So, You're Thinking About Trying Anal Play?
So, I guess I should kick this off with all the requisite hedging, self-deprecation and disclaimers of any self-respecting academic paper. I’m not an expert here, but some of the information contained within is adapted and sourced from experts, some of it is academic in nature and the remainder is based on personal experience.
Additionally, this is not a thorough how-to guide on all things anal but rather, it is focused on giving some advice to newcomers to butt-stuff, in particular giving a framework for exploring and understanding your own body a bit better.
As such, this is not a guide on how to get double fisted, nor how to enjoy painal, nor how to stick your dick in your partner’s arse. This is a solo experience. If you do want to do this with a partner – by all means do so – but remember that clear and constant communication is super important and that you should take it very slowly.
If you do choose to proceed and you feel weird at all about trying anal play, remember that you shouldn’t feel weird at all. It’s your body, so you can do with it however you please.
In fact, I think not getting to know your own body intimately is doing yourself a huge disservice. You may or may not enjoy what you find when you explore and that’s fine; really, that’s the point of exploring.
Final disclaimer: I am writing this with the perspective and experience of a person with a prostate, penis etc. and with no problems with bowel or anus function. I like to think that anal is the most egalitarian sexual experience, since basically everybody has the required equipment, so should be able to have a similar experience.
With this being the case, I will keep most of the language here neutral, but in the situation where there is specific advice required for people with vaginas or people with penises, I’ll make that clear.
This guide will not address issues related to anal play for people with hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, a stoma or any other differences in the structure or function of the lower digestive tract (although if you are someone with experience in this area, please get in contact as this would be incredibly helpful for a future guide).
What’s all up in there?
If we are going to be exploring, you should at least have a compass and charts to navigate. The butthole is great and all, but some knowledge of its construction, as well as the nearby structures in the pelvic cavity will be useful in this journey.
The surface of the anus is covered by relatively soft and thin skin (which can be prone to irritation and damage, so watch out) and is densely packed with nerve endings, making it very sensitive to touch, pressure, heat etc.
The muscular structure of the anus is made up of two concentric circular muscles that control its opening and closing. The outer ring of muscle – Sphincter ani externus – is a voluntary muscle, meaning that it is under conscious control, which you utilise when trying to deliberately clench or relax your butt.
On the other hand, the inner ring of muscle – Sphincter ani internus – is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which allows it to close the gates and keep things in (or out) without conscious control. Keep this in mind for later.
Once inside you’ve passed the anus, you’ll find yourself in the rectum. This cavity extends about 12-15 cm past the end of the anal canal and is where the poops are stored until they’re ready to be pooped out.
The rectal walls themselves do not have as many touch receptors as the anus and the tissue is thin, fragile and highly vascularised. Because of these factors, it is relatively easy to cause lacerations or irritation that can result in bleeding or infection if you’re not careful and clean.
Although the rectal walls don’t have as many touch receptors, it does not mean that there’s no more fun to be had once inside the anus. The rectal walls do have a lot of stretch receptors, which can give a feeling of fullness then stimulated.
But the real party zone is the anterior (towards the front of the body) rectal wall. There is very little tissue separating this wall from other erogenous structures: the vaginal canal, prostate, crus of the clitoris, root of the penis, Bartholin’s glands, seminal vesicles etc., so pressure on this area can be highly stimulating.
A Scout is Always Prepared
Before getting started there is some preparation to take care of that will make for a more enjoyable and safer experience. Primary in this preparation is cleanliness. So, make sure that you clean your butt beforehand: get rid of all those dingleberries and crack sweat in the shower using soap and warm water.
If you have a dense forest of hair in your crack, you may find benefit in trimming it, but this is absolutely not a requirement for an enjoyable time.
Now that you’re all squeaky clean on the outside we must address the elephant in the room: there’s
gold poo in them there hills bowels. We’ll touch on what to do during play in a moment, but as is usual, prevention is better than cure.
As a baseline amount of effort to minimise the likelihood of a mess during your play session, always ensure you go to the toilet and empty your bowels as much as possible before playing.
Now, this should make sure that there’s no large masses of feces just inside the doorway, but your diet will have a large impact on how efficiently you will expel waste. So, be sure to maintain a diet with a variety of foods that is rich in unprocessed plant material and high in fibre.
With enough insoluble fibre in your diet you stand a pretty good chance of having a clean rectal canal after you do a poo (the coveted no-wipe poo is a goal here). To help with this you may want to incorporate a fibre supplement; for example, I have about 1 tablespoon of psyllium husk for each meal that I eat.
Now, another approach to reduce mess that can either be used as an adjunct to diet, or as an alternative is anal douching (or even DOOSHing, if you’re a certain person).
I won’t provide a full instructional here, but if you need to get squeaky clean inside, or if you’re just paranoid about things getting dirty doing this can put your mind at ease.
It also bears considering what you’re going to be sticking up your butt. As mentioned earlier, the lining of the bowel and rectum is quite fragile, so anything that you want to use shouldn’t have any sharp edges or rough/abrasive surfaces.
This means that if using your fingers, make sure that your hands are clean, nails manicured and no open cuts or loose skin. Now, it is totally plausible to improvise toys, but in the interest of
public liability benevolently looking out for your best interests I won’t suggest anything other than using a sex toy that is made for insertion.
This is not a guide for choosing a toy, but in brief: only use something with a flared base or some handle that can stop it from swimming inside and making a home for itself and choose something that is made of a body-safe material.
Metals, glass and silicon are the most common of these, but you should avoid most polymers/plastics as they can be porous and leach compounds that you probably won’t want in you.
Notes on lube selection: purpose-made sex-lubes are best and if you’ve never used a proper lube to make things glide around during sexy play, it’s pretty great. So even if you find you don’t want to do more anal after trying, it’s still well work buying some lube for this because it won’t go to waste.
By all means, feel free use what you find works for you, but there are drawbacks to different types of lube. The main thing with water-based lubes is that they dry out over time which means re-applying more lube periodically, but they are also super easy to clean up with water.
Silicon lubes are less likely to dry out although can be more difficult to clean-up, but beware: SILICON-BASED LUBES ARE INCOMPATIBLE WITH SILICON TOYS.
Also, if you do choose to use something like Vaseline (maybe don’t be a tight arse and just buy some proper lube instead), oil-based lubricating agents like this are incompatible with latex and polyisoprene condoms.
So, that covers what might be going into your body, so let’s now turn to what might be coming out of your body. It doesn’t matter if you douche until you’re sparkling clean inside, there will still be fecal matter that gets onto whatever it is that you stick in there.
Now, this may be a negligible amount and you might not care, but feces are loaded with potentially harmful bacteria, so there isn’t a perfectly safe exposure. So, to remedy this there are some simple precautions to take:
1.) Physical barriers – cover whatever you’re inserting, if this is a hand it can be gloved, if it is a toy a condom can be applied. These are not essential but can make clean-up a lot easier.
2.) One dirty hand, one clean hand – only use one hand for your butt/toy and keep the other clean in order to handle other things, such as your lube bottle or phone. This ensures that you’re not spreading bacteria onto other objects
3.) this point is particularly prescient if you have a vagina, but keep fluids away from other orifices – this means that if something goes in your butt, it doesn’t then touch your vulva without being cleaned first and you should try to play with your body in a position where any lube from your butt won’t drip in that direction either.
The risk of bacterial vaginosis and UTIs from anal play is real, people! If your gumboots do get a bit muddy whilst playing, don’t panic, just go wipe off the muck with toilet paper and flush it, then thoroughly wash your hands/toy with soap and warm water.
This will probably happen eventually, so just deal with it and move on, it’s nothing to be embarrassed or put-off by (although if it kills the mood, you’re totally free to stop).
Finally, once you’re all finished up, the cleanliness still doesn’t stop! Clean up around your butt and genitals with warm soapy water (easiest to do in the shower), wash your hands properly (which you should all be very well practiced at by this point of 2020), clean any surfaces that you may have touched whilst playing, dispose of any sex shield that you may have used (gloves, condoms etc.) and clean your toys in an appropriate manner; be this with soap, a dedicated toy cleaning solution or in the dishwasher (apparently).
The real deal
Now, finally to the exciting bit. If you’ve managed to read this far through the guide without giving up, you must reeeeaaaalllly want to try anal – you naughty little butt-slut ;). At this point I'll assume that you've got everything down in terms of preparation and cleanliness, you’ve got some time to play and you’ve nicely set the mood. I’d suggest doing the following instructions laying on your back in bed so that you can be totally relaxed. All advice from here will assume that the person reading is trying things out for the very first time, so bear with me if it is not your first time.
It is likely that on first attempt your butthole may pull up the drawbridge and deny entry. So, my prescription for anal physiotherapy in this case will actually involve starting with your finger. The reason I'm suggesting to start with a finger rather than going to a toy is that you can then feel everything that's going on both through your butt and also through your finger (also, make sure to make sure your fingers are warm first).
Time to get down to business: at first I'd suggest foregoing the lube (don't worry, I'm not asking you to raw dog it) as the feeling of wetness and coldness can be a signal to the Internal Anal Sphincter (remember that from earlier?) that you're leaking something from your butt, which it will try to stop by clamping down.
Then, using your finger of choice (or two fingers) apply some pressure to the outside of your ring, without trying to go in yet. Whilst doing this, pay attention to the tension that you feel, both how tight your ring feels and also how much you can feel the muscle tensing under your fingers.
Now it is time to r e l a x your entire body over time, paying special attention to relax your butt. At this point you will hopefully feel your ring relax under your fingers.
During this time pay close attention to the signals that you’re sending to and receiving from your body and the sensations that you feel when your hole relaxes. This stage is largely about learning how to control yourself down there so that you have no trouble relaxing later.
If you still can’t manage to relax, here are a couple of techniques that you can try: relax your body in stages, starting from the top of your head and working down in steps, focusing on relaxing each body part more as you go down; alternatively, you can clench your butt as tight as you can and hold it…then keep holding it…then when you can’t keep holding that pucker any longer relax it and let the tension melt away.
Once you feel comfortable, have a good understanding of the sensation of getting yourself to relax and can reliably get your hole to lower its guard, apply some lube to your finger and butt.
Try to warm up the lube on your finger before applying it to your hole to prevent shocking yourself with the temperature and clenching down. Now repeat the same steps as before; apply pressure to the hole and wait to feel yourself relax.
If you're able to really relax everything, the pressure that you're already applying might be enough to just let the finger slip inside. Otherwise, when you feel ready, push the finger in, making sure that it’s going straight in (it will be more difficult if you’re pushing into the side of the anal canal).
If it hurts at this point TAKE IT OUT...then relax, recover, and if you feel comfortable to, restart from the outside (you are also well within your rights to stop at this point and try again another time).
As you are entering your hole it’s a big help to remember to breathe; it’s easy to accidentally hold your breath which will increase the tension in your body, so concentrate on deep, long breaths.
Once your finger has successfully established a foothold in enemy territory, this is now your chance to explore what sensations are available and which of these sensations you like.
As mentioned earlier, many of the most prominent stimulatory structures are going to be found by pressing on the anterior wall (towards your genitals). But just because this is where the party zone is, don’t go crazy just pressing on this area:
As an analogy; the glans (head) of the penis or clitoris is the most sensitive part, but that doesn’t mean that you just go finger bashing it as hard as possible when the rest of you genitals are there.
Similarly, there’s so much more to discover in your butt, so explore! Once you are comfortable, this will also be the time to try toys if you already have them, repeating the same process as earlier. Between your fingers and any toys you can try what it feels like with something thin, or something that stretches you out; how it feels going deep or just the tip; thrusting in and out fast or slow; trying something that vibrates; how it feels when your butt is clenched or relaxed. Play around like this seeing what does or doesn’t work for you.
So, What Now?
As stated back at the beginning, the purpose of this guide was to help people explore, which means learning new information. You may very well find that you like butt play, which is awesome as you just have one more avenue for pleasure.
But on the other hand, you may also find that it’s just not your thing, which is also totally fine. But hopefully by learning a little more about how your body reacts you can avoid being scared off of anal play by trying to stick things into a butthole that doesn’t want any visitors.
The process described above may seem overly in depth or slow for any time that you want to play with your butt, but the purpose is not to be something that you do every time, but as merely a drill to help you learn how your butt works, and how to control and manage it so that you don’t need to do all of this every time.
Anyway, I hope that this has been helpful in helping all you dirty, dirty people explore.