Check out this quick checklist for how to keep anal play fun and pleasurable.
- Are you Ready? Do you have Consent?
Before even beginning to dive in, ask this: have you checked in with your desires? If it's something your partner wants, have you considered your own comfort? Is anal something you want? If not, there's no need to continue. With more widespread conversation about anal sex, more people are feeling pressured to participate with a partner. But without desire or enthusiasm, there is no foundation for pleasure to build from. Make sure to be on the same page.
Communication should be practiced and maintained throughout all acts but especially if this is something new. Check in with partner(s) before, during, and after to make sure everything feels great and is going smoothly. Speaking of going smoothly...
- Lube (But No Numbing!)
Lubricant is by far the most important aspect of anal play because the anus does not self-lubricate like the vagina and mouth do. Combine this with the fact that the anal lining is very thin and susceptible to tearing… without lube we could be looking at much more pain and discomfort than is necessary.
We also caution very strongly against any numbing gels, creams, or other products that can impair your ability to know if something has gone terribly wrong. Plus, if you can't feel anything at all, that includes not feeling any pleasure and that's what we're here for.
Even with all the lube in the world, the anus must be relaxed before anything can enter comfortably. One of our two anal sphincters is involuntary so allow time and gentleness for it to prepare itself. The anus is very sensitive and it is the penetrating partner's responsibility to take things s-l-o-w.
- Toy Rules
If you're planning to use toys (plugs, beads, or a dildo), make sure it has a flared base. Anything without has the potential of being swallowed whole by the anus which does not have any barrier preventing things from being lost inside. Seriously, this could result in a trip to the emergency room. And that can certainly be a mood killer.
As mentioned above, the lining in the anus is comprised of thin and delicate tissues that can be more prone to tearing. This can contribute more readily to transmission of STIs. Use safer sex barriers when playing with another person, especially if status is unknown.
Last but certainly not least, pleasure! That's what the whole thing is about. Even if you were interested before, you can change your mind at any point. If you're not enjoying it, don't feel obligated to participate or continue participating because your best friend suggested trying, your partner won't leave you alone about it, or porn makes it look amazing. It's totally ok to not enjoy anal penetration and there's plenty of other wonderful ways to use our bodies for pleasure.