In the words of Amy Poehler in Mean Girls: “What’s the 411? What has everybody been up to?” Anal, that’s what.
It certainly seems like anal is the hottest item on the sex menu these days. But if you’ve never done it before, anal sex can be…well, a little intimidating.
That said, it certainly doesn’t have to be if you know exactly how to prepare for anal sex.
1. Stock up on lube.
“Slow and slippery” is the M.O. of Alicia Sinclair, sex coach and CEO of the anal wellness brand b-Vibe.
Because the anus isn’t naturally lubricated like the vagina, you’re going to want to rely on a silicone lubricant when trying anything anal, including sex toys, butt plugs, and dildos.
“The anal opening is narrower than the vaginal opening and requires a lot of lubrication,” says Zvi Zuckerman, M.D., a certified sex therapist at Between Us Clinic. “You should lubricate both the penis and the anus.”
2. Take it slow.
If you’re new to anal sex, then you might want to start small as a way to ease yourself into the actual act. A butt plug, for example, can help you work your way up to a penis and it will minimize your chances of tearing which, yes, can happen. “If you penetrate too aggressively, you could tear your partner’s anal sphincter muscle,” Zuckerman cautions.
Fingers (with latex gloves) and anal beads are also solid ways to introduce anal play. Evan Goldstein, D.O., founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, says you might also want to try an anal training kit. “Start with the smallest toy and only after using each size with ease should you move on to the next size.”
3. Just say no to pain.
If you feel pain during anal sex, then you should stop — no questions asked, says Stacy Tessler Lindau, M.D., professor at The University of Chicago Medicine, who also runs the site WomanLab.org.
4. Don’t forget protection.
Since feces contain bacteria, there’s a risk you could develop bacterial vaginosis post anal-sex, should any of that fecal matter reach your vagina. To minimize this risk, make sure your partner wears a condom (if you are on the receiving end) and have him take it off and put on a new one if you transition to vaginal sex, says Lindau. “This will reduce the transmission of bacteria,” she says.
Zuckerman also notes that wrapping it up is key to preventing the spread of STD infections, as well as a urinary tract infection for the male partner.
5. Warm up with a finger or two.
Consider introducing yourself to anal sex with your own finger while relaxing in the shower or bathtub, says Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters—And How to Get It. “As you insert your fingers, insert them a bit upwards toward the tailbone since this is how the anus curves,” Mintz says. “Push in slowly and stop with any resistance. Your goal is to loosen and prepare the anus, not force anything.” Once you’ve done a little solo play, you can involve your partner in the action. Hint: Mintz says as your partner’s fingers go in, you should push down like you’re having a bowel movement to help you relax your anal sphincter muscles.
6. Consider flushing it all out.
There’s really no way around it—anal sex will likely involve some element of fecal matter. Yeah. Because of that, you might want to consider going number two before you begin.
And then there’s the age-old (butt stuff) question: to enema or not to enema? This certainly isn’t necessary, but if you do decide to try it, you’ll want to do it one to two hours before anal play. While this is generally safe, it’s best to do so sparingly advises Lauren Streicher, M.D., medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause. (Doing it too often can screw with your electrolytes, and cause bloating or even diarrhea.)
7. Keep a towel nearby.
For the same reasons you might want to give an enema a try, you might also want to keep a towel within reach. Accidents happen during sex, and in the case of anal play, they might be particularly messy. Having a towel on hand will make for easier clean up.
8. Read up on anal positions.
If you’re a woman who likes to approach things with a game plan, then you might want to read up on anal sex positions.
Some primo positions to consider for achieving the big anal “O”: Lifted Spoon, Flat Doggy, and Reverse Cowgirl’n’Lean.
9. Prepare for climax.
And, yes, an anal orgasm is a thing. Your best bet for getting there: take it slow, and use lots of lube. Opt to include anything you already know you like during sex (clit stimulation, nipple rubbing, etc.) and you’re bound to discover peak pleasure.
10. Experiment with someone you trust.
Anal play is best done with a safe partner with whom you can easily communicate, says Lindau. Being on the same page helps you get what you want in bed and also might help you feel more at ease when trying something new. Goldstein adds: “At the end of the day, you both want to feel pleasure, so good communication is key to make sure you’re both hitting the right spots.”
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