Each week, The CSPH answers questions that have been submitted anonymously through our Formspring. This week’s question is, I love anal: fingering, licking… But every time my partner and I try to actually have him penetrate me, it hurts! We always use lubricant, and we try “loosening” my anus. I have a butt plug. What should I do?
First things first, great job on using lubricant! Lube is incredibly important when experimenting with anal play, since the anus is not self-lubricating, unlike the vagina. Some people find that certain lubes work better than others with anal sex– for example, silicone lubrication is known for being thicker and longer-lasting, making it optimal for anal play. As with all lubricants, I recommend that people take care to purchase lubes without glycerin, parabens, and nonoxynol-9, a spermicide, all of which can trigger irritation. I also suggest that people use gloves when engaging in anal play– in addition to limiting the spread of bacteria, gloves also prevent the lubricant, especially water-based ones, from being absorbed into one’s hand, leaving more lube for play. Gloves come in a variety of materials, including latex and nitrile, a non-latex alternative for those with allergies, and can be found in a multitude of colors. I suggest those who are worried about trace amounts of fecal matter use black gloves (and black condoms), which mask the appearance of poo.
Furthermore, although you’re already doing this, I want to stress the importance of fingering and annilingus (which entails mouth-to-ass action) prior to attempting anal penetration with a penis or dildo. Although some might consider this more advanced anal play, I encourage this because it is one way for people to become more comfortable with their anuses. The more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you may find yourself, and relaxation is of utmost importance when engaging in anal sexual activity. If you’re finding that you’re nervous, you might find it helpful to incorporate sensual oil massage into your sexual experiences, as this can not only help you relax, but it can result in arousal and provide an easy build-up and transition into anal play.
I also recommend that you take your time. Anal sex should never be rushed. It’s understandable to be excited, both as the penetrator and the one being penetrated, but it is super important to fight that urge to be impatient. Start off slow! When introducing fingers, I recommend the “doorbell technique,” which is entails pressing the pad of your finger against the anus as though you’re pressing on a–you guessed it!– doorbell. Once one finger feels comfortable, slowly add another; if you need to add more lubricant, do so. Scissoring your fingers (moving your fingers up and down is one within the anus) technique that can help loosen your rectal muscles. I suggest that you be able to comfortably accommodate 2-3 fingers in your ass before attempting penetration with a dildo or penis.
Anal toys, such as butt plugs, are also an option for people who would like to experiment with anal play. Some companies sell “Anal Training Kits,” which offer butt plugs and dildos of varying sizes. That said, if you are ordering online, take care to note the size of the toys– some anal training kits are not for beginners, as they can be quite large or have significant size increases between training sizes. Fortunately, many butt plugs can be left in throughout the day, so some find them a great option for keeping their anus prepared for further penetration. You may also want to experiment with vibrators: some butt plugs come with vibrating capabilities, and vibrators with a base can be used for penetration while those without a base are optimal for external stimulation of the anus. Bend Over Boyfriend Kits, such as this one, are also a great option for people interested in experimenting with strap-ons.
When you feel you’re ready for anal sex with a dildo or penis, be sure to add more lubricant to both your anus and the penis/dildo, and as before, take your time. Breathe deeply and slowly, and instead of allowing the penis/dildo to push into you, ask your partner to stay still so you can back up onto the penis. By controlling penetration, the body is less tense and the anus relaxed, allowing for easier penetration. You may need to pause every once in a way to allow your body to accommodate the length; this is okay, and you should allow yourself this time.
Furthermore, I want to make a note that anal play should not be painful. If you find yourself in pain, this is your body signalling to you that something is wrong. For this reason, I recommend steering clear of anus desensitizers, which numb the anus and therefore prevent you from knowing if they are accidentally causing damage to the body. If you experience pain even after plenty of preparation, I suggest exploring that pain and learning from it: where are you experiencing the pain in your anus? How does it feel–sharp or dull? Does it vary? Figuring these things out are helpful in that they help you learn about your body and its limits. Moreover, this information is especially valuable should you consider visiting a doctor about this, which is something I recommend if pain is always an issue. A doctor will best be able to figure out the source of your pain, and may provide guidance and/or treatment in response. Lastly, I suggest keeping well-hydrated, which keeps one’s stools soft and therefore easier to pass, limiting potential damage as a result of constipation.