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Q&A: Squeamish About Anal Play

August 20, 2013


Each week, The CSPH answers questions asked on our site and through social media outlets like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. This week’s question is:

I really like the idea of anal sex and anal play. I find it very hot. I’m not currently sexually active with anyone, but I’ve experimented a little on my own with my fingers and a butt plug. I liked how it felt, but I’ve discovered that I’m really paranoid about cleanliness and squeamish about touching myself there–even with a glove on. Worrying about germs and encountering excrement kills the mood. But I really want to be able to enjoy anal in real life as much as I do in fantasy. Any advice?

This is a fantastic question, because both your interest in anal play and your concerns regarding it are very common; it is also a perfect moment for education, with September being Anal Sex Month and all! The CSPH has plenty of resources about anal play in the hope that, by absorbing as much information as possible, people can make their backdoor loving more pleasurable or make an informed decision that it is not for them. As people say: knowledge is power.

Here are a few tips and some useful resources that might help you in your exploration of anal play:

First, I would like to give you two thumbs up for experimenting on yourself with your finger and toys, rather than rushing to take in something bigger right away. Starting small (so a finger, then a small plug, then a bigger plug or beads or two fingers, then a cock perhaps), slowly and preferably initially on your own is one of the top pieces of advice I usually give to people who want to try some form of butt-related action. Another major tidbit of advice is to lube up, especially since the anus does not self-lubricate like vaginas. Here are some tips on how to choose lube for different types of play – some recommendations for anal play include silicone-based lubes such as Überlube and Gun Oil .

Now, it seems like your main concern with anal play is hygiene and excrement.

Megan Andelloux, AASECT, ACS, founder and director of The CSPH released a video on the feeling many people report experiencing: that you need to go poop, and what this sensation actually is, as well as ways to deal with it. Our most recent video talks about hygiene and diet as well.

I cannot stress this enough, if you don’t feel like you need a bowel movement, have a fiber-rich diet, and clean yourself after pooping, there is little reason there should be any fecal matter there. If, however, you’re still concerned about cleanliness and would like to feel cleaner, there are a few things you can do. Showering right before—or during—play helps some folks make sure they’re good to go.

You can also use an anal douche such as Fleet Naturals, or as shown in this video from LoveHoneyTV. Three notes about douching, however:

1) You don’t need it, but it might give you an extra sense of security regarding hygiene, which is awesome.

2) Douching too often will disrupt the natural balance of bacteria that your anus and rectum need, which you don’t want, so do it mindfully.

3) Do not use douches in the vagina. They create an imbalance of pH in the vagina and soak up the natural fluids that the vagina produces, causing irritation and possible tearing, therefore increasing likelihood of STI transmission and yeast infections.

Let’s be real, though: even with proper (and extra, such as douches) hygiene and every precaution we can advise you to take, there can still be traces of fecal matter when playing with your anus. You can take comfort in the fact that we all poop, it is a fact of life; sex is messy in various ways, which is only awkward if we make it so. Knowing that that is a possibility and laughing about it and brushing it off (figuratively and not) can help us accept it and take that chance, the same way peeing a little is a possibility when playing with the G-zone. Additionally, you can use black gloves and/or condoms, as these are particularly great at hiding traces of poop.

You mention germs and bacteria in your question; bacteria are a reality everywhere, in our body and in the world. Often they are good bacteria and germs that have jobs to do, so we must let them work! One does not want to transport bacteria from one place to the other, though, which is why barrier methods such as gloves for finger contact, dental dams for mouth contact, and condoms for cocks are important.  It is also key to change barrier methods when switching between the anus and the mouth and/or vulva.  The anus is much more hardcore than other places (such as vulvas) when it comes to bacteria, so we must also be careful to sterilize toys.

As far as other broad advice regarding anal play goes, I would give a friendly reminder that anal play—as with any sexual play—is not only about penetration. External play (with toys such as the Form 3 by Jimmyjane, with your fingers, or with your tongue) can be great to start or end sexual play, or to have as the main event! The area around the anus, the external anal sphincter, and the entrance of the anus are filled with a relatively high concentration of nerve endings, making them especially sensitive.  Many people find that playing with these zones feels great, even if nothing is directly inserted into the anus.

It is important to note that, even without penetration, it is still a very sensitive area. Keys to the process are going slow, listening to the person receiving the touch/toy/tongue, and using as much lube as needed for added sensation and slicker contact. Additionally, it is usually best to let the person receiving any type of play decide and control the pace and pressure. Furthermore, external play makes it possible for you to see what is going on and see that it is all squeaky clean.

Anal play can be fun for a lot of people, and as with any type of play, basic hygiene (which is usually covered by a simple shower) is most likely sufficient. If for any reason, partying in your backyard is not your cup of tea, know that it is okay, too.  In fact, while realizing fantasies can be great for some people, others choose to leave fantasies as such for any number of reasons. I would suggest that you play with the idea, then play some more, and see how you feel about it, and take all the time you need. After all, your butt is not going anywhere.

Additional resources on anal play:

What They Are Asking: Anal Sex For Women
Q&A: Butt Plug Difficulties
Q&A: What can I do to make penetrative anal with my partner more pleasurable?

[image by Flickr user derpunk]

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