Most cases of anal cancer are related to infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Anal sex alone does not cause anal cancer; the risk of anal cancer through anal sex is attributed to HPV infection, which is often contracted through unprotected anal sex.[75] Anal cancer is relatively rare, and significantly less common than cancer of the colon or rectum (colorectal cancer); the American Cancer Society states that it affects approximately 7,060 people (4,430 in women and 2,630 in men) and results in approximately 880 deaths (550 in women and 330 in men) in the United States, and that, though anal cancer has been on the rise for many years, it is mainly diagnosed in adults, "with an average age being in the early 60s" and it "affects women somewhat more often than men."[75] Though anal cancer is serious, treatment for it is "often very effective" and most anal cancer patients can be cured of the disease; the American Cancer Society adds that "receptive anal intercourse also increases the risk of anal cancer in both men and women, particularly in those younger than the age of 30. Because of this, men who have sex with men have a high risk of this cancer."[75]
Your nerve endings are sensitive for a reason. They alert your brain to pain so you can prevent yourself from getting seriously injured, Dr. Chinn says. While numbing creams might make anal penetration feel easier, they don’t make it any easier physically. By numbing your anus, you or your partner could be pushing your body past its point of comfort without even realizing it.
Although anal sex alone does not lead to pregnancy, pregnancy can still occur with anal sex or other forms of sexual activity if the penis is near the vagina (such as during intercrural sex or other genital-genital rubbing) and its sperm is deposited near the vagina's entrance and travels along the vagina's lubricating fluids; the risk of pregnancy can also occur without the penis being near the vagina because sperm may be transported to the vaginal opening by the vagina coming in contact with fingers or other non-genital body parts that have come in contact with semen.[82][83]
17. It feels best when there's some additional stimulation going on. Vaginal, clitoral, nipple-centric—whichever feels best for you. While some women only need butt play à la carte, most women can't come from anal stimulation alone. "The anal part is something that's an accent. It adds to the overall experience," says Ian Kerner, sex expert, researcher, and author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. (Incidentally, women who have had anal sex report more frequent orgasms than those who haven't.) That being said...
Maybe you're super excited to try anal and you want to get right in there — don't. It's always best to start slowly with a new sexual experience, but is especially important when you're trying anal sex because the sphincter muscles in an anus are tightly closed. So, instead of jumping in with a penis or sex toy, have your partner stick one (lubed up!) finger inside your rectum first. Then, slowly add more fingers until you're ready to move on to penetration with a penis or with a strap-on.
When there’s a bunch of waste in your colon that needs to come out, your colon contracts and pushes the stool into the rectum, an 8-inch chamber that connects the colon to the anus. Your brain receives the signal that you need to head to the bathroom sometime soon, and your rectum stores the stool until you voluntarily contract it to push the poop out.
In case you hadn’t noticed, hetero anal sex is, like, huge right now. Just a few decades ago, outside of queer circles, it was seen as a taboo act that only about a tenth of men and a quarter of women would cop to researchers to having tried at least once. Now, anal is a fixture of mainstream pop, not to mention porn, culture. In truth, not many hetero men or women try it, much less on the reg. (CDC data shows about a third of hetero women have ever tried anal; the number who regularly engage in it is unclear, but likely much lower. Data on hetero men experimenting with anal stimulation is hard to find, although prostate massager sales have grown rapidly of late and some reporting indicates rising interest.) Still, many sexually active folk, especially hetero women, reportedly feel pressure to dip a toe into butt stuff.
12. You're going to freak the fuck out that you're pooping but you're not. Honestly, it becomes hard to tell if you are or aren't; additionally, this Tucker Max story was not helpful for my butt sex-phobia. You're probably not gonna poop. If there's a little bit of poop, as my partner said, it's not a big deal, because "[he] asked for this." (There wasn't.)
11. The person doing it should err on the shallow side. Everything that goes in should be "just the tip." The nerve endings you're trying to stimulate are in the anus—hence, the moniker "rimming"—and not all the way up there, which is generally the painful part and also the part that makes you feel like you need to take a huge dump. Imagine it like a basketball hoop, and the ball should just be rolling around the rim of the basket, not actually making the basket. Does that help? I know nothing about basketball.
So definitely don't shame yourself, your partners, or other people for wanting to try anal or enjoying it. "There’s actually very little fecal matter in that area of the rectum and the cleanup is similar to vaginal sex," she says. "The problem is a lot of people have bad experiences when they've tried anal play, because they don't know what they're doing, so that turns them off from it. Lots of people will be surprised at how much they enjoy it if they just did it right."
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Bladder infections and other infections of the urinary tract happen when bacteria enter the urethra (the hole through which urine passes out of the body). The most common microbe behind these infections is E. coli, which is found in abundance in stool. When having anal sex without a condom (an act also known as “bare backing”), a man’s penis and urethra become covered in fecal bacteria (even if the bottom used an enema prior to sex). This places the top partner at significant risk for developing a urinary tract infection.

Using a new condom is especially important if you’re switching from anal to vaginal penetration so you can avoid moving bacteria from your anus to your vagina or urethra. Your anus is home to all kinds of bacteria your vagina and related parts aren’t used to—namely, gastrointestinal (GI) bacteria, like E. coli. When this bacteria reaches your vagina, it can cause vaginal infections, like bacterial vaginosis, which can lead to vaginal itching, burning during urination, a “fishy” vaginal odor, and gray, white, or green vaginal discharge, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also spread to your urethra, where it can cause a urinary tract infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, this can cause symptoms like constantly needing to pee, then a burning sensation when you do, along with cloudy urine and pelvic pain.

2. Try out anal play first. Before embarking on the full monte of penetrative, anal sex, you can—and should!—give lighter anal play a try. This is open to interpretation, and could mean anything from toys to fingers or mouths. It'll give you a lower-pressure idea of what the ~sensations~ of anal stimulation feel like, and is a way of working up to the big show. Or not! If you decide some light anal play is all you're interested in, camp out there forever. No rules here, except to use lube, have consent, and USE LUBE.
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