Everything You Wanted To Know About Anal, But Were Too Afraid To Ask
Anal can be daunting for many of us. Whether you've tried it or not, it's always a good idea to read up on best practices before diving straight into it, ass first.
Instead of Googling in incognito, we've compiled your most yearning questions and featured them below. In this piece, sex educator Stephanie Salyers addresses all of your concerns about anal (yes, including poop!).
First up, a quick PSA: sex of any kind should never be painful and if it is, you definitely want to stop and reassess the situation. It can be as simple as needing to talk to your partner, using lubricant, or switching positions. Pain can also indicate something more serious like a medical condition or physical injury. When it comes to anal, there’s a higher chance of pain or discomfort because of the delicate nature of the rectum and its tight muscular structure. That said, here are some tips to make anal sex feel not just good, but damn good.
It’s important to remember that anal sex is best when paired with other types of stimulation for a more immersive sexual experience. This can include lots of kissing, nipple sucking, and foreplay action. A full booty massage is another great way to prep for anal sex because it can help relax your entire body, including your anus. Adding in some frontal genital stimulation before, during, and after is also helpful. For example, using a clitoral vibe while your partner explores your backdoor not only feels amazing but also helps your entire body relax, including your anus.
Speaking of the anus, AKA the butthole, it’s important to know some basic anatomy before trying any anal sex. Regardless of your genital anatomy, your anus is equipped with tons of rich nerve endings and for many people with a clitoris, the internal legs of the wishbone-shaped clit can actually be stimulated via anal play. Now let’s get into the sphincters (pun intended). Every asshole has an internal sphincter and an external sphincter. The job of these contracted circular muscles is to control poo exiting the body. The outer gets all the glory as its movement is voluntary whereas the internal is involuntary.
Most people experience pain during anal sex when they are unaware of the internal sphincter–it’s sort of like a hidden barrier. The safest way to prep for anal is to lube up a finger or small butt plug, and rub it gently around the anus to massage and relax it before pressing in. Imitate a “ringing the doorbell” motion and use about the same amount of pressure. When the anus is relaxed, the finger or toy may slip in surprisingly easily. This is what happens right before someone gets hurt. Be cautious when proceeding and remember that the second sphincter is not yet prepared. It’s best to pause when you are up to the first knuckle (or about one inch deep) and continue the light circles and gentle pressing to allow your internal sphincter to relax. Then decide if going further is a good idea. Sometimes it’s not and you have to stop, wash hands, and go back to other types of erotic play.
Once you get the anatomy and relaxation techniques down, move on to the next step. Remember the anus is not self-lubricating, so you always want to use lube. Be sure it’s compatible with whatever toy you might be using (for a durable, water based lube that's compatible with silicone, try Jelly). Anal training is a process and it may take a few butt play sessions before you or your partner can even consider penetration with a penis or strap on. Work your way up to larger sizes and styles.
Please don’t try to speed up the process by using anal lubricants with numbing agents. This leads to anal tearing called “fissure” and no one wants that.
Anal hygiene is sometimes colored by an individual’s perception, where a little poop during anal sex is NBD for some and for others it’s the epitome of the grossest thing ever. In order to speak to both, let’s just say that the human body is a beautiful thing and anal sex comes with a possibility of a little fecal matter. However, there are ways to reduce the risk.
For most folks just getting started with anal play, the best way to prepare is to be sure you’ve pooped 12-24 hours before anal activity. You want to be clear for launch. Having stool or anything else in the rectum increases the pressure and makes you more likely to need and/or have a bowel movement. You also want to avoid any high-fiber, poo-inducing foods in that time, but don’t fast. Having a little food in your system is different than fully digested, ready-to-go poop in your rectum. From here, a little soap and water and you’re good to go!
Enemas are safe. If you’re looking for something simple, try an Enema Bulb, which is easy to use and discreet for hiding in a shared bathroom or packing for a weekender. Follow the “rinse and repeat” instructions and do at least 5 rounds. This takes about 30 minutes in total and is known as a fast enema. It’s usually enough for the average user (unless you’re planning for a monster dick, fisting, Dragon dildo fuckfest).
This is a tough feeling to totally avoid because having anything in your rectum will cause the muscles to move in the same way as when you have a bowel movement. But for those of us who are new to anal sex, this muscle movement feels a lot like pooping because that’s the experience we can associate it with. As you explore anal sex, the pelvic floor contractions, nerve ending stimulation, and orgasm will begin to add to the experience and the “need to poop” feeling will become less obvious.
Get yourself an anal trainer kit or an easy-to-use silicone plug like Nudge. Throw a towel or sheet over the bed–even if you don’t need one, it can help you feel more relaxed. Then, follow these steps:
1) Start with your favorite masturbation routine. Feel free to orgasm. No rush, no pressure; just allow yourself to enjoy these familiar feelings of pleasure.
2) From there, reach around with a lubed-up index finger and begin rubbing the outside of your anus. If this feels good, dip your finger in further. Pause and rub a little more before pushing in further. Don’t make having an amazing ass-gasm your end goal. This is a recon mission. Notice the shape and feeling of your anus. See if standing is more comfortable than laying down, try a few positions and angles to learn what helps you feel open and relaxed versus what makes you feel clenched and uncomfortable. Tip: using a vibrator on your clit just makes the learning curve more fun.
3) Repeat the lube and entry steps with your Nudge. Insert as little or as much as you feel comfortable. Remember that Nudge has a nice flared base so it doesn’t go too far and get lost in your rectum. Once it’s in, wash your hands or use sanitizer and then get back to feelin’ yourself.
If you’ve had hemorrhoids and they are healed, then you should be able to pursue anal just like a beginner would, following the steps listed above. Go slow, use lube, and be sure to focus on body awareness and clear communication if a partner is involved. However, if you have hemorrhoids that are not healed, then friction and pressure can increase irritation, pain, and discomfort. If your hemorrhoids bleed, then you will most likely experience bleeding during anal intercourse–make sure to give your partner a heads up about this. And always use condoms to reduce the risk of infection or STIs.
The prostate is an almond shaped gland located in front of the rectum. After you and your partner have agreed to get into some prostate massage or “p-spotting,” start with an external massage around the perineum (skin between the scrotum and anus), using two lubricated fingers. Next, insert your fingers until you are about an inch into your partner’s anus. Gently press in forward “come hither” motions (you should be pressing towards the front of your partner’s body). As you explore, you’ll discover the round bulb of tissue that is the prostate.
For folks out there with vaginas, the body part that’s most similar to the P-Spot is actually the G-Spot. It’s an area that’s typically located about two inches inside of the vagina, along the front side of the vaginal wall between the cervix and pubic bone. The G-Spot is made up of spongy erectile tissue and becomes engorged during arousal. As it is stimulated, the G-Spot produces chemicals that are analogous to those that are released from the male prostate. Fun fact: anal penetration creates an additional pressure on the G-Spot, which can lead to increased pleasure and nice, juicy orgasms.
Open up the ass-eating conversation in a way that feels comfy and safe for both you and your partner. Maybe just mention that you’re interested in it at first, and wait until later to ask your partner if they’d want to try it. If they are interested, have a conversation and be vulnerable–ask questions, no judgement. It’s totally possible that talking about it will turn both of you on and before you know it, you’re face deep in the crack of your beloved! In all seriousness, just talking about it is the most important part. Having a conversation in a non-sexual context can make the subject seem less intimidating. Whether your partner says yes or no, you’ll both know it’s out on the table–and that’s great!
Last but not least, have fun with it! Just remember to avoid going ass to mouth or ass to vagina–there’s no reason you can’t stop to wash off and start again.
Stephanie Salyers is an author, content creator and SAR certified sexuality educator based in Los Angeles. Her ability to blend sensuality with humor and pop-culture enables her to bring a fresh perspective to a variety of projects. This hybridity can be seen in her graphic novel NVRLND. As a contributor for Unbound, Stephanie loves working with badass babes dedicated to revolutionizing the sex industry. Find Stephanie on Instagram and Twitter for more information on upcoming projects and events.
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