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Anal Pleasure 101 with Dr Timaree

Anal pleasure is having something of a moment. Long considered a taboo in our culture, or an act only certain types of people enjoy, adults of all stripes are increasingly exploring the possibilities for pleasure. PornHub data say searches for “anal” increased 120 percent from 2009 to 2015. Surveys of actual behavior indicate a third of both women and men are engaging in some anal play, as of 2017. It’s not for everyone, but some folks are fans of butt stuff.

Regardless of gender or orientation, the intense concentration of nerves at the opening of the anus holds the possibility for some fun sensations. This stimulation comes with a big caveat: any area with the potential for pleasure also holds the risk of discomfort, so it’s important to know a few things before getting started. And given the nature of the butt, there are additional cleanliness considerations. So what do first-timers need to know?

Before
The night before you plan to get into it, eat meals on the lighter side. It’s less important what you eat the day of, because that food won’t be far enough down your digestive tract. If you already know some foods make you feel bloaty or upset your stomach: steer clear.

If you want to make sure your rectum is cleared out, consider trying an enema a few hours before you’re planning to get busy. Do whatever helps you feel clean and ready to explore: take a shower or spend a little extra time with the bidet.

When you’re ready to begin, lay down some dark-colored towels and bring out a whole lot of lube. There’s absolutely no chance you’ll have too much lube.  

During

Start the session with other sensual play: making out, massaging, stimulating other parts of the body. This butt-exploring endeavor is theoretically part of a larger sexual experience, not just a spelunking project. Connect with your partner, unwind, play around and get in touch with how you’re feeling. You can also do all of this solo and may want to try that before involving another person.

When it’s time to head to the backdoor, start s-l-o-w and apply plenty of lube. Use gentle pressure around the anus before penetrating: try techniques with your fingers and tongue to get the area warmed up for further action. In fact, it’s totally ok to never actually go inside the anus, but just play around the opening.  

If you are interested in penetration, start with a finger or small buttplug and get the area a little stretched out before plunging anything larger. Unlike vaginas, anuses aren’t super elastic and they don’t self-lubricate, so it’s even easier to cause damage. Butts can also swallow objects, since there’s no cervix to stop a toy from being pulled inside the body. Never put anything into an anus that’s not firmly attached or has a flared base, to prevent it from being abducted by the butt. Again, there’s no such thing as too much lube. If you’re using latex condoms: use a water or silicone-based lube, but not an oil-based one because it’ll degrade the latex. If you’re using a silicone toy, use only water or oil-based lube, but avoid silicone lube because it’ll degrade the toy.

As you proceed, stay in contact with your partner: communicate and stay present in the moment. Many people find it most enjoyable when other parts continue to be stimulated as well, so feel free to masturbate at the same time.

For safety and clean-up reasons, it’s a good idea to use latex gloves, condoms, and dental dams (a thin sheet placed between a mouth and an orifice that protects from many sexually transmitted infections).

After

Your session is done whenever you decide it is. There’s no precise destination, just when you feel satisfied, tired, bored or otherwise done. If you decide to move on to other activities, consider what objects and body parts have been inside a butt and be sure to keep them away from vaginas and mouths, until condoms have been replaced or you’ve had a chance to thoroughly clean.

If you like what happened, consider introducing anal play into the regular repertoire. Odds are good you’ll find more about yourself and what you like with further exploration. However, there’s no pressure to stay with it if you don’t enjoy your experience. It’s perfectly fine to try something only once (or never at all!).

Many people like to talk after a sexual session with their partners to debrief on how it went: what they like, what they didn’t, how they felt. It’s a chance to connect with each other even more and make the most of future play.

Sexologist Timaree Schmit earned a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University, the culmination of a lifelong search for rational, sex-positive, empirically-based knowledge about sexuality. She now works as an adjunct professor, guest lecturer, writer and consultant.

Sexologist Timaree Schmit earned a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University, the culmination of a lifelong search for rational, sex-positive, empirically-based knowledge about sexuality. She now works as an adjunct professor, guest lecturer, writer and consultant.
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