Peach with eyes, sexual connotation illustration 

The Beginner’s Guide To Anal Sex

pleasures of the posterior

by elizabeth koke

Are you feeling a little sheepish about being a novice when it comes to anal sex? Fear not, with a little patience, good communication, and practice, you too can enjoy the pleasures of the posterior. It’s fun, and it feels good! “Many women have their most intense orgasms from anal sex, especially when combined with clit stimulation," says Diana Cage, author of Mind Blowing Sex, and the Lesbian Sex Bible, "All it takes to enjoy is an open mind." She continues: "Some people can’t get past the idea that the butt is a dirty place. Give me a break, the world is a dirty place. If you aren’t afraid of riding the subway, you shouldn’t be afraid of butt sex.” Touché.

According to Cage, “Your butthole has the second-highest concentration of nerve endings in your body," the first being your clit. "It’s no wonder anal sex feels so amazing. One especially great thing about anal sex is that your butthole is a non-gendered orifice. Boy or girl, trans, straight, queer, top or bottom—everyone has a butthole.” All true! So, we tapped the experts to gather all the essentials on anal sex, ahead.  

Get Familiar with Anal Anatomy 

To get started, it might be helpful to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of the situation. But also know that everyone is a little different.

Beyond the anus there are two muscles (sphincters) before the anal canal, which then lead into the rectum. The rectum is somewhat curved and is comprised of soft tissue which can expand. When you are being penetrated, or when you are penetrating a partner, it is important to go slowly and be mindful of these curves. Both women’s G-spots and men’s prostates can be stimulated by anal penetration, which can result in more intense orgasms and ejaculation.  


Finding a good lube is vital to safe, fun anal sex.  Lube helps things move along and protects you from tearing. A good water-based lube should do the trick, but you can always go to a sex shop and feel a few different kinds in your fingers and ask questions. Author, sex educator, and pornographer Tristan Taormino is a lover and advocate of anal sex and wrote the Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, which offers a thorough discussion of anatomy, in addition to tips for safe and exciting anal sex. She also has a section on her website,, that is dedicated to answering questions about anal sex, called "Anal Advisor." She has a personal philosophy when it comes to anal: “There is no such thing as too much lube!” And she is right. First of all, being slippery and wet is always fun, anyways. But when you are dealing with the butt, which unlike the vagina or the mouth, doesn’t create its own lubrication, you especially need lube, and plenty of it.


Tristan suggests anal masturbation as a way to get to know your own body and get comfortable with anal penetration. To get started, she suggests taking a bath or a shower to help you relax, and to make sure your hands are clean and nails trimmed neatly. The tissue inside your butt is sensitive, so you want to take your time, and use plenty of lube. You might also use a hand-held mirror to get a closer look. (Yes, really!) Check out your butthole. What is more empowering than really knowing your own body? Make sure your finger is good and slippery with lube and gently touch your anus—just the outside and see how it feels for you. When you are ready for penetration, you can use one finger to start, go slowly and notice how your body reacts. What movements and sensations feel the best? Once you get comfortable with how your own finger feels inside your butt, what you like and don’t like, you will be more comfortable and able to better communicate when you are with a partner. 

Hygiene and Safety

Before anal sex, you might want to do an enema, but know that this is not totally necessary unless you are planning to have a prolonged or intense session. Otherwise, Tristan suggests keeping some baby wipes nearby. Yes, it is your butt, so fecal matter is involved, but really only a little bit will be in there if you have good hygiene and take a shower or bath before. If you are using fingers, you will want to make sure your nails are trimmed. You may also decide to use latex gloves for protection. If you are using toys, you should make sure they are sanitized and check that hey don’t have any seams or jagged edges. And use condoms, duh. STDs can most certainly be transmitted through anal sex! Although there is no risk of pregnancy, so anal could be a good alternative to get familiar with in the wake of Planned Parenthood defunding. Sigh.

With a Partner

The most important rule is that anal sex should not hurt! Seriously, not at all. It might feel intense or scary at first, but just relax into it and communicate with your partner. This should be a sexy and intimate experience, not an obligation or something you are pressured into. It should feel good, really good. If you are the one doing the penetrating, move slowly and ask questions, make sure your partner feels comfortable communicating with you how he or she feels as you penetrate them, and vice-versa. Anal sex can be intimate and exciting and fun, but communication is key. And remember, it is for everyone! Lots of straight men like having their butt stimulated and penetrated. And of course, there are tons of anal sex toys for when you are feeling more relaxed and adventurous. Another thing that is fun to try is analingus, also known as rimming. “Let me just put your mind at ease: A freshly washed butthole is pretty clean,” says Diana Cage. But of course, you can always use a dental dam for added safety. 

And there you have it. It’s pretty easy! Just lube up, communicate, and enjoy the experience. It might take a little practice to get comfortable with it, but have patience with yourself and your partner, and enjoy your butts.