Opening the Back Door

Dear Dr. Melanie,

My friend loves anal sex and keeps telling me to try it, but when my husband and I did it once before, it hurt terribly. We were having intercourse the regular way, and then he just stuck it in there. I thought I’d tear in half, it hurt so much. I can’t imagine any woman enjoying it, so what does my know that I don’t? — No Backdoor for Me


Dear No Backdoor,

This is an example of “Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks.” Some couples really enjoy anal sex, while others find it painful, unappealing, or even sinful. Your question doesn’t indicate that you have moral issues with anal sex, so let’s focus on logistics.

Anal sex is always higher risk sex, even for monogamous partners. The anus and rectum lack natural lubrication, and they are made of delicate tissue that can tear easily. Even microscopic tears can create entry points for bacteria and sexually transmitted infections (STI). Remember that some STIs remain dormant for years, so even partners who’ve been faithful to each other during a long relationship may carry viruses that can enter the body through tissue tears and fissures.

Anal sex should never “just happen.” No one should “stick it in there” without notice regardless of whether the object being inserted is a finger, a toy, or a penis. Partners need to discuss whether anal sex interests both parties and progress only if both partners are willing to give it a go.

If you’re game, here are some tips to make anal sex fun:

  • Stock up on personal lubricant. Water-based lube is often less-irritating, but silicon lube is longer lasting.
  • Buy condoms, even if you use another form of contraception. It’s OK to go from vaginal to anal sex, but you should never go from anal to vaginal sex due to bacteria transfer. If your husband wears a condom for anal sex and you decide not to continue, your husband can simply remove the condom before you get busy vaginally.
  • Prepare the anal sphincter by breathing deeply while you relax your pelvis and butt. Some women enjoy getting a massage that ends with gentle stimulation of the anus and slow penetration by one, then two fingers (with lube).
  • There are many workable positions for anal sex, including you on the bottom with legs in the air and your husband on top. The only difference is that your hips will need to lift a little higher, and your husband will have to alter his aim.
  • Caution: The receiving partner – you, in this case – need to control the pace of the action. Your partner shouldn’t plunge ahead. You determine when entry begins, how fast it proceeds, how deep he penetrates, and when the act ends. Before you begin, your husband should commit to accepting your lead. If he doesn’t, take anal sex off the menu.
  • Anal sex will feel very different from vaginal sex. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it should NOT be painful. Slow things down or stop if anything hurts.
  • Most likely, you will not climax from anal sex, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be satisfying. While your partner is inside you, you can stimulate your clitoris with your hand or a vibrator. If you like vaginal stimulation, you can sl-ow-ly insert a vibrator or dildo in your vagina while your partner enters your rear.

If you’d like to learn more about anal sex, check out these two books by Tristan Taormino: “The Ultimiate Guide to Anal Sex for Women” and “The Anal Sex Position Guide.”