13 Questions You Have About Anal Sex, Answered By An Expert

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Although the end of the summer is closing in on us fast, we're still in August, which means we're still in the midst of Anal Pleasure Month. Hell yeah! This also means that, if you've yet to indulge for either the 100th time or the very first time in anal sex, you still have a couple more weeks to do celebrate. Not that anal sex should only be practiced during Anal Pleasure Month, of course.

With the right partner, the right amount of preparation (lube!), and a decent amount of curiosity, anal sex can be a fantastic experience for anyone and everyone, no matter gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation. But getting past the anal sex taboo that can be the tricky part for some couples.

"Talking about anal sex is the same as any other sexual activity," Dr. Laura Deitsch, Vibrant’s licensed clinical counselor and resident sexologist, tells Bustle. "Be open and honest, figure out how you feel, and what you are looking for."

As Ilana said in Broad City's season one finale a whopping four years ago, "Hey, it's 2014. Anal's on the menu," so if the interest is there, you might as well give it a try. Although, let's not kid ourselves, anal has been on the menu since the dawn of mankind — if you've ever been to Pompeii, you've seen the etchings of anal sex on the walls.

So if that aforementioned curiosity is there, here are 13 anal sex questions, answered by Dr. Deitsch.

1How Do I Talk About Anal Sex With My Partner?

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As Dr. Deitsch points out, it's important to know that talking about anal sex is like talking about any other sexual act. If you treat it like it's something else, you can instill the act with fear, shame, taboo — and other thoughts that shouldn't be associated with anal.

So start with the basics: "For openers, try something easy like, 'What are your thoughts on anal sex?'" says Dr. Deitsch. "Or maybe something like, "I was wondering how you felt about spicing things up a bit....'" From there, you can register each other's interest levels and talk about it more detail. It's about whatever works best for you and your partner.

2What Sex Positions Are Best For Anal Sex?

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"Positions for anal are about as varied as they are for vaginal," says Dr. Deitsch. "Typical ones are either receiver on top, either facing front or back; doggy style; missionary; receiver flat on back with legs closed (offers a lot more control for the receiver); and almost anything else you can think of and get comfy in!"

Depending on how flexible you and your partner are, anything goes when it comes to anal sex positions. So don't think it has to be done in doggy style. Anal in missionary is great, as is modified doggy.

3What's The Best Lube?

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When it comes to anal, lube is a must. It's just an absolute must or, more specifically, as Dr. Deitsch tells Bustle, "Lube can't be overemphasized!"

Because you're looking for something that's going to last and not get all sticky and need to be reapplied over and over (although reapplying will definitely be part of the equation during anal), Dr. Deitsch suggests "Uber Lube, Sutil, Sliquid and other water-based ones." While silicone-based lubes can work too, if you're using silicone toys, then stick to water-based. Sometimes when silicone meets silicone it can result in a Superman meets kryptonite situation. In other words, it can go wrong.

4How Should I Prepare My Body?

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For some people, when they hear anal sex, their next thought is poop. But it really doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it doesn't have to be a concern at all.

"Lots of folks worry about 'the poop,'" says Dr. Deitsch. "It's interesting because a healthy body doesn't really store feces in the rectum, the place where the action happens. Feces moves through the rectum while we are actively voiding and before then, it's up higher so it shouldn't be an issue. A gentle enema can be used ahead of time if folks like, but a lot of people simply pay attention to their latest bowel movements and have a decent sense of when they are more or less 'full.'"

Once you've put your mind at ease with the poop concerns, next is be aware of your body and know what's up in your anus, like STIs, anal fissures, and/or hemorrhoids. Anal tissue is really thin and can tear easily, which means infection can be an issue, if you're not careful or aware of what's going on in that part of your body.

"A condom is the safest thing in terms of not sharing good old fashioned bacterial infections," says Dr. Deitsch. "If rimming is going to be part of your play (mouth to anus) be sure to clean really well around the area ahead of time."

5How Do You Use Butt Plugs And Where Do We Start?

If you're hesitant about anal sex, think of butt plugs as sort of dipping your toe in the pool to test the temperature. Although no one says you can't jump straight into the deep-end without testing the waters, not everyone is wired to be able to do so — and that's totally fine!

"Butt plugs are a great start to anal play!" says Dr. Deitsch. "They come in a variety of sizes and materials and offer a lot of control for beginners. Also, they can be left in place while vaginal penetration happens. Butt plugs are usually tapered and shaped for optimal insertion. They come with a nifty handle for manipulation. Njoy makes a variety of these with amazing heft and are great to look at with all their shiny stainless steel!"

6What Are Anal Beads And How Do We Use Them?

"Anal beads are usually either a graduated or uniform set of round beads separated by space, all attached to one long wand," says Dr. Deitsch. "They can be inserted up to the receiver's comfort level and either left in while other play happens, or gently inserted and removed rhythmically. A popular activity is to insert them into a prostate-wielding person, and then right as they are experiencing ejaculation, pull out the beads in concert with the burst of joy. This simultaneous stimulation is a real eye-opener and many report incredible pleasure."

Although, for the most part, anal beads are the same, the beads can vary in size and shape, some being more oval than round, which might be a better fit for a newbie. Also, you can choose from a flexible type of anal bead toy or one that's less flexible and more direct in its stimulation. It's about trying out what works best for you and your partner. A few months ago, my partner and I realized that Cinco Anal Beads by b-Vibe were totally for us, so they're definitely worth giving a try.

7Can People With Vaginas Experience An Orgasm From Anal?

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Even if you live your whole life and only experience one or two types of orgasms, there are actually quite a few different types of orgasms that women can experience.

"People with vaginas can experience orgasms from all kinds of play, including anal," says Dr. Deitsch. "Many women report having their most powerful orgasms from anal penetration. One benefit, depending on position, is that the vagina and clitoris can be within easy reach for even more attention."

8What Are Techniques For Giving A Good Anal Massage?

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Not quite ready for anal sex or prefer to try something else for a change? Great! Dr. Deitsch suggests going slow to start, while sort of feeling out what gives your partner pleasure as you deepen penetration with your fingers. "[Remember] the surrounding tissue is loaded with sensitive nerve endings," says Dr. Deitsch.

9We Want To Use A Toy. What Is Body Safe And What Is Not?

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Luckily for us, we live in a time where so many of the sex toys on the market are high quality — and that's a great thing. But it's also important to remember that sex toys aren't regulated, so you need to educate yourself as to what's OK and what's a total no-no. This is especially the case if you have allergies.

"Body safe means that the toy does not contain any chemicals or materials in it that are unsafe to use inside your body," says Dr. Deitsch. "Additionally, a truly body safe toy is nonporous and can be sterilized."

According to Dr. Deitsch, this is the list of what you absolutely don't want in your toys or lube:

"Phthalates, PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), parabens, Chemical/toxic/rubbery smell, vinyl (exception for c-rings), jelly rubber, sil-a-gel or silicone blended with another material, plasticizer, TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber), [and] elastomer (note: elastomer is a body safe material, but is porous and cannot be sterilized)."

10My Partner Is Too Big For Anal Play. How Can We Still Do This?

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If your partner's large penis is too big for anal sex, it doesn't mean you need to miss out on all the anal fun.

"Toys are a great substitute for a large member," says Dr. Deitsch. "So are fingers! Remember, the name of the game is pleasure, not heroics. Also, mouths make a wonderful tool to create pleasure."

11Hemorrhoids Are A Reality For Me. Can I Still Have Anal Sex?

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"This totally depends on your pain/pleasure threshold and what a doctor has told you," says Dr. Deitsch. "Always defer to a trusted medical provider when there is a medical condition. Having a broken butt is no way to go through life."

You may not want to ask your doctor if your hemorrhoids will be able to handle anal sex, but it's important to discuss it first. Remember: anal tissue is very thin, so you don't want to mess around. As Dr. Deitsch points out, having a broken butt isn't very fun for anyone — no matter how much you might be into pain.

12Are Condoms Necessary?

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"Condoms are a great way to relieve much of the risk of infection as well as the worry of the poop issue," says Dr. Deitsch. "Get tested, know your partner, gain trust, and then decide your own comfort level."

Also, if you're going from anal to vaginal, make sure you get a new condom to avoid passing any bacteria.

13Is It Going To Hurt?

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In addition to the poop concern, whether or not anal sex hurts is another big question that may be on your mind. But, like anything, if done right, you can lower your risk of experiencing pain. Also, relax — it's just anal!

"Anal shouldn't hurt if it's done with plenty of lube, relaxation, pushing out while insertion is slowly happening, and a respectful partner," says Dr. Deitsch. "Remember, do what feels good. Only you can decide what that is!"

So squeeze in some anal play before Anal Pleasure Month is officially over — or don't. Anal isn't everybody's cup of tea, and if it's not yours, that's totally cool, too.