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Exploring Your Boundaries: The Truth About Anal Sex

Question: “Soooo my boyfriend really wants to do anal and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it. I don’t wanna say no outright, but the little stuff we try doesn’t make me feel good. Is anal really only a thing guys like?” -Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

To answer your question, no. Anal is something both men and women can enjoy. However, enjoying any kind of sexual experience requires both partners to be fully comfortable and consenting. Keeping an open mind and trying new things is always great, but doing something you’re uncomfortable with will never feel good. Wanting to make someone else happy in a relationship is normal, but make sure you’re not going outside your moral limits. Sex affects both of you and it should make you both feel good, so there’s no need to feel like you’re making a sacrifice.

Take some time to think about what you want and what you’re truly comfortable doing. Everyone has their limits and you should never feel ashamed to say “no,” even to the person you love. If you still want to give the back door a try, I’ve got some tips to help you get started.

You did the right thing by starting with the “little stuff,” but size is never the only factor in sex. First and foremost you need to make sure you’re mentally and physically relaxed. If you’re doubting yourself, feeling insecure, or not sure if you’re ready, there’s no chance anything your boyfriend does (or even what you do by yourself) will feel good. If you’re in the moment and your inhibitions are gone, things will go much smoother.

Unlike the vagina, the anus doesn’t come with its own lubricant and it doesn’t do its own prepping for sex. You’ll need to use a water-based lubricant, and lots of it. If you want to do extra prep beforehand (some people recommend enemas and douching) go for it, but don’t stress yourself out. If you and your partner are comfortable with each other and mature, extra prep isn’t necessary.

Here’s where size matters: If you start with full on anal sex, you’re almost guaranteed not to have a good time. With anal you’re essentially stretching a muscle farther than it has ever been stretched before. Pushing that limit is going to be uncomfortable at first, no matter what. Starting small will help you get used to the feeling and help you figure out if it’s something you really like. There are also toys and plugs built specifically for backdoor beginners to help ease you into the feeling. Communication between partners is pertinent here. Discomfort is to be expected at first, but your partner should always be ready to stop when you say so.

When you’re with your partner, make sure to communicate what feels good and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to switch up positions to make it more comfortable for both of you. Try taking it slow and staying off the deep end until both partners are sure they’re ready for more. Also, be sure he always wears a condom. Just because going through the back door decreases the chance of pregnancy doesn’t mean that sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections can’t be spread either. Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship condom use and regular testing are still important parts of a healthy sex life. Be sure to keep things sanitary as well. Visitors of the back door should be cleaned before going through the front door, mouth door, or anything else you’re into (no judgement).

Stimulating other parts of the body during anal play can make the act much more enjoyable, and once you’re familiar enough with your body and able to relax, anal can even have some incredible results. Cosmo writer Anna Breslaw says the best anal experiences can even be, “accompanied by a spontaneous enhanced ~~**~~uNiCoRn oRgAsM~~**~~.”

A 2010 national study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported, “Among women who had vaginal sex in their last encounter, the percentage who said they reached orgasm was 65. Among those who received oral sex, it was 81. But among those who had anal sex, it was 94,” as quoted in Slate Magazine. It is important to note that 94 percent of the women who had anal sex also had vaginal or oral sex, or “partnered masturbation” in the same encounter.

For some women anal sex can be a way of reaching their G-spot. For men, being on the receiving end can stimulate the prostate and result in better orgasms for them (you may want to pose this to your boyfriend).

While anal sex is often generalized as taboo, the world is slowly becoming a more anal-friendly place. There are countless books available (over 30,000 search results on Amazon) that focus solely on anal sex tips and education. The sex toy company Good Vibrations declared August to be “Anal Pleasure Month” and even put together a timeline of anal sex history to celebrate and help normalize anal sex awareness.

So, if you’re thinking anal is something only your boyfriend will enjoy, know that doesn’t have to be true. Butt (pun intended), if you’re still not into it, you have every right not to be.

Need advice from our Sex and Love columnist? Want us to cover something specific? Go to and send in your questions anonymously.

Selene San Felice can be reached at

Update: Editors’ notes not intended for publication were inadvertently left in the print version of this week’s sex and love column. The Minaret regrets the error.

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