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Anal sex: A Delicate Decision

Author: Cadillac Carter

Filed in: sex, anal sex

What is it about anal sex that makes us squirm? People pretend they don't do it when they do and many of us clam up because we don't. Anal sex is the last sexual act we find embarrassing to talk about. It's no good being shy about anal sex because most men want to try it, most women are asked to do it, or want to do it and both sexes love it regardless of sexual orientation. So, why the embarrassment whenever the subject is broached? Is it because of what comes out of our bottoms on a daily basis or because many women's experience of anal sex is an impromptu and painful probe by an overexcited boyfriend? With the right lover, at the right time, and with lots of time to play around, anal sex is a turn on for many couples. It can be orgasmically and emotionally very intense and, like oral sex, has a special intimacy. More than any other sexual act, it requires a certain amount of trust on both sides. If your partner does ask for the unmentionable, stand firm if it doesn't appeal. That old chestnut, 'You'd do it if you loved me', isn't good enough as a persuasion technique for back-door lovin'. Anal sex can be very painful and traumatic if a partner is reluctant.

Just because you don't want to do it, doesn't mean you are 'frigid' or a sexual fuddy-duddy. Anal sex is not for everyone. If your partner would like to do it but the thought has you clenching your buttocks like a wrench, don't feel inadequate. Introduce something else into your sex life that hasn't been tried before, like a new position.

Practising safe sex:

* The skin that lines the rectum is very delicate and more prone to irritation or scratching than the vaginal wall. For finger penetration a partner should wear a latex glove with plenty of lubricant.

* Extra strong condoms are essential for the prevention of STDs, HIV and hepatitis during anal intercourse. It is much easier to transmit disease, especially HIV, during anal intercourse because the tissue is easily torn and can give semen direct access to the bloodstream. If you are using a sex toy for penetration, slip a condom and lubricant onto it.

* Do not use ribbed or textured condoms. They can irritate and tear rectal tissue. Store condoms in a cool dry place away from light and always check the expiry date.

* Lubrication is essential. Use thick, water-based lube such as KY Jelly, Senselle or Replens. Do not use perfumed oils, or oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline as these can cause severe irritation and weaken condoms. Preferably use a lube containing nonoxynol-9, such as Wet Original (available from Sh!), which gives an extra measure of safety against STDs. Getting ready

* Some people who are heavily into anal sex like to have an enema two hours beforehand. It's up to you. But a squeaky clean bottom is a definite prerequisite for playing around in that area. So are short, trimmed and filed nails.

* An enema is a douche of the anal canal and rectum. Bulb syringe enemas are the most commonly used and can be bought from most chemists. It is not a good idea to have enemas too frequently as they can stress the rectum and cause colitis. Cover wherever you're doing it with a large towel. It can get messy. Take a deep breath and begin.

* Never coax or pressure a partner into having anal sex. Respect his or her wishes.

* Go slowly and be gentle. Start out with some stress-free sex play. The more aroused you both are, the more enjoyable the experience will be. Stimulation of the clitoris is a must for anal sex, otherwise entry can feel a bit 'cold.'

* The penetrator must reassure his partner that she is in charge. The giver may feel that he or she will hurt the receiving partner and needs to be reassured as the action proceeds that it feels good - so communicate.

* Relax. Deep breathing helps. Don't tense the buttocks. This will make entry painful.

* Don't be shy; tell your partner what you want.

* Once you're relaxed, put some lube in your anus and find a position that's comfortable. All the positions for vaginal sex are suitable for anal penetration. You can be on your back with your legs in the air or on the insertive partner's shoulders, on all fours (this requires less bending of the rectum), or you can sit on top of your partner, which gives you more control.

* Take it easy and avoid sudden jerky movements, until you get used to it.

* When withdrawing make sure your partner holds onto the base of the condom to prevent it slipping off.

* If you feel a desperate urge to go to the loo - start running. It's normal.

Anal myths

* Regular anal sex does not mean you will eventually lose control of your anal muscles and your dignity. The perineal muscles support the area between the anus and the genitals and include the pubococcygeus muscles (PC muscles). These support the pelvis from the pubic bone to the tailbone. They contract for men and women during sex. Both sets of muscles work with the sphincter muscles around your anus and can be exercised.

* The muscles you contract to try to stop peeing are your PC muscles and can be contracted on a deep breath and relaxed on exhale. Do about 100 repetitions a day. Or, take a deep breath and this time tighten and release your muscles about ten times and then exhale. Twenty sets a daily.

A final word:

The golden rule is desire: only have anal sex if you really want to do it.

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