Anal sex – whether you’re a beginner, pleasure seeker or simply curious, Sexologist Madalaine Munro debunks the myths and offers her advice on how to discover something new
Anal sex need not be a taboo or a mystery. To spice things up or discover something new, anal sex does not have to be daunting and can open up a whole new world of fulfilment if practiced correctly in a safe environment.
Healthista spoke with Madalaine Munro, a leading Sexologist with an abundance of experience in scientific and ancient wisdom approaches to resolving trauma, connecting to your sexuality and creating nourishing relationships.
On all things anal, Madalaine is here to offer advice and to make sure you are covered in satisfaction and safety top to bottom when it comes to the do’s, dont’s and how to make anal sex the top of your pleasure list.
Do – ease yourself in
Check in if anal sex is right for you – sometimes I see that one person may want to try anal sex more than their partner. So, it is important to check if you are doing this for you, rather than your partner. If so, what is your intention behind trying it?
Have a long warm up – indulge in foreplay, and full body pleasure before going to the anal sex. Your anus has two sphincters, inner and outer.
While you can consciously squeeze your outer sphincter, your inner sphincter is controlled by your autonomic nervous system – this means it opens involuntarily, and only opens when your body is ready. Therefore anal sex requires good communication and checking in with each other.
You can’t force anal penetration – if you do, it may lead to injury. Your inner sphincter will open when your body is feeling relaxed and safe enough, so I recommend taking your time to create pleasure and relaxation before going there.
it can be extremely calming and self-regulating
Start slow and gently, perhaps try penetration with a finger first and notice how this feels. It may feel unusual if you have never tried it and aren’t used to the sensation, but it shouldn’t feel painful or uncomfortable. So, if it feels either of this, stop, and check in if it’s right for you.
Going slow, and warming up the whole body, as well as the outer anus. I recommend massaging outside the anus first, see how it feels and if it feels pleasurable, then enter internally.
The benefits of anal penetration and massage can include nervous system regulation and its calming effect can often be missed.
The internal sphincter is part of the autonomic nervous system, and so massaging this can have a relaxing effect. I’ve had clients who have found deeper nervous system regulation through this direct contact with the anus in this way.
We can associate anal penetration with pleasure, but it can be extremely calming and self-regulating as well.
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Do – lube it up
With anal, use more lube than you think you will need. The anal canal doesn’t produce its own lubricant, so it’s important to find a lubricant that feels good. There are different types of lubricants which have their benefits and drawbacks.
Water based lubricants are a great all-round choice – they are safe to use with toys, dental dams and condoms. They do, however, dry out quite quickly so you may need to reapply more often. As they tend to be thinner, they are easy to clean up, but will wash off if used in a shower.
Silicone based lubricants are thicker which can be preferred and are more suitable to use in shower or bath situations. They are more long wearing than water-based lubricants so usually don’t need to be reapplied as often.
the anal canal doesn’t produce its own lubricant
However, silicone-based lubricants shouldn’t be used with condoms, especially latex, as they can dissolve the condom therefore breaking it. They may also damage silicone sex toys, so are only suitable with metal or glass sex toys.
Hybrid lubricants, a mixture of silicone and water, can have a smoother texture than water lubricants without being as hard to clean up as purely silicone. However, because they contain silicone they still can’t be used with condoms or silicone sex toys.
With the inner sphincter being controlled by the anus, it can have an involuntary sucking action, which may draw toys inwards. So, it’s vital to use toys which are specialised for the anus which may have a wider base or flare for safety reasons.
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Do – wear a condom
Like with vaginal sex, if you are practicing safer sex, it is perfectly safe to do it often, and over a long term.
Wearing condoms is important for anal sex – the lining of the anus is thinner than that of the vaginal canal, meaning that it can tear more easily and STIs may enter the blood stream increasing the risk of transferring STIs during anal sex than vaginal sex.
Going between vaginal and anal is a no-no. You can go from vaginal to anal, but not anal to vaginal because there are bacteria, including types of E.coli which can be passed from the anus to vagina and urethra.
it can tear more easily and STIs may enter the blood stream
If you do want to switch, then you will need to use a different condom after anal sex.
It is possible to get tears known as fissures, as the lining of the anus is thin and susceptible to small tears. Stool that passes through the anal canal may carry bacteria which could enter the blood stream through the tears which could cause infections.
This isn’t limited to anal sex, and can happen from constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, crohns disease, STIs or it can be common that the cause isn’t identified. So, while it is possible to get tears and infections from anal sex, it’s possible from everyday life.
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Don’t – believe the myths
Myth #1 ‘It’s not as pleasurable for women because they don’t have their prostrate in the anus’ – anal orgasms are possible for all genders. I have worked with women who actually find anal sex more pleasurable than vaginal penetration.
Myth #2 ‘You can’t get pregnant from anal sex’ – while you can’t get pregnant from anal penetration if you have anal sex without a condom, and the semen drips down it is possible for it to enter the vagina. This is rare but should be noted as part of anal care.
Myth #3 ‘It’s painful’ – sex should never be painful. If you feel that is painful, stop, and check in where the pain is. If you have piles, refrain from anal sex as it may make them worse.
you may feel better if you have a bowel movement beforehand
Myth #4 ‘Do an enema before anal sex’ – I still see advice that to use enemas prior to anal sex, however I highly recommend against this.
The myth comes from the idea that enemas can make it more hygienic which is a misconception. Instead, they can irritate the cells and create excess mucus which can in turn cause more dryness.
Instead, I suggest reframing your view of anal sex and coming into relationship with any fears you may have. Vaginal sex can be messy and a mix of bodily fluids, and anal sex, there may be the same, it is possible that there could be faecal matter one time.
This is part of the possible risks with anal sex, and we have all have faecal matter. You may feel better if you have a bowel movement beforehand, and if you would like to wash, wash externally and this will help reduce any risk of faecal matter.
Myth #5 ‘Anal sex leads to gut health issues’ – if safe sex is practiced such as plenty of lube, condoms, going at your own pace, and a proper clean up, gut health wont be affected.
Post anal sex tips…
You may feel like you need to go to the bathroom afterwards – this is totally normal. Go to the bathroom just as you would after vaginal sex, as there may be a movement of organisms from the anus towards the vaginal opening and urethra.
I recommend a clean-up routine together – bacteria from the anus can be microscopic, so incorporate cleaning into your aftercare and it can be part of your connection.