The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Anal Sex: Candid, No-Nonsense Advice on All Things Anal

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“Let’s talk about anal sex” - said every sex writer, ever.

“Better yet - let’s make it a beginner’s guide.” 

While there are countless articles detailing beginner anal sex from start to (what is hopefully a fun) finish, I want to talk about what you need to know before getting into it. I want this article to be your guide in talking about, preparing for, experiencing and getting good at all things butt play. 

And while there are likely guides out there similar to this one - there won’t be one that is as clear as this one is. Why? Because I know what you need to hear. 

You need a no-nonsense, totally candid, non-clickbait article that’s designed for people who are interested in anal sex but have no idea where to start because of the sheer amount of information that’s out there about this topic. 

Anal sex has been talked about, turned inside out, glorified and mystified for ages...from Cosmo magazine to Elite Daily: this is a topic that has been done to death.

And because of that, if you’re a newbie looking for helpful information on how to have good anal sex, a simple Google search will leave you feeling totally and completely overwhelmed. 

To make this article as easily digestible as possible, I’m going to break the post into a few different sections: 

  • why do people like anal sex?
  • what to know before/during and after anal sex.
  • what people who have frequent anal sex have to say about it.
  • what lubricants are best for anal sex?

I hope this can be a place you can come back to when you need, to get a few tried and true tips that will help guide you into your first anal sex experience and beyond.

This is a process, and it’s one that shouldn’t be rushed for the sake of sex appeal. 

Why Do People Like Anal Sex? 

The number one reason people like anal sex is simple: it’s taboo. The “naughty factor” or taboo that goes along with doing something you “shouldn’t” applies to many different kinks, and it’s one of the biggest reasons people find anal sex so alluring. They want to try it simply for the sake of trying it, for the sake of experiencing it. 

Another reason people may be fascinated with trying butt sex is that it’s something different and offers an alternative to typical vaginal penetration sex. Whether you’re battling an uncomfortable UTI, are on your period or simply don’t want to experience vaginal penetration during your intercourse, butt play offers something else on the menu. 

Something new to add to the regular menu. Additionally, it is often considered an “extra” to be put on the menu for special occasions (like anniversaries, birthdays, etc), which can make that one night even more special. 

Once it gets good, it gets really good. I have heard this from countless friends, read it in endless numbers of articles and have heard it maybe a dozen times on different sex podcasts: anal gives better orgasms. While I will show you some proof of this later on in the article (so keep reading!) - the orgasms you have during anal sex can be much different than what you’re used to. 

While the definition of a good orgasm can vary, but there is no denying there is something different about the orgasm you feel with anal sex. 

While this is a beginner’s guide and you should by no means expect mind-blowing, orgasmic butt sex after reading this article, once you have tried this a few times and get to know how it works best for you - the reward is amazing. 

What You Need to Know About Butt Sex
(before, during and after)

Now - the actuality of having anal sex is much, much different than simply talking about it or reading articles on it. I am sure you’ve come here with one (not so simple) question: how do I actually have good, pain-free, enjoyable anal sex? 

The answer is much simpler than you think: you talk about it, prepare yourself, relax your body, use a lot of lube, go slow, stop when you need to and be patient with yourselves. 

Really, that is how you have good anal sex, summed up in one simple set of instructions. 

But - if you need more than that (which you likely do), here’s more of an explanation on preparing for (and diving into) your first anal sex experience(s). 

Before You Start: Decide What Position(s) You Think Are Best for You

What position you’re in matters, a lot. There are positions that help with this and positions that will make this much more difficult.

When thinking of anal sex, most people immediately think of doggy style...but in our opinion,  there are actually two other positions that are much better for first-time anal sex. 

The easiest position to get things started slowly has the person being penetrated on top - this allows you to control how far and how fast you go. This can feel really reassuring and give you a sense of control over what is typically a pretty vulnerable situation. Of course, you need to be careful, because being on top allows for deeper penetration - so you will really want to watch just how much you’re taking in.

The second best position would be spooning, because it adds a bit of extra intimacy as well as letting you both have a bit of control over the flow of things. 

And lastly, doggy style - which of course, is many people’s go-to position for anal sex. In my experience, the two prior positions we talked about are much more delicate and helpful when easing into butt play for beginners. 

To be honest, allowing for easy entry is really the only plus side of doggy style anal sex. The person in the back (doing the entering) is in control, which can feel really scary if you’re a first-timer. Not only that but the curves of your body when in doggy style positions often allow for even deeper penetration than you being on top, which is not something you want to aim for when it’s your first time. 

Before You Start: Understand That This Isn’t Going to Be Porno-Sexy 

While porn has done a lot for us, it’s short-changed us in what is expected of anal sex, I think. Please, for the love of all that is kinky, don’t expect your first time to be sensual, casual and fun. 

Your first time is likely going to be slow-paced, a bit un-coordinated and this is definitely going to take some experimenting until you find something that works well and feels good. 

During the Deed: Keep Talking and Find a Slow & Steady Pace

While it’s easy to get excitable for the person doing the thrusting, remember that this is delicate and needs to be done with some ease (at least the first few times you do it). Porn has a habit of making people think that this should be really easy and that you can go fast and hard your very first time and they will love it. They will not love it. 

Please, for the love of all things kinky, do not go fast and hard. Go gently, and slowly. Talk with your partner, ask if they are okay, ask if they need a break, ask if you can go faster. Just keep asking. Find a slow and steady pace you’re both comfortable with, and don’t be surprised if your first time ends quickly. 

During the Deed: Stop If You Need To 

Sometimes we have to stop. Sometimes it’s too much, too fast and sometimes you just need a bit more lube. Sometimes you need a minute to prepare yourself before trying again. Maybe you want to try a different position or sometimes, you want to stop and try again later.

Whatever the reason for putting a halt on things - don’t feel like you have to keep going once you get started. As I said - first-time anal sex is not going to be super erotic and easy...it takes some getting used to. 

After It’s Over: Discuss, Plan and Optimize for Better Experiences

You did it. You had anal sex for the first time. 

You’re likely a bit excited, but you’re maybe also wondering “is that it?” 

Well - yes and no. If you want to keep trying, it can get better. If you are only interested in doing this once in a blue moon, chances are the next time you try, it will go something like the first time because it’s not something you’re doing often enough to get good at it.

If you are interested in doing this again (and a bit more frequently), here are some tips: talk about it, strategize and optimize for better experiences in the future. Explain to your partner what feels good, what hurts (if anything), what you want to try next time and how you think you can get better at this. 

Practice makes perfect, after all. 

Incredibly Obvious Tips for First Time Anal Sex

Lube is your friend.

This one is at the tip-top of our list because it’s not only the most obvious solution to this particular puzzle, but it’s also the thing many people think they can go without, for some reason.

I once had a guy tell me we didn’t need lube because I had just showered. If I could go back and warn 17-year-old me...I’d tell her that was complete and utter non-sense. 

Using a (water-based) lubricant can make anal play easier, more fun and can even increase sensitivity. If you’re wondering what kind of lubes are best for butt play, stick around and I’ll let you know some of our recommendations at the end of this article!

Relax your body. 

Being tense is normal but will not help you one bit when it comes to easing your way into butt play. If you’re tense and not having a great time - what’s the point? 

While it’s natural to be nervous, maybe start with a sensual back rub to set the mood as light and calm. 

Communication is essential. 

Talk about it first. 

Talk about it during. 

Talk about it after. 

Just keep talking about it. 

While talking about just how you’re going to pull off anal sex isn’t exactly the type of dirty talk you were hoping for, keeping lines of communication open is essential, especially for beginners. Explaining what feels good, what hurts and what you want is key to ensuring you have a pleasant first experience.

Not So Obvious Tips for First Time Anal Sex 

Be horny as hell before you start. 

One of the biggest mistakes people make when going into their first or second anal sex experiences is just rushing into it. We get it: it’s new, it’s exciting and you want to give it a go...but that doesn’t mean you should skip the foreplay. In fact, foreplay can help! 

The more aroused you are, the more relaxed you are. Literally. Your sphincter muscle will be relaxed when you’re in a state of arousal, and that will make this a much easier (and much sexier) experience. 

Breathe in, breathe out, repeat. 

Another common mistake people make during sex (even vaginal sex) is holding their breath. While there are some merits to having more intense orgasms by holding your breath, your first time experimenting with butt play shouldn’t be about mastering your anal orgasm. It should be about having a relatively pain-free first-time experience.

Don’t forget to breathe throughout the entire situation - taking deep and consistent breaths can help you stay calm and relaxed. 

Try a condom. 

Many people assume because there is next to no risk of getting pregnant during anal penetration, that they don’t need to use a condom. First of all: condoms are for more than just birth control - they are also to protect from sexually transmitted infections, which you can get while having anal sex. Secondly - a condom may make things a bit easier when it comes to getting it in. 

An important tip: don’t use the same condom going from vaginal to anal penetration...slip on a new one before switching to avoid infections. 

Some “I Had No Idea That Even Mattered” Tips for First Time Anal Sex

You don’t need a numbing cream. 

The aspect of pain during anal sex is enough to make you tingle (and not in a good way) - and many people want to avoid that pain as much as possible. Enough to think that you should use a numbing cream...after all, numbing cream could protect you from feeling any pain that might happen during anal sex...so it might seem like a good idea. 

Do not use any kind of numbing cream - especially for your first time(s). 

Pain is a way our bodies let us know something isn’t quite right. Ignoring (or blocking) that pain with a numbing cream may lead to some actual damage and a lot more pain later because you didn’t know when to stop. 

What if mediation can help? 

Cruising the comment sections of some of these “anal sex guides” online can be incredibly helpful when it comes to real advice from real people.

“I figured if it works for exercise, anxiety, pain and pretty much everything...why can’t it work for sex?” says the SlickPineapple, in the comment section of Refinery’s How to Prep for Anal Sex article. Well, they aren’t wrong. 

Meditation goes along the same lines of controlled breathing and creating a comfortable, casual and relaxing setting for yourself. If meditation is something you do to help yourself relax - try a bit of meditation before getting in some butt play with your lover. 

If you see a bit of blood, don’t panic. 

Seeing a little blood during (or most commonly after) anal play can be pretty daunting, but it’s really more common than you think and nothing to cause huge concern over unless the amount of blood is crazy or it won’t stop. 

Little anal tears or fissures can cause a bit of bleeding. While this sounds absolutely terrifying, most of these “tears” are so tiny they are the size of paper cuts, but will likely not hurt as a paper cut does. You maybe won’t even feel anything, and it won’t be a gush...it will most likely just be a few spots of blood on your panties

Here’s What People Who Have Frequent Anal Sex Want You To Know 

No one knows it like the pros. 

To give you some actual advice that will actually help you enjoy anal play, I’ve scoured the web and asked some experienced friends what they would say to people who are new to butt play, and here’s what they had to say...

“Do it yourself before trying with a partner - it helps!” 

Even if you and your beloved have been together for a decade before you decide to try anal sex, there can always be a certain “pressure to perform” when you’re having sex with someone else. On top of that, it can be a bit of a mood killer, trying anal sex for the first time...there’s a lot of stopping and starting, a lot of uncertainty and you know - you’re most likely scared you’re going to poop.  

Nothing says romance like slow and awkward thrusting that lasts for 95 seconds before you call it quits because it’s your first time and you want to go slow...right? 

So, try it yourself. 

Experiment with butt play during your solo time, letting your body get used to the sensations (and the mere idea) of anal pleasure. We suggest you use a toy (and a condom) for easy cleanup. 

“A glass of wine isn’t a terrible idea.”

While you don’t want to be blackout drunk before trying anal play for the first time, a little social lubricant (or liquid courage, as I call it) goes a long way in helping you relax. 

Having a glass of wine or beer before getting down and dirty back there can help things flow a bit more naturally and make you feel a bit more prepared to try something new. 

“Anal play doesn’t have to be penetrative.”

Before going all the way, you can (and definitely should) dabble in light anal play. Whether that’s slipping a finger in there during vaginal sex or a wandering tongue during a steamy oral sex sesh, don’t avoid the booty during your normal foreplay activities! 

Getting used to incorporating butt play into your sexcapades can make the whole idea seem a lot less foreign (and a lot more fun). 

“You likely won’t poop...and even if you do, it’s really not as horrific as it sounds.”

Okay, so “am I going to poop during anal sex” is a very, very, very common question. And the answer is: yes, it’s possible you will see a bit of fecal matter during your anal play activities. 

Do you know what else is possible? Winning the lottery. 

And yet, in the 7 years I’ve been buying scratch tickets, I’ve only won a handful of times...and most often, what I win is the cash equivalent of half a tank of gas or another card to play another turn, where I don’t win anything. 

Anal sex and poop are like the lottery: it can happen, but it most likely won’t. 

Even when it does happen, it’s likely not going to be that big of a thing. 

And if that isn’t the best metaphor for poo and anal sex - I don’t know what is. Unless you find yourself one lucky (or in this case, unlucky) kinkster - don’t stress about poop during anal play, because it likely won’t happen.

The real reason we feel like we have to poop during anal sex is that there is pressure on the muscle to move in a similar way that it moves when we have a bowel movement. Even if there is nothing in there, you still may feel like you’re going to poop. But really, your poop is stored in your upper bowels, which is not reachable with a dildo or penis. Where it can get messy is if you already really have to go and things have moved down from the upper bowels - this is where it becomes possible that a bit of poo may come out.

To avoid any chances of seeing anything like this during your anal play, make sure you don’t have to poo before you start! It’s really as simple as that. 

You don’t want a full bowel, so try to plan your butt play fun for after you’ve already emptied the pipes and aren’t due for another toilet check-in anytime soon. 

Even if it happens...you have to be prepared to just shrug it off. 

Shit happens (quite literally) when you’re experimenting with butt play - and if there is some kind of leak (or more), remind yourself that sex can get messy and that it’s really not a big deal. 

Hop in the shower and move on. 

“You’re going to enjoy it more if there are also other kinds of stimulation happening at the same time.” 

Just because we’re talking about anal play doesn’t mean that’s all we want you to experience. Oh no - it’s quite the opposite: anal play is going to feel much better when you’re also experiencing other (good) sensations. 

Stimulating your clit (in my opinion), with a toy or a free hand, is the best way to add some guaranteed feel-good vibrations into the mix. Double penetration (in this case, anal and vaginal penetration) can also make you feel amazing once you get into a good rhythm, from personal experience. 

“People who have anal sex have more orgasms.”

Um, what!? 

This is the first I’m hearing of this...is it true? Yep! And here are the stats to prove it…

According to this Slate article, of the women interviewed for the survey (women aged 20-39) who have had anal sex in the past year, 94% say they reached orgasm during their last anal sex encounter. Meanwhile, only 65% of women stated they reached orgasm the last time they had vaginal penetration sex. 

94%...compared to 65%. 

Anal is awesome. Apparently, it’s 29% more awesome than vaginal sex, according to these numbers.

You can find more information on this study here, but the numbers don’t lie: anal sex leads to more orgasms. 

“Not only can you have more orgasms...but anal orgasms are just...different.”

More intense, more powerful, more “full-body”...when it comes to anal play orgasms, there are many different versions of how this climax isn’t quite like the others. Many people experience more intense orgasms during anal sex.

Why this is, I can’t really say for sure - but when this many people are talking about how “different” the orgasm is...it’s something worth giving a try, isn’t it?

“You can learn to relax your anal muscles...like reverse Kegels, if you will.” 

Ladies, I am sure you’re familiar with kegel exercises to tighten up your pelvic muscles, right? 

Well, you can also do little exercises to loosen your sphincter muscles, making anal sex easier. 

Your sphincter is at the entrance of your anus, and this muscle plays a crucial role in how much you can enjoy anal sex. However, this muscle isn’t as easily relaxed as some of the other muscles in your body, you have to train yourself to know how to relax it. 

How? The best way to relax this muscle is to slip a properly lubed finger in. 

Hold it there, in the same place, for a minute. 

You will feel yourself naturally relax. Much like with kegel muscles, you will be able to feel when your sphincter relaxes and tightens. When you feel it start to relax, slip another (well lubed) finger in. If you’d like, you can also use a butt plug to do this (this is why they have beginner size butt plugs). 

Doing this allows you to get used to the sensation, which will ultimately make it easier to relax that muscle when you’re having anal sex with your partner. 

Let’s Talk About Lube 

What kind of lube (and condoms) you use really matters here. 

While “use lube” is number one on our list of tips for easy anal sex, did you know that the kind of lube you use matters (a lot) when it comes to anal play? Not only that but the kind of condoms you use also factor in here. 

WATER-BASED LUBE

If you’re using a latex rubber condom (which are super common) - you cannot use an oil-based lubricant. Why? Because the oils in oil-based lube break down the latex in a condom, making it more likely to tear. 

To avoid this, it’s always better to use a water-based lubricant when experimenting with anal play. However, water-based lubes do have a downside...because it consists mainly of water, it tends to “dry out” quickly. And what we do NOT want when dealing with anal fun is dryness. Hell no. 

So, you may need to stop a re-apply lube, which yes - isn’t exactly sexy...but will definitely make things feel better! 

Sofia Gray recommendation for water-based lube: 

I personally really love this Aloe Cadabra Organic Lubricant, it’s pH balanced with totally natural ingredients. Completely free of dyes and fragrances, this organic lube is a really good option if you have more sensitive skin. 

SILICONE-BASED LUBE

An alternative to water-based lube during anal sex (think of it as a runner up) would be a silicone-based lubricant. Silicone-based lubes are compatible with latex condoms too, so there isn’t a chance of degrading them.

The only reason we consider this a “runner up” is that it’s fairly messy and can be difficult to wash out of clothes or bed sheets. 

Not only that but using silicone lube with a silicone toy (which is what many anal sex toys are made of) is a huge no-no. The silicone lube will essentially melt and warp your toy - this happens because the silicone molecules in the lube act like a magnet for the silicone molecules on the toy, essentially stripping the silicone off the toy. 

Silicone-based lubes can be used with toys that are made of metal, glass, wood, stone, or plastic. So just be sure to check what kind of toy you’re using to determine if you can use a silicone-based lubricant. 

Sofia Gray recommendation for silicone-based lube: 

This Wet Platinum silicone-based lubricant can keep things feeling wet for longer, and is also paraben-free, which means it won’t leave behind a tacky/sticky residue as some other silicone lubricants do. 

Now You’re Ready

After countless tabs of “beginner anal sex guides”, Google searches that likely left you with more questions than answers and a whole lot of hesitation, I say this with total confidence: with this information and an open mind - you really are ready for your first butt play experience. 

I suggest you pour yourself a glass of wine, get your lube ready and ease on into it.

With the right partner, the right set up and the right knowledge, anal sex can be pain-free, sensual and fun - so keep this page open on your phone to consult when you need to and enjoy your first anal sex experience. 

And as always, play safe, friends!