Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have used the word ‘dirty’ in a title about anal play, but(t) fuck it. Jokes aside, there is a lot to discuss when it comes to anal play and we are going to start the discussion now. There aren’t many sex acts that are more polarizing than anal stuff. I won’t discuss all the theories around deeply ingrained homophobia or unhealthy versions of masculinity, but those are important discussions to sort through. I will assume, that if you are reading this article, you are open to and/or curious about anal play.
I was lucky enough to learn about anal pleasure stuff from a sex therapist/body worker/generally cool guy, Charlie Glickman, (www.makesexeasy.com) and want to share the top 5 tips I took away from the information session:
1) General Intimacy Etiquette: Consent is key. Do talk with your partner about your desire to incorporate anal play and make a plan. Don’t get drunk and “accidentally” stick something up the ‘other’ hole hoping for the best.
2) Anal Preparation for the Receiver: Confidence is key. Know that your anal canal won’t have feces inside it as that is stored higher up in your intestine. Do: wash your anus with soap & water, or consider a water or saline anal douche if you’re extra concerned with cleanliness. Don’t: worry about what your ass looks like. You may have butt pimples, or hair, or *gasp* a normal, unbleached asshole. Relax. We all do.
3) Giver Responsibilities: Communication is key. You will be the main facilitator in creating a safe space. Check in with your partner, ask him/her to tell you about their experience, thank them for all feedback. It can sting a bit when your partner tells you they don’t enjoy something. Check your ego, say thank you, and congratulate yourself for creating a space where your partner can be open with you. Watch your partner’s breathing pattern and body cues. This means not being overly consumed by your own passion and desire –at least temporarily. Also, wear gloves or keep your nails clean and well trimmed.
4) Practical Tips for Success: Careful is key.
- Get lube and then get some more. And then reapply it. Silicone-based lube safe with many toys and condoms (but double check the informational insert! Silicone lube on silicone toys can cause issues). Oil will degrade condoms. Water-based works well, but will get absorbed by the internal canal quickly and you’ll need to add more!
- Go slowly and get the body ready. Use external massage before penetration of any form. Use finger penetration before toy/penis penetration.
- When entering the anus, start from an angle and slowly change the angle easing the finger, toy or penis inside. When exiting the anus, place two fingers on either side to prevent the sensitive skin tissue from coming out with whatever is inside. When removing toys and dildos also angle out the object slowly while coordinating with your partner’s exhale.
- If your partner is female: make sure you don’t allow fluids to get near her vulva as bacteria spreads quickly and no one has time for a urinary tract infection.
- Wait 10-15 minutes after anal penetration to attempt a bowel movement to give the muscles some time to adjust.
5) Relaxation Tips & Aftercare: Compassion is key. Approach anal play – especially for novices – with no expectations for the outcome. This is an exploration in pleasure, not a means to an end. Your partner may have undisclosed trauma, shame, or unexpected emotions that arise after certain sexual experiences. Be sensitive to this potential vulnerability and, if the experience seems too intense, find a skilled trauma therapist in your area.
Remember: anal attentive is better than anal retentive. Breath in, breath out, and approach anal play from a place of curiosity.