Anal sex is a taboo that some crave, and others cringe at – however, it can be pleasurable when it’s done right. For many, it will always be considered ‘exit only’ but, if you and your partner are both keen to give it a go, it’s certainly best you don’t dive in there unprepared.

If you do decide to try it, here are twenty-one things you should know about anal sex – how to prepare, what to expect, and what not to do.

1. Plan in advance and eat clean. Avoid unhealthy food that might upset your digestive tract for at least a day before (though that’s a good rule in general!)

2. Try to have a bowel movement before you play, and give yourself a wipe or clean up. You might want to consider shaving before, to reduce the scent from porous hairs!

To clean up before or after, Lovehoney has some great wipes.

3. Don’t take laxatives. You want to have control of your bowels, not lose it. If you feel some extra cleaning is in order, try an enema one to two hours before sex instead.

4. Anal sex feels naughty – which makes it feel even hotter. Being a “naughty” is a fantasy that anal sex plays into perfectly.

5. ‘Just the tip, just to see how it feels’ is a real thing. Relax and loosen up before anal, by massaging the outside with one finger – then two – before you gently start to go inside. Start slow and gradually increase to full penetration.

6. You won’t ruin your anus with anal sex. Your body is used to some stretching, and your anus will return to it’s normal state after sex. Just make sure to take things VERY slow to warm up and use plenty of lube to prevent discomfort, tearing, and injury. Remember, pain is your body’s warning sign that something is wrong!

7. You’ll be drenched in lube. You should be drenched in lube – you need to use a lot. It will be everywhere. You may even find it caked in the crevices of your phone days later.

We love this soothing anal lubricant.

8. Sorry to break the bad news, but it’s possible that the lube you use will turn from its natural clean and clear state into a frothy light brown mixture. (Dan Savage has coined this mixture as “Santorum”.) Hence, why tissues exist. Keep some tissues or baby wipes nearby to clean up, and lay down a towel for extra protection.

9. Ditch the desensitizing cream. Pain is your body’s warning before injury, and alerts you to stop. Creams like this also reduce pleasure, they desensitize the good feelings too.

10. Chill out on thinking it’s gross. If you clean properly, you’re fine. If a little gets on you, it’s not the end of the world. Lay down a towel, keep some tissues and baby wipes handy, and remember there’s always soap and water. You don’t necessarily need to run to the shower because of a little Santorum.

11. Anal walls are thinner than vaginal walls and oral mucous membranes, and are more prone to tearing, which makes transmission of an STI more likely. Use a condom to minimize your risk. There’s finger condoms for anal prep and play, too.

12. Master the ‘reach around’ to amp up orgasms instantly. No matter the gender of the receiving partner, you can wrap your arm around their thigh to give them added pleasure from the front. (They can do it themselves or with a vibrator, too!)

13. Anal sex can feel like you’re pooping. Over and over again and backwards… except with more orgasms.

14. For those with penises, the prostate, located under the taint, is packed with pleasurable nerve endings. Massage it with a gentle ‘come here’ motion for lots of pleasure.

If your partner is into prostate stimulation, they’ll love this toy from Aneros.

15. Those with vaginas can intensify their pleasure with dual penetration, whether that’s with fingers, a toy, or another partner! You can even massage the giving partner through the vaginal-rectal wall.

16. Incorporate a vibrator for added pleasure. Try it on the clitoris, vagina, perineum, or taint.

17. For the sake of your health, don’t attempt ass-to-mouth or ass-to-vagina. If you want to switch it up, change your condom between thrusts to keep other areas clean. Anal bacteria isn’t friendly.

We love these Extra Sensitive condoms!

18. Pink eye is a real thing.

19. After anal sex, you may fart for what feels like an eternity, but really it’s sporadic farting for a few days after.

20. Your poos will feel so easy and free for the next few days. They’ll just come out like they’re made of magic. Plentiful and painless.

21. Don’t let bad stories scare you away from anal. Despite the taboo, anal sex feels can feel passionate, primal, animalistic, intimate, and very pleasurable. As long as you prepare, use lube, and go slow, you’ll have knee-shaking, bed-gripping orgasms from behind.

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