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How to have anal you won’t hate, by disappointed gays

Use lots of lube, obvs

Before we begin, it’s imporatant to clarify two things: One, anal sex is not gross, and two, it’s not just for gay men. Anal has actually been around since the ancient Greeks, and if PornHub’s data is anything to go by, is becoming more and more popular as time goes on.

But why do people have anal sex? A common misconception is that most gay men do it because it is literally the only option when it comes to penetrative sex, and that straight men just want to check it off their bucket list because they are genuinely bored of vaginas. Why straight women would encourage it let alone consent to it is often more of a joke than a discussion.

The reality is there are loads of nerve endings in the anus which can feel great when stimulated. Chief among them is the prostate (the “male G-spot” which produces semen), which can also feel amazing when touched from inside the anus. Even those without a prostate have described how anal sex, when done right, gives a feeling of fullness, and some straight women have said they orgasm more intensely from anal.

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Whatever your sexual orientation may be, it is highly likely you or a partner will bring up anal sex at some point in your life, so it’s important to know the ins and outs (literally) of what you’d be getting into when you try anal for the first time:

Speak about it with your partner beforehand

Think about why you want to do anal with your partner before you actually attempt it. Given all the preparation that can go into it you need to be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – i.e. don’t just do it for a special treat for your boyfriend and never pressure anyone into it.

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Make sure your digestive system is in working order

There’s a lot to consider before you travel up the chocolate escalator. Firstly, make sure your intestines are up for it – if you have an upset stomach or your bowel movements haven’t been healthy, maybe give it a miss for the time being.

A diet rich in fiber and low in stuff like red meat and pepper isn’t a bad way to go either. If you know you’re doing anal that day, try and stick to non fatty and non carb heavy foods, things like salads with natural fibre are an idea, but don’t starve yourself. Clearly, if you had a boozy curry the night before, you might not be up for anal.

Try douching, but only if you want to

For the uninitiated, douching (or giving yourself an enema) is the practice of squirting water into your anus with the intent of "cleaning" it out. There are a number of ways you can go about this if you want to.

Don’t squirt water in for more than five seconds at a time, as if you squirt it up there for 10 seconds or more it’ll go into your small intestine and you’ll have to do a "deep clean" that can take like an hour of slightly uncomfortable douching (this is called colonic irrigation and you’re better off seeing a professional to get this done). Make sure you get all the water out; if you don’t you’ll be mid-sex and all of a sudden it’ll look like someone’s just lagged a radiator.

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Whether you want to use an enema or not you do is up to you. Some people are more comfortable knowing they’ve cleaned out, however some doctors argue enemas can irritate the colon.

Finally, if you’re gonna be doing anal on the reg and want to go full sicko mode in terms of preparation, anal kegels are basically muscle excercises you can do to make you better at bottoming.

Practice safe sex, obviously

The lining of the anus is very thin, making it much easier for STIs to be transmitted. Gonorrhea, Syphilis, genetial Herpes, and of course HIV are just some of the infections transmittable via anal sex. Condoms are non-negotiable, folks.

Even though you are using a condom, you still have to be careful, aside from the usual stuff like getting tested between partners. If you intend to do both vaginal and anal sex in the same session, bare in mind that anything that has just been in an anus should never go into a vagina immediately afterwards. Porn stars methodically clean up whenever this sort of stuff happens (which is never shown on camera) precisely to avoid what is essentially a guaranteed infection.

Use lots of lube, don’t use numbing agents

Literally anyone you ask about anal sex will tell you that lube, lube, and more lube is a must if you don’t want to have a bad time. However, it has been argued that using too much can make anal sex too fast and damaging.

As for what lube you should be using, the NHS recommends using water-based lube, since oil-based lube can cause latex condoms to break and can even corrode certain toys. Always double check.

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While you’ll hear a lot of talk about poppers (sniffable drugs that relax the muscles in your anus), be wary of them and numbing agents like Tylenol, Analeze, and Abnesol. Porn vet Ryan Driller told VICE: “You need to be able to feel if something really doesn’t feel right or good, so that you don’t hurt yourself. Not to mention, you’ll numb his cock too, meaning no more boner.”

Work up to it using toys, etc

Like any muscle, the anus needs to be stretched before it’s ready for something the size of a dick, particularly since it doesn’t naturally lubricate like a vagina.

Rimming (eating ass), licking, and rubbing the hole with lubey fingers are all things you can do foreplay-wise. There also are all manner of toys you can use to work up to full on penetration. Make sure they’re cleaned between uses, obviously.

Don’t stick anything in your anus that doesn’t have a flared base, since you can’t “poo out” anything that gets stuck in there.

Yes, you will probably encounter some poo

The arse is, believe it or not, where you poo from. Whether you choose to douche or not, you should probably have a towel at the ready just in case. Your pelvic floor is contracting, which may cause you to poo, but it’s important to remember a) that this is rare and b) not to be embarassed about it.

There are horror stories, and while you think you’re going to shit yourself, you won’t if you’ve been for a shit recently, as Medical Director of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause says: “If there’s stool in the rectum, and there is stimulation to the rectum, it will increase the chance of having a bowel movement.”

It’s going to hurt at first, but if it hurts too much, stop

Communication is key, since this is likely to be new territory for at least one of you. Your partner should understand that it’s going to feel a little weird and probably a little painful at first, and if they don’t then they should try it.

You might have heard that lots of anal sex can cause long term damage, but rumour of rectal prolapses (when the walls of the rectum protrude outside the anus) are incredibly rare. Tears in the lining of the anus are just as common as tears in the walls of the vagina and heal just as quickly.

Porn veteran Charlotte Sartre told VICE anal isn’t supposed to hurt, adding: “If it does, you’re doing something wrong. Either it’s not for you, or you need to adjust.”

Experiment with different positions

Not all anal sex has to be done doggy-style, regardless of what you’ve seen in porn. Some guides recommend a spooning position, which will help you feel more relaxed, and makes entry a lot easier. Others suggest cowgirl, which gives the bottom more control over penetration. Missionary is also not a terrible shout, since your lower muscles won’t be supporting you, allowing you to relax a bit more.

If you didn’t like it, you don’t have to do it again

At the end of the day, you don’t have to do anal to have a great sex life – even if you’re gay. Anal sex, like any form of sex, is absolutely rubbish unless both of you are genuinely up for it and enjoy it. There are plenty of other things you can do in the bedroom.