“I’m curious about having anal sex with my boyfriend, but I’ve had unpleasant experiences in the past. Any tips?” To hear what Dr. Glickman has to say,
I’ve noticed an increase in questions about anal play over the last few years, and while I think it’s great that more people are discovering new ways to experience pleasure, anal play isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many people don’t enjoy it at all and unfortunately, some guys have a tendency to pressure their partners into doing it. Quite a few women report that their boyfriends have seen so much anal in porn that they’re convinced that every woman wants it. But sex in porn is like a car chase in an action movie. There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes that you don’t see in order to create the illusion that shows up on the screen; in the case of anal sex — lots of lube and warming up.
For some women, anal play (note: not just anal sex) heightens their orgasms. First, the anus is very sensitive and packed with nerve endings. Second, its muscles are connected to the rest of the pelvic muscles and contract along with the vagina during orgasm. Third, there are people who enjoy the experience of doing something naughty or taboo.
So now that we have that taken care of, there are three ingredients to hot anal play: relaxation, lubrication, and communication. Let’s take them one at a time.
Relaxation: the anus is made up of two rings of muscles and they’re under both voluntary and involuntary control. With practice, you can learn to increase how much control you have over your ability to relax. And ironically, if you’re nervous about anal play hurting or not being fun, it can make the anus get tighter, which makes it more likely to be unpleasant.
The best way to get started is to go slowly and start small. Try a little external pleasure with a finger or a slim vibrator. If you’re concerned about keeping things clean, slip on a glove. Experiment with tightening the anus and bearing down — you’ll be able to feel it contract and relax.
If you want to try penetration, go slowly and use lots of lube (either water-based or silicone-based, which doesn't dry out as easily but is harder to clean off). You’ll probably enjoy it more if you’re also doing something that you enjoy such as using a vibrator. Lots of women report that anal play on its own isn’t nearly as much fun as when it’s an add-on.
Communication: the anus is a delicate part of the body and it’s easy to get too rough with it. It’s super-important to be able to tell your partner when things are uncomfortable, if you need more lube, or if you want to try something else. For that matter, it’s important to be able to say something if you’re not enjoying it, or if you’re experiencing any pain. And if your partner is pressuring you to do something that you don’t want to do, that’s a big red flag!
Important safety tips: any toys that you use for anal play need to be smooth, have a base, and ideally made of easy-to-clean silicone. Since the anus is so much more delicate than the vagina, it’s easy for toys with bumps and ridges to cause discomfort. (If you have a porous rubber toy or you’re not sure if it's made of silicone, cover it with a condom.) And NEVER put anything that has been used anally inside the vagina — that’s a great way to give yourself an unpleasant infection. Lastly, if your toy doesn’t have a base, there’s a chance that it could go all the way in and not come back out. That can mean a trip to the emergency room.
If you’re looking for more info, here are some great places to start. For books, I'd recommend Anal Pleasure & Health and The Ultimate Guide To Anal Sex For Women. For DVDs, Tristan Taormino's Expert Guide to Anal Sex and Anal Massage For Lovers are great.
I hope that helps! Email the folks at TrèsSugar if you have more sex questions. I’d love to hear from you.