For the longest time, anal sex and anal play have been linked to immorality and unfair stigma. Out of all the sexual experiences and possibilities, anal sex arguably has the worst rap for a number of reasons — traditional norms of morality, homophobia, and post-AIDS moral panic.
Anal sex is stigmatized because it’s considered, by some, to be unnatural, and since it’s deemed to be a primary form of intercourse amongst gay men, it’s also subjected to homophobia. Furthermore, the stigma against anal sex worsened after the AIDS crisis, when anal sex was unfairly linked to the risk of transmission.
In most cases, anal sex is stigmatized because of a lack of knowledge and understanding. Anal play is for everyone, not just queer individuals, and it can be just as safe and fun as any other form of sexual expression. The lack of education about anal play leaves people hesitant about exploring that part of their sexuality.
The anal sphincter is an extremely strong, versatile, and sensitive muscle with a high concentration of nerve endings. Because of a high concentration of nerve endings, stimulating the anal sphincter muscles can induce intense pleasure. However, you need to gradually work your way towards penetration and use the correct techniques.
Below, we highlight some of the do’s and dont’s of anal play to get you started!
DO’s of Anal Play
DO educate yourself about anal sex
The most important starting point for anal sex (and all other types of safe sex) is education. If you’re reading this article, you’ve clearly started your journey towards anal play self-education already. We need to educate ourselves about anal sex because most traditional sex education curriculums are terribly inadequate in their scope. You can use online sources to learn more about anal sex and safe sex practices.
DO explore yourself and your body
You must take the time to learn about your body. Everyone is unique — you have unique pleasure points, pain threshold, and desires. If you want a pleasurable experience during anal play, you’ll need to communicate those desires to your partners, and the only way to do that is through self-exploration. You can start your exploration in the shower.
When you’re showering, use a finger to circle around your anal sphincter or maybe put a finger inside. Be mindful of your sensations, taking note of how different sensations feel. Experiment with yourself to learn your desires better. You can also move one hand across other parts of your body to discover other erogenous zones, such as the underarms, nipples, thighs, etc.
Masturbation provides numerous physiological, emotional, and mental health benefits. It allows you to experiment with being the giver and receiver, preparing you for your eventual anal play with a partner. If you understand your desires, you will be a better lover to yourself and your partner. As such, your journey towards anal play should start with the self.
DO introduce sex toys into anal play
It’s a great idea to introduce sex toys into anal play, solo or with a partner. If you’re engaging in solo anal play, you can use sex toys to better discover your desires and expectations. Some of the common anal sex toys include butt plugs, dildos, and vibrators. You can also use suction vibrators that deliver sonic pulses into your anal sphincters and other erogenous zones, triggering stronger sensations.
DO communicate openly with your partner
If you’re interested in introducing anal play, you must have an open conversation with your partner. You must remember that anal play isn’t as big a deal as some make it out to be — you can have the conversation in a casual setting over dinner or anywhere you’re comfortable. If your partner has any questions, answer them patiently or guide them towards the relevant resources.
DO douche before your anal play session
Most people are concerned about the possibility of unwanted bowel movements during anal play. But with the correct preparation, that doesn’t have to be a problem. You should ideally eat lots of fibers because that will improve your bowel movement. You should also void your bowels approximately one hour before your anal play session and then wipe them with alcohol-free baby wipes.
Douching is another great way to prevent unwanted bowel movements during anal play. Use a few cups of warm water to perform enemas, following the instructions on the enema bulb. However, you should avoid using excessive water because that may have the opposite reaction. The process may feel strange initially, but it will eventually feel completely natural.
DONT’s of Anal Play
DON’T freak out; shit happens (literally)
Even if you and your partner are prepared, you may occasionally come across accidents or a surprise toot. Regardless of how many slip-ups you and your partner have, you must remain calm and compassionate towards each other. Reassure each other that everything’s okay — never, ever make your partner feel ashamed for an accident. Emotional vulnerability and understanding is an essential component of anal play.
DON’T avoid lubrication
You must never try engaging in anal play without sufficient lubrication. The anus can’t self-lubricate like the vulva, so you need external lubrication. You should ideally use silicone-based lubricants and then gradually tease the anal muscles until your partner is prepared to receive you. You must also remember that spit isn’t a substitute for lubrication. You can engage in rimming for pleasure, but licking the butthole won’t make it receptive to penetration.
DON’T start jackhammering your partner immediately
If you’re the penetrative partner, you must go slow and steady. The anal region is dense with nerve endings that may lead to extreme pain if you go hard immediately. Enter your partner delicately, seek their active consent every couple of seconds, pull back if they flinch, and be completely mindful throughout the process. Once your partner is comfortable and asks you to go harder, that’s your cue to amp it up!
We’ve highlighted just some of the do’s and dont’s of healthy anal play to get you starter. However, you can chart the journey if you’re simply mindful, careful, and openly communicative with your partner. You must seek enthusiastic and verbal consent at every stage from your partner to ensure they’re comfortable and never, ever shame each other for your desires.