First things first: Everyone has a butt, and anatomically speaking, men and women have more or less identical back doors. Second things second: The area is filled with nerve endings that can lead to some pretty amazing feels for both sexes. For men, the prostate, a walnut-sized gland situated in front of the rectum, can be a major pleasure center when it’s stimulated. It’s even gotten the nickname the P-spot because it’s so often compared to the female G-spot, says sex therapist Dawn Michael. For women, there’s a thin wall separating the anus and the vagina, and this can sometimes be close to the clitoral legs, part of the internal base of the clitoris. Put it all together and you’ve got a recipe for a good time.
Only hitch: You’re not really doing it. As sexual moves go, anal sex tends to be the one that straight guys are least likely to try. According to data from the 2018 Lifestyles Millennial Sex Survey, heterosexual men said they’re half as likely to have anal sex when they have intercourse compared with vaginal sex.
If you want to give it a try, talk about it with your partner first instead of going ahead and slipping a finger in during sex, which can backfire. Best to have the conversation before you’re in the bedroom, when hormones and emotions aren’t as high, says relationship expert Sadie Allison, CEO of Tickle Kitty and author of Tickle My Tush. “Casually bring it up during an evening glass of wine,” Allison suggests. Here’s how to get started, no matter if you’re concentrating on their end or they’re going crazy on you:
GO SLOW: The nice thing about anal sex is that it can be anything you want it to be—you don’t have to use your penis to please your partner. “Since a slow warmup is key to successful anal sex, start with foreplay to the biggest sex organ, the brain,” says Allison. As you’re making out, tell your partner how excited you are to explore something new with them, then use your hands to gently knead and squeeze their cheeks.
START WITH YOUR HANDS: You already know that lubed-up fingers can be like magic wands in the bedroom, and that holds true when it comes to anal. Allison suggests these three buildup moves for maximum pleasure: fingerpadding, a kind of no-penetration fingertip move in which you simply pet the anus on the surface with the pads of your fingers; fingertipping, a mild penetration move in which you insert a fingertip and make a circular motion; and fingerpleasing, in which you insert a full finger and make a come-hither motion to give his prostate or her clitoral legs a jolt of amazingness.
MAYBE TRY YOUR MOUTH, TOO: Okay, okay. We know that this is definitely not for everyone, but running a soft tongue around the anal opening (aka rimming) can be an incredibly stimulating technique that delivers pleasure like Postmates because of all of the nerve endings situated there. For a more advanced take, Allison recommends a motorboating action by blowing a light stream of air through your puckered lips. An important note: “Just make sure the area is clean,” says Michael, who suggests a dental dam (you can get them discreetly shipped to you on Amazon) as protection.
ONLY GO ONE WAY: If you’re with a female partner, move only from vaginal to anal sex—not the other way around. “The rectum is loaded with bacteria that do not agree with the vagina,” says Sherry Ross, M.D., author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Health. Period. “If you do go from anal to vaginal sex, use a new condom.” Otherwise, you could be moving some not-pleasant bacteria into her nether regions and risking infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and, well, never going on a date with her again.
SET BOUNDARIES: Maybe you’re new to this, so remember that you don’t haveto go all the way your first time. “It could just be your partner rubbing around your opening at first to see if it is something that feels good to you, and if you enjoy the sensation, then you can talk about penetration after,” says Michael. So set some rules before you get going—if you’re not down for full penetration, make it clear with your partner. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be ready, but for now, it’s off the table.
PROTECT YOURSELF: “Your partner should always wear a condom during anal sex,” Dr. Ross says. So if your partner is another guy, make sure he wraps it up before entering.
JUST RELAX: This may be new and a little nerve-racking, but it’s important that your sphincter muscles are loose during anal play, otherwise you could injure the delicate skin around the anal opening. “Being mentally prepared for anal sex is half the battle,” Dr. Ross says, and don’t forget that your partner wants to please you, not hurt you. Then take a deep breath and release any tension you may be holding in as you exhale. And enjoy it.
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