onto the outside of my anus. Very slowly, he will insert one finger, work some lube in, work up to two, work some more lube in, work up to three, and — you guessed it — work some more lube in before we try penis penetration.
(Again, note: this preparation/foreplay routine works really well with me, but you may want something different. Many people report using toys of grading size over days/weeks/months helps them become more comfortable with penetration, some people use buttplugs beforehand. Remember, if you are using toys, never use toys without a flared base for anal penetration.)
Next, my partner will apply more lube at the entrance of my anus and put of coating of lube on his own penis. He will then position his penis at the entrance of my anus. He will wait for me to push into him and I will usually hold his penis in place to keep it steady. He will always ask me if it feels good or if it hurts. Unless it hurts, he will push further into me until his penis is fully inside of me. (I prefer to do it this way, but some people prefer to start thrusting before the penis, toy, or fingers are fully inside.) Once he’s inside of me, he will start thrusting very slowly and will only increase speed when I tell him that it’s okay.
While my partner is penetrating me, I like to add extra stimulation to help me enjoy the experience even more. Sometimes I will rub my clitoris with my fingers, sometimes I will use a vibrator on my clitoris, and on occasion, I have added vaginal penetration with a vibrator while my partner is penetrating my ass. (If you have a penis, you might want to consider masturbating yourself if your partner is penetrating you.) The entire time we communicate with body language and explicit words and my partner will pause or stop completely if I’m in pain.
As for positions, that’s entirely up to you. I first had anal intercourse in a modified missionary position because it’s what I was most comfortable in. I wanted my partner to be able to see and read my face and it made for an incredibly intimate experience. Some people prefer to be penetrated on all fours, and some people prefer to be on top when they’re being penetrated. Keep in mind that all the positions you can use for vaginal intercourse can be adapted to anal intercourse, the most important thing is that you are comfortable and relaxed in the position you choose. Also, you can always try new positions later and once you’re more comfortable with anal sex/play!
So here’s the tl;dr version of everything I just said: use lots and lots of lube, make sure you’re relaxed, communicate with your partner, stop when you feel pain, take it very slowly, and respect your and your partner’s boundaries. This guide may not cover everything you need to know about pain-free anal sex, which is why I urge you to do your research if you’re considering it for the first time. It can be an extremely pleasurable experience for anyone of any gender or sexual orientation, but it can also be painful if you don’t approach it right.
Pretty great guide. Only thing I have to add is that if you have bowel issues there may be stool present in the rectum. If you do have bowel issues and like anal sex it’s a good idea to take care of your bowels as much as you can by eating healthy foods and drinking lots of water and talking to a doctor if you have a lot of problems and try to see about treatments.