Get to Know Your Anus: 10 Rules of Anal Sex

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Jack Morin, PhD, a San Francisco sex therapist and researcher, is the author of Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men and Women.

Anal Eroticism is surrounded by a powerful taboo. Yet millions of men and women – straight, gay and bisexual – are experimenting with anal sex. The anus, richly endowed with nerve endings and interconnected with the main pelvic muscles, is the closest erogenous neighbor of the genitals and contracts rhythmically during orgasm. Thirty-five years ago, Kinsey stated that the anal region had erotic significance for about half of the population. In a survey of 100,000 Playboy readers, 47 percent of the men and 61 percent of the women admitted to having tried anal intercourse.

Yet the anal taboo inhibits most people from thinking, talking and learning about the sexual use of the anus. Listed here are the ten things most men and women still do not know about anal sex.

1. Anal intercourse is the least practiced form of anal sex.

There are many ways to enjoy the anus erotically. The most common techniques include touching the anal opening while masturbating or stimulating a partner’s anus during intercourse or oral sex.

Some people enjoy the sensation of a finger – their own or a lover’s – insinuated into their anal opening and gently rotated. Others may prefer the insertion of a dildo or vibrator beyond the  anal opening and short anal canal into the larger rectum. Many men, including heterosexuals, prefer this form of penetration.

Oral-anal lovemaking is popularly known as rimming. The very idea disgusts some people. Others enjoy performing it or allowing themselves to be probed in this special way.

2. Anal stimulation, including intercourse, is not painful if done properly.

The belief that anal stimulation, especially intercourse, has to hurt is a persistent and dangerous  myth. Just as pain anywhere in the body indicates that something is wrong, so is the same true  of the anal area. With its high concentration of nerve endings, the anus can produce extreme  agony when it is mistreated. Yet it can be a source of great pleasure.

When a finger, object or penis is introduced into the anus, the anal muscles go into spasm, as if fighting off an invasion. Pain will result if the partners do not wait forthese muscles to relax. Under sufficient stress they will eventually collapse and the pain subside, unless further damage is done. But, any ‘pleasure’ afforded from this kind of activity derives mostly from the absence of discomfort.

Maximum anal pleasure requires the elimination of all pain or physical trauma from the anal experience. Self-protection on the part of the passive partner involves being ready to say “no” until he or she is ready to proceed. Readiness is a combination of physical relaxation, usually helped along by plenty of leisurely anal touching, and desire.

Occasionally the anal muscles are relaxes, but the passive partner is still not in the mood. Stimulation should mount only in proportion to the degree of receptivity.

3. Anal sex can be enjoyed even if it has been consistently uncomfortable in the past.

Sufficient desire alone does not necessarily guarantee pleasurable anal sex. Nor is an uncomfortable previous experience always the reason for a lack of interest in or desire for anal sex.

Chronic anal tension is the most common cause of anal discomfort during sex. Hemorrhoids and constipation are usually a sign of this condition. Tension can be relieved by touching the anus and becoming more familiar with it. An ideal time to explore the anal opening is while taking a shower or bath. Deep breathing also affects the anal muscles. Tensing the anus and then letting go is another way of learning to relax it. Anyone who enjoys masturbation might want to experiment with some form of anal stimulation, though he or she should stop if any discomfort occurs.

For many people the turning point in anal sex is when they allow a partner to massage the anus with the understanding that intercourse will not be attempted. Then the recipient of anal caresses can concentrate solely on the pleasure that this erogenous zone is capable of  generating.

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