Is Anal Sex Pleasurable For Women? Why Butt Stuff Can Feel So Good, According To An Expert

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As I walked into NYC's Museum of Sex, somewhat hesitant boyfriend in tow, to learn how to have anal sex from an expert, I knew I'd be getting more intimate with the idea of anal than I ever had before.

The event, an Anal Sex 101 class, was hosted by Alicia Sinclair, founder and CEO of b-Vibe, a company that makes premium, certified body-safe, healthy anal play products. The class was actually a product demonstration and training for Museum of Sex employees, who were going to start selling some of b-Vibe's new products, but some press (like yours truly) were invited to sit in and learn all about the literal ins-and-outs of butt sex. Aside from all the handy hygiene tips (you can clean the inside of your butt?!), there was one super interesting point Sinclair made that struck me: if you think about it, butt sex is actually one of the most egalitarian kinds of sex there is — everyone has a butt, so everyone can (hypothetically) enjoy butt sex.

"One of the great things about anal play is that folks of any gender and orientation can enjoy it, not just gay men (obviously)," Sinclair tells Bustle. "The sensations and experiences that feel good to you have nothing to do with your sexual orientation or gender. It’s kind of like how the food that you enjoy is a totally different question than who you want to have dinner with."

Even though everyone can try anal, if you have no interest in anal play, that's totally OK, too. But if you're curious and want to know how to experiment with anal, here's everything you need to know about butt stuff.

The Stigma Surrounding Anal Sex

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Despite the fact that anyone can enjoy anal play, it still isn't totally accepted as "normal" in our society — probably because no one is talking about all of the people who wear butt plugs to the grocery store, the many women who like rimjobs, or the straight men who enjoy being pegged. Instead, we have this skewed perception of who can enjoy anal, but truthfully, people of all genders and orientations can (and do) enjoy anal play of some kind.

"I am driven by my desire to empower people’s experiences with sex toys and with their sexuality in general," Sinclair says. "I want to inspire people and offer them education and permission to enjoy pleasure. To achieve this, b-Vibe seeks to reduce stigma and foster a greater understanding of how anal play can be pleasurable for all bodies [which] can be achieved through education. If people understand why and how anal play can feel good (instead of having a fear-based connection), they would be more willing to experiment."

But Wait... Doesn't Anal Sex Hurt?

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Like with anything sexual, there can be pain if you don't properly prepare — and preparation is even more important for anal play. The anus needs to be "trained": you'll need to gradually work your way up in size of different plugs and toys before you're ready for something like a dildo or penis. And, because the anus (unlike the vagina) isn't self-lubricating, there's one crucial rule that must be followed: lube, lube, and then more lube. If your butt isn't properly trained and you skimp on the lube, there's the potential for serious pain, like tearing or bleeding.

"The idea that women don’t enjoy anal sex takes away their sexual agency as beings with their own sexual desires and complex sexuality."

"Sadly, many people associate anal play with pain due to a previous bad experience or lack of understanding on how to make anal play enjoyable," Sinclair says. "Pleasurable anal sex is 90% preparation, and that includes getting mentally prepared. That’s even truer if you’ve had uncomfortable or painful experiences in the past because your body will expect the same thing again, which makes the anus tightens up."

Similarly, Irene Fehr, MA, CPCC, sex and intimacy coach, tells Bustle that mental and physical preparation is key to preventing any pain. "To prevent pain and tearing, it's important to feel safe with your partner," Fehr says. "That means feeling safe to open up with them emotionally about your desires for anal sex — and fears — and to ask your partner to go as slow as it is comfortable for you. If you feel rushed, it's important to slow it down so you can relax into the experience so your body opens up. It will be the difference between a forced experience and one where you gradually and naturally open physically to your partner."

She also reiterates that lube is important when engaging in anal play. "This prevents tears and makes penetration easier and more pleasurable," Fehr says. "Unlike the vaginal canal, the anal canal does not get lubricated, engorged, stretched or expanded, which means lube is essential."

The good news? If you're mentally and physically ready for it, anal has the potential to feel amazing — no matter your gender.

Why Does Anal Feel Good?

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"The idea that women don’t enjoy anal sex takes away their sexual agency as beings with their own sexual desires and complex sexuality," Sinclair says. "There’s several reasons why anal play can feel pleasurable in the body [of a person with a vulva]. It’s important to mention that the clitoris is more than what you see on the outside (think tip of the iceberg). It’s shaped like a wishbone and for many, it extends all the way down to the anus. Surprisingly, it’s possible to stimulate the clitoral 'legs' through anal play. Since the clitoris has over 9,000 nerve endings, that's a lot of possible pleasure."

And, of course, people with vulvas aren't the only ones who can enjoy anal stimulation: people with penises, no matter their sexual orientation, can experience full-body orgasms through something called the P-spot, which can only be accessed through the back door. "[For people with penises], from a physiological perspective, the prostate can only really be stimulated through the anal canal," Sinclair says. "The P-spot is a lot like the G-spot in [people with vulvas]. A lot of men report that orgasms that come from prostate stimulation feel bigger, more expansive, or more full-body."

Butt Newbie? Here's How To Start

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Even if your interest in anal has been piqued, it's OK if you still have some reservations about actually experimenting with anal play. "It’s totally normal to be hesitant about something you’ve never tried," Sinclair says. "I suggest starting by getting your brain on board. The thought of anal play or using anal sex toys for the first time can be daunting. There is a lot of misinformation, so I find that the most important part to making the experience pleasurable is empowering yourself with education. Take some time to research any subject that you might be nervous or anxious about."

After your brain is on board and you feel informed and ready to try anal play, try it on your own before bringing a partner into the mix. Masturbation can help you learn what does and does not feel good in a low-pressure setting, and it's better to get to know your own butt when you're totally relaxed and stress-free.

"Solo anal play is one of the best ways to get started with anal pleasure, the same way that vaginal masturbation can be a useful way to learn what you like," Sinclair says. "On your own, you can experiment with different things, or stop and start anytime you want, without needing to navigate things with someone else."

It's crucial to start slow with butt sex, both with yourself during masturbation, and when (or if) you integrate anal play into your sex life. "Remember, it’s not a race," Sinclair says. "The right pace is the one that works for you." Other key things to remember? You need to read up on how to properly clean your butt before anal play, make sure to use protection, and never double-dip — putting something from the vagina into the butt is OK, but not vice versa.

Similarly, Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, tells Bustle that if your partner is new to anal play, and you want to approach the subject with them, start off slow. "Start basic. It’s not advisable to have anal sex out of the blue," Levine says. "You need to prep your butt (or your partner's). Verbally let your partner know to stimulate your butt with a lubed finger on the outside or if you want it can go inside. Or show your partner how you like to be touched. Start with rubbing the area, a finger inside, graduate to anal beads or a butt plug and then eventually whether that sack session or over time as you’re more used to it go for full on anal."

How To Get Rid Of The Butt Stuff Stigma

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Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether you're an anal enthusiast or whether your butt is strictly off-limits: your personal choices about your sex life are totally your business. As long as everyone is properly educated about anal sex, especially how to do it safely, that's all that matters — and I think it's safe to say that we could all benefit from having more candid conversations about anal sex.

"We definitely want b-Vibe to help make more people aware of the multiple types of pleasure that can arise from anal play," Sinclair says. "Our products are aimed at fulfilling many different pleasure options — hence highlighting that there really is something for everyone. We’re also completely non-gendered, so we like to showcase that, well, everyone has an anus, and it’s an awesome equalizer when it comes to sex. Anyone can partake in anal play, regardless of gender and orientation, and our mission is to highlight this aspect in order to help eradicate the unnecessary stigmas surrounding it."

The only way to change society's perception of something is by challenging it and fostering more open dialogues, and anal play is no exception. It's OK to be nervous about trying anal, and afraid of bringing it up to your partner (or even of mentioning it to your close friends). If it's something that intrigues you, remember that there's no shame in wanting to tap into another source of sexual pleasure... and if you're still staunchly anti-butt stuff, that's OK, too. The best news? Your butt will always be there — so don't be afraid to explore it.

Experts:

Alicia Sinclair, Founder and CEO of b-Vibe

Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure

Irene Fehr, MA, CPCC, sex and intimacy coach

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