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How To Have Anal Sex

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Updated July 09, 2014

How To Have Anal Sex
David McGlynn/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

It's hard to say whether or not people are having more anal sex, or our tolerance for public discussion of said activity has simply increased.  Whether we're doing it more or talking about it more, we are definitely talking about it more.  This increase in public discussion has pros and cons. On the plus side, more people are talking about anal sex and hopefully learning how to have it safely and pleasurably (if they want it). On the negative side, as we hear more about it we might be inclined to feel as if we should be trying to have it. 

Anal sex is not a required part of healthy sexual expression.  But it certainly can be, and if you are interested in exploring it further, a basic guide is below.

 
  1. What’s My Motivation?
    The only good reason to want to have anal sex is because you want to have anal sex. If you’re feeling pressure from a partner or based on some idea of what a hot and healthy sex life should be, forget it. Anal sex can be completely safe and highly pleasurable, but if you’re the one being penetrated and you aren’t turned on and into it, it could turn out to be neither. There may be lots of reasons why you want to do it, just make sure you know at least a few of them and they don’t all have to do with someone else.

     

  2. Anal Play vs Anal Sex?
    Usually when people think of anal sex they think of penetration. This is but one part of anal play. If you’re not interested in penetration, it doesn’t mean you have to ignore the entire part of your body. This whole area has been largely ignored for its sexual potential. The bum, the anus, and the rectum are all sites of enormous potential pleasure. They respond to feelings of touch, pressure, movement, and can be incredibly pleasurable. Here we’re talking about anal penetration, but there’s much more to explore without going inside.

     

  3. Do Some Homework
    There are some great books about anal sex and several educational anal sex videos, plus most sex manuals include a chapter about anal sex. Learn the basic parts of your anal anatomy including the sphincter muscles, the anal canal, the (male) prostate gland. There’s nothing like a hands on education, but checking out the road map first might help you orient yourself a little easier.
  4. Practice When You’re Alone
    Before you have anal sex with someone else, try it on your own. Even if you aren’t ever planning on being penetrated by your partner, knowing what it feels like, and getting a hands on education with your own anal anatomy will go a long way when you start doing things to someone else’s body. Anal masturbation can offer a fabulous education on how our bodies respond to anal stimulation. If your own anus is in reach, check it out first.

     

  5. Talk With Your Partner
    There are lots of ways to surprise your partner in bed that they’ll love. But “surprising them” by trying to have anal sex without talking about it first isn’t one of them. Anal sex requires the receptive partner to be very relaxed, feel safe and comfortable, and trust you to not make any sudden moves that will hurt them. This means that anal sex requires good sexual communication. If you’re not comfortable telling your partner you want to try anal sex, you may not be ready to have anal sex with that partner.

     

  6. Anal Sex Safety
    Everyone involved should know the basics of anal sex safety and how having dangerous anal sex can hurt your body. Always use condoms and gloves for anal sex, and have plenty of personal lubricant on hand to replenish during the sex play. If your anal sex involves sex toys, understand what makes a sex toy safe for anal use. Taking the previous steps will not only make anal sex more pleasurable, it’ll go a long way to keeping everyone safe psychologically and emotionally, and making anal sex more pleasurable.

     

  7. Work From the Outside In
    Start by exploring your partner’s entire backside with your hands and fingers. Massage their bum cheeks and once you’ve got your gloves and lube you can start gently touching and massaging the anal opening. Don’t rush to penetration, and don’t stampede to the anus. Instead pay attention to how their body is responding to different kinds of touch. Try a circular massaging motion with your fingers or gently knead the skin and muscle underneath. Take note of where they like to be touched, and where they can handle more vigorous stimulation versus a softer touch.
  8. Pushing Not Poking
    Never force a penis or dildo into the anus. Using what you learned during your solo anal exploration press the tip gently against the anal opening and wait for your partner to relax and let you in. Keep stimulating your partner at the same time with your hands or with a sex toy. If you’re having anal sex with a woman, providing clitoral stimulation is a good idea. Pay attention to how you’re partner is moving and move with, not against, them. Once your partner’s sphincter muscles relax you’ll feel yourself being drawn in. Let yourself slide in only as much as your partner’s body allows.

     

  9. Just Be There
    Once you’ve penetrated your partner for the first time, don’t immediately begin thrusting or even moving very much at all. Just take a moment to feel what it’s like and to let your partner get comfortable with some penetration. Don’t forget to keep other kinds of stimulation going (talking, using your hands, using sex toys). If you’re partner is moving their body you can gently move with them. Unless they know how deep they want it, don’t try to penetrate them deeper until your both turned on even more.

     

  10. How to Move
    Once you’re both comfortable begin to experiment with different movements. Start moving slowly inside of them trying both in/out and side-to-side movements. Pay attention to how their body is responding to your movements (also, you can ask). When you find something that works for both of you begin to ramp up the intensity slowly. Anal penetration is not like vaginal penetration and it has to build up slower and may never be as vigorous. If your partner is unsure you can ask them to do the moving and at first keep your body still. You can also suggest they be on top.

     

  11. Anal Sex Positions
    Anal sex is a much slower kind of penetration play and requires a longer period of intense arousal. Changing positions can mean a break in arousal that gets in the way. But for some people changing an anal sex position can really bump up the heat, or provide more physical comfort and greater range of motion. There isn’t one perfect anal sex position. If you enjoy anal sex the best thing to do is experiment until you find one, or a few, that work for you. Here are some examples of popular anal sex positions.

     

  12. Check In Often
    Be sure to check in with your partner often during anal sex. You can do this verbally (is that good? Do you like that? Do you want more, less, different? etc…) and you can ask your partner to give you feedback without you asking (more, slow it down, let’s try this, etc…) You can also get a lot of information from what’s happening non-verbally with their body. Are they tensing up? Are they moving more? Is their breathing becoming heavier, deeper, shallower? Are they getting wetter? All of this information can help you get into a rhythm with them and speed up, slow down, or keep going.

     

  13. Sex Toys
    Anal sex toys can be a great way to explore anal sex. It’s usually a good idea to let the partner being penetrated play with the toy on their own first so that they can help their partner know what they like and how to use the toy. If you’re having anal intercourse involving a penis an anal sex toy may be less useful. But using a vibrator to add stimulation for the partner being penetrated an/or the partner doing the penetration is a great idea. Because anal sex requires a slower build up and sustained sexual arousal hands can get tired, and a vibrator never does (although motor can burn out).

     

  14. Cleaning Up
    Even if you don’t see it, fecal matter and bacteria can and will be spread if you touch anything after touching the outside or inside of your anus. You should never move from anal play to vaginal play without washing carefully first. Bacteria that live happily in the anus are not happy in the vagina, and can cause serious infection. Below are some tips on cleaning up after anal sex.

     

Tips:

  1. Taking Off the Gloves
    Avoid touching the outside of the glove you used to touch yourself. To remove your gloves, put a clean finger under the cuff of the glove and pull it down and right off your hand at once, so that the glove turns completely inside out. This way you won’t come in contact with any part of the outside surface of the glove. If both hands are gloved, wash your hands carefully after removing your gloves.

     

  2. Cleaning Sex Toys and Lube Bottles
    If you touched your bottle of lubricant with a glove that had been inside you, wash the outside of the bottle carefully as well. Try to avoid touching the cap with the same hand you are using to touch yourself as the cap is often a harder part of the bottle to get clean. The easiest way to keep anal sex toys clean is to put a new condom on the toy each time. If you have silicone anal toys, you can boil them in water for 2 to 5 minutes. Remember to wash your hands after cleaning toys and lube bottles.
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