Though it can be publicly taboo, a growing number of couples are curious about experimenting with anal sex behind closed doors. Even if they don't outright admit it, a significant number of both adolescents and adults have engaged in anal sex at least once. However, many people are still apprehensive about experimenting back there. Like any other intimate act, it's important to take time to inform yourself so the first time can be safe, sexy, and satisfying, rather than scary.
Anal Sex Shouldn't Hurt
Does anal sex hurt? It can, but if does, you can be confident you're doing it wrong. The lining of the anus is more delicate and less lubricated than a vagina, so friction can become a serious problem. The area around the rectum is susceptible to tears (or microtears), and when it's time for you to go number two, this increases the risk of a bacterial infection. Tears also put you at a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or infections, as well as even more serious problems like a fissure (a large tear) that requires major surgery to fix.
Relaxation is key, so trying anal sex after an orgasm, when the body is more relaxed, can be helpful at first. Use plenty of lubrication, take it slow, and stop if there's strong pain or discomfort.
Rapid, aggressive thrusting may be popular in pornographic anal sex depictions, but in reality, slowing down will make it safer and more pleasurable for both partners.
You Should Experiment on Your Own First
When they hear "anal sex," many people think of a penis entering an anus, but there's more to anal sex than just phallic penetration. Using fingers or sex toys is also a common way of achieving anal stimulation. If you're unsure about doing the real thing with a real person, self-experimentation can be the confidence booster you need.
Safety first still applies, though. You can't just shove anything up there and expect it to be a pleasant experience. Remember that anal suction is a thing, and consider using either your fingers (with gloves on, if it makes you more comfortable) or a toy with a flared-out base, which should prevent an awkward visit to the emergency room.
Take It Easy on the Enemas
If you're worried about cleanliness, you may be tempted to head to your nearest pharmacy and pick up an enema kit. Ironically, some who doesn't know what they're doing back there might cause irritation to the lining. People who tend to experience inflammatory conditions like hemorrhoids can also increase their risk of serious complications.
If however you do want to have a quick rinse before play, a simple anal douche is more than adequate.
This may seem like common sense, but it's even more important to use safe sex practices while having anal sex. Compared to other sexual activities, unprotected anal sex puts people at higher risk of contracting HIV and other STIs, such as chlamydia and genital herpes. This applies to any relationship, monogamous or not.
Condoms reduce friction, are a good vehicle for lube (use a water-based one!), and make anal entry smoother. If you're engaging in a separate sex act like vaginal penetration afterward, using a different condom reduces the risk of transferring rectal bacteria and tearing the condom from overuse.
Before you ever reach the bedroom, you and your partner should discuss sexual exploration. Make sure there's a safe word or signal that can stop the action at any time. Once you're on the same page, it'll be easier to relax when the time comes to actually get down to business.
There's one more option, too: Don't do it. Sex is supposed to be fun for everybody, and if you (or your partner) is uncomfortable with anal play, maybe it just isn't your cup of tea. In the sack, it's okay to stick to what you know and love.
If you're curious about beginning your own anal adventure, here are some great products to get you started...