Things To Know About Anal Sex

by Cay Crow, M.A., LPC, AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist

Woman's behind in blue jeans with her left hand in her left back pocket

Dear Cay,

I am a male in my 20s and I’m gay. I have been trying to have anal sex, but it is a little painful. I tried to have my partner do it slowly, and it is still bothersome. When it is deep, I’m afraid it might perforate my colon. Are there any tips on how to avoid that, how to get aroused by anal sex, and any positions you recommend? Thanks, Gabe

Dear Gabe,

Anal sex requires that the mind and the body be aligned. If you have any hesitations whatsoever about anal penetration mentally or emotionally, the body will not allow it to happen. The anus never lies. Part of your question was how to get aroused by anal sex. That makes me wonder if you are really into it or just think you are supposed to like it. If you are doing this for a partner rather than for your own pleasure, there will be problems. I had a partner once who was really into anal sex. It took some time for me to figure out how to allow penetration - that is really what happens. What I learned was that while my partner got off on it, anal sex did nothing for me. I did not find it arousing at all. So it was not on our sexual menu that often.

Preparing For Anal Sex

One important element of anal sex is using your voice. Speak up and tell your partner when it hurts, when it just feels neutral or when it feels good. Pain means that something is wrong; it is not an inevitable part of anal sex.

There are two sphincters that comprise the anus; the external one is under voluntary control, the internal one is not. The two sphincters are very close together. Most pain during anal sex is caused by someone trying to push or poke the internal sphincter too quickly or forcefully.

Ideally, what happens during anal penetration is that you put your anus onto the object penetrating you (finger, toy, penis) so that you are in control of the pace and depth. Practice by yourself first; having a horny partner present is too much pressure. As you insert the object, open your mouth and breath out like you are cleaning your sunglasses. At the same time, bear down as if you are going to move your bowels. The bearing down helps the internal sphincter relax. Use lots of thick lube and be prepared to add more since the rectum does not self-lubricate. Start with something small like a finger or a very small dildo, leave it in place and pay attention to how it feels. Is it tight at first? Does the internal sphincter eventually relax? Experiment with having an orgasm first before you insert anything anally. This will relax the pelvic floor and could make insertion easier. Try using vibration and see if that makes a difference. While you are practicing, move into different positions like kneeling with your torso upright, on your hands and knees, and on your back. Notice if the inserted object feels any different in these positions.

The rectum is a subtle S-shape; it curves towards the navel then back towards the backbone. This is important as larger, straight objects can hit the wall of the rectum and cause pain. This could also occur with a hard penis. All the more reason to start with smaller objects and S-L-O-W-L-Y work your way up to larger ones. Whatever you are inserting needs to go towards your navel and can then straighten out.

Dangers Of Anal Sex

In terms of partnered positions, it will depend on how your bodies fit together. If your partner has long legs and can kneel on the bed with you slightly lower in doggie style in front of him, that is the best angle for him to insert down towards your navel. I found that being in doggie style during insertion then laying on my stomach with a thick pillow under my hips worked best for me. I learned that I needed to relax my legs to allow penetration but I only discovered that by experimenting. Play with it, explore, and see what works best for you and your partner.

Anal sex, at least in my experience, is not a quickie activity; it takes a lot of time and mindfulness. If you continue to have pain, you may want to see a doctor and check if you have hemorrhoids or other medical issues. I recommend the book, The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men by Bill Brent.


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