Written by Domina Doll, 21st April 2023

Medically reviewed by Dr. Megan Fleming

Preparing for Anal Sex

Anal pleasure is a popular sexual pastime currently, and many are people curious about learning what it’s all about. And why not? The anus is rich in pleasure-sensitive nerve endings that can lead to explosive orgasms when stimulated just the right way, which makes it an exciting sexual activity to add to your erotic exploration.

For penis owners, there’s the P-spot or prostate gland, which can lead to multiple orgasms, and for vulva owners, anal penetration can stimulate the G-spot. Anal play can be combined with other types of sexual experiences as well to intensify pleasure.

However, there is so much conflicting information, negative first-time experiences, and unfortunately, a lot of stigmas surrounding anal play that make many folx hesitant to dive right in.

One of the biggest barriers is just getting ready for anal play. How do you even get started preparing to do anal? There’s the whole hygiene issue, how to talk about it to your partner, anal sex toys to try out (which ones are the best?), and finding the best anal sex positions to enhance your experience.

To get you into the action, we’ve put together this “how-to guide” on preparing for anal sex (or any time of anal pleasure!) so you can learn the best practices, tips, and tricks on how to prepare for anal play for the most pleasurable experience possible.

Ready to explore a new way to experience orgasms? Great!

Let’s learn all about how to get ready for anal play!

Why preparing for anal is a must-do

Preparing for anal play is important because, when you know the ins and outs of butt pleasure and are more prepared, this leads to more confidence and overall satisfaction in the bedroom. And as we know, having sexual confidence is a large part of enjoying the overall experience.

Plus, there’s the poop factor, which can be a bit messy if you don’t follow proper hygiene beforehand, and bacteria, which can lead to infections.

Prepping for anal sex helps support you in having the best possible encounters, especially if it is your first time.

How to prepare for anal sex

The first thing you’ll want to do to prepare for your first anal experience is what you are doing right now - educating yourself. So, congrats on that!

Read all you can on the subject, watch videos, and familiarize yourself with what you can expect. See our other Lovehoney anal play guides at the end of this article for even more information!

Getting equipped

Getting prepared for anal means first getting equipped. Having the right tools ready beforehand is essential to having the best experience during anal play. Here are our top tips on what to have ready to prepare for anal sex.



Lube is essential to safe and enjoyable anal sex. The anus is not self-lubricating like the vagina, and therefore you will want to have a bottle of good thick anal lube on hand to make the process slippery and friction-free. Not using lube can lead to small anal tears, which increases your risk of STIs and bacterial infections.

Which lube is best for anal sex? Many sex experts recommend silicone lubricant because it lasts longer. However, keep in mind, you can’t use silicone lube with many sex toys, so a thick water-based lube will also do the trick. And always use caution with lube with numbing agents. Sex shouldn't be painful, so it is important to be aware of any pain sensations so you can stop or modify the pace or depth.

For oral to anal sex (aka rimming), you may also want to explore flavored as well. In addition, lube shooters are great for getting lots of lube inside the butt for the ultimate smooth ride.


Wipes and towels

An old towel and sex wipes are two basic tools you’ll want to have on hand when getting ready for anal sex.

The old towel will save your sheets and bed from any fecal matter, lube, body fluids, or mess. Wet wipes (or sex wipes) are also great to have on hand to freshen up before play or after play to make clean-up a breeze.

A waterproof sex blanket like the Liberator Throw is also perfect for protecting your furniture from sexual fluids.

Then if anal play does get messy, you are prepared.


Anal training

Anal play requires a bit more prep than other types of sex play. This is because the anus is not quite as stretchy as the vagina, so you may want to try anal training to get started.

Anal training is taking gradual steps to train the anal sphincter muscles to accommodate toys, a penis, or a strap-on for the purpose of penetration and of course, pleasure.

Why anal training can be beneficial

An anal training kit is just the tool to help you ease into anal penetration comfortably and help you warm up to bigger things, including anal sex.

Many kits have a series of butt plugs, from small, medium, to large, so you can gradually increase size over time. They sometimes also have anal beads and anal vibrators as well. Keep in mind, anal training is not just a one-day event but usually takes a series of days, weeks, or even months. Over time, your butt gets used to having objects inserted inside and so you can fully relax during anal penetration and enjoy the experience.

To practice anal training, you start with the smallest-sized anal plug, then transition to a larger size as you feel more comfortable. It is recommended to spend at least a week or more with each size (or as long as it takes), inserting a plug up your butt for a few minutes each day.

And, as always, use lots of lube.


Practice safer sex

Before you engage in any type of sex, you’ll want to consider practicing safer sex. This means getting tested for STIs, as well as finding out the sexual history of your partner, and using a condom.

Getting checked for STIs

STIs and HIV can be transmitted during anal sex. So be responsible and get tested, and make sure your partner(s) are too.

Use a Condom

Condoms are 98% effective in protecting against STIs when used correctly. It also prevents poop on the penis and spreading bacteria.

Check out our extensive Guide to Different Sized Condoms to fit the right fit for you.

Anal hygiene

Prepping for anal play is not that complicated. Here is our easy-peasy guide on how to prepare for anal play.

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1. Use the bathroom

This tip is a no-brainer, but suffice it to say, you’ll want to go to the bathroom and have a bowel movement (if possible) before engaging in any type of anal play. This will ensure less mess during penetration.

2. Wash your butt

A quick shower (or bath), and thorough washing with fragrance-free soap will get you nice and clean and ready for anal play. You don't need to clean yourself internally with an anal douche unless you desire. See the steps for anal douching and enemas below.

3. Should you shave?

Shaving before anal play comes down to personal choice. Some people like to have a hair-free butt crack for the sake of appearances, and because they may feel cleaner. Shaving is often a consideration when you are preparing for analingus because, you know, hair in the mouth/teeth can be a turn-off for some people. Then again if you like a hairy butt hole, no judgment!

While a regular razor and intimate shaving cream will do the trick, you may want to also invest in a USB Rechargeable Grooming Kit for seamless grooming even in awkward spots. This will ensure your butt crack is bald, bare, and beautiful.

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4. To douche of not to douche?

Again, having an anal douche or enema before anal sex is optional. While cleaning in the shower or bath is all you need to get clean, some people enjoy the feeling of being cleaned from the inside out, as it gives them peace of mind during anal penetration.

If you do want to douche before sex, you will need to prepare ahead of time. Many sex experts recommend 1-2 hours before you engage in anal play.

How do I use a douche/enema?

Follow these simple steps, or check out our Guide to Anal Douching for additional information.

  • Step 1: Rinse your douche with hot water, then fill the bulb with warm water about body temperature. Don’t use soap or any other additives. Pure water or saline solution is all you need.
  • Step 2: Lube up the tip and insert it into the anus. You may want to do this sitting on the toilet or while kneeling in the bathtub.
  • Step 3: Squeeze the bulb, remove the nozzle, and hold the water inside the anus for approximately 15 seconds, or until you feel the natural urge to expel it.
  • Step 4: Rinse and repeat if desired.
  • Step 5: Clean the nozzle and bulb right away with mild soap and hot water. Allow your anal douche to dry thoroughly before storing.

5. Trim your fingernails and wash your hands

Again, this is common sense, but make sure you don’t have any rough edges or long nails when fingering your partner or yourself. And wash your hands to avoid spreading germs inside the anus.

6. Consider using gloves

Better still, use gloves during anal fingering and foreplay (anal massage) to keep clean and avoid irritating the rectum. Just make sure your partner doesn’t have any latex allergies. Gloves are also great for people who have longer nails, and you can add cotton balls in the fingertips to make them more comfortable for insertion.

What you should eat or avoid

Having a healthy diet is not only good for your health but also good for your bottom. Try eating a balanced diet of fiber (fruits, veggies, and whole grains) as well as protein. Eat light meals before anal play, as what goes in must come out.

Things to avoid include spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, greasy foods, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and dairy products, all of which may irritate the gastrointestinal tract and lead to diarrhea. Also, avoid foods that make you gassy, like beans, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, and stay hydrated with lots of water.

Anal masturbation with fingering

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If it is your first time trying anal play, you may want to practice solo to get a feel for it before you bring a partner into the mix. This takes the pressure off performance and allows you to go slow at your own pace. Plus, you can be both the giver and receiver, which is beneficial when it comes to partner play.

Start with anal fingering to warm up to anal penetration, by massaging the anal opening with the pad of your finger. Make sure to use plenty of lube, and simply massage the anal opening until you feel your anus opening for penetration.

Go slow while inserting one finger an inch at a time, making sure you breathe and relax. Once you have your finger fully inserted in the anus, you can start to wiggle it around, stretching the sides of the anus to accommodate something larger if so desired.

For more ideas, see our Anal Masturbation Guide by Dr. Megan Fleming and Dr. Justin Lehmiller.

Anal play with anal sex toys


Anal beads are a great starter toy and are a lot of fun to play with. You lube up the tip and insert slowly, one bead at a time. Next, play with yourself until you are ready to climax, and pull them out to intensify your orgasm. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Anal Beads to get you started.

Butt plugs are a prerequisite for anal play, especially when going solo. Butt plugs are often used for anal training, which we talked about above. You can even get anal butt plugs that vibrate for additional sexy sensations.

Find out more about How to Use Anal Sex Toys and the Ins and Outs of Butt Plugs by our Lovehoney sex experts.

Anal sex with a partner

In this section, we’ll talk about how to prep for anal play when you are with a partner. While this could mean anal sex, it may also include all kinds of other hot anal explorations including analingus, anal massage, anal fingering, prostate play, or strap-on play. But before you get to any of these activities - beforeplay first.

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The importance of foreplay

The anus takes much longer to warm up to the point where it desires penetration for many folx, so “beforeplay” is a must when it comes to anal sex.

Foreplay helps you unwind, connect to your partner, relax, and get turned on so that when you are ready, your body is also ready. Relaxation is essential when it comes to anal penetration play, so do whatever gets you there. Slowly build up your levels of desire, by setting the mood, and stimulating various erogenous zones that get you hot. Whip out the lube, massage oils, and sex toys, and make beforeplay a regular part of your sexy time.

How to talk to your partner about anal sex

Talking to your partner about trying anal play together and your sexual fantasies can be rather intimidating. But setting clear boundaries, discussing safety, as well as your desires and sexual preferences, is super important. So, how do you start the conversation about what you like or want to try with your lover?

Here are some tips to get you started.


Choose the appropriate time

Don’t spring the idea of trying anal sex with your partner in the heat of the moment. That can be a real turn-off. Instead wait until you are out of the bedroom to bring up the topic, at a time when you are both feeling good and relaxed. This will help take the pressure off.

Be open and clear about your needs

Initiate the conversation and be open about your feelings and desires. Explain why you’d like to try something different and let your partner know it has nothing to do with their level of performance. Assure them that you are just curious and want to try out a new fantasy.

Communicating desires and boundaries

Make sure to tell your lover what you like, as well as what you don’t like, and what you are open to exploring. That way there are no mistakes or miscommunications. Also, don’t feel forced to do something you don’t want to do, or try to coax your partner into an activity that is on their off-limits list.

Say no to pain

Anal sex should never hurt or be painful. If it does, you are doing it wrong. Use your safe words like “Stop!”, “Red”, “Slow down”, and “Ouch!”, to let your partner know to stop what they are doing A-SAP!

Top anal sex tips from a sexpert

Here are my top anal sex tips, on what to avoid, what to do, and what to expect as you get ready for anal play.

Go slow and give the receiver control.

Anal play is all about going slow and taking the long way to pleasure and orgasm. You never want to force something too quickly during penetration when your partner’s (or your) anus is not ready to receive it.

The receiver must also have control over the speed, depth, and force of penetration to avoid pain or injury.

This allows the receiver to slowly adjust to the sensations they are feeling without becoming overwhelmed or hurt in the process.

Also, make sure to communicate to your partner what feels good, where you like it, and how. Check-in with your partner often if you are the giver to see how they are doing.


Start small

Like the go-slow rule, starting small is just as important. Remember about anal training above? You want to start with something very small first like a finger or a little butt plug, and gradually work your way up to a larger toy, a strap-on, or a penis.

This helps the sphincter muscle relax and slowly introduces your partner to the sensation of having something inside their anus

Don’t go from anal to vaginal sex without cleaning

Don’t double dip! Never go straight from the anus to the vagina without washing your toy or your penis well. Better still, use a condom that you can change between play, or designate toys that are used for anal only, like specific dildos or strap-ons.

Why? Bacteria from the anus can cause a nasty bacterial infection, and there is nothing sexy about that.

Anal sex could get messy and that’s okay

Yes, shit happens! Due to the poop factor, anal penetration can get a bit messy. Following proper anal hygiene when you prep for anal play reduces the chances of encountering feces. But it still does happen.

So, learn to be okay with that, don’t freak out, and wear a condom. And remember, you can take a shower afterward (highly recommended!) to remove any mess.

Keep Calm & Enjoy Anal Play!

Give your partner time to think and prep for anal play

Give your partner lots of time to think about anal play and to get ready. Don’t just surprise them with a butt plug and ask them to bend over!

While many people do like surprises, this is not the time for that. That means not sticking your penis in your partner’s butt without consent either.

Talk with your partner about it beforehand, and make sure they are A-Okay with anal play. Often, when trying a new sexual activity, people also need time to think about it. So, give them lots of time, and share educational resources like this one with them so they can learn more about it.

If you’re the giver, be understanding if your partner says no

Some people are just not into anal - not even a little. They may have experienced trauma or pain in the past that turned them off. Or they may just not find it sexy or appealing.

And that’s okay.

Never try to pressure them into doing something they don’t want to do. Again, consent is key in any intimate relationship. Thank them for being honest and compassionately talk about both of your feelings. Also, respect that your partner is strong enough to have healthy boundaries.

Remember, there are lots of hot ways to enjoy sex, and anal play is not the only option.


Try various anal sex positions

Anal sex requires different positions than vaginal sex. Make sure to explore different positions to see which ones feel best for you and your partner.

Our favorites include Doggie Style, Reverse Cowgirl/Cow-person, Lifted Missionary (where you prop your butt up on a pillow), and Spooning.

Make pleasure (not orgasm) the point

While orgasms are super-fantastic, they are not always the point. Being mindful and tuning into your pleasure (and your partner’s pleasure) allows you to enjoy the entire journey and not rush toward the climax.

Experiment with someone you trust

The number one rule to preparing yourself for anal - next to always using lube - is you must have complete trust in the person you want to explore with. This means someone whom you feel you can be honest and open with, who will not judge you or your desires, who has your utmost health and safety in mind, and who ultimately respects you and your body.

There can be no true intimacy without trust.

Anal sex mistakes to avoid


These mistakes are super important, so just to reiterate, these are the things you want to avoid when preparing for anal penetration:

  • Not using enough or any lube
  • Not warming up with foreplay
  • Not communicating with your partner
  • Going too fast
  • Switching between anal and vaginal play
  • Not using a condom
  • Not preparing for first-time anal play!

Anal aftercare tips


What is anal sex aftercare?

Aftercare following any sexual encounter is the process of caring for your partner by snuggling, talking together, and reassuring each other. Anal sex is still considered taboo, and some people may feel sexual shame or particularly vulnerable after partaking in such a pleasure, especially for the receiver. This is called post-coital dysphoria (PCD) or the post-sex blues, and it refers to negative feelings one may have after having consensual sex, like sadness, shame, depression, or anxiety. That’s why anal sex aftercare is so important, so you can help your partner work through their feelings.

Anal sex aftercare is a way to reconnect with your partner on an emotional level, talk about the experience, and reassure each other, strengthening the intimacy of your bond together. It may also include after-post-sex hygiene, like taking a bath together, snuggling in bed, and honoring your partner with praise or affirmations.

More popular anal pleasure practices

Anal play preparation is only the first step towards enjoying anal pleasure. But there are a lot more adventures you can explore.

Here are the most popular anal play practices and how-to guides for enjoying anal pleasure.

Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Pegging, and the Beginner’s Guide to Analingus (aka Rimming). Or you may want to learn all about Prostate Orgasms for Penis Owners, and the Anal Foreplay Tips.

Wishing you happy anal adventures!

Read more Anal Sex Advice from Lovehoney

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