Anal sex can happen between any combination of partners, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. But when it comes to women receiving anal from a male partner, there are certain things women wish men knew. We spoke to 12 people who identify as cisgender-heterosexual women about anal sex and what they want their cishet male partners to know in terms of communication, preparation, after care, and more. Here is what they had to say.
Editor's note: To protect the privacy of respondents, we use first names only.
1. Foreplay matters — even more than you think
“When it comes to anal, men should be prepared to really give their all into foreplay to ease the woman into it. I find anal better when I’m super turned on. He shouldn’t be afraid of using a vibrator to get her off a few times beforehand, so everyone is in the mood for really satisfying, relaxing anal.” - Helen, 24
The takeaway: Men should not be afraid to use their tongue, fingers, and more to help their partner get turned on and lubricated. Incorporating sex toys, such as a small vibrator, to enhance pleasure and foreplay building up to anal sex can make things even better.
Editor’s pick: Best vibrator for foreplay
2. Anal sex is equally for women and women’s pleasure
“Society says that anal is for men. I want to feel like it’s just as much for me. Make my pleasure a priority and I’ll thank you for it.” - Georgia, 29
The takeaway: We’re used to messaging about how anal sex is taboo for straight couples, particularly because of homophobic undertones associating anal sex and gay people. Today, anal has been “reclaimed,” in a sense, among straight people in that its “taboo” nature has made it a “forbidden fruit” and all the more salacious and fun. Women, however, are often conditioned by society that it’s important to “surrender” anal for a man’s pleasure. But women have as much pleasure to gain from anal as anyone. Anal sex and anal play should be a mutually pleasurable and desired experience as people of any gender have nerve-endings in and around the rectum. In fact, some women are able to achieve anal orgasms.
3. Show love and appreciation
“Prepping for anal is a bigger deal to women than it is to men. It takes time. I’d love to be shown a little extra love and appreciation from a partner when we have anal. Even if it’s just making sure to say, ‘that was amazing.’ ” - Emily, 34
The takeaway: Because of that “forbidden fruit” messaging that surrounds anal, some women may feel anxiety around it. Anal might make women feel vulnerable, or like they’re doing something “taboo.” It can go a long way with a female partner if you take the extra step to make her feel seen and valued once you’ve both decided to experiment with anal.
4. Communication is key
“Men should know that unless I act like I’m in sudden, brutal pain, there’s no need to stop altogether or freak out if I cringe or say ‘Ow.’ Just take it slower and use more lube. Sometimes there is a little discomfort with anal, especially if we are still getting to know each other.” - Antoinette, 23
The takeaway: While there should not be pain during any kind of sexual encounter, sometimes simply communicating about what’s going on can reveal the solution to relieve pain — like applying more lube, going slower, or trying a different positon. It’s important both parties stay patient with each other and keep the lines of communication open for the most satisfying results.
5. Unlike the vagina, the anus is not self-lubricating
“Lube. Lube. Lube. Lube. You can’t double dip, even if I’m really aroused. It simply isn’t enough.” - Eleanor, 29
The takeaway: When you’re purchasing a lubricant to enhance your anal experience, make sure you’re purchasing something vetted by the experts and body-safe. Go for something water-based. These lubes are ideal for sensitive skin, easy to clean out of sheets, and decrease the chances of condom breakage.
Editor’s pick for best anal sex lube
6. Try different anal sex positions
“Angles are so key for me. I like when a man goes beyond doggy-style and tries positions that might hit my pleasure spots more directly. I like to have anal in missionary but with my legs straight up in the air. Like a right angle.” -Cici, 30
The takeaway: Even if you or your partner have found a lot of success with doggy, missionary, or cowgirl before, you’re now experimenting with a totally new erogenous zone, with different nerves and needs. Take the time to try some anal sex positions to figure out what feels best.
7. Respect the ways your partner chooses to protect themselves
“I’d like men to be respectful when I still ask them to wear a condom during anal. Just because I can’t get pregnant, doesn’t mean I don’t want to be protected. If a man thinks anal is the ‘back door’ to using a condom, think again.” - Clare, 33
The takeaway: Almost any STI that can impact your genitals can impact your anus as well. That’s why the female in any partnership is entitled to ask their partner to wear a condom, even if they’re having anal sex. If your partner asks you to wear a condom, talk through the options that work best for both of you. Maybe that’s wearing a condom, but perhaps it’s exploring other avenues like oral sex.
8. Anal sex toys are there to help you
“My boyfriend bought me an anal training kit when I expressed interest in trying it. At first I was really weirded out by it; it felt more like I was on a workout regimen than the path to great anal. Now, I think every man should consider gifting something like this to their girlfriend if she’s curious. It’s a great way to get the conversation going around anal, while also telling her gently: Take your time getting ready.” - Beth, 27
The takeaway: Never underestimate the power of the right sex toy in helping you meet your pleasure goals. For example, when working up to anal, an anal trainer can help you get used to the sensation of anal penetration as you use toys that gradually increase in size. Some kits, like this one from B-Vibe, even include education on anal play that first-timers might use as a handy resource
Editor’s pick for best anal sex toys for beginner
9. The techniques you’re used to for vaginal sex might not always apply
“Ask me about tempo! I feel like a lot of guys assume it’s all about speed, because with vaginal sex it often is. Open communication to figure out a tempo that works for both of our pleasure can make the difference between great anal and being sore the next day.” - Gabrielle, 29
The takeaway: Men should take signals from their partner as to whether their speed or stroke is working for her. If the male party needs more speed or stimulation to finish and the female finds this uncomfortable, he shouldn’t shy away from pivoting to using his hands or using a toy like a fleshlight to bring himself over the edge. Just remember, it isn’t hygienic to insert the penis into vagina after it’s been in the anus, unless you’re going to clean it first.
10. Don’t shy away from romance
“Someone should nudge all men to put in some effort, maybe even more than they would to bring a girl back to their place for ‘traditional intercourse.’ Have a bottle of wine ready, light a candle, and stock your cabinets full of lube. Oh yeah, and lube isn’t even an option.” - Maria, 35
The takeaway: Lighting a candle with a scent designed to arouse or scattering some rose petals on the bed can really set the scene. Consider taking a bath together beforehand, to increase intimacy and soak into your senses. Certain bath products are made to help you soothe your most intimate areas and start the night on a high note. We recommend the Bubble Bath Cherry Blossom
11. Key word: the clitoris
“Please do not forget about my clitoris just because the vagina is out of play!” - Anne Marie, 26
The takeaway: Choose a position that allows the man easy access to the woman’s clitoris during anal, for dual stimulation that will lead to double the pleasure. Consider reverse cowgirl or missionary to start. Remember, plenty of women need their clitoris caressed in order to achieve orgasm at all, so don’t neglect it. A woman can also pleasure herself using her hands or by using a vibrator for clitoral stimulation.
12. A little mess can be expected (and it’s totally okay)
“Just don’t make it a big deal if there’s a mess afterwards. We’re all human. It happens. If a guy were to make me feel uncomfortable after that, I probably wouldn’t have anal with him again. It’s only embarrassing if we make it embarrassing.” -Scottlyn, 22
The takeaway: Bodily fluids happen - and during anal sex is no different. It truly can happen to anyone, and it’s nothing to be afraid of. But, if you’re someone who is so insecure about the potential mess that their pleasure experience is impacted, you can try douching to ensure everything is extra cleaned out before play.
The bottom line
Even though intimacy is a universal language, men and women can have different expectations when it comes to sex. Anal is no exception. If you’re looking to further escalate your approach pleasuring a partner through the butt, explore our catalog of butt toys to get started and find something that feels right to you and your partner.