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11 Tips for How to Prepare for Anal, According to Sex Experts

Anal sex can be awesome...with the right lube.

BY AMANDA CHATEL

 

May 23, 2021

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I first wondered about how to prepare for anal sex when I was in college. At the time I was with my first real boyfriend, who was also my first real love—a man I thought I’d be with forever. I was 21, an age when everything is sort of do-or-die. 

 

I had a couple of friends who had tried anal sex, but I ignorantly judged them for it. What can I say? I was 21, and 15-something years ago anal was still next level taboo. It was something I had no interest in, vowed I’d never do, and that was that. Like Sex and the City’s Charlotte York, I had zero plans on becoming “up-the-butt-girl.”

 

Then my boyfriend, my darling, that first love of mine whom I dramatically assumed I’d be with until I died, suggested anal sex and my mind started to wander into anal territory. Should this be a frontier that he and I should explore together? If I were ever going to do it with anyone, it would be him, of course. And so, because young love trumps everything, even a fear of pain and poop, I gave anal sex a try one night and it was…not fun. (Don't worry, subsequent experiences were way better and now I genuinely love anal sex.)

 

Today anal sex is more mainstream than ever—results of a 2016 National Health Statistics Reports by the CDC found that 35.9% of women and 42.3% of men had had anal sex at least once in their life—but the taboo around this particular sex act still very much persists. Because of that, many people aren’t getting the appropriate information they need to prepare for anal sex let alone have a good time doing it—which you absolutely should!

 

Because no one should be blindsided by anything sexual, here are 11 tips for how to prepare for anal sex

 

1. Educate yourself.

One of the first steps in preparing for anal sex, is educating yourself, letting go of any shame that might be surrounding anal for you, and basically, rolling your eyes at the taboo factor. Because breaking news: anal is nothing new.

 

The ancient Andean civilization of the Moche, who lived in Peru between 100 C.E and 700 C.E., left behind pottery and other artifacts that depicted mostly anal sex imagery. Even before that, anal sex was a normalized act in Ancient Greece and Rome. While it’s easy to make a joke here about Caligula, who was the third Roman Emperor, because of his hedonistic reputation when it came to sex and pleasure, the reality is that sex during that time, all forms of it, were socially acceptable—anal sex included. If it was normalized before, we can normalize it again by having it and not feeling ashamed about it. 

 

2. Always use lube.

Before we can delve into any aspect of anal sex, anal play, butt plugs, or any of the like, it cannot be stressed enough just how important lube is in preparing for anal sex. Lube is a must; water-based lubes are best if you’re using silicone toys, as silicone-based lubes will eventually destroy those silicone toys.

 

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“There are some things to remember when it comes to the anus,” says Laurène Dorléac, CEO and co-founder of Climax, an educational video series that teaches people, those with vulvas in particular, how to enjoy pleasure without shame. “Unlike the vagina, the anus is not self-lubricating. Without lubrication, friction may cause tiny tears, which can increase the risk of STI transmission. A lubricant can make anal play more pleasurable, and also protect these delicate tissues.”

 

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Research has found that this transmission is most commonly the case with HIV and hepatitis. While both are manageable viruses that people live with, and HIV is no longer the certain death sentence it was just a couple of decades ago, avoiding STIs in general is obviously preferable and should be a goal every time you have sex.

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