Many women have a hard time getting comfortable with the idea of anal sex. And for good reason, too – it’s actually pretty uncomfortable, by basically every definition of the word. For a long time, I was completely opposed to the idea – don’t even bring it up!

Whatever your reason for not wanting to try anal sex, I definitely feel you. But I’d like to be the first one to reassure you, these fears are not some unavoidable destiny set to befall you should you ever decide to give it a shot. With the right partner and some simple preparation, it’s really not that bad.

(We encourage our readers to practice safer sex, especially with anal play.)

If you’re uncomfortable receiving…

I understand. Really, I do. It can be incredibly painful if the partner giving it to you isn’t super careful. It has a potential to be a messy and embarrassing experience, and it’s easy to psych ourselves out and assume that the worst is going to happen. But if you’re really curious, it can be helpful to know that there are a few things you can do to have a better experience.

“I’m afraid it will hurt.”

You’re right – anal sex has a potential to be very painful. But with good communication between both partners, it really doesn’t have to. There are a few tricks to make it hurt less, especially if it’s your first time.

Make sure the area is thoroughly lubricated. You can use natural or synthetic lubricants – just make sure you don’t go back and forth between the anus and the vagina without washing your hands or changing your barrier. There are many lubricants specifically created for use in the anus, but generally speaking, anything that doesn’t have flavorings or warmers in it will work fine. (Trust me – using a warming lubricant inside your bum is going to hurt worse than whatever the lube is slathered on.)

Start slow. Your body is understandably going to need time to adjust to the new sensations. If you and your partner are comfortable with the idea, consider trying analingus first. Many women are uncomfortable with this idea, but my partner loves it – and it’s the only anal play that I personally enjoy receiving.

If you follow these tips and it still hurts, say something! If you trust your partner, you should trust that if you tell her it’s hurting you, she’ll stop. (And if you can’t trust her to stop – you shouldn’t be having any kind of sex with her.)

“I’m afraid it will bleed.”

There is definitely a chance of bleeding with anal sex, particularly the first few times. With a few precautions, you might be able to prevent most of the problems associated with this bleeding.

Start small. I would never recommend jumping into anal penetration with toys unless you have already been penetrated by a finger back there – your body needs time to get used to stretching, in any new place, so don’t try to force it too quickly. (And don’t feel obligated to go to a bigger size if the smaller size feels good!)

Make sure her nails are well trimmed. This should go without saying when you’re planning any penetrative sex, but it’s especially important in the anus. The tissues in here are very sensitive, which is what allows anal sex to feel good against all expectations that it wouldn’t, but they are also easy to tear. (And you have every right to ask for a hand check first!)

“I’m afraid it won’t feel good.”

Okay, so here’s the part where that sensitive anus is a blessing: It doesn’t take a lot for most women to get pleasure from anal play, as long as her other sexual needs are being met. In other words, if your partner knows what she’s doing, and you are relaxed, it’s going to feel good.

“I’m afraid I taste/smell bad down there.”

A lot of women shy away from the idea of analingus, because there’s an assumption that it’s going to smell bad, or that it’s going to taste like ass. A lot of people associate the idiom with an actual bum – but the truth is, a clean bum tastes like any other skin. Especially once you’ve put a barrier down there (and flavored lubes, if you want to be absolutely certain), there’s not going to be any taste, so don’t worry.

In regards to the smell, I urge you to think of every time your partner has had her face within a few inches of there. If she’s never complained before, she’s not likely to start now!

“I’m afraid there will be debris in there.”

The thought of your partner pulling out a finger (or toy, or whatever else she puts in your bum) and having “leftovers” on it is… Well, humiliating, for most people. If you’re concerned about this, rest assured – there are a few easy fixes.

Make sure you use the restroom well before you’re going to get to business – it’s important that everything is “empty” in there. If you have regular bowel movements, it’s best to time your experimenting for about halfway in between.

Now, here’s the awkward part: Washing inside your bum. If you’ve never done it, the idea of sticking your finger in there and intentionally trying to pull out any debris is a bit gross. Still, it’s the most effective way to make sure your partner doesn’t pull anything out! Please don’t use a soapy finger, as it can be difficult to rinse the soap back out – just warm water will do.

If you feel that there is any need to use the bathroom – even if the feeling has just started – you should probably wait to play in the bum until another day. Once you start feeling the urge, everything is usually already on its way out. (It’s a gross thought, but better to think of it now than in the middle!)

If you follow the above advice and your partner still ends up with a little debris on her finger, it’s not the end of the world – I promise. As long as she washes her hands thoroughly before touching the vagina, eyes, or mouth (yours or hers), a little poo on someone’s finger never stopped the world.

If you’re uncomfortable giving…

For women who are looking to satisfy a partner’s desire for anal sex, it’s usually not coming from a logical place. After all, if she asked you for it, chances are she already knows she likes it, and she’ll probably be able to give you a few pointers to make it a better experience for both of you.

If your partner hasn’t tried it before, though, there are a few basic tips to help make it more comfortable. Make sure you pay attention to the tips in the top section, too, as they’ll help you picture what’s on her mind when you’re playing.

“I’m afraid I’m going to hurt her.”

If your partner specifically asked you for anal sex, it’s a pretty safe bet that she’s willing to assume the risks of it being uncomfortable. And as long as you start slow, small, and gentle, the worst that could happen is a little discomfort. Let her guide you here. Listen to her words as well as her body, and don’t try to push forward too fast.

“I’m afraid I won’t be good at it.”

One of the best things about anal play is that you don’t have to do a lot to get it right. Sometimes, the simple penetration is all that’s needed – too much wiggling can tear the sensitive tissues. Some women enjoy gentle thrusting as well, but if you’re worried about messing up, don’t make a move until she tells you to.

“I’m afraid it will make a mess.”

This one is simple – just put down something you don’t mind messing up. Even if you go through all the necessary precautions, there’s still going to be a chance that anal play is going to make a mess. But the same can be said for any other sex, can’t it? Sometimes we start our period in the middle of sex, sometimes we simply get the entire bed wet. If you’re worried, put something down!

“I’m afraid it is going to taste/smell bad down there.”

As I mentioned in the receiver’s section above, a clean anus really has no smell or taste. If you’re particularly concerned, you are allowed to (nicely) ask your partner to wash up. Most likely, she already has, because we always smell worse to ourselves than we smell to others.

But there’s a funny little science fact that might help explain this, too: The human brain has a specific connection between attraction and how we perceive our partner to smell. I’m not going to get into the specifics, but we can sum it up to mean that, in the heat of the moment, you’re not going to care what your partner’s bum smells like nearly as much as you fear you will.

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