Whether you’re a complete newb, dabbling in anal play or you’re just plain curious; there are a few important guidelines that everyone should follow.

The butt has a ton of nerve endings, so it’s no wonder that anal play has become a regular part of most people’s sex life. What was once considered to be one of the most taboo things you could do (and illegal in some places) is now pretty mainstream.

Anal stimulation can be extremely fun and enjoyable for everyone involved, but you should know the basics before jumping in, because without proper tools and techniques, it can also be a not-so-pleasant experience for the receiver.

Use Condoms

If your anal play involves penetration by a penis, you should use always use condoms. STIs and HIV transmission are still possible during anal sex. 

If you are using toys for anal penetration, be sure to use a condom on the toy, if you intend to share the toy with a partner or if you want to use the toy for anal and vaginal penetration (taking the condom off the toy after anal penetration but before vaginal pentration). Nothing that goes in the butt should go into the vagina without a thorough cleansing. This includes fingers. Baby wipes on the bedside table are an absolute must. 

Use Lube

LUBE. LUBE. LUBE.

The booty doesn’t create its own lubricant, so lube is a HARDLINE RULE. You should absolutely not be engainging in anal play without using lubricant. Full stop. Anyone who thinks a little saliva and positive thinking will do the trick, is not worthy of the bounty of your butt.

There are specific anal lubricants that you can purchase, but any water-based lube will do the trick. Don’t be afraid to use too much. The slippery the better. You may need to reapply during play as well. The moment you feel any discomfort, slow down and add more lube.

Let Go of Insecurities 

One of the biggest questions that always comes up when talking anal play, is “what if I poop?”.

The sensation of anal penetration can feel similar to pooping, but it’s very unlikely to actually happen.

If you’re concerned about it, talk to your partner before experimenting. Sometimes there can be a little mess during anal sex with deep penetration, but nothing too intense. If they’re not ok with things getting a tiny bit messy, then they probably shouldn’t be exploring your booty.

Relax

Tension is not your friend when it comes to anal play. There are a ton of tiny muscles in the anal sphincter and, if they tighten, it could make penetration uncomfortable. The more relaxed and turned on you are, the better. Take deep breaths, engage in non-anal foreplay and sensual touch. You can try having your partner give you a relaxing massage before play, but don’t start until you’re good and ready.

Go Solo

A great way to experiment with what you like during anal stimulation is by exploring on your own. It’s a lot less scary when you control the speed and depth of penetration. You can discover what you like and what you don’t like so you can communicate your preferences to your partner(s) in the future.

Warm It Up

Never just ‘dive in’ to full anal penetration.

You want to start by teasing and touching the entire butt. Start with finger play (one at a time) and slowly work up to larger items. Use smaller plugs or vibrating anal toys to stimulate and relax the anus. Always use toys with a flared base, as the bum likes to suck up toys, and that trip to the doctor will be an awkward one. 

Go Slow

Take things slowly. This is not a porno. You never see the countless hours porn actors spend warming up their butts before someone unceremoniously penetrates them with a giant fallice. This is not real life. 

When you’re new to anal penetration, you want to go as slowly as possible. The sensations are new and strange and take some getting used to. Don’t be afraid to stop and start as much as you need to, and stopping altogether is totally fine too. You can try again another day or not if you decide anal just isn’t for you. You are in control.

For even more control during strap on or penis penetration, try having the receiver on top of the giver. This gives the receiver the ability to control the speed and depth of penetration by slowly lowering themselves onto their partner.

Anal sex is not a seamless experience. It takes time and effort to make sure everyone involved is comfortable and having a good time.

Communicate 

Which brings me to communication. Anal is a talking game.

You need to be prepared for constant communication when exploring anal play. It’s important to speak up if you feel any discomfort. Anal play SHOULDN’T HURT. When done correctly it should be a pleasurable (though sometimes strange) sensation. Pain is not ok. If you feel pain you should stop, add more lube and start again slowly or just stop completely, if you choose.

The first few times you try anal penetration, it probably won’t be the sexiest experience. It will probably feel more like an experimental project, where you and your partner discover what works and what doesn’t by consistently communicating. That doesn’t mean it can’t feel pleasurable, it just means you need to play a bit to discover your preferences, but that’s part of the fun!

If you’re interested in anal play, you should definitely give it a try. It’s not for everyone, but it can be a great way for you to connect with your partner and to experience a whole new level of pleasure.

Jennifer Doan is a sex educator, coach and the host of the podcast Taking Back Slut. Jennifer is committed to helping people connect to their sexual power in a way that feels safe and comfortable to them. Connect with her on Instagram @jenn_doan for sex rants and unapologetic nudes.