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Your Guide to All Things
Anal Sex

By Kathleen Morrison
May 30, 2022

Butt. Backside. Bottom. Back door. Booty. Rear. No matter what you call it, we’ve all got one! While it’s vital for eliminating waste and staying healthy, the anus is also full of nerve endings that can deliver pleasure when stimulated. One study of American sexual behavior found that 35.9% of women and 42.3% of men had ever engaged in anal sex. That’s a lot of people doing butt stuff! Whether you’re just feeling curious, or you’ve visited the back door more than once, anal sex comes with some unique considerations when it comes to maximizing pleasuring and staying safe. Let’s dive in!

What is anal sex?

Anal sex consists of more than just penis-in-anus activity—any kind of activity involving anal stimulation can be considered anal sex, including fingering, licking (also known as rimming), and the use of toys (by yourself or with a partner). If you’re feeling sexual pleasure, then it’s sex!

Can I get an STI from anal sex?

Any kind of sexual activity carries some risk, but there are specific things to think about during sex. Because you’re much less likely to become pregnant from anal sex, you may think it’s ok to skip the condom—not a good idea! The skin around and inside the anus is much thinner and less elastic than vaginal tissue which makes it easier to tear or damage from the friction that occurs during sex. When this happens, it can increase your risk of STI and HIV transmission. The same STIs that you can contract from vaginal sex ([herpes](shop/herpes/genital-herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc.) can also affect anal tissue. And of course, while you are less likely to become pregnant from anal sex, it is still possible that sperm may find its way into the vagina during intercourse—so always wear a condom to prevent pregnancy and protect against STIs and HIV!

Does anal sex cause vaginal infections?

Let’s be honest—it’s not sexy to think about (unless you’re into that kind of thing 😉), but the anus is responsible for passing fecal matter. Poop contains a lot of harmful bacteria, including E. coli, the bacteria responsible for most UTIs. If you have a vagina and are the receptive partner during anal sex, you may be at higher risk for developing a UTI due to the increased amount of bacteria introduced into the genital area. This same bacteria could also trigger a bacterial imbalance in the vagina that leads to BV or a yeast infection.

To reduce the risk of developing a vaginal infection after anal sex, be sure to cleanse the genital and anal area thoroughly before and after (our Balancing Wash is a great option for pre- and post clean up!). You’ll also want to always avoid inserting body parts or toys into the anus and then inserting them into the vagina—this is a great way to introduce bacteria into places it doesn’t belong and trigger an uncomfortable infection! If you experience recurring infections or are especially prone to vaginal infections, being on the receiving end of anal play may not be for you. If it’s something you want to explore, you and your partner can try switching roles.

Got any tips?

Alright, enough talk about safety—let’s get to the fun stuff. Here are our top tips for a mind-blowing backdoor experience.

  • Consent is key. Butt stuff isn’t something to spring on your partner out of the blue. Talk about it in advance and make sure both of you are comfortable and enthusiastic before trying anything new in the bedroom.
  • Get comfy on your own. You may want to explore on your own before exploring with a partner. Just like genital masturbation can teach you about your sexual likes and dislikes, touching your anus and the surrounding area will allow you to better guide your partner and can make for a better experience for both of you.
  • Slow and steady. Don’t rush it! Moving slowly will allow your body to adjust. Like we mentioned earlier, the tissue of the anus is less elastic than that of the vagina so it doesn’t stretch as easily. Going slow will reduce the risk of tearing and result in a more pleasurable experience. Anal sex should not be painful! Listen to your body for the best results.
  • Lube, lube, lube. Unlike the vagina, the anus is not self-lubricating so lube is essential when it comes to great anal sex. Our Harmonizing Lube is a great option for extra slip (plus, it’s waterproof if you prefer to get down in the shower). Silicone lube is another good choice for anal play—it won’t be absorbed by your skin so it lasts longer than water-based lubes.
  • There’s no shame in the butt game. Feeling a little nervous about a potentially messy situation? Don’t! A little poop comes with the territory, and any partner who would shame you for any accidents that may happen isn’t a partner you want in the bedroom. If you want an extra confidence boost, you can use an anal douche (also referred to as an enema) a few hours before sexual activity to clean out your rectum. You could also always move things to the shower for easy clean up.

Curious to learn more? Follow us on IG @hellowisp for more tips, tricks, and sex education!

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