Why Do People Like Anal?
The anus has a massive concentration of nerve endings that can feel really, really good to stimulate. For people with prostates, anal sex is the only way to access what is often equivocated to a clitoris. Some of the nerves are also connected to other nerve endings, attached to the genitals, like the clitoris or the underside of the penis, depending on your anatomy.
Plus, anal feels a little dirty and risky in a fun way. It’s just a little taboo without being overtly kinky, but it’s a hot topic that can feel a bit intimidating. If you or your partner are interested in anal, here’s how to try it for the first time.
Basic Anal Safety
Lube: Lube makes any type of sex better, but because the anus does not self-lubricate, it’s extra important for anal sex. Lube not only helps with pleasure, but it also reduces the risk of tearing. Use it liberally, and use more than you think you'll need.
Barriers: If you’re having anal sex that involves other body parts, like fingers, mouths, or penises, using safer sex barriers is important to reduce the risk of STIs like herpes, HIV, and syphilis. Use a condom, put on a nitrile glove, grab a dental dam, and feel free to swap them for a fresh set as often as you need. Make sure to also grab a clean barrier if moving between the anus and vagina, or between the anus and any other body part.
Toy Size: If you’re using sex toys, make sure you use ones intended for anal that also have a base that’s bigger in diameter than the penetrative part of the toy, so they don’t get lost inside of you. “Always always always have a flared base because something could accidentally get stuck up in there,” says Dr. Britney Blair, clinical psychologist, and Lover co-founder.
Go Slow: Anal sex should never hurt. It should feel awesome! “It should never hurt. If it hurts, something’s wrong,” Dr. Blair says. Stop what you’re doing, and if you wish to continue later, use even more lube and go even slower than you think you need to with something smaller in diameter or try again another time.
Your First Time: Try It Alone
You’re not here to masturbate, you’re here to have anal sex with a partner. But whether or not you want to be penetrated or to penetrate someone else (or both), exploring on your own is a good place to start. You’ll be more in touch with yourself and better able to communicate what you’re feeling, and even though every anus is as different as the person it belongs to you’ll also have more empathy for what a receiving partner is feeling.
To try anal for the first time, grab your favorite lube and head to the shower (Careful of how slippery the shower floor will be!). The shower is a great place to start; you’ll be more relaxed, and if you’re worried about poop, you’re already in the shower. It’s best to use the bathroom behand to clear the way slightly. Although, most of your fecal matter stays stored much further up inside your colon from where you will be exploring.
When you’re ready, and with clean hands, rest the pad of one finger against the opening of your anus (a.k.a., your butthole). What do different sensations feel like? When you’re even more ready, grab your lube and gently insert one finger. You should experience brief resistance as you work through the sphincter muscle, and then less resistance. Clench around your finger. Wiggle it. Use your other hand to masturbate like you usually do. You can add another finger, switch to a small butt plug, or enjoy being exactly where you are.
Before Your First Time with a Partner, Talk About It
Two words that should never go together: “anal” and “surprise.” If you want to have anal with a partner, talk about it in advance, outside of the bedroom. This keeps the talk more low-pressure for both of you. If you don’t know how to kick things off, try “I’d really like to try anal, here’s what’s hot to me about it, do you have any thoughts about doing it together?” or, “I was reading this article on the Lover blog about anal and it made me curious, what do you think about trying it?”
If you have previous experiences, or if your partner does, share them. Talk about your fantasies and why you want to try it with this partner specifically. If they say no, respect their boundary. Anal is for everyone, but only if everyone is enthusiastic about anal.
Get Ready for Anal
To get ready for anal, make sure you have a ton of lube within easy reach. Charge your sex toys and lock your door. The idea here is to feel as comfy and safe as possible.
You might also want to put down a few towels. One concern people have about anal is poop, specifically that having anal will lead to the presence of poop in the bedroom. While some folks choose to douche to reduce the chances of this, if the receiving partner is familiar with and listening to their body, and overall eating enough fiber and drinking enough water, this should not really be an issue. Using dark towels can reduce the squick factor if it’s present for either of you.
How to Have Anal for the First Time
Spend some time on coreplay, not foreplay, so both you and your partner are aroused without feeling rushed.
When you’re both ready, get into position. A good introductory position for anal sex is where the receptive partner lies in a little spoon position on their side.
Start with a very lubed finger. Like you did alone, rest it against the receptive partner’s anus. Make out. When they’re ready, slowly insert your finger, checking in as you go. Wiggle or slowly thrust. What do they enjoy more?
Let the receptive partner set the pace, asking for more fingers or motions according to what feels good to them. You might work up to a penis, strap-on, or butt plug together, or you might not. The key is to use a ton of lube and take it slow. The slower you go, the more likely it is you’ll get to do this again.
When the receptive partner is done, slowly separate. If you’ve used a butt plug together, they might be more comfortable heading to the bathroom to remove it, since doing so can sometimes feel like a bowel movement. If that’s not possible, then taking a deep breath and bearing down just a little can help with removal.
After cleaning up, check in with each other. How are you both feeling? What did you like about the experience? What do you want to try next time?
If you want to process the experience or learn more about anal, head to the chat tab in the Lover app to talk to an expert for personalized advice.
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