Inadequately cleaned toys can serve as a reservoir for bacterial growth and even some viral sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Using a condom with toys – even if you don’t share your toys – will reduce the risk of infections. Hepatitis C, furthermore, can survive as a miniscule drop of dried blood on a toy (or other object) for up to 3 months and become reactivated when wet. (If your eyes aren’t bulging, go back and re-read that last sentence.) (Side note: that’s why sharing cocaine straws is a very real method of Hep C transmission: cocaine causes micro-tears in the nose, leaving invisible specs of blood on the straw that harbor the virus for up to 3 months.) So instead of scrubbing your toys with a nail brush or boiling them compulsively, just use a condom and rinse them off in warm, soapy water afterwards.
Unlike vaginas, buttholes don't produce their own lubrication — so you have to help them along. Pitagora suggests using a water-based lubricant like K-Y Jelly or Astroglide. If you're not using silicone sex toys, you can also use a silicone-based lubricant, which tends to be more slick and lasts longer. But, if you're using condoms, avoid oil-based lubricants (like Vaseline) because they can damage the condom.
"I tried it once a long time ago. The guy I was seeing wanted to do it, and I was resistant but eventually gave in. He tried to put it in, but it just hurt too much. I don't think he used lube, and it's just really tight. Maybe I'd do it again with the right person if I had a lot of trust in him. Either way, it's not something at the top of my list." —Clara A.

13. You can vary up positions. No, not all butt stuff needs to be done doggie-style. It's true it might be a little harder to get some solid eye contact going on when face-to-anus things are happening. But! There are a variety of positions to try, like lying on your back with your hips elevated or sitting on his face in reverse-cowgirl. Move around until you find one that makes you feel most at ease.
Receptive anal sex is much riskier for getting HIV. The bottom partner is 13 times more likely to get infected than the top. However, it’s possible for either partner to get HIV through anal sex from certain body fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), or rectal fluids—of a person who has HIV. Using condoms or medicines to protect against transmission can decrease this risk.
The tissue and skin around the anus acts as a protective barrier for the bottom half of your digestive tract. However, the tissue inside the anus is thinner, delicate, and more likely to tear and bleed as a result of penetration. This increases the likelihood of passing infections, viruses, or bacteria between partners. Even two partners who don’t have any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can still pass bacteria between each other through these tears in the skin.
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