Are you interested in having more adventures with your partner? Have you heard about anal sex? It is a form of sex that can be very pleasurable. It has been around for quite a long time now. The ancient Greeks and Romans were known to engage in it, both in heterosexual and homosexual sex. Nowadays, many people engage in anal sex, not just men who have sex with men; even straight people have anal sex too. Some women engage in anal sex to prevent pregnancy, others enjoy it in pregnancy.
So what is anal sex?
Anal sex is when fingers, or a penis, go in the anus. This sexual activity could be between a man and a woman or between a man and a man.
How is anal sex performed?
From the above definition, the fingers or penis is inserted into the anus. The anus is a sensitive area because of the network of nerves that are found there. Let us describe the process of having anal sex with the fingers and the penis.
The anus and the surrounding area are good places to touch. You can begin by stroking your partner’s anus with your finger so that they get used to the feeling. If your partner is a man, you might want to moisten your finger with saliva or lubricant. Men have a sensitive spot called the perineum. It’s the piece of skin between the anus and balls. If you both enjoy this, you can put your finger in your partner’s anus and move it up and down slowly.
- The penis
If you feel you want to be more adventurous, you could gently push the tip of your penis into the anus of your partner. Make sure to use a condom and lots of lubricant. Do it very gently so that you can both get used to the feeling. The initial contact would cause the anus to squeeze tight. This is a reflex of a circular muscle in the anus called the sphincter. You might want to wait for a moment, and then carry on. When you and your partner feel comfortable, you could push deeper into the anus, and gradually make faster strokes.
Some tips for anal sex
- Only have anal sex if you really want it.
- Start carefully; give each other enough time to relax.
- Always use a water-based lubricant.
- Always use a condom. If it tears, go for an STI test.
- Go to the toilet first if you are worried about hygiene and take a shower together before you start.
- Use a fresh condom if you move from the anus to the vagina. Or wash your penis first if you’ve had anal sex without a condom.
- If it doesn’t go well, do something else that excites you both.
- If you don’t like it, just say so. You don’t have to like everything.
- Many women and men sometimes have pain during anal sex. The partner who is being penetrated is most likely to experience some pain. So only do it if you’re feeling relaxed. And stop if it hurts.
Receptive and Insertive anal sex
During anal sex, the partner inserting the penis is called the insertive partner (or top), and the partner receiving the penis is called the receptive partner (or bottom). This classification is mostly used by men who have sex with men.
Being a receptive partner during anal sex is the highest-risk sexual activity for getting HIV. The bottom’s risk of getting HIV is very high because the lining of the rectum is thin and may allow HIV to enter the body during anal sex.
The insertive partner is also at risk of getting HIV during anal sex. HIV may enter the top partner’s body through the opening at the tip of the penis (or urethra) or small cuts, scratches, or open sores on the penis.
Health risks associated with anal sex
Anal sex carries some risks of infection with STIs including HIV. People who have anal sex have a greater risk of being infected with HIV if either partner is HIV-positive. This risk can be lowered by the use of condoms. Condoms should be used the right way every time you have sex. You can decide to choose lower-risk sexual activities, taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) daily. The taking of PrEP will prevent HIV transmission. Also, if you are HIV positive, you can prevent transmission by taking antiretroviral therapy (ARTs).
Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior for the transmission of HIV. This transmission is not , limited to men who have sex with men but to women who engage in anal sex. Most people who have anal sex get it through this means. Other forms of sex such as Vaginal sex, oral sex, touching, and kissing carry little to no risk for getting or transmitting HIV.
- Other Infections
HIV is not the only infection that can be transmitted through anal sex, chlamydia and gonorrhea can be gotten too if sex is done without condoms. Even if a condom is used, some STDs can still be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact (like syphilis or herpes). One can also get hepatitis A, B, and C; parasites like Giardia and intestinal amoebas; and bacteria like Shigella, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli from anal sex without a condom because they’re transmitted through feces. Getting tested and treated for STDs reduces a person’s chances of getting or transmitting HIV through anal sex. It is not my intention to bore or scare you, you must know.
So, how can one reduce the risks?
- Condoms and Lubrication: the use of Latex or polyurethane male condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV and certain other STDs when used correctly from start to finish for each act of anal sex. People who report using condoms consistently reduced their risk of getting HIV through insertive anal sex with an HIV-positive partner, on average, by 63%, and receptive anal sex with an HIV-positive partner, on average, by 72%. Female nitrile condoms can also prevent HIV and some other STDs. Since condoms are not 100% effective, consider using other prevention methods to further reduce your risk.
- PrEP: when a person is HIV-negative, taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) daily can prevent the transmission of HIV from anal sex. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently. However, PrEP does not protect against other STDs. Therefore, use condoms the right way every time you have sex.
- PEP: this stands for Post-exposure prophylaxis and it means taking medicines used to treat HIV (antiretroviral medicines) after a person has been potentially exposed to HIV during sex to prevent becoming infected. PEP should be used only in emergencies and must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV, but the sooner the better. PEP must be taken once or twice daily for 28 days. When administered correctly, PEP is effective in preventing HIV, but not 100%. To get PEP, you can contact your health care provider, your local or state health department, or go to an emergency room.
- ART: For persons living with HIV, ART (antiretroviral therapy) can reduce the amount of virus in the blood and body fluids to very low levels, if taken as prescribed. This is called viral suppression. HIV medicine can even make the viral load so low that a test can’t detect it. This is called an undetectable viral load. People who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and stay virally suppressed or undetectable can stay healthy for many years, and they have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex. Only condoms can help protect against some other STDs.
Other ways to reduce the risk
- Choose less risky behaviors like oral sex, which has little to no risk of transmission.
- Get tested and treated for other STDs
Pain during anal sex
During anal sex, it’s important to relax your anal sphincter, if you are the receptive partner, a man or a woman. When you’re relaxed, a finger or penis can go in. The size of the penis plays a role in causing pain. The thicker the penis, the more difficult it is to have pain-free anal sex. This applies to the use of dildo too.
What causes the pain?
If you are the receptive partner during anal sex, you will experience pain if
- you haven’t used enough lubricant: The anus does not lubricate itself when you’re aroused.
- your anal sphincter is not relaxed.
- you are being penetrated too deeply.
This is how to avoid pain during anal sex
- Take your time until both of you are aroused.
- Make sure you’re relaxed. A few deep breaths can help.
- Start by fingering or licking the anus.
- Press gently on the anal sphincter; this relaxes the internal sphincter. That makes it easier to have anal sex.
- Use sufficient water-based or silicone-based lubricants.
- Build up the pace gradually. Ask your sex partner if it feels good.
- Try out different positions. Having anal sex is easier when your hips are tilted. Lie on your side with bended knees, or go on your hands and knees.
- In men, deep penetration stimulates the prostate and the muscles surrounding the rectum. If this feels uncomfortable, don’t let your partner penetrate you so deeply.
Let’s talk about bleeding in the anus
Bleeding after is a common phenomenon but that doesn’t mean it happens to everyone. One cause of the bleeding could be the size of the penis is inserted. The rectum is not elastic like the vagina, so tears can occur. When bleeding happens, be calm but don’t take it lightly. Visit a physician to be examined. Anal sex is supposed to be pleasurable, so if you’re bleeding frequently, you might decide to stop doing it.