10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Anal Sex

A model holds the Lelo Loki Wave, a great toy designed for anal sex
Anal sex isn’t everything, but it’s a lot of fun, and I’ve got quite good at it. Also, the Loki Wave 2 is amazing if you love anal stimulation.

If there was a gay agenda, most people would assume anal sex would make the top 5 items. Possibly under ‘buy groceries’ and ‘not encounter homophobia today’. And while there’s plenty of discussions going on about how important penetrative sex even is within a relationship, penetrative sex is a lot of fun. For me at least. I also spent way too long obsessing over it when I was younger – whether I was having it or not.

And as anal continues to go mainstream (AKA straight people are doing it now), let me spare you the, um, discovery process of the big anal sex lessons and just list out the 10 things I wish I’d known about anal sex when I was starting out.

10 – There’s more to sex than penetration

Okay, I spoilt that one already, so yes. Stop obsessing over putting the P in the A – or the P in the V for hetero couples. Good sex is about time, touch and connection with your partner, and anal sex isn’t always going to be possible if your guts are saying ‘no’ or if the delicate skin around your butt is feeling sensitive and sore.

It’s okay to just enjoy touch, a sensual massage, a long, slow blowjob, or a bit of mutual masturbation instead of anal. Even if you’re going for penetration, long foreplay sessions will help you relax more easily. And yes, it still counts as sex if there’s no penetration. Honestly, the best definition I’ve ever heard comes from my chorister friends: two or more people, one or more sets of genitalia, and an attempt at an orgasm.

9 – It’s okay to say ‘stop’

One of my very first times was with a guy I really liked. He came over, we were naked, I thought I’d figured out how to work my douche, and he’d gone in with a finger, then two, and then his dick and he was thrusting away and everything cramped and tensed up. It felt like I was getting the runs and I was so scared I had to stop. Ran to the bathroom. Nothing came out. But the mood was ruined. And it felt like any shot at a relationship died with that fateful event. And for years I thought if I’d been better, that relationship might have got off the ground.

Only it wouldn’t have because neither of us were good at sex back then. Or connecting, or communicating, and placed too much emphasis on anal sex as the marker of a good sexual encounter.

Green flags and behaviours

It’s okay to say “I think my butt’s done for now,” or “I need to take a break, can we do something else?”. And if you’re with a good partner, you’ll be able to switch to something else and have an amazing time. The best partners are the ones who say ‘you don’t have to do this if it’s uncomfortable, we can do something else’. And that’s something you can model in your own life no matter what position you find yourself in. It’s definitely something I do now when I top.

8 – You need good lube for anal sex

A bottle of Water-based Wild Secrets Personal Lubricant.
Going with an retailer’s own brand of lube can give you a higher quality option for less cost, but check the consistency. For anal sex, thicker is usually better when it comes to water-based lube.

Want to know a secret? Water-based lube comes as a powder, so cheaper lubes usually just add more water. They’re thinner, less cushiony, and will run off your body almost immediately. Like water. The good, cushiony water-based lubes and gels are thicker, and more expensive, and those are the best ones for anal sex.

Any good quality water-based lube is good for anal, and it doesn’t have to say ‘anal lube’ on the front. A lot of anal lubes have desensitising agents in them, and I don’t like those for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I want to feel what’s happening. That’s sort the point. Secondly, if you can’t feel what’s going on, you could get hurt down there and not know until after. Thirdly, if you need desensitising lube, you’re probably not relaxed enough when your partner is putting it in you. How does a good top open you up? That’s the next thing, but before we get there…

The lube lowdown

While pretty much any lube can be used for anal sex, here’s a quick look at your main options:

Water-based lube

Pros: Gentle on your body, good quality lubes have a thick, cushiony feel that helps during sex

Cons: Dries out during long sessions, requiring additional water or lube. Cheap lubes literally run off your body.

Silicone-based lube

Pros: Very slippery, and stays slippery during long play sessions. Great for douching or wet play as it doesn’t wash away without soap.

Cons: Using too much too often may make your guts unhappy with you. Feels very thin and provides no cushioning during anal sex. Not safe for silicone and TPE sex toys.

Oil-based lube

Pros: Stays slick during long play sessions. Natural oils are good for your skin and don’t mess your guts up like silicone can.

Cons: Feels very thin and absorbs into your skin so reapplication may be needed. Not always safe for silicone and TPE sex toys.

Hybrid lubes

Pros: Offers the cushioning of water-based lubes with the staying power of silicone or oil-based lubes. Can be used with all sex toys.

Cons: Cost. Also most stores won’t have a wide selection.

Personally, I like using a combination of hybrid lube with a little extra water-based lube as needed. Yes, you can absolutely use a mix of lubes during sex.

7 – The best tops use their fingers

Taking anything inside you means you need to be relaxed. And the best tops know how to relax their partners so they can slip in easily and pleasurably. Anal sex shouldn’t hurt after all! I subscribe to the clock method – get one to two fingers inside your partner, and once they’re relaxed enough that you can rotate them easily, flex your fingers at the second knuckle. Like a come-hither motion if your palm was facing up. Do that at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions to both stimulate your partner and help them loosen up. Just be aware that this can feel very intense – and intensely pleasurable. So take your time. And cut your nails a day or two before so you don’t scratch your partner. Scratches do not make for satisfying anal sex.

What if I forget to cut my nails?

If you have talons and you want to top, have a hot shower and soak your nails in warm water for a minute or so. Then cut them. Soaking the nails makes them a bit softer, so you’re less likely to have the sharper edges of freshly cut nails when you got to relax your partner.

6 – Cleaning is important

Okay, poo happens, and maybe you should let it be messy, but there’s moving on from a bit of mess and there’s mess everywhere. If you’re being penetrated, most of that’s on you. So go the loo if you need to, and then take a shower. And if you’re a guy, wash your butt hair, or consider removing it. You can shave it, use hair removal creams, get your partner to shave it so you don’t cut yourself, or go for a wax. Having stuff caught down there doesn’t make for a great sexy experience.

And then there’s douching. You don’t always have to douche, but if you do, there’s one thing you need to know:

5 – Not all douches are made equal

The Colt Syringe Cleansing Douche. Ideal for anal sex.
I try to avoid the term ‘gamechanger’ because it’s overused and overhyped. But this douche was called a gamechanger by my boyfriend, so take his word over mine.

The problem I have with bulb douches is you can’t tell when you’ve got all the water in you, and it’s really frustrating to feel like you have to keep squirting more in because you don’t know how much you’re holding. And not all of us are able to have a specific douche nozzle installed in our bathroom.

And then one partner introduced me to a round nozzled syringe that animal rescue volunteers used to feed injured wildlife. It was a revelation. You knew how much you were putting inside yourself, knew exactly when it was done, and there was no backwash. I just struggled to find one available on the open market. I ended up looking at aged care medical sites and they don’t tell you if the tip is smooth enough for insertion. Thankfully Wild Secrets has one. And yes, that five star review is from me.

Read more: How to use an anal douche in 10 easy steps

4 – Sex toys are great – but it’s very individual

The Lelo Soraya anal beads are amazing for anal sex no matter what your gender.
I’ll be honest – I didn’t get the appeal of anal beads until I tried the Lelo Soraya. It both feels great and the vibrations really help relax you if you’re using it as foreplay…

I have tried a lot of toys. And some of them work great and others, not so much. And some worked great for people who aren’t me. What I can say is that the shape of a prostate massager’s arm will offer more stimulation than a pulsing end that isn’t hitting your spot, so when you find a shape that works for you, get more toys that look like that.

The anal sex toys that get the most play time in my life are the Lelo Loki Wave 2 and the Lelo Soraya Anal Beads, although sometimes the Adam & Eve Double Ended Joy Stick (Dildo) gets brought out when we’re both in the mood. For solo play, the Satisfyer Butt Plugs work pretty well, especially with app control, and I absolutely recommend app or remote-controlled toys so you’re not having to reach behind or below you to change settings.

3 – You may go soft during anal sex

This one’s really for guys, especially those used to watching adult media. In my experience it’s very common for a man to go soft during anal sex due to how relaxed you can get when it’s good and your prostate is being stimulated. As long as you’re feeling good, it’s okay if you go soft. It does mean you may not reach ejaculation during penetration though.  On that note…

2 – Anal orgasms feel different

Especially for penis owners, because you can have an orgasm without being hard. Or ejaculating. Both those things can happen, but don’t have. An anal orgasm to me feels like waves of pleasure and warmth that leave you gasping as your body shudders and pulses and that feeling is centred around your prostate. I’ve been told all people can also experience the same feeling centred around the anus because of the nerves there, and for vulva owners anal sex can stimulate the A-spot and G-spot so can provide an orgasm that feels very similar to a vaginal orgasm. However it feels for you, be open to what your body is experiences and take it for what it is. Or isn’t. It’s also fine to not orgasm from anal sex. It doesn’t happen every time.

Read more: How to achieve an anal orgasm.

1 – Liking anal sex is normal

It’s weird, because the number one on a list like this feels like it should be more profound, but at the same time, this does feel profound? Anal sex is a natural part of human sexuality, and it’s been done for as long as people sought pleasure. And increasingly, it’s for everyone. Anal sex doesn’t make you gay if you’re male and enjoy it. It also doesn’t make you not gay if you’re a same sex attracted man and you don’t enjoy it. It can provide completely different and wonderful pathways to pleasure for vulva owners, and if you want to make it part of your sex life, it can be for you to.

Liking it doesn’t mean anything more than you’ve found something that feels great for you that you enjoy doing. Isn’t that what we all want anyway?