Additional reporting by Chika Ekemezie
We barely got enough instruction on vaginal sex when we were teenagers, so I doubt the majority of us are self-proclaimed experts on anal play. But anal sex is not a new thing. It's been around for a long time. We're just finally finding ways to talk about it in accessible ways.
Thankfully, we know now that anal sex doesn't have to be super painful, and that there are plenty of creative ways to lead up to it. We're pretty well-equipped with lube suggestions, foreplay advice, and even recommended exercises to get your muscles prepared. There are a few topics, though, that don't generate a lot of attention in the anal department. They're just not as sexy to talk about for whatever reason, but they're truths that we all need to hear.
“The mechanics of [anal sex] are definitely more complicated than vaginal intercourse or oral sex,” Emma McGowan, sex educator, previously told Bustle. That being said, it completely makes sense that there’s plenty we don’t know or are uncomfortable discussing about it.
Before we go on, you can never be reminded too much of the following: opening the back door is something you should be genuinely interested in, not just an act you agree to because you think it's the next step in your sexual endeavors. It's your anus, so it's your choice.
Should you decide you want to try it, here are nine things about anal sex nobody ever told you about.
1. The Missionary Sex Position Is A Bad Place To Start
Having anal sex in missionary is anatomically and physically possible, but it's not always the best choice when you're first starting out. Missionary position takes the control out of your hands, and it makes it harder to maneuver around until you both find the right angle. Ultimately, that means you might experience more pain than usual. “Positions for anal are about as varied as they are for vaginal,” Dr. Laura Deitsch, a sexologist, previously told Bustle. “Remember, do what feels good. Only you can decide what that is!” Spooning is a great alternative, as is doggy style. So while missionary can work, it’s worth it to try a ton of different anal sex positions to find the right one for you.
2. Anal Sex Might Smell Weird
Nobody likes to talk about it, but anal sex and poop is a necessary topic. After all, that's the part of the body that eliminates solid waste. It's OK to be nervous about this potentially embarrassing aspect, but don't let it get you worked up. Smells are totally normal. Besides, if you're getting down and dirty with the right partner, they won't care in the slightest bit.
No matter what your nose picks up, though, don't automatically assume you're on the verge of an accident. Everyone’s terrified of the prospect of pooping during anal sex, but it's a small likelihood that there's no need to be wildly anxious about it. You can be diligent about cleaning down there if you’re really concerned. “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.'" Dr. Deitsch previously told Bustle.
3. Queefing Happens Down There Too
The queefs that come from your lovely butt are more, how shall we say it, pronounced than the ones from your vagina, but they're just as harmless. You and your partner might hear them mid-thrust or just as they're pulling out. That part of your body could release a loud gust of air without your consent, so be prepared — but don’t sweat it.
4. Your Partner Might Not Be Into It
When we talk about anal preference, our focus is — and totally should be — on whether the person receiving is into it, and mutual consent. That's the first step to trying out anything adventurous in the bedroom, so we'll assume you've already checked that off the list.
But it’s also possible that your partner may be the one to speak up about how much they don't like it. Don't think for a second that this is your fault, or that you did something wrong. It just might not be their thing — even if they were the ones who suggested it. As Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, host of the SexWithDrJess Podcast, previously told Bustle, “If you decide that anal sex is not for you — or that you prefer anal play instead — that’s OK”. And that goes for both of you.
5. You Might Be Sore The Next Day
There is an ominous-sounding muscle in your anus called the anal sphincter, and it's pretty stiff. It's what keeps your poop from coming out, so you'll have to forgive it for being so tightly wound. Before you engage in anal, it's important to get this muscle all loosey goosey; without coaxing it, it won't allow anything or anyone entry.
If you're a beginner, however, and you've never worked with the anal sphincter before, it might feel a bit sore after you've wrapped up your bedroom sesh. This is normal, and no cause for alarm. Of course, if the pain persists after a few days and you just feel in your gut that something isn't right, call your doctor.
6. There Could Be Blood In Your Stool Afterward
Tissue in the anal passage is very sensitive, and you may face a small cut or tear if there wasn't enough lube used or things got hot and heavy. That could result in some blood in your bowel movements the following morning. Do not panic, as long as it's bright red and not coming out in large amounts. (It shouldn't be incredibly painful to poop either.) What's not good, though, is if this bleeding after anal sex lasts for more than a day or two. Be in touch with a doctor if you continue to see blood in the toilet bowl.
7. In Fact, Your Poops Might Be Kind of Off
According to Rena Martine, a women’s intimacy coach and educator, don’t be surprised if your next bowel movement is a little abnormal. When you’re having anal sex, you’re pushing a lot of air in and out, which might make your poop a little loose the next day.
Anal sex can also cause fecal incontinence, which is the inability to hold in your bowel movements. It’s not entirely common, but it is more prevalent in people that regularly engage in anal sex. Don’t be afraid to lay down a towel.
8. You’ll Probably Have to Work Up To It
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, anal sex doesn’t necessarily happen all at once. You may need to warm up to it over a course of hours, days, even weeks. Martine recommends purchasing anal toys or butt plugs and leaving it in your anus while you’re having sex. That way, your mind begins to associate anal penetration with pleasure.
9. Anal Sex Can Get Really Funny
Don't be surprised if you end up in a tangle of giggles under the sheets. Sexual escapades may be portrayed as these serious moments in media and in porn, but remember that's all choreographed show. Real life sex usually has more human variety than that, which means you and your partner could get a real kick out of your anal play attempts. In the midst of all the lubing and maneuvering, you might find it all so funny that you don't even make it to the main act at all. So what? As long as you enjoyed whatever happened along the way.
Emma McGowan, sex educator
Dr. Laura Deitsch, a sexologist
Rena Martine, a women’s intimacy coach and educator
Dr. Jessica O’Reilly, host of the SexWithDrJess Podcast
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