In a recent Bloomi social media poll, almost 1,000 respondents said they want to learn more about anal play. Of them, 73 percent shared they are interested in learning different ways to explore it safely. It’s no surprise that people’s top concerns are hygiene (which we covered last week) and pain (what we’ll get into now). We asked our friends, Juan and Carlos*, to chat with us about their experiences with anal sex. Below, we mix sexologist insight with the couple’s first-person tips to help you have a pleasurable introduction to anal play.
Communication is key.
Similar to Bloomi’s Yes, No, Maybe Better Sex Guide, which helps partners discuss sex and intimacy acts they are open to, you’ll want to take time to discuss anal play you’re interested in, curious about or are totally against. “Tell your partner(s) what is on and off the table for that experience. Just because you agree to a specific activity this time does not mean it’s an automatic yes in the future,” Carlos says. Setting boundaries beforehand will create a safe environment that is respectful and consensual every time. This includes deciding which positions you’re open to, disclosing your sexual history or trying a new anal toy. Doing this should help you enter the experience feeling comfortable and excited.
Try with toys (or a finger) first.
Begin with small introductions (like a finger or small anal plug) to accustom the receiver to the sensations. Make sure that whatever you insert has a solid base, like Fun Factory’s Bootie anal plug and prostate massager ($34.99). Otherwise, an object can get stuck inside of you.
About 70% of respondents say they want to try vibrating and weighted anal toys. Good news: The Bloomi marketplace has several vibrating goodies to test. Our faves include Hugo ($219), Tilt ($140), Sway ($150) and weighted anal plug B Ball Uno ($34.99).
Show other areas some love, too.
Many report feeling deeper and stronger orgasms during anal penetration. However, a receiver can only reach this if they’re relaxed and stimulated. Stimulating other intimate areas, like the clitoris or penis, may help. It’s arousing and helps expand muscles for an enhanced anal play experience. For folk interested in prostate (located about two inches inside the rectum) stimulation, consider internal and external play. Pleasure toys like Hugo, Tilt and Sway are all great options to explore p-spot and g-spot internal and external stimulation.
Check in frequently, and go slow.
Frequent check-ins are sexy and will make the experience more pleasurable and safe. Ask your partner(s) questions like, “Are you enjoying this?” and “Is this comfortable?” It’s OK to take a pause and try again in a new position or at a different pace. While anal sex may feel different, you should never be in agony. If you’re in pain, be sure you speak up and stop. Slow and fluid thrusts help accustom people to the stimulation and prevent tearing.
Here’s a tip for beginners seeking to penetrate: You want to make sure the receiver is comfortable throughout the entire experience. “You don’t want to just go for it, because that would be incredibly painful for the person receiving. And, honestly, not as enjoyable for the person penetrating,” says Juan. Be patient, offer to try new positions that feel more comfortable or take breaks in between.
Here’s a tip for beginners seeking to receive: The penetrator and receiver should be prepared and mature in case things get a little messy. “You can spend hours cleaning yourself in preparation, and you still might come across some residue,” Carlos says. “Just know that it could happen. And if you’re with a partner who is going to make you feel bad or embarrassed about that, then it might be a good idea to re-evaluate that partnership.” As the person who is penetrating, if there happens to be residue, always reassure your partner(s) and check in to see if they need to take a break or want to keep going.
Be generous with the lube.
As with most types of sex, anal feels much better with lubrication. Since your anus doesn’t create its own lubricant, it’s important to use enough lube to avoid tearing and enhance pleasure. “Apply a generous amount of lube in between the cheeks, on the rim of the anus (allow some to enter the canal using the tips of your fingers) and on the object you’ll be using to penetrate,” Juan says. Silicone lubricants are ideal for anal play because they have great slip and don’t dry out as quickly as water- or oil- based lubricants do. However, silicone lubricant is not compatible with silicone toys. As such, if you’re planning to use any toys from your nightstand collection, stick with a water-based lubricant. And, remember, don’t be afraid to reapply as often as you need.
We recommend a water-based or aloe vera-based lubricant, as they are latex and silicone compatible. Even if you’re in a fluid-bonded relationship (don’t typically wear a barrier protection, like a condom), or using a penis-shaped toy, you may want to consider using a barrier-method. The barrier can make it easy to glide during penetration, prevents bacteria from spreading and makes for easier clean up. If you aren’t fluid-bonded, it is even more important to use a barrier-method because STIs are more likely to transmit via anal sex. Remember to always change the condom if you plan on moving from anal to vagina or oral sex.
*Names were changed to protect identities