How to Have Anal Sex

Medically reviewed by Dr Megan Fleming on 07/31/2023

Hoping to, ahem, slide into the ring? You’re not alone. But who can you ask about anal sex? Who will teach you?

We will, we will! That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help teach you why you might want to try anal sex, debunk some of the most common anal myths and guide you through exploring your first anal sex experience.

Forget anything you’ve learned about anal from porn, movies and hearsay. None of that is real life: this is about you and yours having a safe and sexy time together that you both enjoy. Let’s dive in.

Note: If you want info specifically on pegging (aka the penetration of an ass with a strap-on cock), check out our stellar guide on the topic.


Common Myths About Anal Sex

Anal sex is pretty popular with the rumor mill. For our first trick, we’re going to be answering some of the most common questions prompted by lack of knowledge about anal, so you can go forth with an open and excited mind.

Is Anal Sex Abnormal?

Anal sex is totally normal. In fact, according to a National Health Statistics Report from 2016, 35.9% of women and 42.3% of men in the USA report having had anal sex at least once. People all over the gender and sexuality spectrum enjoy anal sex.

Is Anal Sex Painful?

Anal sex, just like any other sex act, should not be painful.

That said, it’s worth noting that the anus has the second highest concentration of nerve endings in the body. So while the potential pleasure is great, the potential of pain when barelling forth a bit too quickly is also high.

Pain is our body’s way of telling us to stop what we’re doing because something’s going wrong – and in the case of anal sex, that usually means you need more lube, a smaller insertable or a bit more preparation.

When you’re thoroughly aroused, adequately lubricated and in a great position, anal sex should not be painful at all.

Is Anal Sex Bad for You?

Anal sex is not bad for you, however, because porn does all its prep off-screen, a lot of people misunderstand how best to do it. Anal is not a hard and fast wham-bam hustle: it’s more of a waltz where you and your partner move in time to achieve something amazing.

Research has indicated that anal sex may be more likely to result in STIs, which is all the more reason to take your precautions seriously: that’s full consent, wearing a condom, taking the time clean up afterwards without rushing and never going from penis-in-ass to penis-in-vagina without a fresh condom.

Is Anal Sex Just For Gay Guys?

Anal is all-inclusive! You have a butt, I have a butt, everyone has a butt, and every butt can enjoy anal sex. Key word can: not everyone does. More on that later.

How to prepare for Anal Sex

Now that we’ve put your mind at ease, let’s take a look at some anal anatomy.


As you can see, regardless of if your junk is the innie or the outtie variety, your anal area is pretty similar. One difference we want to highlight is the prostate gland, which is an organ penis-havers tend to have. When stimulated, the prostate can provide outstanding pleasure.

It’s sometimes been referred to as the ‘male G-spot', but we’re not fans of that term. What we are fans of is the prostate’s awesome ability to potentially trigger dry orgasms, or orgasms that occur without any penis touching whatsoever. It’s practically magic!

Consent, Communication, and Comfort

Our top tip for the best anal sex ever? Make sure it’s anal sex you and your partner both want to have. ‘Accidentally’ making your way into the back end is not appropriate and it’s not okay. Enthusiasm is key, baby.

Our top advice? Talk about trying anal outside the bedroom first so you both know where you stand on the topic. Make it a goal on your bucket list and work towards it together.

In fact, a Lovehoney forum member recounted their journey to their first anal sex experience in a blog post for us. Reading this kind of experience might help you get some ideas how to approach anal in your relationship.

If your partner isn’t interested in or excited by anal sex, that’s okay. You can still enjoy other intimate activities together – preferably ones you’re both into.

Practice, Practice, Practice

No matter how eager you are to try anal, it can still feel a little daunting to think about something (or someone) going in the out door. So, we highly recommend taking some time on your own to explore the anus and all its pleasure possibilities. The more you know, the more you can effectively communicate what gives you pleasure to your partner. Plus, by getting your backdoor accustomed to hosting company, you’ll find it much easier to relax and enjoy the main event when the time comes.

Clean Before Anal Sex

Like any other kind of sex, you probably want to feel fresh and clean before you get down and dirty. That’s half the fun, right?

Because anal brings your partner in close proximity to poop, some people choose to douche to cleanse their anus before anal sex. Douching isn't required, it's all about personal preference. Check out our complete guide to douching if you’re curious.

Even if you choose not to douche, completing your usual personal grooming will help you get in the right mindset for having sex. In particular, it’s good to make sure you’ve completed your regular bowel movement a few hours before you have anal.

Gather Your Supplies

You’ve probably heard that the anus does not self-lubricate. If not, please note: unlike the vagina, the anus does NOT self-lubricate.

In order to enjoy good anal sex, you’ll definitely want some lubricant. Water-based anal lube is the easiest to come by and has the benefit of being compatible with all condoms, which we also recommend using.

If you’re planning on a longer session or one in the shower, some silicone anal lube will do the trick.

Don’t skimp on condoms just because pregnancy is less of a factor. Condoms and other forms of protection, like PrEP, are highly recommended to help keep you and your partner safe during anal sex.

Our top recommended lubes and condoms

Establish a Relaxed Environment

Okay, you’re ready. You’ve got the lube, you’ve got the ‘doms, you’re randy and ready to romp. You and your partner have chatted about how you’d like your session to go, and it’s time to dive in.

Make sure your bedroom (or wherever you’re playing) suits the moment: it should be clean, comfortable and warm enough that you don’t get distracted by goosebumps.

If you’re into that kind of thing, consider mood lighting, sexy music or even some incense: whatever makes your space feel like an excellent place to do anal.

How to Do Anal Sex for the First Time

Step 1. Lube up

You’ve already learned about how important lubricant is to doing anal, so get wet! The first thing in there should not be an erect organ: instead, start small with fingers, a small toy, or your partner’s tongue, all coated in a generous splash of lube.

Step 2. Foreplay/Warm up

As always, get your partner highly aroused before trying anything new, whether that's anal or a new toy. Foreplay and warm-up is particularly key for anal sex. The more relaxed and ready you feel, the easier time you’ll have achieving penetration.

Don’t get pigeon-holed into one area and forget the rest of your body. Other than your genitals, try stimulating your nipples or other erogenous areas to get yourself in the zone.

Step 3. Penetration

And lo, the penetration begins. Remember to start with a finger or a small plug before moving up to a penis or dildo. Remember, you shouldn’t feel pain as your partner eases inside. Be sure to communicate with them and let them know if they need to slow down or hold still for a moment so your body can adjust.

Step 4. Thrusting and Beyond

Once you’re comfortable, either begin to move your body or invite your partner to thrust. If you feel discomfort, add a bit more lube or slow down for a moment. Before long, your body will get the idea, and you’ll be off on an enjoyable anal adventure.

Just remember: Never move from anal play to vulva stimulation or vaginal penetration with finger, toy, or penis as bacteria can transfer and lead to serious infections.

Video: First time Anal Sex | How to do Anal

Video: Thinking about trying anal sex for the first time? Jess and Sammi tell you everything you need to know about first-time anal penetration in this video.

Anal Play Tips and Techniques

Firstly, if you’re interested in that sweet mouth to A-hole action, check out our mega-detailed guide to giving a rimjob.

Secondly, penises are not the only enjoyable things to put up your ass. While you can’t generally wear them during penetrative anal sex, butt plugs, prostate massagers and anal beads are all fun anal toys that make backdoor parties even more enjoyable.

Top Anal Toys

Best for Beginners

Lovehoney Butt Tingler 10 Function Vibrating Butt Plug 3.5 Inch
$16.99 $26.99 You save: $10.00 (37%)

Not too big and not too small, the Butt Tingler is just right for your first anal toy. Being made of silicone and fully waterproof, it brings you big sex toy quality without breaking the bank, and the option to use it with or without vibrations switched on just adds to its pleasure potential. This is definitely one of our top recommendations for newbies.

What customers say: "Using this toy was my first time experiencing anal play, and after of course lubing it up, itRead more about review stating Amazing quality, incredible item. went in easily and was perfect size. Just big enough for that delightful stretch, but small enough to fit comfortably."

Buy it here

Best for Couples

We-Vibe Vector+ App and Remote Controlled Rechargeable Prostate Massager

While it's shaped to target P-spots in particular, the Vector's adjustable angle and smooth profile suits anuses of all kinds. Thanks to the option of using the button on the base, the remote, or the app for full control, it's amazing to play with together: just insert and hand your partner all the power to drive you wild.

What customers say: "With the combination of the perineum and prostate massager, it brings orgasming to another level. The device can be controlled three ways, via an app on your phone, the remote provided or manually on the device itself. This third way provided the best user control. However, my partner enjoyed changing the intensity and mode of vibration on her phone and watching my reactions."

Buy it here

Best Training Set

Lovehoney Booty Bound Anal Training Silicone Butt Plug Set (3 Piece)

For versatility and anal progression, look no further than this smooth silicone set of plugs. Starting small and working up with a focus on penetrative depth rather than big girth gains, this kit is ideal for progressive play that helps you get more comfortable with anal.

What customers say: "Me and my partner used these as part of foreplay and sex itself. They worked great in tandem with a clitoral vibrator like magic wand, it created amazing orgasms, everything felt more intense. Also leaving one in whilst having normal sex also amped up the sensations and created the feel of double penetration. It is also a great way to train yourself and make yourself more comfortable for anal sex. So it is a very versatile product."

Buy it here

Best Anal Lubricant

Lovehoney Discover Water-Based Anal Lubricant 8.5 fl oz

You ass-k, we deliver. Our super-slick anal lube formula is made with body-safe ingredients, plus it’s vegan friendly and offers long-lasting glide for all your rear-entry adventures. An essential for safe and pleasurable anal adventures at home or away, by yourself, with a partner or with a sex toy.

What customers say: "This lube is great for comfort and safety during play! I also love that it's toy safe. When using it, it isn't messy like some other water-based lubes so that's a great perk. Since it's water based, I don't have to worry about staining on my sheets or on any lingerie. I think if you love using toys and want to make sure they don't get ruined, this is the lube for you!"

Buy it here
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Anal Sex Positions

The best positions for anal sex are ones that make you feel comfortable and excited. Great penetration can be achieved by positions like spooning or doggy style; these positions also give the receiver great control over the speed, pace and depth, which is ideal when you’re just starting out.

After you’re a bit more comfortable with anal, try positions like cowgirl or reverse cowgirl, or placing your legs over your partners shoulders. These positions deliver even great depth and can be totally mind-blowing for you and your partner.

If you need a bit of extra support with any of these positions, consider adding some sex furniture or a position enhancer for maximum comfort.

Rocket Launcher
POTW-Lusty Lean
Lusty Lean
POTW-Mission Impossible
Mission Impossible
Cuddle Up
POTW-Step it up
Step It Up
POTW Reverse Cowgirl 1000x1000
Reverse Cowgirl

Anal Sex Aftercare

You or your partner might be feeling a bit dazzled after your first anal sex session. That’s totally okay, just take the time to give them a snuggle and talk about how the event went for you. If things feel too raw or sensitive right then, take some time in the coming days to debrief.

Speaking of raw or sensitive, though, that’s one thing your butt should not be feeling. If it is, consider soaking in a warm bath with some Epsom salts or even applying a little anal soothing gel. During your next bowel movement, inspect the poop for any signs of blood: a few specks is okay, but a lot could be the sign of a problem that needs a doctor’s attention.

Make sure you throw away all condoms and give your sex toys a good wash, preferably with some sex toy cleaner.

Is Anal Sex Safe?

Anal sex, done right, is just as safe as any other kind of sex. We strongly recommend wearing condoms even though pregnancy is much less of a concern during anal: not only do they make it easier to clean up after you’re done, but they can significantly lower your chances of transmitting STIs. This is really important if you and your partner also have sex with other people.

It’s very important to listen to your body during anal, and one way you can do that is by avoiding numbing agents during anal sex. If your butt is in pain, you need to know about it so you can stop. Numbing lubes or creams make it hard to know what’s going on with your body, so leave them out of your play.

Lastly, make sure anything that you put inside your anus is has a broad flared base or is firmly attached to something that’s too large to go up there (the way a penis is attached to a whole other person, for example). A good rule of thumb is that the flare base should be at least twice the width of the widest portion of the toy that’s entering your body.

And that's all, folks!

There you have it. Everything you need to know about jumping into the ring and exploring anal sex.

Armed with this knowledge, a partner you trust, and as much lube as you can carry, go forth and dive in. Let us know how your adventure goes. We’re rooting for you.

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