No matter how sexually adventurous you are, it’s normal to feel some trepidation at the thought of letting a guy knock on your back door. “Anal play is sometimes taboo, and you may have hang-ups about it for several reasons,” says Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., author of Getting the Sex You Want: Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together. Those can vary from concerns about the pain to worry that it’s going to be dirty (and not in a good way).
But here’s the thing—if you’re not involving your derriere in the bedroom, you might be missing out on the chance for a serious sex life upgrade. So it’s something worth trying, even if it makes you a little squeamish. “I have patients who are interested in anal play, but they seem to almost be asking me for permission to try it,” says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn in Westchester, New York, and co-author of V Is for Vagina. Sound familiar? Keep reading for some valuable info on how to woman-up and embrace your butt:
Your clitoris isn’t the only thing below the belt that’s packed with nerves. “While some women find anything near the anus to be too uncomfortable psychologically or physically, there’s a very rich nerve and vascular supply in that area,” say Dweck. The concentrated nerve endings and blood vessels mean sensations involving your anus or perineum, the patch of skin between your vagina and rectum, can feel extra pronounced. “For a lot of people, it’s a major erogenous zone because of that heightened sensitivity,” says Dweck. Ready to give it a shot? The first step is to have a conversation about it with your partner.
RELATED: Why Are Some Guys So Obsessed with Butt Play?
Ideally, your first experiment with anal play will happen after you two have talked it through. Don’t worry that it isn’t sexy—making sure you’re ready will help you fully focus on the pleasure to come and give you the best chance at a mind-blowing session. You can start by asking your partner whether he’s ever thrown his hat into the anal ring and how he liked it, says Nelson. Then you can explain why you’re so intrigued by it (that bunch of nerves just waiting to be stimulated information comes in handy here).
“You can explain that you’ve wanted to try it but never found a partner you trusted enough to let down your guard and work through that hesitation,” says Nelson. Work through your butt play anxiety together, and exploring some uncharted sexual territory can turn it into a real bonding experience.
Once you’re both on the same page, it’s time to stock up! First thing on your sexy shopping list: tons of lube. “Your anal sphincter is much tighter than your vagina," says Dweck. "After some anal play it will loosen up, but you need to use plenty of lubrication to avoid rips and tears." Beyond the pain factor involved, any tearing in the area can leave you prone to infection. Dweck suggests going for water-based lubes like K-Y or silicone-based varieties like Replens Silky Smooth and Wet Platinum. Another popular brand, Astroglide, has both water- and silicone-baed options. Nelson especially recommends the silicone kind in general as they’re “thick” and “have stamina.” If you’re using a condom, avoid oil-based lubrication like the plague. It damages latex, which is clearly a no-no for safe sex.
When it comes to anal toys, a removal method is a must. "You have to make sure there’s a way to retrieve the toy, like a string or a flared base,” says Dweck. If you use a toy that doesn’t have a surefire removal method, you run the risk of winding up in a seriously uncomfortable situation. “I've had women get dildos stuck up there, in which case I have to call a colorectal surgeon to remove them,” says Dweck. Avoid turning your life into an episode of Sex Sent Me to the E.R. by making sure there’s an easy way to slip the toy out once you’re done playing.
After you’re finished with the toy, cleanse it well, especially if you also use it a little farther north. “Women are very prone to infection in the vagina or urinary tract if those areas are exposed to fecal material,” says Dweck. You can clean most sex toys with water and soap, although some come with special directions based on the materials they’re made of, says Dweck.
Chances are, you don’t want to mix poop and your sex life. “For some women, the thought of fecal material possibly getting involved with sexual play is too overwhelming, and they become intimidated,” says Dweck. There are a few things you can do to mitigate the poop risk. “A good shower or cleaning the area well should remove any concerns,” says Nelson. If that’s not enough to soothe your mind, you can also pick up an enema from a drug store, says Dweck.
RELATED: How Likely Are You to Poop During Anal Sex?
With all the aforementioned preparation, you should be good to go! If at any point you start to feel uncomfortable or are in a tremendous amount of pain, feel free to pause the action and readjust. You can push his penis, finger, or the toy out gently and try again or just shelve it for another night. Don’t squeeze your sphincter muscles too quickly if he’s the one sliding out of you, though, says Nelson. "That can sometimes land his pecker in a world of pain."
If you’re still feeling nervous, ask if you can try anal play on your guy first. “Use a lot of lubricant and a finger or sex toy to stimulate him around the anal area without insertion,” says Nelson. If he likes it and wants to take thing further, push inside with just the tip of your finger or a narrow toy. Seeing him enjoy it (and chances are he will—dudes have plenty of nerve endings down there, too) may help you feel more comfortable.