Recently, we saw a headline that declared anal sex was having a moment. That’s ironic, because of all the different kinds of sex one can have, anal takes many moments. It takes time and patience. You can’t rush these things. In addition to a proper warm up for your physical body, you also need to be in a relaxed and aroused headspace for everything to go smoothly.
Relaxation: Doubly Important
The anal canal is guarded by not one, but two sphincters. Sphincters are rings of very strong muscle whose job it is to keep things in, or keep things out. The human body is said to have 60 different sphincters, or more. The external anal sphincter, which is what you will first encounter during anal play, is under voluntary control. That means you can intentionally contract and expand this muscle. When the sphincter relaxes, it lengthens, causing the end to open. Relaxing is the key to experiencing pleasurable anal penetration.
Most of the nerve endings in this area of your anatomy, are concentrated in the skin around the opening to the anus. This is known as the perianal region. The anus (aka the butthole) and perineum, which is the area between the anus and the scrotum or vulva, are highly sensitive. Packed with nerves that can bring you pleasure, this skin is also delicate and susceptible to irritation and injury. This may be one of the reasons that anal sex is perceived as painful. We’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be, if you treat your body right.
A Proper Warm Up
How do you get other muscles in your body to relax? Deep breathing, stretching, massage, and heat therapy are all techniques that you can employ to help this particular muscle to relax. Start by massaging your or your partner’s buttocks. Massage can be a great way to awaken other erogenous zones as well. Use oil or lotion and slowly work your way towards the anus and perineum. Take time to manually and gently stimulate these areas with your fingers. Keep your focus on the external skin; don’t rush right to penetration. Take some deep breaths and allow the pleasurable sensations to build. From there, you might try introducing a toy like a small vibrator to the area. When you are ready to explore penetration, start with a single, very well lubricated finger. As we mentioned earlier, this skin is prone to tearing, which is why using plenty of lube is critical.
P Marks the Spot
Of the hundreds of smaller nerves routing through your genitals and anus, there are two larger nerves that are worth mentioning by name. The pelvic nerve and the pudendal nerve.
The pelvic nerve transmits sensations from the vagina, cervix and rectum. The pudendal nerve transmits sensations from the clitoris and the scrotum and is also the primary nerve that transmits sensation from the perineum. All of these are stimulated during anal play, which is why some people report anal orgasms being incredibly intense and wavelike.
Folks who have a prostate—also called the P-spot— can amp up their pleasure even more. Prostate stimulation can be accomplished indirectly through the perineum. For direct stimulation of the prostate, insert a finger or toy approximately 2 inches inside the anus. Similar to locating the G-spot, you’ll want to reach in, up, and towards the front of the body. You’ll know you’ve hit the mark when you feel a spongy bulb about the size of a walnut. You may also feel the need to urinate. This is because the prostate sits just below the bladder. To stimulate the prostate, try tracing circles on and around the organ with your finger, or using an up-and-down stroking motion.
For folks who do not have a prostate, never fear. There are actually two erogenous zones that can be stimulated indirectly through the anus. The G-spot and the lesser known, A-spot. The A-spot is higher and deeper within the vagina than the G-spot. The A-spot, technically called vaginal fornices, is where the vagina and cervix meet. There is an anterior and posterior arch formed where the vagina curves around the cervix. Stimulating this area can be pleasurable for some, and also increase vaginal lubrication. Through anal penetration, pressure can be applied to the A-spot. To locate it, you’re going to take the same approach to finding the prostate. You won’t feel anything bulb-like touching you back, instead you’re going to apply pressure to the rectal wall until you feel pleasurable sensations.
When it comes to statistics, the subjects that participated in our Sexual Pleasure Study reported anal stimulation as their least preferred type. Butt play isn’t for everyone. The takeaway here is that if you’re interested in exploring this very worthy erogenous zone, you’ve got to show your booty some TLC. If you are having partnered sex, communication is key. Communication and lots of lube. For starters, communication is necessary in order to establish consent. Beyond that, you need to be talking to your sexual partner in order to learn what they like, and they should be asking those same questions of you, giving you both a chance to open up the topic of boundaries, preferences and curiosities. Even then, you may find that you are not able to experience anal orgasm, but don’t be dismayed. There are plenty of other types of orgasms to explore.