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Summary

Among the various kinds of sex, anal sex is the least known and most feared. Anal sex is experienced when the penis penetrates the anus of a male or female partner. It is the most commonly practised form of sex among gay couples but is not uncommon in heterosexual partners, who may opt for it for pleasure, to prevent pregnancy or to avoid using protection. A few important facts to remember about anal sex are that it is, in fact, a form of sex; it is not just for gay people; it is unlikely to get pregnant and it is not possible to have safe anal sex without using a condom. When having anal sex initially, it is imperative that you take it slow, ensuring adequate arousal before any penetration. Using a toy or finger may prime the partner better. Following minimal penetration, you can go further until you have inserted fully while pulling out completely each time.

Care is critical during anal sex, and lubricant is essential since the anal area does not produce its own. If there are any signs of untoward bleeding or rupture, a visit to the doctor is necessary. Maintaining hygiene is a must during anal sex. Using gloves to prevent injury to the partner, maintaining hygiene during and after the experience and caring for the rectal area after sex are some ways to not only enjoy anal sex but also ensure that you look forward to the next encounter.

Although anal sex is enjoyable, it doesn’t come without complications. Muscular weakness and laxity, bacterial infections, internal damage to the tissue and sexually transmitted infections are common when engaging in anal sex. It is important to be aware of these pitfalls and make sure you are well protected against them. Those engaging in anal sex are at highest risk of contracting HIV. The partner who is being penetrated is more likely to be infected than the one penetrating. 

  1. What is Anal sex
  2. How to do Anal sex
  3. Tips for a great Anal sex experience
  4. Risks and complications of Anal sex
  5. Safety tips when you go for Anal sex
  6. Anal sex aftercare
  7. Myths surrounding Anal sex
  8. Doctors for sexual disorders and issues

There are three main forms of sex – oral sex, penile-vaginal sex and anal sex. A lot more is known about the other two forms as compared to anal sex, mostly because there is a stigma surrounding it. Anal sex involves penetration of the penis into the anus of the partner, who can either be a male or female. 

Why is anal sex preferred?

Anal sex is the most commonly practised form of sex in gay couples. However, it has been seen that close to 10 per cent of women enjoy vaginal and anal sex equally. Since the anus also makes for an erogenous zone and provides pleasure when stimulated, couples tend to enjoy anal sex. Some couples prefer anal sex since it is thought that there is no risk of getting pregnant, and they can enjoy sex without using protection. What’s more, anal sex provides a feeling of tightness around the penis, which can be very enjoyable for the male during intercourse. 

  • Mutual consent 
    It is important that both the partners agree to have anal sex and that it is not a forced decision. Since there are reservations surrounding it, some people may be averse to the idea, and it is important to be sensitive to and respectful of their decision. Moreover, it can be a painful experience, especially initially. If there is too much pain during intercourse, it is important to stop immediately before any untoward damage is done.
  • How to do it?
    Priming both yourself and your partner is important when considering anal sex. Make sure you both talk about it and feel equally comfortable about the experience, and that you both are equally willing to do it. While anal sex is enjoyed best when penetration is involved, it is wise to take it slow initially, using just the finger to touch, caress and stimulate the area. Make sure you keep your partner completely at ease throughout the process. It is possible that you may only be able to use your finger during the first few attempts until your partner is ready to go further.
    Take it slow, and when penetrating, use plenty of lubrication. While penetrating, go in very slowly and insert only slightly before retreating fully. You can do this as much as you can until you feel your partner is fully ready to take more in. Push a little further now and pull out again fully. This can be done gradually until you have managed to enter completely. 

All said and done, anal sex does give both the partners pleasure when they look forward to it equally. Here are some ways to prepare yourself for an improved experience.

  • Use gloves 
    Using gloves can be a great way of giving more pleasure and also enjoying a cleaner and safer experience when having anal sex. When engaging in anal play, you may either find your fingers touching some traces of faeces or find your fingernails hurting the partner unintentionally. Using gloves can prevent both.
  • Be clean 
    Ensuring adequate hygiene is a great way to enjoy sex and also provide an experience which is memorable. Ensure you do not touch the anus and genitals with the same hand since germs can easily transfer from one area to the other and cause severe infections.
  • Rinse yourself 
    Try using an internal rinse before engaging in anal sex. Since the faeces pass through the anus, you may find small traces left behind. A simple bulb enema can help clear the area out. In addition, an enema can also prime the area for what is to come and may prove to be a stimulator in itself!
  • Lubricate 
    Lubricants are not merely for easy penetration, they also make the experience more fun. A little lubricant with an arousing massage can prove highly erotic and make the experience more worthwhile.
  • Arouse your partner
    The least discussed but most important aspect is ensuring adequate arousal. No form of intercourse is enjoyable when both partners are not sufficiently aroused, so spend some time working each other up and making the moment really special. 

There are many problems that could arise from having anal sex, making it the riskiest among the different forms of sex. Some risks and complications include:

  • Health complications 
    Since there is no natural lubrication inside the anus, the chances of tissues tearing in the anus are high. This makes the area prone to viral and bacterial infections. Diseases like HIV, anal cancer and warts are some complications that could occur as a result.
  • Internal damage 
    Since the tissue inside the anus is more tender and sensitive than the external tissue, it can tear and get infected much more easily.
  • Weakened muscles 
    While anal sex is preferred for its tightness, it can slowly start to wear off with repetitive sex. The weakening of this muscle, called the sphincter muscle, makes it difficult to hold in faeces or control bowel movements.
  • Bacterial infections 
    Since the anus contains a high concentration of bacteria, there is a great likelihood that it will spread to other parts in case the partners engage in other forms of sex immediately without cleaning themselves thoroughly.
  • Rare conditions 
    Although not common, there may be some complications like rupture of the colon, haemorrhoid, hepatitis and herpes

Anal sex and HIV

Among all forms of sexual activity – including kissing and caressing, oral, vaginal and anal sex – anal sex places individuals at greatest risk of contracting HIV. While engaging in anal sex, the infection may be passed on through semen, pre-seminal fluid, blood or rectal fluids. The receptive partner or the partner who is being penetrated has a higher chance of being infected because of the thin lining of the rectum, which when breaks or tears, allows the virus to enter the body. While the chances are lower, the person penetrating may also be infected through sores, scratches or cuts on the penis.

In order to lower the risk of infection, it is very important that safe sex is practised and condoms are used. Lubricating is also important since the anus does not self-lubricate and the friction can cause the condom to tear. When using condoms, it is important to remember that they must be used from the beginning and not just when the partner is ready to ejaculate. For those who fall into the high-risk group for HIV, taking medications before and after possible exposure to the virus can also lower the risk of getting HIV. 

Anal sex can prove to be risky if you are not careful. Here are some things you need to be careful about when having anal sex.

  • Take it slow 
    It is not a commonly practised form of intercourse, and it is important to take it slow initially. It may be a good idea to progress in steps rather than engage in penetrative sex right away.
  • Use a condom 
    To protect against STDs and infections, it is important that couples always use a condom when engaging in anal sex. It is also necessary to use a fresh condom before having sex again.
  • Use a lubricant 
    Anal sex can be painful because the anus does not have a mechanism which allows it to lubricate itself. Using an artificial lubricant, such as water or silicon-based lubricant, makes the experience safer and less painful. 
  • Seek medical attention 
    If you notice any bleeding, lumps or sores in the area after having anal sex, it is important to see a doctor immediately. 

Just as there is importance given to preparing for a great sexual experience, it is also important to ensure there is some care given to the body after enjoying anal sex. Here are some things you need to do:

  • Clean up properly 
    Dispose of any gloves, towels or napkins that have been used during the intercourse. Clean out the anal area thoroughly to ensure removal of any bacteria present.
  • Proper care 
    There can be a lot of tenderness, pain and soreness following anal sex. Using gentle wipes or even indulging in a soothing warm bath can greatly help relieve the soreness in the area.
  • Kegel exercises 
    These are pelvic muscle exercises that can help tighten the pelvic muscles that surround the anus. Doing these exercises will prevent the anus from loosening. 

Several myths about anal sex stem from all the mystery and taboo that surrounds it. It is important to know the truth about anal sex since not many are prepared for the outcomes.

  • Anal sex isn’t really sex 
    Because most people only consider vaginal sex as intercourse and are even reluctant to mention anal sex, it may be believed that anal sex isn’t really a form of sex. However, it is very much so.
  • Anal sex is for gay men only 
    Women and men enjoy and engage in anal sex equally, and it is not exclusive to homosexuals.
  • You cannot get pregnant after having anal sex 
    While this may be true in theory, there is a small chance of pregnancy when traces of semen remain following anal intercourse and enter the vagina.
  • You are safe without a condom when having anal sex 
    Anal sex has the highest chance of causing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and AIDS, among other complications. It is important to use a condom to protect against STDs and infections while having anal sex. 
Dr. Abdul Haseeb Sheikh

Dr. Abdul Haseeb Sheikh

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Srikanth Varma

Dr. Srikanth Varma

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

Dr. Pranay Gandhi

Dr. Pranay Gandhi

Sexology
10 Years of Experience

Dr. Tarun

Dr. Tarun

Sexology
8 Years of Experience

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References

  1. Planned Parenthood. All About Sex. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  2. Ashley Fowler. Anal Sex: From Stigma and Myths to Facts. Contributor Originally Published: July 31, 2017 Revised: January 3, 2019
  3. National Health Service [Internet]. Health London, UK; What is anal sex?
  4. Bioscience. What’s anal sex? Safety and Health Risks of Anal Sex. ISSN 2524 5760; Bioscience Pk
  5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Anal Sex and HIV Risk
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