Early in the semester, I attended Dan Savage’s program at UNC and I was struck by how many questions there were about anal sex. And then I thought back: whenever the Sexual Wellness Specialists (formerly CHECS) do a program, we also get lots of questions about anal sex. I then looked at the Healthy Heels blog and saw that we’ve never done a post on anal sex. Well, there’s no time like the present so let’s talk about anal sex.
Anal sex can mean lots of different things; it isn’t just a penis inserted into the rectum. Anal sex can be anal massage, sticking your tongue up and around your partner’s anus (also known as rimming), and something going in the anal opening, including a finger, butt plug, penis or dildo.
Lots of people find anal sex enjoyable: straight, gay, bisexual, queer, etc. And, this makes sense because the anus has a lot of nerve receptors. If you are wondering whether your partner enjoys it, you should ask them. It’s also important to let your partner know that you enjoy anal play and the ways you enjoy it.
If you aren’t sure whether you enjoy anal sex, but you are curious, you can always try anal masturbation. Masturbation can be a way that you can try anal play without the pressure of having another person present. You can try massaging around the area or inserting a finger or butt plug into the butt. Masturbation is a way for you to start associating the feeling of having something in the rectum with the feeling of pleasure and then you can add a partner when you feel ready.
Two additional things to think about if you are trying anal sex are lube and foreplay. The rectum is not a self-lubricating part of the body so it is important to use lube. There’s a lot of lube out there so here’s a previous blog post to help you pick the right one. Foreplay is also important because many people find they enjoy anal play more when they and their partner are aroused. This can mean taking your time and providing lots of feedback to your partner about what feels good.
What can help make your anal play experience safer? Condoms, dental dams, female condoms!
Condoms: Put a condom on the penis or sex toy before inserting it into the anus, with lots of lube of course.
Dental dams: Placing a dental dam over the anus before licking or kissing can provide a barrier that still allows loads of pleasure to come through.
Female condom: You can insert a female condom into the anus before inserting something (a finger, penis, dildo, etc.). Female condoms are a good non-latex option too.
Of course, this isn’t an extensive guide to anal play. If you want to learn more, Columbia University’s Go Ask Alice website has a whole section dedicated to this topic so check it out! If anal play isn’t your thing, it’s not a big deal. The most important things are that you talk to your partner (or partners) and discover what you find pleasurable.