Anal Sex Isn’t as Painful as You Might Think

Anal Sex Isn’t as Painful as You Might Think

Despite a sharp rise in liberal attitudes toward sex in today's culture, anal sex and anal pleasure are still somewhat taboo. Relying heavily on the use of a part of the body not always equated with sex and enjoyment, incorporating anal play into a fun night in isn't everyone's cup of tea.

In spite of this, those who know how the game is played understand that anal sex can be well worth it — provided it's done right. This is why you should add a little anal into your sexytime repertoire.

Anal Sex: Fun or Frightful?

For many people, anal sex rides the line between horrifying and exhilarating. It's just far enough outside the realm of standard vanilla sex to sound gross or awkward to some people and taboo enough to seem scintillatingly naughty to others. But even for those who find the premise of anal play fun and exciting, there's one big "but" that can prevent experimentation: pain.

The associations between anal sex and painful sex are far too common, with articles online and anecdotes whispered between friends describing the many ways in which anal sex isn't worth the effort. And, unfortunately, this common assumption is enough to ruin even the idea of anal.

No one is going to tell you that anal sex doesn't have the potential to be painful — it absolutely does — but so do many other sex acts when not properly performed. At the end of the day, with the right mindset and a little preparation, anal sex doesn't have to be a literal pain in the ass.

Taking the Pain out of the Game

So, you want to try anal, but you're afraid of the pain. Is there any way to experiment without going too far, too fast?

The simple answer is yes. This is what you need to know to make anal sex more about experiencing pleasure than preventing pain.

Set the Scene

Due to the stress that can come with trying a new activity in bed, it's important to set the scene. This can mean starting the night out with a romantic skinny dip in the hot tub, a full-body massage, or a glass of wine by the fire — something sexy and sensual to start the night off right. Ideally, you and your partner will both be as relaxed and excited as possible before jumping in.

The human body is weird, amazing, and, yes, gross, and that extends to anal. In order to enjoy the process, you have to expect the unexpected. Consider putting a towel down to minimize worries during the process should anything awkward come to pass.

Lube, Lube, and More Lube

Lube is the name of the game in anal sex, and even if you think you're using enough, you probably aren't. While the vagina can be self-lubricating, the anus isn't, and that makes penetration by default drier than normal. If a lot of lube still isn't creating a smooth, slippery feeling, use even more.

Some companies make numbing creams specifically for anal sex, but stay away from these — they can reduce feeling to the point that it's impossible to tell if something is wrong.

Start Slow

You may be tempted to jump right in, particularly if anal is a frequent fantasy, but do your best to go slow. For those new to the idea or unfamiliar with the sensations, consider starting with a finger or a toy before rushing to the main event. A small butt plug, for example, can whet the appetite without pushing boundaries too far. Starting slowly can be a great way to establish the pleasure that can accompany a bit of backdoor exploration, driving home the message that anal can be exciting without hurting.

Be Patient

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is one's comfort level with anal activity.

While acclimating to new stimulation and penetration, it may take some time to feel completely comfortable. If sizing up toys or transitioning from finger play to the real deal isn't working for you just yet, be patient. Continue to practice, use more lube, and take the time and the steps that feel right to you. Anal sex is a long, slow, solo run — not a sprint. You don't have to go all the way the first night you give it a shot.


When you're finally ready to do the deed itself, don't forget to keep in touch. Talking during sex doesn't seem sexy, but open communication is one of the best ways to prevent problems. If you're the one doing the entering, consistently check in to make sure your partner is still comfortable and enthusiastic. If you're the other participant, don't be afraid to speak up about speed, tempo, or anything else. If you're not feeling it, it's always okay to pump the brakes and try again another night.

Anal isn't for everyone, but if it interests you, don't let the idea of pain hold you back.

With the right preparation, it's possible to love the process, not fear the potential problems.

And if you're still asking yourself, "Is anal sex painful?" maybe it's time for you to let your hair down and see for yourself.

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