This week’s blog is a treat for you all - an overdue foray into the exciting world of anal sex. We decided to look to you, our wonderful readers, for some insight on backdoor lovin’. This is what you came up with:
"Easier said than done"
This probably sums up a lot of public opinion on anal sex, but the good news is it doesn’t have the be the case! Here’s how:
"A lot of trust and communication is needed before this becomes a joint pleasure"
I can’t stress enough how important good communication is when you’re trying anything new in the bedroom, especially if it’s something you’re feeling anxious about. Conversation is key - you can initiate it by text if you’re feeling nervous about bringing it up face to face, but tell your partner what you want to try and the chances are they’ll be keen on giving it a go too.
"Key thing is lots of foreplay and lots of lube and then it’s genuinely really pleasurable and there is zero pain - I haven’t had any unpleasant experiences with a partner I trust, who makes me feel relaxed and comfortable"
Despite what you might have seen in porn, anal sex is not something you should leap into penis/dildo or whatever else first. It’ll be a lot more pleasurable if your muscles are relaxed with a little foreplay. This can be play of any description - fingering, toys or another friend suggested “consider rimming before you put it in. It’s really pleasurable and helps relax everything.” Condoms and lots of lube are also a sure-fire way of easing up penetration.
"I've had the usual ‘holy sh** it's been a while and it feels like my first time all over again’ moment"
Even for people experienced in anal, it can still take some preparation. Communication with your partner is crucial. It’s going to make it much more comfortable for everyone involved if you’ve had a conversation about the ins and outs of what you’re about to do! The previous point still stands - don’t just dive in!
"Don't use lip gloss or flavoured Vaseline as lube - it's not worth it, it ruins the moment, and it's hard to clean off. It can also do irreparable damage to your sheets."
Improvising lube is probably not recommended. Have some shop-bought lube handy (helps with most sex acts). Pjur lube was recommended by one of our more experienced contributors! Our nurse Sarah reckons you should go for “silicone based lubricant if you can because it hangs around for longer - water-based lube absorbs quicker.” She says use LOTS! “The delicate skin in the anal area is less likely to tear. If small tears occur it increases the risk of transmission of STI’s, including HIV and other blood born viruses. Penetration will be much more comfortable lubed up”.
Anal play doesn’t have to be a multiplayer game.
“Loads of my friends confided in me that they love sticking a finger up there while they’re masturbating. It can do amazing things for the quality of your orgasm.”
This isn’t only true if you have a prostate. Anal stimulation can be enjoyable with or without one and there’s no reason you shouldn’t have some solo fun with it. One contributor said “for me the feeling of an orgasm with anal stimulation is entirely different to the traditional orgasm.” Another said “my partner isn’t ready to try anal. I bought some sex toys to try it alone in the meantime and it’s awesome!” Practising alone with a finger or a toy can be a great way of building up to bringing someone else into the equation if you’re feeling anxious.
Advice to first timers?
"I would say make friends with a shower head"
It might be easier for you to relax if you feel squeaky clean. The more relaxed you are the easier penetration will be and the more likely you are to enjoy yourself. You can also slip a soapy finger in in the shower - your anus won’t react badly to soap in the same way a vagina might. Similarly, after an anal experience cleanliness is a priority - if you’re going have vaginal sex afterwards, make sure you give everything a wash as getting rectal bacteria in the vagina can lead to infections such as cystitis.
"Take it slow"
As one person pointed out, “if you’re used to your erection being constantly ready to go the idea of having to ’warm up’ slowly may be alien (women are more likely to understand this one). Learning how your body reacts and where your current limitations are was key for me to enjoy anal stimulation pain free.” A great way of learning can be buying sex toys. There are all sorts of specifically designed anal sex toys to try - have a look at the fpa shop for a good selection of beginners’ toys.
For your first time you might want to try spooning. It allows for intimacy, it’s gentle and it's easy to communicate with your partner and check in on how they’re doing. “You can make it either pretty dominating or really intimate as you can kiss them or say dirty things in their ear”
As you become more at ease, though, it can be fun to shake it up a bit. These are some suggestions we received:
So now we’ve got the pleasure bit firmly covered, here are a few additional wellbeing tips from Sarah, our super qualified sexual health nurse:
"Anal sex can feel really great but it’s important to remember that it’s higher risk than other types of intercourse and many STIs can be passed on this way, including genital herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis A and B and shigella . Here are some tips to make your experience safer:
- It is important to have both had recent sexual health screens. If your partner has an STI you could me more likely to get it if you’re receiving anal sex
- The BMJ published a study this year which showed that people often use spit as a lubricant during anal. This probably plays a role in gonorrhoea transmission so it’s better and safer to get hold of some silicone-based lube.
- Use of condoms and dental dams reduce the risk of STI’s through oral sex and rimming. Dams are thin latex/latex free sheets which can put over the genital or anal area before contact. Latex/latex free gloves can be used for fingering or fisting. You can get dams and gloves free from any sexual health clinic. Just ask a clinician.
Good luck and enjoy the ride!"