Risks of Anal Sex

Dear Female Orgasm,

My girlfriend is really nervous about anal sex. We both want to try anal sex but she's afraid that she will get an infection or somehow that anal sex will hurt her. I don't think this is right because lots of people have anal sex and if they were getting hurt and getting infections they would stop.

Mr. Brown

Dear Mr. Brown,

It's perfectly normal for a person who's never had anal sex to be a little nervous. We're taught that the anus is a dirty, bad place. Having said that, if you take basic precautions, anal sex can be safe.

First, always practice safe sex. Use a condom (preferably not one with nonoxynol-9). Penetrating the anus tends to create microscopic tears in the rectal lining, which allow can allow viruses to enter the body. Anal sex is much more likely to pass on a sexually-transmitted disease than just about any other sexual activity.

Start easy and use lots of lube. Remember, the anus spends most of its time locked down tight. It needs to be persuaded and cajoled open. Use a well-lubed finger or a narrow anal dildo for initial penetration. Lube is critical because the anus doesn't make its own -- check out our anal lube page for recommendations. It's always better to use way too much lube than not enough.

If you penetrate the anus gently (rather than pounding away), there's no real risk of injury. Make sure that all your anal toys have rounded edges and are smooth (and disinfect them between uses). Anal beads are a good toy to start with.

If you have a particularly large penis, you may not be able to thrust it all the way in. Be patient and make sure not to rush.

Never put anything in the vagina that's been used for anal sex. After you anally penetrate your partner, don't try to have vaginal sex. The anus hosts bacteria that can cause vaginal infections.

Those are the basics. Go easy, use lots of lube, use protection, and don't go from anus to vagina.