These days though, butt play is hot. Whether it’s Marnie getting rimmed on the hit HBO show Girls, or Harvard University offering an ‘Anal Sex 101’ workshop during their annual ‘Sex Week’, anal sex has decidedly outgrown its verboten past. A 2010 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that some 40 per cent of women ages 20-24 have engaged in anal sex at least once. And more than half have probably played around with oral or digital stimulation, whether on the giving or the receiving end.
"For me, being penetrated during anal sex can be a little sore during insertion and in the first few minutes. Lots of lube, slow, gentle motions, and patience move it quickly to the next phase, which is an exciting, pleasurable pressure. I find that I can have stronger orgasms while being penetrated anally, but these are clitoral or vaginal orgasms, not anal orgasms—those are quite elusive. For me, it's probably the added stimulation, the intimacy, and the emotional intensity of anal that make orgasms stronger.
Reports regarding the prevalence of anal sex among gay men and other men who have sex with men vary. A survey in The Advocate in 1994 indicated that 46% of gay men preferred to penetrate their partners, while 43% preferred to be the receptive partner. Other sources suggest that roughly three-fourths of gay men have had anal sex at one time or another, with an equal percentage participating as tops and bottoms. A 2012 NSSHB sex survey in the U.S. suggests high lifetime participation in anal sex among gay men: 83.3% report ever taking part in anal sex in the insertive position and 90% in the receptive position, even if only between a third and a quarter self-report very recent engagement in the practice, defined as 30 days or less.
As with most forms of sexual activity, anal sex participants risk contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs). Anal sex is considered a high-risk sexual practice because of the vulnerability of the anus and rectum. The anal and rectal tissues are delicate and do not provide lubrication like the vagina does, so they can easily tear and permit disease transmission, especially if a personal lubricant is not used. Anal sex without protection of a condom is considered the riskiest form of sexual activity, and therefore health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend safe sex practices for anal sex.
Yes, you can still contract or transmit STDs through anal and oral sex. Anal sex can more easily damage tissue (tears in the lining of the anus or rectum) than during vaginal sex because the anus is not designed for insertion. Therefore, the skin barrier that often protects against infection is broken and STDs can more easily enter the body. This means that transmitting or contracting an STD is more likely from anal sex than with vaginal or oral sex.
If you decide to have penetrative anal sex, take things slowly and communicate with your partner. If you are giving anal sex, use plenty of lubricant and then start by penetrating just a little and then pulling out completely. When your partner is ready, penetrate a bit further and then pull out again. Continue with this until you are fully in – but be prepared to stop at any time if the other person is uncomfortable or in pain.
Anal warts (also called condylomas) are growths that form just outside the anus and in the lower anal canal below the dentate line. Sometimes they can be found just above the dentate line. They're caused by infection with human papilloma virus (HPV). People who have or had anal warts are more likely to get anal cancer. (See “Potentially pre-cancerous anal conditions” below and Risk Factors for Anal cancer)
You may need them to treat an infection, but some can kill the “good" bacteria that live in your bowels. You need those to keep your gut in natural balance, so diarrhea can be a common side effect. You also may be more likely to get a yeast infection while taking antibiotics. Ask your doctor if eating yogurt or taking a probiotic supplement may help.
1. Don't try it if you don't want to. There's a big difference between "I don't necessarily fantasize about getting a penis enema but I want to blow my partner's mind" and "I would rather die than do this but I guess I can suffer through it because he's been pressuring me." If you're in a mutually caring, healthy relationship (with a guy who goes down on you for half an hour, minimum), maybe you'll want to do it for your partner or you won't. Either way is 100 percent fine, and if he keeps pressuring you when you have made it clear that it is not on the table, tell him to suck it.