Over the past decade, anal sex—or at least, talking about anal sex—has become significantly less taboo, perhaps because butts have taken on an entirely new status (thanks, Kardashians) or because society has become more sex-positive overall (yay!). Either way, butt sex remains a ~controversial~ topic among women, because not everyone can agree on whether or not it feels good. But guess what? Not everyone has to!
For some women, anal is the cherry on top of a sexual sundae: a little extra treat that elevates something that was already delicious on its own (duh, talking about sex here). But for others, butt sex is more like pâté: intriguing, worth a try, but absolutely not up their alleys (as in, a penis will probably not be going up that alley ever again).
If you've yet to add anal to the menu but are curious to taste test, there are some things you should know first:
- Cleanliness is key. Be sure to clean yourself up after the act with a wipe, to avoid spreading faecal bacteria, and never have your partner go from anal straight to vaginal sex (since it could cause an infection like bacterial vaginosis).
- Try anal training. If you're worried about tearing, you can work your way up to full-blown anal by starting with a butt plug, anal beads, or fingers.
- Lube, lube, lube. To make things way more comfortable, remember that lube (and lots of it) is your best friend. Try an anal-specific option.
- Prep the pipes. Anal douching is always available to you, but you're best off just going poop before the act.
- Talk it out. Be sure to communicate with your partner how you're feeling about anal—before, during, and after you do it. And if something doesn't feel right: stop!
- Hop right in the shower after. In addition to wiping yourself down, you and your partner should take a thorough shower to clear yourselves of any bacteria (together even, to continue the sexy time!).
- Leave the place cleaner than you found it. It's not just your bodies you should clean post-butt sex. Make sure you immediately get rid of condoms and throw any towels or sheets that may have gotten a bit messy in the laundry.
For more deets on these must-know tips, check out the WH Ultimate Anal Sex Guide. But before your first go, you'll also want to peep these stories from women who have dabbled in butt sex and lived to tell the tale. (Jk, intimidating as it might be, everyone can at least agree it's not a life-or-death situation!) Read on, and let their experience guide yours.
"It was the most intimate night of my life."
"My ex and I had been dating for about three years before we ever tried anal. We did it not because we were bored with our sex life, but because neither of us had ever done it, and we wanted to 'have a first' together. He had slept with a lot of women in his teens and early 20s, so I loved the idea of doing something with him that he'd never done before.
"We talked about it for months before finally going through with it. It wasn't really planned, but one night after we both had a couple of drinks, we started hooking up in my bedroom, and he whispered in my ear, 'Should we try it?' I shook my head yes. We slathered ourselves in lube—I'd always heard that you need to use way more than you think you do—then had him enter very slowly, like, centimetre by centimetre, in the doggy position. Within about five minutes, he was pretty far inside, and it felt like nothing I'd experienced before—a fullness that made me feel like I'd never had sex before.
"What made the whole thing that much better was how he kept asking if I was okay and the look of sincere and utter pleasure on his face, as if he was having an otherworldly experience, too. We made a ton of eye contact—I liked turning my head and watching him lose himself to the pleasure—and we kissed a lot as he got close to coming. Despite my nerves, I actually orgasmed, too (I rubbed my clit to put myself more at ease). It was the most intimate night of my life. We did it a handful of times after that on 'special occasions' (I have a fear of stretching out, ha), and all were amazing, but none can compare to that first-time feeling." —Marianne E.
"My first experience was accidental anal."
"I was drunk, and it happened by surprise within a hookup situation because there was not enough communication. Fortunately, I enjoyed myself and had a positive experience overall. I began to realise that I liked the feeling and got pleasure from it. Now in my current long-term relationship, it's one of the activities in the rotation.
Most important, you need to properly warm-up. Just like a vagina, it is easier and more pleasurable when the hole is ready to go. Proper foreplay is essential—bring in lube, fingers, mouth, toys, whatever you prefer. It could take more time than vaginal sex. I think of anal as the second course, because it's better once you're already excited and feeling great. My advice is to trust your body, and if you feel up for it, go for it! " —Michelle R.
"We probably should have used lube."
"I tried anal for the first time with my ex. I was incredibly comfortable with him, but using lube would have made it a more pleasant experience for both of us since there is no natural lube. I would recommend doing it with someone who you feel comfortable with because it definitely is a much more vulnerable area." —Sandra O.
"It was just something we tried a couple of times out of curiosity."
"We tried it for the first time a year and a half into our relationship. We were in a place where we were comfortable with each other and eager to explore more, so one day, we tried it out of curiosity. I did some research beforehand just to make sure we would both be safe and comfortable doing it. The first time we did it, we used a generous amount of lube and made sure to prepare first. It was definitely interesting for both of us and something neither of us had done before.
"After that we only tried it one more time, and we ultimately decided it wasn't something that we wanted to continue doing. It was more special doing it with my partner rather than a random hookup because I felt safe and comfortable throughout all of it." —Elise T.
"It can feel amazing...as long as you use the bathroom first."
"If you're backed up or on an empty stomach, it sucks. You definitely feel like you're going to poop, either all over yourself or on his d*ck.
"But if you're not and you do it nice and slowly, it's euphoric. It's different from regular sex because it feels like he's going way deeper. Anal doesn't help me orgasm more easily, though." —Madeline R.
"The key is to stay relaxed."
"I was always afraid it would hurt, but anal sex actually isn’t so much painful as it is uncomfortable. But! The discomfort is so extreme for some people that they can barely do it—like my best friend, who’s tried a few times with her fiancé and barely gotten it in, no matter how much lube they use. The key, apparently, is to be relaxed, which you really aren’t gonna be—in fact, knowing it’s about to happen will make you tense up more than usual—unless you happen to love it.
"I…do not love it, but my boyfriend is super into it, and he’s very respectful and lovely about not pressuring me. We maybe do it once every couple of months. He’s a big advocate of using a butt plug beforehand to 'loosen everything up.'" —Anna B.
"There's nothing fun about it for me."
"It's not the worst thing ever, but kind of like the same way flossing isn't the worst thing ever. There's nothing fun about it for me. It's not that it's painful, it's just mildly uncomfortable and really not my thing." —Jo R.
"It did NOT feel good."
"I tried it once a long time ago. The guy I was seeing wanted to do it, and I was resistant but eventually gave in. He tried to put it in, but it just hurt too much. I don't think he used lube, and it's just really tight. Maybe I'd do it again with the right person if I had a lot of trust in him. Either way, it's not something at the top of my list." —Clara A.
"It was extremely erotic."
"Amusingly, my first sexual intercourse was via anal penetration. My high school sweetheart was raised strictly Catholic and was 'saving it for marriage.' While I was disinterested in this wait time, he did explain that, to him, anal sex didn't count since it couldn't lead to procreation.
"His being exceedingly well-endowed made taking it slowly and using plenty of lube the obvious choice. The oddest thing I noticed was that the initial penetration would generate a tight sensation in my throat, similar to what you might feel after a bad scare. But it was an exciting feeling, not scary at all. It's a slow but pleasantly luxurious sensation of being gently and benignly pulled inside out. It certainly was extremely erotic, and I felt aware of my entire body as an erogenous zone. I discovered I was able to orgasm via anal penetration, and anal play is something I enjoy to this day." —Mollena W.
"It's the perfect balance of dangerous and sexy."
"I used to be obsessed with anal. At one point in high school, I was having more anal than regular sex. When done right—and by right, I mean when the guy doesn't shove his d*ck into you like a horse in heat—anal can teeter on that dangerous line between pleasure and pain. He feels bigger than ever and completely fills you up. As he's going in, you have to hold your breath because you feel like your body doesn't have room for air and his d*ck at the same time, but once he's in, the pleasure radiates through your whole body." —Nina T.
"It really strengthens the connection with your partner."
"The key to good anal—yes, that's a thing—is having a partner you trust completely and who will do it right. That means lots of lube, starting small with a pinky finger just like in Fifty Shades, then working your way up to small toys or butt plugs. After that, anal can be amazing! It is super intense, and your lover has to be extremely delicate and careful and be a good listener and super patient—and you as the receiver have to have a lot of trust in that.
"The anus is, after all, an exit, not an entrance, and so it could really, really hurt. This is not an act that should ever be undertaken with a random dude or at a random moment; you both have to want it, and you both have to be prepared. No assholes allowed in the asshole! I think that's one of the best parts of the whole ordeal. It takes so much time, trust, and communication that it just amplifies everything physical going on because you are so connected with your partner." —Tess N.
"I have stronger orgasms during anal."
"For me, being penetrated during anal sex can cause a little soreness during insertion and in the first few minutes. Lots of lube, slow, gentle motions, and patience move it quickly to the next phase, which is an exciting, pleasurable pressure. I find that I can have stronger orgasms while being penetrated anally, but these are clitoral or vaginal orgasms, not anal orgasms—those are quite elusive. For me, it's probably the added stimulation, the intimacy, and the emotional intensity of anal that make orgasms stronger.
"But if the angle is wrong in anal sex, with too much of a sharp upward or downward angle, a sting-y and unpleasant pain can be the result. Having the right angle of entry is important for me. Also, pegging someone with a strap-on can be very pleasurable with an insert-able double-ended dildo, or even just the harness or base of the strap-on grinding up against the clitoris." —Margaret C.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.
RELATED: 6 Sexy Spanking Tips for Beginners