Columns / Discourse / November 6, 2019

Pillowtalk: The truth about anal

Hey Pillowtalk,


I’m thinking about trying anal for the first time, but I’m kinda scared. Is it poopy? Does it hurt? Am I supposed to prep myself somehow? Help?


The first time trying anything related to sex is scary, so props to reaching out. Anal is one of those things that almost everyone gets anxious about, and there’s a lot of hype about it in both directions. It can be really good and really rewarding or it can be entirely unpleasant, anxiety inducing and painful. I’m a big fan of trying everything once, though! If you are too, then listen up.

The first thing you need to recognize is that poop comes out of your anus. Most of the things that go in your butt are poop or poop-adjacent, and that’s important for a couple reasons. One, it might feel like you’re pooping at first — it’s your only sensational frame of reference. Two, yeah, there’s risk of it being poopy. But! You can combat that in a couple of different ways.

One of the ways to avoid poopiness is just to wear a condom, which you should do for health reasons anyway. Another is to douche or use an enema, as long as it’s a mild soap or a warm water based solution. Douche in the shower, not over the toilet. Trust me.

However! Until you actually have to go, feces is stored in the colon, not the rectum. So you won’t just run into a wall of poop, even if you don’t douche, as long as you remember to go to the bathroom beforehand.

Once you’ve taken care of the feces part of the process, relax a little. Use a bunch of lube. Finger your anus to stretch it out a bit. The opening needs stretching out, but the rectum itself is fairly wide and doesn’t need as much of an adjustment period as, say, the vagina. When penetration is imminent, push back against your partner as they push into you. That will help straighten out the rectum for easier movement.

Other than that, be comfortable with your partner, trust the lube you’re using, don’t use an internal “female” condom (in case it slips off Ñ there’s no end to the intestinal tract) and get comfortable with saying the word “stop.” Know that anal may not be right for you, and that’s okay. It may also suck the first time around. Keep an open mind and get comfy. Be safe, have fun and please use lube!


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Elleri Scriver

Tags:  advice anal sex safe sex sex education sexual arousal

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