Generally speaking, sex is a highly stigmatised and taboo topic, and when it comes to anal sex the amount of stigma increases tenfold! Today, we’re discussing what you need to know about anal sex in order to have a safe, comfortable and pleasurable experience.We cover everything from why lube is so important, to the different types of anal sex and things to be aware of each time you engage in anal sex.
What is anal sex?
Anal sex doesn’t only consist of penetration; whether that’s penetration with a penis, finger or sex toy. It can also be oral anal sex which is also known as rimming or ‘tossing salad’, fingering (without penetration), fisting and stimulation with a sex toy with or without penetration. Any gender can perform or receive anal sex, and it’s not strictly for queer sex or men who have sex with men.
How to prepare for anal sex:
Knowing what type of anal sex you’d like to explore beforehand will help you in your preparation process. If you’re not sure, or if you’ve never had anal sex before that’s okay too, this blog will be a great guideline for you. If you’re prepping for penetrative anal sex using lube is a MUST, because the anus doesn’t create its own natural lube like the vagina does with discharge. Lube is also crucial because without it the tissues of the anus will tear, which makes you a lot more vulnerable to Sexually Transmitted Infections, plus the tears can be really painful.
The best lube to use is water-based lube because it’s the safest across the board in comparison to other types of lube. The other two types of lube; oil-based and silicone-based lube are thicker and last longer, however oil-based lube breaks down condoms (which is a serious health-hazard), and silicone-lube breaks down sex toys that are made of silicone. However, silicone lube can work effectively with glass or metal sex toys.
In terms of prepping your anus and bum, all you need to do is clean it with water and a cloth. If you are very concerned about how clean it is or concerned about some fecal matter exiting the anus during anal sex, you can do an enema. An enema involves pumping water or saline liquid into the rectum so that any poop remnants are dissolved and easier to poop out. There’s a misconception that if you’re receiving penetrative anal sex that you could poop on your sexual partner or on the bed etc. Although there is a chance that some fecal matter can exit the anus, the chances of an actual stool being released is very slim. If you are very concerned about this you can put down an old towel where you will be having anal sex. Just make sure you have over enough lube, especially if you’re using water-based lube and make sure you have more than enough condoms too.
Important tips for anal sex:
- Not all sex toys are safe for anal sex! If you want to use a sex toy, make sure that it’s made for anal sex. Sex toys that are used for anal penetration MUST have a flare at one end to ensure it doesn’t get stuck in the anus, because that can happen.
- If you’ve never had anal sex before, specifically penetrative anal sex, masturbation would be a great way to figure out what you like, what you want to explore and what you’re comfortable with. So, when you are ready to have anal sex with a sexual partner you know what your boundaries are and what feels good to you.
- When having penetrative anal sex for the first time, go as slow as you want. There’s no need to rush. Remember, your safety comes before everything else.
- If fingers are being used (for penetration or not) make sure the person performing the anal sex has washed their hands thoroughly with soap, that their nails are cut, clean and has no sharp edges.
- Re-apply lube as often as possible, especially when using water-based lube.
- Always use a condom for penetrative sex, even if you are in a monogamous relationship and you two have been tested for STI’s recently.
- Use a new condom every time you switch from one sexual act to another. For example, if you start out with anal sex and then switch to vaginal penetrative sex a new condom must be used. The bacteria from the anus is different to anywhere else in the body, and could cause infection if the condom isn’t changed.
- Doggy style or reverse missionary are great positions to try for anal sex beginners, especially if you aren’t ready for penetration.
- Always make sure to wash anything that’s come into contact with the anus. This includes hands, sex toys and anything else.
- For oral anal sex, using a dental dam as a barrier to protect the giver and receiver from STI’s is highly recommended.
Are there any health or safety risks to anal sex?
The skin around the anus is particularly sensitive which is why anal sex can feel so good. However, this skin is prone to tearing if there’s too much pressure on it, which is why we’ve emphasised using lube so much in this blog post. If the skin around the anus tears it can cause anal fissures, which are tiny but deep and they can bleed. Anal fissures can heal on their own in a couple of weeks, but they are quite uncomfortable.
The chances of transmitting or receiving an infection from anal sex is quite high, which is why using a barrier like a condom or dental dam to protect the giver and the receiver is the safest way to have anal sex.