The anus is packed with nerve-endings, so ass play can be an enjoyable and intimate activity for people of all genders and orientations. It can also be a great intro to anal play as fingers are often small and agile and can provide the kind of delicate, targeted pressure that can be more challenging to achieve with a toy or a penis. Learning how to safely and skillfully finger ass can be a great addition to your sex life.
11 tips for how to finger ass
1. Consent, consent, consent.
Before you explore butt play — and more generally, any play at all — it’s essential to ask for consent. An unwelcome finger in the ass can feel painful, startling, and extremely intrusive. To avoid miscommunication, have an honest conversation with your partner about both of your needs, sexual interests, and personal boundaries. You might discuss turn ons, turn offs, and what you’re curious to try. Perhaps you agree on a safe word to ensure that everyone involved feels comfortable at all times. However the communication unfolds, remember that consent can be withdrawn at any point before and during sex.
2. Learn some basic anatomy.
For people who are used to fingering pussy, it’s important to know the differences between fingering a butt versus a vagina: vaginal tissue is often more elastic and resilient, whereas anal tissue is more susceptible to bruising and tearing. The anus and the surrounding area are particularly sensitive as they’re full of nerve endings. When stimulated, it can make for a really pleasurable experience.
The internal and external sphincter surrounds the area. Unlike the internal sphincter, the external sphincter can be controlled. While it’s a misconception that people with penises only enjoy anal, the prostate gland — which can be highly stimulating — is accessible from the anal canal and people without penises do not have that gland. Because of the perennial sponge, people with vaginas, on the other hand, may feel especially tight before or during anal. The perennial sponge is a cushion of blood vessels, nerve-endings, and tissue that sits at between the vaginal opening and rectum. During sex, it can swell with blood. While it tends to cause tightness during arousal, the vagina can be loosened by relaxation. exercises, foreplay, and taking it slow. It’s important to note that both the anus and rectum do not naturally produce lubricant.
3. Prioritize safety.
Even though fingering is relatively low-risk for contracting STI’s as far as sexual activities go, it’s important to keep in mind that no sexual activity represents zero risk: if you’re playing with multiple partners, have any questions about safety, or just want to keep your hands squeaky-clean, single-use gloves (latex, or nitrile for those with latex sensitivities) or finger cots are a great way to protect yourself and your partner.
4. Clean before play, if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Cleaning the rectum isn’t a prerequisite. For anal sex. In fact, the anal canal is naturally pretty clean, given that feces are held deeper in the rectum, in an area not commonly reached during anal play. Washing the external area — or the area outside the anus — with soap and water tends to be sufficient. While anal douching, which is a method of cleaning the rectum, isn’t necessary, it may be worth trying if you think it’ll make you feel more comfortable. It’s important to note that over-douching or using an excess of chemicals to clean the rectum can lead to infection or a tearing of the issue. So if you plan to douche, make sure to be gentle with pressure and only use water.
5. Don’t switch between ass and pussy.
For people who have vulvas, infection can result when bacteria are introduced to the vagina or urethra: Even if a butt looks, feels, and smells squeaky clean, there can be a risk. So if your partner has a vulva, it’s vital to be mindful of where you’re touching and to always wash your hands thoroughly (or, better yet, change gloves!) before switching from touching/fingering the butt to the vagina.
6. Be prepared to get dirty, just in case.
Because feces pass through the anal canal as it exits the body, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter much of it while engaging in ass play (the rectum, where feces is stored before a bathroom break, is sealed off by the internal anal sphincter muscles). It’s true, though, that a very small amount may be present, even after a thorough cleansing. If this possibility is a deal-breaker for you or your partner, you may want to hold off on learning how to finger ass. But if you can handle a little bit of mess (and most sexual activities do get messy), extensive communication, a stash of wipes and gloves, and a sense of humor will be your best friends.
7. Apply some basic rules to start.
When it comes to butt play, there are a few rules you should always apply: start slow, start small and use plenty of lube. Make sure that your nails are well-trimmed and your hands are clean. For those who are new to ass play — and even those who are experienced — it’s vital to be gentle with the delicate tissues of the anus. In order to avoid pain or injury, talk to your partner throughout to make sure that they’re comfortable — and always be prepared to back off if it feels like too much.
8. Lube it up.
No matter which lube you love the most, you’ll be glad that you tried them all. There’s no wrong way to lube. Sex therapist Dr. Tom Murray tells O.school, “The anus doesn't produce sufficient lubrication, so you'll want to use a high-quality lubricant.” Using plenty of lube can not only help to stave off pain but can also amp up the feel-good factor. If you’re using gloves or finger cots, water or silicon-based lube is the way to go, as they don’t degrade latex or nitrile. Some people prefer coconut oil or another natural lube; you can discuss with your partner and experiment to find your favorite lube. While saliva can work in a pinch, it often dries out fast and becomes sticky; if you plan to finger ass for more than a moment lube is the way to go.
9. Slow it down.
For many people, having their ass fingered can be a lot to work up to. That’s why it’s always a good idea to start slow. Dr. Murray advises O.school readers that, “butt play is a skill to be learned. It's not a sprint. Take your time!”
You can warm your partner up by massaging or gently rubbing their butt; if they enjoy impact play, light spanking can be a great way to initiate an ass fingering session. When you’re ready to go further, you can spend some time gently sliding a finger down the length your partner’s butt crack, going progressively further until you reach their anus. Once you’re there, rub a well-lubed finger around the outside of the sphincter, taking your time to provide plenty of stroking and teasing. Playing with the anal sphincter in this way can feel incredible, as well as promoting relaxation, which is essential for any ass play involving penetration.
10. Get in there.
Once your partner is ready for you to insert a finger, apply light pressure to the outside of the anus until you feel it relax. Go deeper a little at a time, pausing to ask your partner if they want you to keep going. If the answer is an enthusiastic “Yes!” continue to slide your finger deeper with slow and steady pressure. Once you’ve gotten past the first knuckle, your partner may be ready for some in-and-out action; as with everything up to this point, proceed deliberately, with plenty of communication. Ask your partner if they’d like you to go faster or slow it down. If they’re very relaxed and crave more intensity, they may even enjoy two fingers!
11. Experiment with positions.
When you’re first learning how to finger ass, you’ll probably want to start with your partner’s back to you for ease of access and so you can see exactly what you’re doing. Having your partner on their hands and knees with their legs spread is a great starting position. This position may not be comfortable for everyone, however; having them lie on their stomach with their butt in the air, with pillows under their hips for extra support, can promote deeper relaxation. Some people find a side-lying position, with their legs together and their knees drawn up, ideal for ass play: This position is super comfy, can be modified with pillows and bolsters for those with disabilities or injuries, and can help you to access the prostate. Try a few positions to find one you both enjoy!
The bottom line
Learning how to finger ass can be a fantastic way to enhance your sex life and open up new horizons of intimacy and fun. With constant communication to ensure that your partner’s relaxed and ready, short fingernails, good hygiene practices, and lube, it’s also very safe. If you want to learn more about anal play, explore our tips on analingus and rimming.