Anal play doesn’t have to be daunting — preparation can be found in the form of a tiny plastic bottle and an open conversation with your partner.
A common misconception about anal play, or anal sex is, is that it’s going to hurt. Another myth is that anal sex is “new” but no, my friend, anal play has been around since the beginning of time — it’s just gaining momentum in the mainstream health community. With all of these differing judgements and taboos surrounding anal play, we need to get a few things sorted out.
50% of couples try anal play at least once and people who enjoy it make it a regular part of their intercourse. Our job as sex and wellness writers is to shed some light on the topic, educate couples about how to successfully have anal sex, and to toss one more sexual taboo into the garbage.
Let’s understand that it’s the anus we are discussing here, so obvious precautions are important. Don’t dive head first into anal play, take it easy, take it one finger at a time. Don’t assume that you don’t need any lubrication — anal tissues need some extra help and it’s up to you and your partner to do that. Unlike the vagina, the anal cavity isn’t naturally lubricated so you’re going to need to step up your game and introduce some lubrication into the equation. Vaginal lubes are typically thinner than anal-specific lubes, so finding a specific brand is key to an enjoyable experience.
Moreover, anal play includes toys, plugs, fingers, and the penis. All lubes and sex toys are not created equal, so certain lubes are more beneficial when used during certain acts.
Alicia Sinclair, from the anal toy company b-Vibe, explains, “If you’re just playing with fingers, I would suggest a glove because it makes everything nice and easy, and you can use something as simple as coconut oil.” She continues, “If you’re going to have penetrative anal sex and you’re not using a silicone sex toy, then a silicone lubricant is your best answer because silicone doesn’t absorb into the body. It stays very wet and slick for a long amount of time. Water based lubes will dry out. If you’re using a butt plug or a sex toy that’s silicone, for example any of our plugs, then I would recommend a high viscosity water based lubricant.”
Here are a few tips and lubricants for making your ride much smoother and comfortable if you’re a first time anal player or someone who is interested in stepping up their lube knowledge.
When massaging or fingering
If you’re beginning with anal play, massaging and inserting one finger is a necessary place to start. Don’t just begin with a plug or penis — it takes some time. Sinclair advises newbies to begin with an anal massage: “Get a glove, or regular fingers that are trimmed and clean. It’s a way for you two to build some trust and intimacy. You’re opening up in a new way. You’re allowing this very intimate part of you to be explored. Being prepared, mentally, physically, and you know, lubricant, lubricant, lubricant. Slow and slippery are the two golden rules.”
What to use when massaging? Something as simple as coconut oil. Unrefined, extra-virgin and cold-pressed coconut oil can be found at the store and used for a plethora of various things. From your hair, to your skin, to cooking, coconut oil should be essential in your cabinet at home. Remember since this is an oil, it can damage latex condoms, so please refrain from using it during sex and just stick to finger play.
When using a toy
First things first: silicone lube’s can’t be used with silicone toys. They cause bending, warping, and the ruin of a toy. Oil lubes can’t be used with latex or rubber toys. Metal, vinyl, and plastic toys are good to go in all lube departments. Most gel or water based lubricants are recommended for butt plugs or anal toys.
Sliquid Sassy is a high viscosity water based gel made from all organic properties. The anal lube is paragon and glycerin free, as all of their product’s are. In order to create a thicker gel, the product is formulated with an additional plant cellulose, which “creates more padding for anal intercourse.” The products at Sliquid are 100% vegan non-toxic, keeping your butt save and clean.
Always remember to never cross-contaminate. Never have your partner touch your anus and then your vagina, the same goes for when you are practicing alone. Keep things working smoothly by educating one another and yourself.
When using your mouth
No, flavored lubricants aren’t recommended because anilingus is situated at the anus, or because performing anal sex is has a gross taste. These flavored lubes are on the market because sometimes lube doesn’t taste all that appetizing, and if you’re going to put your mouth down there, you might as well have it taste like strawberries.
Astroglide is known for their A + consistency for vaginal lubes (I’m a personal fan) and have introduced their Sensual Strawberry flavor lubrication which is light, water-based, and has no petroleum agents in them. Moreover, this product is hormone free, unlike other water-based lubes. It’s latex condom friendly and doesn’t leave any residue which makes it a tasty choice for rimming or analingis. Another great brand is Sasmar’s Personal Lubricant which comes in a cherry, vanilla, and pina colada.
When introducing a penis
Silicone lubricants contain Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, and Cyclomethicone, which creates a consistency that is thicker and more sticky than water-based lubes.
Avoid products like desensitizing Anal-Ese or numbing creams when participating in anal play. Sinclair says, “It’s basically like, when you go to the dentist, and they numb your mouth. Yeah, it doesn’t hurt when it happens but what happens the next day? It’s the same thing. If you don’t put any prep work into it beforehand, and it’s totally numb, and your partner is going at it, you’re going to have a pretty irritated butt for a bit. I highly, highly discourage people to use numbing cream. You want to feel what’s going on.”
Wet Platinum Premium Silicone Lube is a silicone lubricant that has the highest grade silicone (so don’t use these with your toys) and leaves the sensitive area nice and slippery.
Sinclair tells her customers to “always use a lubricant, that’s the base,” and really wait until you’re comfortable moving through the steps of anal play. Sitting with each sensation and moving on, only when you’re 100% okay with it, is how anal sex should be experienced.