So here’s the scenario: you and your honey are snuggled up, getting hot and heavy, and then, you feel his penis slip back and start to press against the other hole. You’re horny, he’s horny, and though you have some misgivings, the heat of the moment has you figuring ‘why the hell not?’

STOP!

No, seriously, stop right there. Before diving headfirst into back door play, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Communication

You should always talk to your partner before engaging in any kind of sex act, but when it comes to anal sex, communication is especially important. In the scenario painted above, permission is neither asked nor granted.

Silence is not consent.

Neither is acquiescence.

In regards to any kind of sex, consent must be verbalized aloud. And if you’re not comfortable saying ‘yes’ to something, please don’t allow yourself to be talked into doing things because you feel pressured by expectations—be it theirs or your own.

Here’s a few tips on broaching the subject of anal sex (or any discussion pertaining to your sex life) with your partner:

  • Don’t wait till the two of you are in the middle of foreplay to bring up the topic; he or she might feel put on the spot, and agree (or disagree) while less than clear-headed
  • Do bring up the topic at a neutral time; maybe start a dialogue about sexual fantasies using a game
  • Do listen to your partner; even if the act is something you really don’t want to try, allow your partner to speak their mind and respond in a mature, thoughtful manner

And even though it’s already been stated:

  • Don’t allow yourself to be talked into doing something that you’re not comfortable with.

Preparation

You and your partner have talked, and the two of you have decided to try some back door play. Great! So now you’re ready to get down and dirty in the bedroom, right?

Wrong.

There are a few things you need to be aware of before engaging in anal sex, which will ensure that the both of you find the experience enjoyable.

First, the rectum is not like the vagina; it does not self-lubricate. Second, it’s narrower than the vagina, and much, much tighter.  And third, (and this is something that concerns a lot of people when the subject of anal play comes up) the rectum is clear of waste after one has had a bowel movement.

When a couple decides to have anal sex, the first thing they will need is lube. Lots and lots of lube.

There is no such thing as too much lube.

Now, if one is going the traditional route and not utilizing any toys, a good quality silicone lube will do the job. There are lubricants out there that are specifically formulated for anal play, which are more viscous (thicker) than silicone lubricants meant for regular sex. Either type is fine, though the thicker formulation might make things more comfortable. If you will be using toys, however, stick to a water-based formula, as silicone can damage the toy if it’s not made of glass, metal, or non-porous plastic. Also, if you are using a water-based lubricant, be prepared to use a lot of it; the rectum naturally absorbs water, which means water-based lubricants dry up more quickly than a silicone lube.

But lube alone is not enough.

The rectum is guarded by two rings of muscle called sphincters; they’re there to keep bodily waste inside until one needs to use the toilet. These muscles are very strong, and need to be gently stretched open, either by fingers or a small toy.

Lubricated fingers should be eased in one at a time, with more lube added if any discomfort is evident. The process shouldn’t be rushed, and the person on the receiving end should be relaxed; it might be uncomfortable at first, but it shouldn’t hurt. If there’s pain, then it’s not being done correctly.

The person doing the fingering should ideally work their way up to three fingers, scissoring them apart carefully to loosen the muscles.

If a toy is being used—and there are a lot of great options out there—make sure it has a flared base so it doesn’t get lost inside the body, and start small. A toy made of platinum grade silicone is a great choice for a beginning, as it has the sanitary qualities that is inherent to silicone toys, but is soft and flexible, meaning it will move with the body. One can even insert a small plug to prepare oneself for sex, and cut down on prep time.

And finally, even if you and your partner don’t normally use condoms, use one for anal sex. This will cut down on the chances of one or both of you coming down with a bacterial infection, and keep everything nice and clean.

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