The Beginner’s Guide to Anal Sex (from Brother’s How To Not Be A Dick: And Other Essential Truths About Work, Sex, Love—And Everything Else That Matters)

You’ve probably read plenty about the vagina—but what about the butt?


Historically speaking anal sex has gotten the short end of the stick, but not because dudes’ dicks were smaller in the 1800s. Instead, it’s long been considered taboo—though, thanks to mainstream media, inclusive sex-ed and Nicki Minaj, attitudes have begun to shift. Still, there’s a sizeable stigma associated with anal, which means your most pressing questions probably haven’t been answered. Until now. 


Q: Is everybody having anal without me?

Not yet. Though they’re probably at least talking about it. 


A 2016 survey of over 3,000 sexually active millennials revealed 35 percent of women and 15 percent of men are engaging in anal sex at least some of the time, while Pornhub data shows that search volume for anal sex videos increased by 120% between 2009 and 2015. 


It’s really more common than you think. Queer men have been doing it for years, it was commemorated in ancient Greece, and before that, anal apparently inspired a lot of Peruvian pottery; when archaeologists excavated 10,000 pots from the Moche culture between 100 and 800 AD, there were so many depictions of anal sex. 


Q: Is it safe?

Yes. But it does require extra precaution. The anus does not self-lubricate and is a lot more prone to tearing. Therefore, there is a higher risk for contracting STIs when partaking in anal sex. It’s important to use condoms and a lot of lube. 


There’s also perfectly healthy bacteria that lives in the anus, though can cause some serious infection in other areas. It’s always a good idea to change condoms, especially if you’re switching to vaginal sex. (See, it’s not just for gay guys!)


Q: Why do people do it?

Why do so many people with lactose intolerance still eat ice cream? It feels good. For men, anal sex allows access to their prostate, which fills with fluid during arousal. Directly massaging the prostate feels great and helps induce an orgasm. While women don’t have a prostate, it can still feel good because anal sex stimulates the many nerves of the anus.


Q: Will I encounter poop?

Probably. And that’s OK. 


If you do come across poop, let your partner know and decide together what to do next. Most bottoms will want to stop and clean up before continuing. Though if you don’t care about a little mess, let your bottom know. 


Q: Do I have to watch what I eat?

It’s your body and you can do what you want. With that said, if you know certain foods make your stomach upset, it’s probably best to avoid eating these foods hours before receiving anal sex. 


If you anticipate having consistent anal sex, it may be a good idea to consider changing aspects of your diet. Red meat, for example, takes a lot of energy for the body to completely digest. A good tip is to increase your overall intake of fiber, through supplements and foods like vegetables, leafy greens, yogurt, fruits, and whole grains as it helps the digestive system. 


Q: How can I prepare?

Let’s talk douching. Douching is the process of squirting water up your butt and then shooting it out, theoretically cleaning out the inside of your butt. You repeat the process until the water runs clear. There are a few ways to do so and the most common way is through an enema.


To douche or not to douche is completely up to you. That said, you want to minimize the timing of the overall process because you don’t want to keep water sitting up your butt for a long period of time. Good bacteria does exist in your rectum, so health professionals have advised against overdoing it when it comes to douching because excessive douching can harm your rectal lining. 


One to two rounds of cleaning should be plenty. And just in case, you can lay down a towel too.


Q: What should I not do?

Don’t add unnecessary pressure and tell your bottom to “clean out.” It’s already a given and telling them to do so will only make them more nervous— nobody likes a nervous bottom… especially nervous bottoms.


If you are the bottom, don’t feel pressured to do it. If you know your body is not ready for anal penetration or you’re just not in the mood, don’t do it. One reason is that you know your body best. The other reason is that if you or your bottom feels tense, then the sex will be a lot less enjoyable. 


Q: How do I talk to my partner about it?

Over frozen yogurt.