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Anal Sex - Things to Consider Before Playtime

By: Emily Fata

Curious About Anal

According to the Centre of Disease Control (CDC), anal sex is growing primarily with couples under the age of 45. In fact, in an American survey, 36% of women and 44% of men reported that they've had anal sex with a partner. Anal sex is a bit of a tabooed subject even though it's an increasingly popular sexual activity. As more and more couples explore anal sex, it's important to understand the risks, rewards and proper strategy before starting your experiments.

Surprisingly, anal sex isn't just penile penetration, it can also be performed with: fingers, tongue, vibrators, dildos and even butt-plugs. Although it can be wildly pleasurable when done right, it requires more planning, preparation, and communication than other forms of sexual activity. Staying safe during sex should always be a top priority.

Things to Consider

If either you or your partner are curious about anal, it's important to be prepared beforehand. Following the proper precautions is the only way to reduce injury. Once you both feel confident, it's easier to enjoy the experience.


The Anus isn't Like the Vagina

The vagina is a bit of a natural wonder. When a woman is aroused the vagina becomes self-lubricating; the anus, however, does not. To preserve the structural integrity of the anus, it's essential that everything is well lubricated. A thing to remember with anal sex is that there's never enough lube! The skin around the anus acts as a protective barrier for the bottom-half of your digestion tract. The tissue inside the anus, however, is much thinner and delicate - making it more likely to tear and bleed if not properly handled. It's important to keep in mind that the rear orifice is designed to remove very soft, moist material notwithstanding vigorous sex motions. This increases the likelihood of passing infections, viruses or bacteria between partners. Go carefully and make sure everything is well lubricated.

Like the vagina, the anus has a muscle that needs to relax before penetration. The anal sphincter acts as a gatekeeper for the rectum. To reduce the risk of tearing, the sphincter needs to be fully relaxed before anything is inserted into the anus. Once the muscle is fully relaxed, anal sex will feel less uncomfortable and much, much more pleasurable.

Bacteria living in or around the anus can be easily spread if the proper precautions aren't taken. Ensure that both partners wash before and after sex and desirably, a condom should be worn while inside the anus. If you're wearing a condom and decide to move onto vaginal sex, remove it and roll on a new one to prevent infection. If a toy was used instead, then that also needs to be thoroughly cleaned. 


An anal douche or enema bulb should be used prior to play. You can find them at your local drugstore. Unlike a vaginal douche, the tip expels water at the top. A vaginal douche expels at the sides and is thicker. Do not use the stool softening solution that comes with some douches. You just want to use warm water and do a low-level flush. Full anal flushing that you would do to prep for a colonoscopy is not what you're after. You just want to clean the area where penetration will occur. This will remove any unwanted fecal matter that may be laying in there.

Can Anal Sex Lead to Orgasm?

Anal sex can lead to orgasm, but that doesn't have to be the intended outcome. Anal sex can just be a fun way to play. For some people, the anus is an erogenous zone. So even just a little play can be a turn on. The anus is also full of sensitive nerve endings, so it's very receptive to sexual stimulation. Anal sex also stimulates the prostate gland in men, which can enhance a man's orgasm. For women, clitoral stimulation may be necessary during anal sex to reach climax, but not every woman will reach orgasm this way. Oral or vaginal sex may be necessary to reach climax.

If you and your partner have established a relationship where you feel comfortable talking about what turns you on, curious about trying new things, how you feel during sex, etc., then anal sex can be just another fun way to explore your sexuality. Be careful to ensure that the proper precautions are taken. If you try it and decide that it's not for you - no harm done, nothing is wrong with you. There is a myriad of other ways to have fun with your partner. Experiment and find out what works best for the both of you. Being honest and open with each other will help you grow and learn together.