Anal Play

The idea of anal sex can leave many people squirming. The topic can also be controversial. Many people think it’s gross because this part of our body is responsible for eliminating waste. The thought of inserting anything in the anal canal may make some people think it’s painful

If you’re turned off by the idea, there’s no need to read any further. The types of sexual behaviors you want to or don’t want to participate in is for you to decide. You have a right to your sexual agency!

However, if you’re curious about this topic, this post may help you better understand why some couples enjoy it, be informed of the risks associated with anal play, how to find pleasure in anal sex, and how to make anal play a part of your sexual repertoire. 

Like all sexual activity, it’s crucial that you and your spouse are both enthusiastically on board with the idea. Discuss it with your spouse beforehand, preferably out of the bedroom, your thoughts about incorporating anal play. If you need help deciding what’s right for you, read our post What’s Okay and What’s Not?

Pleasure Spot

God created our bodies with many areas that give us pleasure: our lips and tongue, our scalp, hands, back, feet, and especially our genitals. When touched right, these areas with a high concentration of nerve endings send signals to our brain telling us that this touch feels good.

The anus and the area around it also has a high concentration of nerve endings in both genders. The anal sphincter and the nerves around it is connected to the genital pleasure network in men and women. Next time you experience a orgasm, pay attention to your or your spouse’s anal area. You’ll notice the anus contracts along with the other pelvic areas when experiencing pleasure.

There’s also a psychological dimension to the pleasure that can come from anal play. Because activity around this area of the body is often seen as taboo, playing with your spouse’s anus can add an air of mystery and excitement that feels forbidden. “Forbiddenness” is a popular theme for psychological arousal: Many people’s sexual fantasies include doing something “forbidden,” such as skinny dipping or having sex in a location other than the bedroom.


proper hygiene is necessary before anal sex

Bums naturally have an earthy smell to them. You can reduce the smell by showering or bathing first, washing with water and a mild soap beforehand.

But what about poop? If you’ve had a bowel movement recently, you’ll probably not find any poop during anal play. The anal canal and rectum of your body can be surprisingly clean after a bowel movement and is usually empty. 

If you’re concerned about a clean bowel, you can get a bulb syringe (like the kind the hospital sends you home with for your newborn baby to suck out snot from your baby’s nose), fill it with a little bit of warm water, and gently squirt it inside your anus and let your body naturally flush it out.

It’s also very important to remember that if you do any anal penetration, that you don’t afterwards penetrate the vagina without thoroughly cleaning first. The bacteria in the anal cavity is different from the vagina, and shouldn’t be mixed. This is the same reason why women should wipe from the front to the back when using the toilet.

Light Touch

A simple and non-intrusive way to enjoy anal pleasure is to practice light touch on the area around the anus. Before having sex, get clean (shower or bathe). After you’ve become aroused, get a little bit of lube on the area and receive some light touch in a circular motion. You can also try tapping. You can combine this touch with penis or clitoral stimulation for increased pleasure.

Another way to experiment with light touch is in the bathtub together. Once you’re aroused, lean back and allow the other person to touch this area lightly and gently. The abundance of water and soap nearby may make this a better option.

Applying a vibrator on a clean anus or perineum can also be very pleasurable during sex and won’t require any penetration.


If you want to experiment with penetration of the anus (with a penis or sex toy for instance), there are a few things you need to know.

  1. Relax

The anus is made up of two sphincter muscles. The outer one closest to your anus is one that you control consciously. The second sphincter muscle located just on the inside is controlled by your autonomic nervous system and you don’t have full conscious control over that. Your body relaxes the inner sphincter muscle instinctively when there’s gentle pressure applied to it (such as passing a bowel movement) or when your outer sphincter (the one you have control over) is relaxed. 

Relaxation is key. Anal sex can be painful right out of the gate if you’re tense about it. Relaxation though is counter to anal penetration because it’s a sensation you’re not accustomed to feeling. While it’s normal to be nervous about trying something new, fear and apprehension are counterproductive to successful anal sex so don’t engage unless you’re enthusiastic about trying it.

  1. Lubes and Condoms

Unlike your vagina or mouth, your anal canal doesn’t self-lubricate. The tissues are very delicate and thinner, making it easier to tear and get inflamed if it’s hurt. Lubricant will decrease the chance of tearing and reduce friction, making it much more pleasurable for both of you. 

Use lots and lots of lubricant! If you want to know more about different lubes, check out our post 23 Facts You Probably Didn’t know About Lube

Condoms are a great idea as well. You can wear a condom on your finger, penis, cucumber, toy, etc. You can throw away the condom to make clean-up easier too. 

Water-based lubricant is best, but it does tend to get absorbed quickly and dry out. Oil-based lubricants last longer but are not compatible with many types of condoms. A silicone-based lubricant is also a good choice but isn’t compatible with many silicone sex toys. Do your research first and pick what’s best for you. There are lubricants marketed for the purpose of anal sex.

  1. Go Slowly

You may want to begin with using a gloved finger or a condom on a finger at first to see how both people feel about the experience.

The penetrating spouse will want to go very slow. The receiving spouse’s body will naturally want to tense up with new movement in the area, so going really slow and communicating is key. Focusing on the journey rather than the goal can make this exciting for both people.

  1. Positions

The colon isn’t a straight tube like a vagina. It’s S-shaped. Penetration can get quite painful quickly if you’re not careful. However, bringing your legs up does straighten your colon somewhat. That’s why popular bathroom stools like Squatty Potty help people eliminate better than users of western toilets: it puts your body in a squatting position to lessen the kinks in your colon.

Positions where the knees are up higher, such as the receiving spouse laying on his or her back with her knees near his or her chest is good. Also a position from behind (such as doggy style) can also be more comfortable. 

  1. Keep Things Clean

You’ll want to thoroughly clean whatever you put into the anal canal. Never insert something into the vagina that has been in the anus. The bacteria in the colon and the vagina are different and can cause problems.

  1. Other things to Consider

If using a toy to stimulate the anus, be sure to use a toy that has a wide base to prevent it from going all the way in. The anus tends to suck things in. It could mean a lot of discomfort and even a trip to the emergency room if something gets stuck in there. 

The first time you consider anal sex, you may not want to make penetration from your spouse the goal. You may want to work together and get used to the sensation of something going in and out by yourself first.

Prostate Play

Receiving anal play for men can be very pleasurable if the prostate is stimulated in the process. The walnut-sized prostate gland sits under the bladder towards your back and can be felt about an inch or two into the anal canal, along the rectal wall facing your stomach. 

When sexually aroused, the prostate enlarges a little and stimulating it can be pleasurable. You can stimulate it by rubbing it, tapping it, or pressing on it. You can use a small vibrator to stimulate the prostate as well. Stimulating both the penis (orally or manually) while simultaneously stimulating the prostate can lead to explosive orgasms for men.

Sexual Agency

I want to reiterate sexual agency — the right we have to our own body and the consent we give for the type of sexual activity we wish to participate in. You also have the right to withdraw your consent at any time you feel uncomfortable with the activity.

Controlling or manipulating your spouse by pressuring him or her to engage in something you don’t want to do is also harmful to the foundation of trust and intimacy in marriage. In short, unless both partners are enthusiastically saying “heck yeah” to the idea, it’s best not to press the matter and focus on other areas of your intimate connection that bring you both pleasure.

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<h3>Amanda Severson</h3>

Amanda Severson

Hi, I'm Amanda! I'm a grad student on her way to becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. I'm a wife and a sex enthusiast. I am a psychology nerd whose life goal is to help every couple find the absolute joy of sharing your life with someone else.

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