The Library


Anal 101
3 Min Read

There aren’t many rules to follow when it comes to engaging in a sexual experience. I would argue that there are only two:

1. Consent, consent, consent. Make sure you always hear the word “yes” before trying anything new with a partner — and make sure you feel empowered to say “yes,” too. In other words, the absence of “no” does not mean “yes.” Ask your partner, and make sure they are completely on board and comfortable before moving forward with any activity, no matter what you’ve done, or how often you’ve had sex before.

2. Use plenty of lube during anal!

Yep, read that again – because if you’re back-door curious, this step matters in a major way.

Anal sex is what it sounds like it is — penetrating your or a partner’s anus with a sex toy, a wearable such as a dildo, your fingers, or a sexual appendage. There’s plenty of taboo surrounding the topic, not least of all because of its association with gay sex. People of all genders and sexual identities can engage in anal sex, and if you’re curious, there are plenty of things to brush up on before trying it out.

You may be surprised to hear this, but many people often choose to skip using lube when exploring anal. This step is crucial, however: this region of the body does not self-lubricate the way other regions such as a vagina or mouth does. Trying an anal experience without lube can be difficult and painful.

Silicone-based lube is often your best bet for anal sex. It typically features a thicker formula than oil or water-based lubricants, and you won’t have to reapply as much product while having sex. However, any type of lube should work just fine — so if you’re allergic to silicone or your toy is silicone-based, you can rest easy.

Some experts also recommend that you use a butt plug before your initial anal experience — doing so can help your body to get used to the feeling of an anal insertion. It can be helpful to start with smaller toys and increase the size as you feel necessary. This step isn’t required by any means, but it could prove to have a positive impact. Questions? Ask your doctor or a sex therapist before you start playing.

Can You Orgasm?

The anus is full of nerve endings, so not only is anal something you might feel like checking off your bucket list, it can be a very pleasurable activity! People with penises have prostates located in this region, which allows them to orgasm from anal fairly easily. People with vaginas can orgasm from anal as well — though it might take a little more work. Try angling a sex toy or the penis towards that mythical “g-spot” area (which, spoiler alert, doesn’t actually exist!) for a different sensation.

Common Concerns

Bowel Movements

Will anal sex cause bowel movements? You can breathe a sigh of relief: The answer is almost always “no.” Having a bowel movement — in other words, pooping — while receiving anal is very rare. Anal activities occur mostly in the rectum, which is only a storage area for bowel movements when you are right about to go — so if you don’t need to go, you should be safe.

The extreme cases in which this does happen are typically the result of intestinal issues, food poisoning, or other out-of-the-blue scenarios. You might also experience a feeling of “needing to go” once you finish anal play. This sensation typically does not last long, Shape magazine reports.

Health Implications

Don’t forget a condom when engaging in anal play — or any other form of sex, for that matter — because you can still run the risk of transmitting viruses or other kinds of diseases.

It’s also important to stay aware of cleanliness! Make sure to wash off any genitals or toys before continuing sex and especially vaginal penetration. No one wants to contract a urinary tract infection, so peeing after sex is a very important move, as well. 


Sure, you’ve probably heard horror stories about someone tearing as a result of anal play. These experiences are rare. The rectum is naturally a very stretchy tissue, and the sphincter only experiences stretching in specific cases, such as by using objects or toys that are bigger than an average- to large-sized penis, or if you continuously skip using lube. This area can easily be re-tightened with Kegel muscle exercises, Women’s Health notes.

Anal fissures


  1. Menza, Kaitlin. “An Insider's Guide to Anal Sex.” Shape,
  2. Lanquist, Lindsey. “13 Questions You Probably Have About Anal Sex, Answered by Actual Doctors.” Self, 2018,
  3. Miller, Korin. “Can Having A Lot of Anal Sex Stretch Out Your Sphincter?” Women's Health, Women's Health, 11 June 2019,