Let’s talk about the booty
According to a 2010 survey, almost a quarter of adult men and women have engaged in anal sex at some time. Despite this prevalence, anal sexual contact is still considered taboo.
Think of some of the nicknames given to anal sex. Doggystyle. Back door. Dirty hole. Packing fudge. These names are respectively juvenile, oversimplified, gross or offensive. It’s almost given that a conversation regarding anal sex will devolve into guffaws, misinformation or even worse, inaccurate stereotypes. Set aside your embarrassment, here’s what you need to know to enjoy safer and satisfying anal sex.
What is anal sex?
Colloquially, anal sex is any sexual stimulation of the anus. There are several methods of contact, such as sensation play, manual stimulation and penetration. Various implements are used in anal play, such as the tongue, mouth, digits, the penis, toys, foods such as ginger and substances like peppermint oil or ice. Anal sex can result in climax for certain people. Even in the absence of an orgasm, anal can be pleasurable for a number of physical and psychological reasons. Anal play can be enjoyed solo or with a partner.
The anus is the end point of the intestines, the visible orifice allowing access to the body. The anus is encircled by two muscles, the outer and inner sphincter. Simply, these are the muscles that open and close the anus, with one important distinction.
The outer sphincter is a voluntary muscle, the inner is an involuntary muscle. The de facto position of the sphincter muscles is to be closed, and to keep things out of your butt. This tightness, when it works properly helps the body to prevent fecal incontinence.
The anus is a nerve rich area of the body, which causes it to be responsive to stimuli. The proper stimuli can be pleasurable, to the degree that the anus can be considered an erogenous zone. Conversely, improper stimuli can be painful, even damaging if partners aren’t careful.
The anus is connected to the rectum, a long tube like structure that has the ability to expand. While the anus responds to stimulation, the rectum responds to pressure.
Getting started and going slowly
If you’re on the receiving end of anal play, start by becoming familiar with your own anatomy. Learn to consciously relax your body and your anus. If the body is sufficiently relaxed, then penetration and access to the nerve rich areas are possible.
It will take time to reach this level of relaxation and achieve penetration, as everyone is different. Don’t force anything into a tight anus, it will be painful and make for a bad experience. A clean, manicured finger is a simple way to start with anal play. The anus is only about an inch long, so experiment with stimulating the ass.
The rectum isn’t as nerve rich as the anus, instead it responds to a feeling of fullness or pressure. Playing with an implement that enters and simply occupies space in the rectum may be enough for a pleasure response. As a part of your discovery process learn which parts of your anal anatomy feel best while playing.
As you discover what type of anal play feels right share what you learn with your sexual partners. Consider giving a partner consent to explore your ass and to become intimate with it. Let them know what feels good and what’s uncomfortable. Continue to go slow as you explore with a partner and acknowledge that sometimes your ass still may not respond. Most importantly, if you experience pain or have misgivings stop your anal play. It’s your body, always retain the right to say no.
Lube, Lube and more lube
Unlike the mouth and vagina, the anus doesn’t produce any lubrication. Other than anal tightness, dryness can contribute to feelings of discomfort. Too much friction can cause the anus to become irritated. Use a quality water based lubricant for any anal play, especially if penetration is involved. Keep enough on hand to reapply. Simply, lubed anal sex is better anal sex.
Hygiene and Safety
At some point when talking about anal, the issue of poop is going to come up. Surprisingly, coming into contact with poop isn’t a major issue during anal play, provided some precautions are taken.
Stool is only stored in the rectum when a bowel movement is about to happen, just before it passes through the anus and out of the body. So generally, there shouldn’t be much fecal matter present in bulk during anal play. As part of becoming comfortable with anal play, take into account bodily functions, so it doesn’t awkwardly conflict with sex.
Despite the absence of bulk fecal matter, the anus does contain bacteria and parasites. STI’s can also be spread as a result of anal sex. Practice good hygiene by bathing with an antibacterial soap. For additional cleansing, consider having an enema before anal play. Even though contaminants can be mitigated, they can’t be eliminated completely. Adhere to safer sex practices, use barriers, gloves and condoms when engaging in sexual anal contact. Don’t cross contaminate by touching another object or part of the body after direct anal contact. Replace barriers and condoms and also sanitize hands as needed during play. Use a pump to dispense lube so it isn’t contaminated.
Use protective pads or dedicated bedsheets to cover the area where play happens, if you feel it may get messy with bodily fluids. After play sanitize hands and any implements used, also cleanse the body if needed. Keep hypoallergenic wipes nearby. Realize that anal play is indeed sex, treat it with the same care you hopefully treat any sexual encounter. Also remember to adhere to standards of safety whether playing solo or with partners.
Enjoy the booty
Hopefully you’re more comfortable talking about anal sex and ready to explore. Although the anus may be your focus, don’t neglect the other parts of the ass. The buttocks is sensory rich in its own way, spanking may add to your anal play. The perineum is a delightful pressure point that can be simulated as well. The pelvic pressure of anal play can be pleasurable for female bodied people, anal can also be a prelude to prostate play for male bodied people. Pay attention to your body and that of your partner, go slowly and remember safer sex. Great anal awaits, and you may find yourself smiling from pleasure rather than giggling from embarrassment.
Until next time – Keep talking the taboos!
Anal Sex Safety and Health Concerns. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/sex/anal-sex-health-concerns?page=1
Anal Sex: Questions and Answers. (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/anal_sex.htm
Does anal sex have any health risks? (n.d.). Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/3050.aspx?CategoryID=118