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.

That information is very necessary, but I refuse to end this on a kind of scary note. The truth is that you can have an excellent time with anal play. Or it could be the exact opposite of your thing, which is OK, too. Either way, if you keep the above information in mind, you’re way more likely to come out of the experience having explored anal sex in a safe, healthy, potentially mind-blowing way.


4. Get a water-based lube. Sexologist Jill McDevitt says to secure a quality water-based lube ahead of time. This will make rubbing and massaging even better. Even if your foreplay doesn’t involve penetration for now, lube makes everything better and can increase sensitivity. A great option is Lelo’s water-based lube—it’s slippery enough that it won’t gunk up on you, and it looks chic AF.
Stimulation from anal sex can additionally be affected by popular perception or portrayals of the activity, such as erotica or pornography. In pornography, anal sex is commonly portrayed as a desirable, painless routine that does not require personal lubricant; this can result in couples performing anal sex without care, and men and women believing that it is unusual for women, as receptive partners, to find discomfort or pain instead of pleasure from the activity.[6][38][39][40] By contrast, each person's sphincter muscles react to penetration differently, the anal sphincters have tissues that are more prone to tearing, and the anus and rectum do not provide lubrication for sexual penetration like the vagina does. Researchers say adequate application of a personal lubricant, relaxation, and communication between sexual partners are crucial to avoid pain or damage to the anus or rectum.[2][13][41] Additionally, ensuring that the anal area is clean and the bowel is empty, for both aesthetics and practicality, may be desired by participants.[21]
Unprotected receptive anal sex (with an HIV positive partner) is the sex act most likely to result in HIV transmission.[14][15][16] Other infections that can be transmitted by unprotected anal sex are human papillomavirus (HPV) (which can increase risk of anal cancer[75]); typhoid fever;[76] amoebiasis; chlamydia;[15] cryptosporidiosis; E. coli infections; giardiasis; gonorrhea;[15] hepatitis A; hepatitis B; hepatitis C; herpes simplex;[15] Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (HHV-8);[77] lymphogranuloma venereum; Mycoplasma hominis; Mycoplasma genitalium; pubic lice;[15] salmonellosis; shigella; syphilis;[15] tuberculosis; and Ureaplasma urealyticum.[78]
Reduce your risk of cutting or scratching your partner by trimming your nails. Long nails might tear the thin, delicate tissue of the anus, which could lead to bleeding. It also increases the risk of spreading bacteria that could cause infections. Be sure to wash your hands well and scrub under your nails after anal sex, too, especially before inserting them into the vagina or mouth.
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