Common Myths & Fears About Anal Sex and Long-term Health
This is just one part of our Anal Sex Advice & Guide to the Anal Only Lifestyle section. Be sure to read the rest as well to get answers to our most frequently asked questions! New! This guide is also now available as a Kindle ebook!
Despite widespread increases in the adoption of anal sex in recent years, myths about anal sex still persist and spread, largely amongst those who haven’t tried it for themselves, or who have only had one or two bad experiences and given up. This page will outline some of the most common and pervasive myths about anal and debunk them.
Myth: Anal sex is painful
The anus exists in a tight, compressed state when at rest, and you have to “flex” the muscle in order to loosen it, such as when you go to the bathroom. People just starting with anal sex have less control over their anal sphincter than those with experience, and may find it difficult to sufficiently relax it enough on their own to be able to fit a penis comfortably.
This is why it’s so important for most people not to jump straight into anal sex and instead to slowly build up with smaller objects like fingers and toys. If anal penetration ever hurts, you’re going too fast and need to take things more slowly and use smaller objects initially. With enough lube and the right sized object for your present ability, it should not hurt. It might feel weird, because it’s a new sensation, but pain should not be involved.
If it does hurt, stop doing it and try again later, more slowly. As you become more experienced with anal, you will gain greater muscle control and can relax at will, making it easier to accommodate larger objects without a lot of foreplay and warmup. One great way of relaxing the area before anal play is to have one or more orgasms just before trying to put anything up your butt.
Read our anal training guide to learn more about this process.
Myth: Anal sex is dirty
A common argument by people who are unwilling to consider attempting anal is “but I poop from there!” The reality is, if you have a good diet with enough dietary fiber and do not need to imminently use the restroom, your rectum should be free of solid fecal matter. It only exits the sigmoid colon into the rectum when it’s time to use the restroom. As long as you go to the bathroom within an hour before, you are very likely to have an empty rectum.
Taking a shower and scrubbing the anal area clean with soap can be a good idea right before sex, especially if you want to receive analingus. If you are very concerned, you can use an anal douche to flush out your rectum with warm water.
Frequent deeper enemas where the water goes past the rectum into the colon can be unhealthy to do regularly and cause imbalances of the intestinal flora, but a small, light douching shouldn’t cause any issues.
After anal sex, the participating toys, penises and/or anuses should just be washed clean with soap and water and the penetrating males should urinate soon after to avoid bacteria causing an infection in their urethra, rare though it may be for that to occur.
Read our anal hygiene and enema guide to learn more about the techniques involved for ensuring clean anal sex.
Myth: Women don’t enjoy anal sex
It is a commonly repeated myth that only men get any pleasure from anal sex and women only do it, putting up with the pain and discomfort, to please their men. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most women who have experienced anal sex more than a few times enjoy it as much or more than vaginal sex. Clitoral stimulation is needed for most women to be able to orgasm during vaginal sex, with the actual vaginal penetration itself often unable to cause orgasm.
Anal penetration, however, can often cause orgasms directly, without any external clitoral stimulation at all, due to the internal structure of the clitoris extending to areas within the rectum, and even when women are unable to orgasm directly from anal, the orgasm from clitoral stimulation while receiving anal penetration is often greatly amplified and among the best kind of orgasm women can have.
Read our anal orgasm guide to learn more about how to achieve an anal orgasm for yourself.
Myth: Anal sex is wrong or unnatural
Because the vagina is the female reproductive organ, many people assume that it has to be used for sex, even when that sex is purely for pleasure and not intended for reproduction at all. They say nature intended sex to be had using the vagina, which in one sense is correct—but nature only cares about reproduction, while we care more about pleasure and intimacy with our partners.
In general, these people are not resistant to receiving oral sex, even though that is “unnatural” by the same standard. People resistant to trying new things and not confident in the entirety of their body and sexuality can sometimes be quick to classify something out of the norm as “wrong”, “unnatural” or “perverted” because it makes them uncomfortable to think about it.
It’s just a dismissive attack to try and make people feel bad for liking something. There’s nothing ever wrong about people’s personal preferences or trying new things with their own body or with other consenting adults.
Myth: Anal sex is dangerous and causes injury or permanent damage
There are many such claims, including that it causes anal incontinence, hemorrhoids, anal prolapse, anal fissures, etc.
If you approach it properly, use lube, do not do anything painful, and always make sure you’re warmed up enough beforehand, you will not cause permanent damage as a result of anal sex. Frequent anal sex can actually help you strengthen your anal muscles, giving you greater control over the area, not less—reducing your chances of incontinence later in life.
Hemorrhoids can be caused by straining on the toilet as a result of an overly tight anus and insufficient anal control, and anal sex actually can help prevent them from forming by making your anal muscles more elastic and giving you more control over them.
When people talk about anal prolapse, they’re often conflating two different things. The medical condition of anal prolapse is caused by preexisting conditions and there’s no known link between it and having anal sex. The sort of “prolapse” shown in porn, however, is something different, and is the result of very relaxed anal muscles often after particularly large or hard anal penetration, combined with strong pelvic floor muscles being used to push outward and temporarily push part of the rectum out through the anus. In porn, this is almost always a deliberate act done through conscious control of the anal and pelvic floor muscles, whereas the much more rare actual medical condition of anal prolapse is usually an involuntary condition.
Anal fissures are tears in the anus and rectum which can take a long time to heal properly. They can be caused by rough anal play and sex where pain has been ignored or masked by numbing lubricants and the participants continue anyway. To avoid this, use pain as a red flag that you’re going too fast and never push through it, instead warming up properly beforehand, using proper lubricant, and stopping whenever anything hurts or you notice blood, and give yourself a few days to heal before trying again.
The anus and rectum can stretch incredibly large without damage as long as you use sufficient lube and only increase it in size very gradually—and they return back to normal size and tightness within several hours.
Myth: Enjoying anal sex means that you are gay
This is wrong on two counts: it first implies that there’s anything wrong with being gay, which there is certainly not, but it also tries to claim that a sex act that some gay men perform makes all male participants gay, even when they only want to perform it with women.
Sex acts do not make a person gay, only who you want to have sex with. People don’t call men gay because they receive blowjobs from women, even though oral sex is more popular among the gay community than anal. Wanting to have anal sex with women doesn’t make you gay, it makes you someone who wants to have anal sex with women.
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