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By Ashley Cobb

Table of Contents

So, you're interested in trying anal sex but don’t know where to begin? I have a few tips that will make it a pleasurable experience. Anal sex is something a lot of people are curious about and often have questions about, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or relationship status.

While there's no right or wrong approach to anal sex for beginners (as long as everyone involved has enthusiastically consented, of course), attending to your personal hygiene might make you feel more comfortable and even more turned on. Anal sex can be an incredibly pleasurable experience for all parties involved, but it does require some preparation! Whether you are a first-timer or experienced with anal sex, these tips will help ensure that your experience is as safe and enjoyable as possible.

What Is Anal Sex?

Sexual activity involving the anus is called anal sex. The anus is filled with nerve endings, making it very sensitive, and many people find anal sex enjoyable. Among American adults (men and women) aged 18 to 44, more than one in three have had anal sex at least once in their lives. 

Anal sex does not always mean anal intercourse. If you think of anal sex as just anal penetration with a penis, then you’ll find that there are many other options to consider. You can engage in anal sex with your tongue, fingers, dildos, vibrators, other toys, or butt plugs. 

Best First-Time Anal Preparation

To help ensure a smooth experience, it’s important to relax your body and mind before engaging in anal sex, especially if it is your first time. Taking deep breaths or doing some light stretching can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable with the idea of anal play. You may also want to try stimulating other areas around the anus beforehand (such as the inner thighs and perineum) to increase arousal and pleasure during penetration.

You can also use a sex toy. Sex toys are a great way to practice before you actually get into anal play with your partner. This will give you a chance to get comfortable with the sensation of anal insertion and acclimate yourself to the size of whatever you’re putting in there. If your partner’s also using a toy, it will help them get familiar with their anus, as well.

Beginners should always start with smaller, slimline toys before moving on to larger toys or dildos. It’s best to start with something small and gentle, such as BOOTIE S, which has a slim shape for insertion. A perfect beginners’ anal toy for people with vulvas is BOOTIE FEM. It has an asymmetrical base that allows it to be worn comfortably in the anus during vaginal penetration.

For other toy recommendations, check out FUN FACTORY’s post, “Tips and Toys for Anal.” It is also important to take things slow at first and wait until your body tells you it's ready for the next step. Some steps you might take follow below. 

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1. Educate Yourself About Anal Sex

I admit it, the very thought of anal sex can make me nervous—especially when I think about how much misinformation there is about it. Getting familiar with what to expect beforehand can make you more ready to take the next step. FUN FACTORY’s blog posts about anal sex are a great place to start. 

If you’re nervous about anal, then determine what's causing you concern—whether it's the potential messiness, the feeling, or any psychological factors. It's really important that you don't rush into anything if you don't feel comfortable with it. Well-being and boundaries are what matter most. You're perfectly justified in waiting or passing on anal sex if it’s not for you.

2. Try Anal Training

A good way to prepare for first-time anal sex is to take part in anal training. Similar to training for other muscle groups, anal training involves physically preparing your anal sphincter muscles for anal play. More specifically: Over time, using bigger and bigger toys for anal play will strengthen the sphincter muscles by exposing them to a variety of pressures. This process also teaches the anal muscles to fully relax, enabling them to loosen during penetration.

Make it easy on yourself by using an anal training kit, which usually would contain three dilators. You will begin by using a small dilator, then you’ll move on to a medium dilator, and finally you’ll use a large dilator. Give yourself a few minutes per session, and roughly two weeks to work with each size.

3. Talk to Your Partner About Anal

If you’ve never tried anal sex before, it can be a little intimidating. But if you do it right, there are plenty of ways to make the experience comfortable and enjoyable for all parties involved.

Before engaging in anal play with someone new, you should talk to your partner about anal sex and how they feel about it. This conversation doesn’t need to be serious. It should be a fun and honest exchange of ideas, comfort zones, and expectations. You should also ask your partner if they’ve had a full-panel STI test that includes HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes.

4. Don't Forget the Lube

Getting the right lubricant is essential for all kinds of anal play, from rimming and fingering to penetration with a penis or dildo. Choose a lube specifically designed for anal play. The rectum is not self-lubricating like the vagina, so it’s important to use plenty of lube to ensure your anal penetration is comfortable and safe. Using too little lube can result in painful tears and damage to your rectal tissue. 

There are many different types of anal lubes available, including water-based, oil-based, and hybrid lubricants. Water-based lubes are easier to wash off of clothing and sheets and are compatible with silicone sex toys. However, they can be less slippery than a pure silicone lube and may stain your clothes if you’re not careful. Oil-based lubes are thicker and last longer before absorbing into the skin, but they can be harder to clean off of clothing and sheets. They also can damage silicone sex toys and latex condoms. Hybrid lubes are an excellent option, combining the benefits of both water-based and silicone lubes. They’re easy to clean and can be used with most sex toys, but they can’t compete with a silicone lube’s texture or longevity.

If you’re not sure which type of anal lube to use, experiment with the one that feels most comfortable on your skin. There are many different options available, so it’s important to find the best one for you and your partner. Try using a few drops of your favorite lube before sex to see how it feels. It’s also helpful to do some research about the ingredients in your lube to avoid any harmful chemicals that could cause itching, burning, or hives.

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5. Make Sure You’re Clean

Cleanliness is incredibly important when engaging in any kind of sexual exploration—especially anal play. Make sure that all toys used during anal play are properly cleaned and disinfected before and after every use. It is also important to make sure that your or your partner’s hands have short, trimmed nails and are thoroughly washed prior to any sort of insertion into the anus. 

Keeping your anus clean is one of the most important elements of anal preparation. You can do this by regularly cleaning the anus (outside only) with soap and water or by installing a bidet at home. You also need to drink plenty of water before anal sex to keep your bowel movements steady and prevent constipation. A high-fiber diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, will also prevent the buildup of debris in your rectum and anal canal.

Prior to engaging in anal sex, some people perform an enema (the act of introducing liquid into the rectum). Here’s how: Fill a clean bottle with lukewarm water or a body-safe saline solution. The water should not be too hot or too cold, as this can damage your rectum or colon. Your intestines and colon are much more sensitive to temperature than the rest of your body, so water that's too hot can burn the mucosal lining. 

Once you have chosen the right enema liquid, choose a quiet area where you can relax, such as a bedroom. This can also be your bathroom or any quiet spot where you can lie down comfortably over a towel. Insert the soft tip of your enema kit into your anus. A small amount of lubricant can make the process much more comfortable and easier. When you rinse, make sure you get all of the fluid out, but don't clean too deep. The process can be repeated until all the water is out of your rectum and you are ready to have anal sex.

Enema kits are available at most drugstores and can be either disposable or reusable. They generally include a hot water bottle, a hose, and a plug to insert into your rectum. Some also come with a rectal tip. The key to using an enema kit safely is to follow the instructions carefully. If you’re not sure of something, ask a healthcare professional for advice.

6. Take It Slow

It is important to be physically and emotionally prepared for anal sex with a partner. If you are using their penis or a strap-on/dildo, you should go slowly during insertion, so you will be able to adjust to the size and sensation without becoming overwhelmed or offended by it. Some lovely rimming can help you get relaxed and ready for penetration.

When receiving, help your partner manage and set the pace by walking them through what feels good. Communicate how you feel constantly. If you're giving, pay attention to your partner at all times, so that you are both on the same page. Be sure to pay attention to their nonverbal cues as well.

7. Try Beginner-Friendly Anal Sex Positions

You don’t need to choose just one first-time anal position. Experiment with different positions and see what feels good to you. This is especially helpful if you’re new to anal play, or if you and your partner are trying anal for the first time together. Positions like receiving-partner-on-top, missionary, and spooning all allow you to control the depth of penetration and the force of the penetrative partner’s touch.

Anal sex should be pleasurable, not painful. Once more for the people in the back: Anal sex should not be painful. Engage in lots of foreplay and make sure that both partners feel comfortable. Anal pain is your body saying STOP. So, if anal play starts to feel a little more ouch than oooohhhh, you should stop and readjust.

8. Practice Aftercare

It is important to do anal aftercare, especially if you’ve just had anal sex for the first time. After you have anal sex, it’s a good time to decompress and talk about what you liked, didn’t like, and want to try again.

Remember, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, anyone can enjoy anal play. Because of this, everyone can be taken to such pleasurable heights that when we crash, aftercare isn't just the cherry on top of an amazing experience, but also an ideal bookend to what you just explored with your partner.

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Is Anal Sex Safe?

People often wonder if anal sex is safe. The answer is yes, anal sex is generally safe, especially if you use condoms and lubricants. As with other forms of sex, anal sex does come with some risks, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs), anal cancer, and anal fissures. However, there are some steps you can take to make anal sex as safe as possible, such as applying lube and using condoms consistently—and communicating well with your partner(s).

Does Anal Hurt? 

Anal fun doesn't have to be painful. It's up to you to make sure you prepare for it—by using lube, communicating, and relaxing—and to have patience.

The anus doesn't get wet in preparation for sex, unlike the vagina. The friction created by dry penetration can cause tiny tears in the delicate skin of the anus if you don't have enough lubrication.

If you're not relaxed, that's another reason for anal pain. The anus's muscles are pretty tight and without relaxing those muscles, it can be quite uncomfortable to get things inside. 

What Does Anal Sex Feel Like? 

A person's anal sex experience depends on many factors, ranging from their anatomy to their sexual experience. If it's your first time, it may feel a bit uncomfortable. The anus has a number of delicious nerve endings in and around it. Many people experience amazing orgasms as a result of anal sex. Additionally, there is the highly erotic pleasure spot along the vaginal wall, the A-spot, which can be indirectly stimulated by the anus.

Using these tips can help enhance your experience with anal play—remember, communication is key! With proper preparation, patience, and practice, you can create an amazing sexual experience for yourself and your partner(s). So go forth and explore this pleasurable journey!  Have fun!

Ashley Cobb is the millennial microphone for Black women seeking ultimate pleasure and sexual liberation. She's a women's health and sexuality writer, media personality, and HIV activist known for her fun, down-to-earth, and practical sex advice. Ashley has been featured in top media outlets including Essence, HuffPost, Cosmopolitan, and Women's Health, as well as seen on Bravo's Love Match Atlanta. Ashley is a certified sex coach who currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, where she works as an HIV advocate for Black women.

This post was written by a guest blogger, and all opinions and ideas expressed are that of the author. All ideas included are for educational and entertainment value, and do not constitute medical advice.

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