Hi everyone, this is Dr. Zhana and I am so excited about our Q&A today on the topic of anal play. And apparently so are you, because I received more questions on this topic than any other topic I’ve ever done! So let’s go!
Q: Does it make life more enjoyable for women?
Let’s start with a basic question: “Can it be pleasurable?” and the answer is absolutely yes! While penetrative and anal sex can be pleasurable for penises, it can also be very enjoyable for anyone with anus. All of us have nerve endings in this area that when stimulated correctly, can feel incredible, no matter our gender or sexual orientation. For those who don’t have penises (like me), pegging (penetrative sex with toys), can be really fun.
Q: Can you orgasm with receptive anal plays?
Absolutely! Every time I have anal sexual sex, I go crazy! Most people who have receptive anal experience sex with their partner through anal stimulation combined with genital stimulation. This could include touching their penis or clit, or even using a vibrator to stimulate them anally. It’s also possible to come from anal stimulation alone and there are a number of people who report this.
Q: Never tried it… am I missing out… is it for everyone?
Even though we all have the basic anatomy for anal sex and can enjoy it, there are no universal rules. You might be one of those people who tries it and doesn’t like it. But if you’ve never done it and you’re curious, I highly encourage you to give it a shot and do it in the right way.
Q: Which is the best way to do it? How/where can one begin? I’m intimidated on so many levels!
There are three key rules to anal sex. Start slow, go slowly, and use lots of lube.
- So you start small, with a finger, then two, maybe a little butt plug… You don’t start by trying to fit a massive 10-inch dildo like you see in porn, or even a regular-sized cock. You need to slowly open the internal and external sphincters, which serve an important purpose of keeping things inside.
- Next, take your time. You can get your receptive partner excited by doing a lot of foreplay and rimming (tongue on anus action). Slowly increase the amount of things you are able to do inside. Give your receptive companion enough time to adjust so that their sphincters can relax and open up. Otherwise, it’s going to hurt and anal sex is not supposed to hurt. You might be a little uncomfortable, but it’s not supposed to hurt if you do it right, if you take it slow. Some people may need to wait a while before they can open up. Others might need several sessions to get comfortable. Let the partner who is open to you set the pace.
- And finally, don’t be stingy with the lube. Anal sex is where too much lube can be dangerous. Even for beginners, saliva is not enough because the anus cannot produce its own lubrication. So lube. Give more lube to the partner who is receptive if they ask for it.
Q: Best lube to use for anal play is…
Silicone lube for anal is my preferred lubricant, even if I’m not using silicone toys. It lasts longer. If you use silicone toys like the LELO toys then you will need a water-based oil lube. I personally quite like LELO’s own lube, but any water-based lube that you like will do.
Q: I am new to prostate play. How do I get started?
Receptive anal sex can be even more enjoyable if you have a prostate. This is because your prostate has an organ that can feel incredible when stimulated. You can do this by going from the inside out, through your anus. Begin with two fingers moving in a come-hither movement. There are also specific prostate stimulation toys that vibrate and non-vibrating. These toys can be bent in just the right direction to reach the prostate.
Q: What is the best sex toy for men?
LELO makes a variety of vibrators and toys that can be used for prostate stimulation. However, they can be used anally regardless of whether or not you have prostate cancer. I’ve used them on all sorts of bodies.
If you’re a beginner, I highly recommend starting with The Billy. It’s my favorite beginner toy because it’s the absolute perfect size. And it’s also great to use it at the beginning of a session before you move on to something bigger if you’re going to do that. And then if you’re ready for something a little bigger, there is The Loki Hugo. The Loki is great for self-stimulation because it has this nice handle, or for partner play where you’re using your hand. Hugo is great for hands-free play, as it can be taken in and left there. I’ve gotten so much mileage out of those two…
Q: Is it possible for the anus to become damaged by too many prostate massagers?
No, just like clitoral vibrators don’t damage the clitoris, anal vibrators don’t damage the anus. The vibration itself doesn’t hurt these areas. Some people are just worried about the physical in and out and to that I say “Listen, something this size comes out of your anus on a daily basis and that doesn’t cause any damage, why should something going in cause damage?” Now if you’re stretching the anus with objects that are far beyond what’s normal size, then prolonged use of that could cause some damage.
Q: Does it make sense to bleed?
Anal sex can, and often does, cause some microtears to the anal lining, especially if people didn’t go very slow, if they were particularly rough, or didn’t use enough lube. Sometimes, these microtears can cause bleeding. If it’s just a little blood, it shouldn’t be a cause for concern. If it’s a substantial amount of blood, then please go see your doctor – you might have an anal fissure that requires treatment.
Q: Is it okay to make big, fast strokes in anal, or is it harmful for the partner?
I am so glad someone asked this question because most people’s idea of what anal sex looks like comes from porn. Porn is full of those hard, fast, and large strokes. This is one area where it’s really really important to remember that porn sex is not what everyday, real sex looks like. Porn stars are the “Olympians of sex,” they are specifically trained to do some of the things they do, it’s their job. For most regular folks, the answer to the question is “usually not”. Regular people will prefer to have anal sex at a slower pace, especially in the beginning stages of their anal journey, and throughout each session. Although some regular people can reach the porn star level of sex, it is not possible for everyone. You don’t start there, you often don’t ever get there, and please don’t ever push it on a partner who’s not ready.
Q: Is it possible for hemorhoids to occur due to anal playing? How to cure it & avoid it?
There’s unfortunately not a lot of research on this. Most doctors say that it’s possible for anal sex to cause hemorrhoids, but it’s not super likely. It is possible for anal sex aggravate existing hemorhoids.
Q: Please describe the best way to avoid any “mess”!
Probably the most common concern people have about anal sex, and it is the most common question that I got today, is “the mess.” How to avoid it, how to deal with it, what about poop. So let’s talk about poop.
Q: Can your partner get poop on the genitals of their partner?
The reality is there’s usually not a lot of poop in the anus itself. Poop tends be higher up in your rectum. So, unless you’re using some really big objects or having really rough anal, you’re only likely to encounter some residue from the last time you pooped.
However, there are some risks for poop. I mean, you’re having anal sex, shit sometimes happens, pun intended. But honestly, it’s not that big of a deal, it happens. Get up and play, even if the anal part of the night has ended. If you’re the receptive partner, don’t fret too much about it. And if you’re the penetrating partner, don’t be a jerk, don’t ever make your partner feel bad about it.
Q: How can I maintain good hygiene when playing anal? How to prepare for anal
You can clean your anal area by washing it with your fingers in the tub. 2) Make sure you’re not feeling like you need to poop soon, that you’ve already gone to the bathroom that day. 3) Make sure you don’t have some loose stool, diarrhea issues. Avoid spicy food the night before.
Q: Is it really necessary to “douche” beforehand?
If you’re doing all of the above things, most of the time you don’t have to douche, especially if you and your partner are okay with the risk of poop making a little bit of an appearance. It’s rare that I do a dreadful job of doing so, and it is usually okay. You can still do an enema with lukewarm, but not soap.
Q: How much cleaning is too much? I know it’s not good to do regularly, but what’s the limit?
If you’re going to douche, please try not to overdo it because it can irritate or damage the lining of the anus. There’s no magic number, but not more than a couple of times a week.
Q: Do I need to have a condom on my husband for anal? (Wife here)
Of all the “standard” sex acts, anal sex (penis-in-anus) carries the highest risk of sexually transmitted infections. If you’re having anal sex, and it isn’t with a long-term monogamous partner, consider using condoms. Otherwise there’s no need to use a condom. Unless the receptive partner is particularly weirded out about possibly getting some poop on them, but as I said, this is something I hope you’ll get over with if you’re having anal sex.
Q: Is it possible to get a UTI through unprotected anal sex?
Yes, vagina owners can get UTIs (urinary tract infections) from anal because anal sex dislodges some of the bacteria that live in the intestinal tract and gets it in contact with the front of the body and a condom won’t prevent that.
Penis owners have longer urethras so they are less likely to experience UTIs. But it’s possible from unprotected anal sex to come in contact with the same bacteria that will at times cause a UTI in them.
Q: What is the best way to transition from anal to vaginal play?
You can’t really. You can’t. That is why it’s so important not to go directly from ass to vagina without washing in between or changing condoms, or both. There’s no other way to prevent it. Although you may see it in porn often, I strongly advise against it. Doesn’t mean it will happen every time, but chances are high.
Taking antibiotics for UTIs ahead of time can possibly prevent an infection, but I don’t advise this either, because antibiotic-resistant UTIs are on the rise and taking antibiotics unsupervised can lead to this very serious issue.
Q: Can I have sex after sex for STD prevention?
Important distinction – peeing after vaginal sex does not prevent any STIs, it only prevents UTIs. And it’s the same with anal sex – wash up and pee after anal to prevent UTIs. Prevent STIs by using a condom.
Q: What can I do to ensure that my groom is safe?
Some people attempt to shave by getting in on the action. I personally am very much against shaving any body parts (except beards) and I’m a huge proponent of laser hair removal and waxing instead.
Okay folks, that is it for this round of Q&A. Take care!
Zhana Vrangalova is a NYC-based researcher in sex. She studies casual sex and nonmonogamy as well as sexual orientation. She has a PhD in Developmental Psychology, Cornell University. She also teaches Human Sexuality on New York University. She currently writes a book and provides daily sex education via Periscope live streaming.
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