Ah, anal sex. Is there any other boudoir business more controversial than the ass blast? It’s frequently associated with pejorative stereotypes about gay men and straight women who need to be convinced to do it by their over-sexed (or perhaps under-sexed?) boyfriends and husbands. When it comes to women who have anal sex, rarely is it discussed in a wholesome, consensual way—and it’s often, quite simply, the butt of the joke. As sex things go, anal has never really gotten a fair shake. But the continued stigma against the deed doesn’t mean that your butt should suffer! Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your anal sex is pleasurable, safe, and totally consensual!
- As with any kind of sex, enthusiastic consent is key within the realm of anal play. Not everyone is intrigued by the idea of having another person get cozy with their rectum. And that’s fine! If someone is pressuring you in any way to do something sexual that you don’t want to do—especially anal—well, they’re a real asshole. There should never be coercion of any kind involved in sex acts, but something as vulnerable and potentially painful and dangerous as anal sex is high on the list of “Sex Acts That You Should Not Do Unless You Really Want To.” On the flip side, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with really wanting to, either.
- For safety’s sake, condoms are an important part of anal sex, even if you’re engaging with a long-time monogamous partner. The reason being has more to do with the spread of bacteria from the bowels than it does with spreading STDs (or pregnancy, obvs). Sounds great, right?? Using the same condom (or no condom at all) when going from anal to vaginal sex will mingle bacteria that were never meant to meet, elevating your risk of contracting things like UTIs borne of e-coli. There’s a reason why you wipe front to back, friends!
- You’re going to want to use a lot of lube. And I’m not talking about, like, upgrading from a dime-size amount to a nickel—go for the silver dollar if you have to. The more lube you use, the less uncomfortable friction there will be (and no matter what, the comfort of participants in anal sex is always top priority!). And using condoms and lubes that are organic and safe for your body is an extra important consideration, especially if you’re introducing them to new parts of your body.
- To begin, it’s important to remember that too much too fast has the potential to tear your asshole, and certain positions are more likely to do so than others. If it’s your first time, maybe don’t start with missionary (which gives you the least clitoral stimulation, anyway), but choose something like lying flat on your stomach or getting on top of your partner, which will give you more control.
- There’s a lot of anxiety surrounding anal sex, principally the fear of pain and the possibility of accidentally pooping on your partner. Yes, that’s a possibility. No, it likely won’t happen to you if you use common sense like that avoiding a bean and cheese burrito for a few hours beforehand. In order to enjoy anal sex, the receiver needs to try their best to relax the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles without worrying about letting go of a little feces. But do use the bathroom after anal, just as you would after any other sex, to clear out your system and bid adieu to any lingering bacteria.
Key takeaways: If you’re not into it, then skip it. Point blank. You don’t owe your partner(s) anything, so if the act is going to do more harm than good, then it’s not worth it. It can certainly be pleasurable, but only if you advocate for yourself and your needs. No ifs, ands, or butts!
By Emma Glassman-Hughes