Updated: Jan 11
When I ask people in session what they’re most curious about, anal pleasure is often at the top of the list. Interestingly enough, it’s also a very common response to the question; “What do you NEVER want to try?”.
The anus is the unsung hero of full-body orgasms – but is unfortunately left out of conversations around sex and pleasure. Many people say they feel intimidated by anal play. This may be a result of their social conditioning, limited sex education or simply an ingrained belief that the bum has only one function (and no, I’m not referring to anal breathing - but more on this later).
Anal pleasure can involve so much more than penetration via strap-on or penis. Arousal around the anus offers all kinds of benefits including; downregulating the nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety, stimulating arousal and promoting intense pleasure. I encourage you to open your mind (and your bum) to the possibilities.
Read on to find my beginner’s guide to anal sex and the anal massage technique you never knew you needed – plus, a little clean and prep admin to keep in mind.
Clean & Prep
A lot of people get hung up on the potential mess involved – I get it, we've been conditioned our whole lives to feel this way about poo. But I think it's largely misunderstood - there are many things you can do to feel clean, safe and ready to explore anal pleasure, see below for a break down.
Note: when you're exploring anal with someone else, make sure you go slow and when you remove the thing that it penetrating you / someone else, remove it slowly. The slower you go the more control and safety you will have.
Before you begin: Always wash your hands before (and after) anal play. For those who are new to anal pleasure, I recommend starting in the shower and each day bringing some kind of touch or stimulation to the anus. This can feel extremely relaxing and down regulating. It’ll also be important to have a silky smooth and long-lasting lube handy.
Basic clean: Go to the bathroom 30-60 minutes before anal play. Empty your bowels and wash the anal area with body safe soap, warm water, body safe wipes Unscented, hypoallergenic baby wipes are a great alternative. For most people, this method of cleaning is enough.
Deep clean: This isn't essential but if you’re looking for a deeper, more comprehensive clean, have a shower and manually clean with your finger, or you could invest in an enema or anal douche. For the very best experience, make sure to do an enema 1-2 hours before anal play. You only need to use a couple cups of water because you’re just rinsing out the last 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) of the rectum. If you use too much water, you can stimulate your digestive system and make things messier.
As you're using warm water MAKE SURE you do a temperature check on your wrist. against your wrist.
Gloves: Using gloves is an effective and efficient way to keep anal play clean - it may also ease you into giving/receiving anal pleasure if you're new to the activity. They’re also perfect for giving an anal massage (a how-to below). Keep a box of gloves handy or you could put a condom over the fingers that are doing the pleasuring.
Clean and safe: Never, ever, ever go from anal to vaginal intercourse without thoroughly cleaning the toys, penis or fingers first. Transferring the bacteria anus to vagina can cause serious problems and changing a condom alone also isn’t sufficient enough. When you want to switch it up, make sure you wash whatever’s been penetrating the anus with genital-safe soap and water to thoroughly remove any lube or body fluids before switching to vaginal sex/play. If you don’t want the admin, you could also save anal for last.
Let’s start with a little solo play…
Anal massage is an incredible tool to immediately and effectively reduce stress, build arousal and feel pretty damn good. It’s one of the easiest ways to come into your body and leave a potentially sh!tty day behind (pun intended). Below you’ll find some of my favourite techniques for stimulating the anus.
This one sounds so simple but when you hold your breath (as many people do during sex) the whole body stiffens and the anus tightens up. Tensing the entire body, including squeezing the anus, is directly linked to stress. With every exhale intend to relax or release your anal sphincter, with ever inhale intend to gently engage your anus. Mindful or ‘anal’ breathing will not only calm your nervous system but it will also invite sensation into your body, relax your anus and allow for deeper pleasure.
Now for some techniques...
The Door Bell: This is the ultimate anal stimulation technique for those who are new to butt play. By pressing the pad of your thumb on the anus (as if you were ringing a door bell), you can introduce stimulation while feeling reassured your thumb won’t go inside. Explore rhythm, pace and pressure as you stimulate the anus.
Round the twist: Using a circular motion, massage your index finger around the rim of the anus. You may wish to decrease the size of these circles (imagine a whirlpool). Experiment with different speeds and pressure to find a style that suits you.
Mapping: Map out the anus and search for different pleasure points. Some areas may be numb, others may feel deeply arousing or relaxing. Through touch, intend to bring more awareness to the pleasure and sensation in the anus.
Twinkle, twinkle: Using two hands, cup your bum cheeks and walk your fingers up and down the anus as if you were playing scales on a piano. Like all good musicians, explore and experiment with different variations in touch.
Sounds like fun, huh?
Let's talk about anal sex with a partner
First things first: talk about it
Just like trying anything new, it’s important to have the conversation before you’re in the heat of the moment. It can feel awkward or clunky asking for something, but intend to normalise the conversation. Something as simple as “Hey, I’m curious about anal pleasure, how would you feel about trying it together?” Your partner may want more information, like whether it’ll be their hands, your hands, tongue or perhaps a toy? They may be into it, and they may not. If it’s not their thing, it can still be yours during solo sex. The talking doesn’t just happen before - you need to keep the comms up during and after! Try asking - what would make this even better?
Slow the fuck down
Regardless of what you’ve heard, seen or done, anal is not about forcing or pushing through the pain. As a rule of thumb, the person who is receiving sets the pace - not the person who is penetrating. If at any point there is pain or discomfort, stop or slow down! Remember, it’s not about ‘achieving’, you may only want to insert half, the tip or stay with external stimulation. Slowing down will allow you to check in and tune in with one another, it’s also key to building arousal and the more aroused you are, the more pleasurable it will feel.
Started from the bottom, now we’re here
The best sexual experiences include the whole body, so don’t forget about other erogenous zones, including neck, back, legs, bum, nipples, clitoris, balls, and so on — in fact, many people with clits find that anal-clit stimulation combination explosively orgasmic. Anal play is just one (wonderful) part of it.
Get your sexual tool kit and come prepared. It’s really important to use a good quality lube, condoms and even a few toys. You can use vibrators, rimming plugs, anal beads, glass dildos. If you are inserting a toy - it MUST MUST MUST have a flared base - there are all too many cases of objects getting lodged inside the body. A flared base will keep you safe. Good quality, body-safe lubes and toys will help build arousal and awareness of your anus; two very important things to do before any penetration.
Condoms and dental dams are the best way to minimise your risk for STIs and they are also a great - and sexy - physical barrier for any tongue and bum play. Start off slow and with soft, light touch, licks and kisses of the inner thighs and perineum/gooch.
Learn about your pleasure
Yes, you can cum from anal stimulation. The anus happens to hold the second highest concentration of nerve endings in your body. Let’s break it down - people with vulvas have a perineal sponge, which sits between the anus and the vaginal opening, and is part of the internal network of erectile tissue that contributes to arousal and pleasure. All of this means that anal penetration stimulates your clitoral network from new, highly sensitive angles, making an anal orgasm much more do-able than you might think. People with a penis can also climax during anal or prostate stimulation and it will allow you to learn more about your pleasure potential as it invites exploration, curiosity and new sensations to heighten your climax. Many report a full-body, undulating, intense experience of pleasure, that isn’t restricted to their penis (and may not end in ejaculation!). This kind of play may also support you in having multiple, blended orgasms.
Woah! You're now fully equipped to experience anal pleasure. I'd love to know how you go. If you're looking for further opportunities for self-inquiry or new techniques, check out the Pleasure Journal or my online couples course, Modern Sex.
Lead image via Pinterest.