Including the anus in sexual play and exploration can provide many benefits. After all, the butthole has a high concentration of nerve endings, making it super sensitive and inviting for pleasurable feels.
Anal play can also add newness and novelty to sexytime - because everyone loves options, right? Finally, since anal sex is often considered ‘taboo,’ playing with the butthole can add an air of mystery and excitement that feels forbidden.
However, there are also important considerations when it comes to trying anal sex safely and pleasurably. Since butt play is still considered more risqué than many other types of sex, it isn’t often discussed openly and honestly.
The butthole has a high concentration of nerve endings, making it super sensitive and inviting for pleasurable feels.
If you’re considering exploring the anus for the first time - whether your own or a partner’s - there are a few tips that can make it a more enjoyable experience. Keep in mind that anal play is a more advanced sexual practice, so it will likely be more successful and pleasurable for those who are comfortable and experienced with other types of partnered sexual play.
1. Relax Your Butt
The most often overlooked necessity for pleasurable butt play is relaxation, especially for the recipient. When our bodies are tense, the sphincter muscles that surround the anus clench, forcing the anus to squeeze itself closed. When we relax, those sphincter muscles relax too, and allow the opening of the anus to loosen and open wider.
But relaxation is often counterintuitive to anal penetration. It is a sensation that we’re not typically very familiar with (after all, things are more frequently coming out of our butt than going into it).
The most often overlooked necessity for pleasurable butt play is relaxation… When our bodies are tense, the sphincter muscles that surround the anus clench… When we relax, those sphincter muscles relax too.
The receiver should be willing and enthusiastic about trying anal play! While nervousness can be normal when trying something new, fear and apprehension are barriers to successful anal sex.
2. Clean Before Anal
The receiver can relax by creating a comforting context for butt play. For example, poop to empty the bowls, and then take a warm shower or bath to calm your energy and clean the anus by swirling your finger around your butthole with warm water and mild soap, and then repeating with water to rinse. Cleaning the anus can help minimize anxiety about any flakes of poop making an appearance during sexy time.
3. Warm Up Slowly
Setting a comfy sex environment - maybe including soft music, lighting and bedding - can also help ease anxiety. Easing into butt play with other types of enjoyable sex play such as massage, rubbing, kissing, and oral sex can help set an arousing tone that heightens our pleasure sensors.
While penetration is often the ultimate objective of anal play, focusing on the journey of the pleasure - rather than destination of the goal - can further reduce tension by taking the pressure off.
4. Always Use Lube For Anal
The anal canal is relatively delicate, and unlike the vagina, does not self-lubricate. Lubrication is essential for safe and comfortable anal penetration of any size. Not only will added lube decrease the chance of anal fissures (tiny tears in the anal canal), but the reduced friction will also make penetration smoother and more pleasurable for both the giver and receiver.
Lubrication is essential for safe and comfortable anal penetration of any size.
Silicone-based lube is often recommended when it comes to anal play. Unlike a water-based lubricant, silicone lube is typically thicker, absorbs into the body less quickly, staying slicker longer.
5. Try Anal Toys
The anus can be eased into the sexual experience through non-penetration play by rubbing it softly, massaging it with pressure, or licking, sucking, and kissing. Take your time and communicate with your partner about how it feels.
After the butt’s aroused by those tactics, attempting penetration with a lubricated finger before a penis or dildo can get it used to the sensation of something entering the anus. Perhaps inserting a tapered butt plug - with lube! - while stimulating other parts of the body like the nipples, clitoris or testicles can help the body associate anal penetration with sexual pleasure.
6. Keep Communicating
Communication between the giver and receiver during anal play can significantly impact the quality of the experience. Although butt sex doesn’t have to only happen with a long-term partner, it is helpful to be familiar with the communication style of your anal sex partner. While the giver may appear to be in control of the speed and depth of penetration, it should actually be the receiver who calls the shots.
7. Prioritize Pleasure
As you move into penetration, it is important to go slow at the beginning to allow the receiver to become familiar and comfortable with the sensation. While it may feel strange at first, and maybe even uncomfortable, anal sex shouldn’t feel painful.
It is imperative that the receiver feel comfortable speaking up should discomfort arise, and for the giver to follow the receiver's lead. If something hurts, stop. Try adding more lube, going slower, or moving back to another sexy activity that felt better.
While the giver may appear to be in control of the speed and depth of penetration, it should actually be the receiver who calls the shots.
Penetration may not happen during the first attempt at anal play - this is completely normal and does not constitute an anal sex failure. In fact, it means you will come into your next anal play experience with more familiarity and practice. Way to go!