As with any sexual activity, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce pain during anal play. For example, using lubrication and starting slow are good ways to prevent friction.
Also, a couple should talk about what they want to try during anal sex and establish any safe words they would like to use before they start playing.
1. Listen to Your Body
Anal sex can feel really pleasurable when it’s done right. But it’s not without its risks, including STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia (just like vaginal sex). And because the anus is in a tight spot back there, it can feel very painful and uncomfortable when the wrong kind of anal toy is used.
For example, a lot of anal toys have a wide base to prevent the toy from getting stuck up there, but if you use them without enough lube, the friction can hurt — especially since the anal canal does not produce as much lubrication as the vagina.
So, if you want to try anal, start small and masturbate first to see what kinds of sensations and pressure you enjoy. And before you introduce it to an ongoing partner, make sure to set some boundaries and communicate about what you like/dislike and pressure, and be clear with your partner that sex that feels bad is not okay, and you should stop. That’s the best way to protect yourself from unprotected anal sex, which is at high risk for STIs.
2. Know Your Limits
Several factors can make anal sex painful, including: too much pressure, not enough lube, and rushing. It’s also a good idea to use a lubricant specifically made for anal play, as regular lube can clog and hurt.
If you’re a beginner to anal sex, start off with smaller sex toys (with plenty of lube, naturally) and work your way up. This will help you and your partner get more comfortable with the area, making penetration easier.
Lastly, remember to wash your hands afterward and to take time to clean up. Anal sex can leave microscopic fecal matter behind, so it’s best to wipe and wash thoroughly to avoid discomfort and infection.
3. Know Your Partner
As long as you and your partner are communicating openly about anal play and you use plenty of lubricant, anal sex shouldn’t hurt. If it does, that’s a clear sign that something is wrong.
The most common reason for pain during anal play is a lack of lubrication. The anus canal does produce some mucous but not as much as a vagina, so using lube is a must to avoid friction that could lead to painful irritation.
A small amount of blood can also be a sign that you are not using enough lube or are being too rough. If it’s excessive or continues to happen after you’ve stopped playing, speak to a health professional about what might be causing the issue.
To ease into anal play, it’s a good idea to start with smaller sex toys and gently caress the area during foreplay. Then, you can slowly move up to harder objects. Using foreplay as a way to get used to feeling the anus can help you and your partner determine how hard you want to go back there.
4. Don’t Force It
Anal sex should feel good, not hurt. That’s why it is important to listen to your body and communicate with your partner about what feels good or not. If something starts to hurt, use your safe word and stop playing immediately.
It is also very important to use lots of lubricant. The anus doesn’t produce any lubrication on its own and using lube can reduce pain. If you are new to anal play, start slowly by just caressing the area and touching it with your hands. Once you’re comfortable with that, start penetrating the anus with your penis. Remember to always use a water-based lube. Oils (especially coconut and olive) can cause irritation.
It’s also very important to talk about how it feels for both partners during and after sex. This communication can help both people become better lovers and can ensure that sex is fun for both of you. It can also decrease the risk of sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis, that can be contracted through unprotected anal sex.
5. Keep It Light
The anus does not self-lubricate like a vagina, so it is important to use lube. If you are a newbie to anal play, it is a good idea to work up to using a penis or other larger object by first practicing with your partner’s fingers or a small sex toy that’s designed for the anus (like the doggy position). This will help you ease into anal and can reduce pain from friction.
It is also a good idea to have an open and honest conversation with your partner before trying anal for the first time, so everyone is on the same page. This is a great opportunity to talk about what you both like and don’t like in sex, set boundaries, and discuss if you need any protection against sexually transmitted infections.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to always wear condoms if you and your partner are exploring anal because it can cause infections in the anus that can be very painful for weeks *if not months* afterward. This is a really bad thing, so be safe!