Ah yes, butt stuff. While anal sex may be a big part of queer sex, it can be intimidating for those who have never tried it. What follows is a guide to anal sex for beginners so you can feel confident getting it on with some backdoor play.
- Anal sex can be pleasurable for both those with prostates and those without one
- Ease into it with smaller toys or a finger — and ALWAYS use toys with a flared base
- Use lots of lube!!
- If it hurts — stop. It’s normal to have a little discomfort at first, but it should ultimately feel pleasurable.
- Anal penetration with a penis is a higher risk factor for STI transmission than other types of sex — take steps to protect yourself!
Communication is Key
If you are trying anal with your partner(s) for the first time, talk to them about what your expectations and boundaries are. Some things to consider: are all parties down for anal play, what types of penetration are you interested in exploring(toys, fingers, penises?), and how you will make adjustments in the moment (faster, slower, less depth).
It’s also a good idea to get to know your body down there. So much of our sexual education is focused on our genitals and if you’re new to anal you might not spend much time thinking about your butthole. Your anus starts at the bottom of the rectum and has both an internal and external sphincter. Beyond the anal vestibule is the rectum, which is 4–6 inches long. Then the digestive tract takes a 90-degree turn, after which is the sigmoid colon. Didn’t quite get all that? Healthline has a 3D model for those who need a visual.
Cleaning Your Butt
For people who new to anal sex, one of the biggest elephants in the room is the connection between the bootyhole, and, frankly, shit. One important part of having the most pleasurable experience possible is by doing an extra thorough cleaning of your anus. For more shallow penetration like gentle fingering and analingus, a soaped-up finger up your butt may do the trick. If you’re going a little deeper, you may want to do an enema 1–2 hours before anal play. You can purchase them online or at most drug stores. Check out this awesome illustrated guide by artist Blindjaw for detailed instructions.
Easing Into It
When just starting off with anal sex, consider first exploring your anus solo, with just a clean finger and lube. It will help you get used to the novel sensation of anal penetration, help you learn to relax your anal canal, and teach you about what you do or don’t like about anal stimulation.
Experiment With Toys
Once you’ve explored with a finger, you may want to try playing with toys. Always opt for toys with a flared base or something to grip onto, as things can get sucked into your digestive tract. Not fun for anyone. A few types of toys to explore:
- Butt plugs. These come in a variety of sizes and can be purchased with or without vibrating capabilities. Flexible silicone butt plugs are recommended for beginners, and they also come in materials like stainless steel and glass. They can be used solo or left inserted during other sexual activity as part of anal training/additional pleasurable sensation.
- Anal beads. These provide a different sensation to butt plugs or a penis, as the beads (usually spherical) stimulate the sphincter muscles when inserted or removed.
- Anal massagers. Typically created with those who have prostates in mind, anal massagers tend to replicate analingus, aka rimming. These can be either vibrating or static and are usually curved to hit the p-spot.
When you’re ready for a penis or a strap-on, it’s a good idea to let the receiver of anal sex lead the way and guide the process when you’re starting out. It allows more control of speed and depth, which can make anal sex less daunting.
External condoms (so-called “male” condoms) are highly effective at preventing the transmission of STIs during anal penetration. You can use them either on a penis or on a sex toy. And for other types of anal play, you can use a dental dam, latex gloves, or finger cots for safer sex.
PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis may be the right choice for you if you are at higher risk for contracting HIV — and many people who regularly have anal sex are. It is often recommended for cisgender gay men and transgender folks of all genders, but anyone can benefit from PrEP. (Truvada is currently the only brand that works for people of all genders). Ask your doctor if you should add the daily PrEP pill to your sexual health regimen.
Knowing Your Status…And That of Your Partner(s)
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to know your STI status and that of the people you are sleeping with. STI stigma means people are less likely to go in for testing, but knowledge is power! Knowing your status equips you with the tools you need to proceed with the most information possible.
The Bottom Line
Sex is supposed to be fun. Don’t stress too much if you’re nervous about anal play — have a towel handy and remember that 💩 happens. Getting through the moments that aren’t exactly picture perfect is all part of a healthy sex life.