One thing that always sticks out to me from sex-ed during my school days was one of my teachers saying that anal sex was dangerous. While her reasoning may have been incorrect, the fact is true– anal sex is dangerous. But so is regular sex. And just like with regular sex, there are ways to protect yourself.
Anal sex has been around for a very long time, but it hasn’t been as prevalent as many people think. The general consensus is that it’s what homosexual men do, and have always done, but that’s not always the case. Ancient Greek men, who are considered to be such purveyors of anal that it’s even been called, “Greek Love,” who were in homosexual or pederasty relationships often used a form of frottage, not anal.
Indeed, while anal sex has been around for a long time, the perception of it as exclusive to male homosexual couples is a recent thing. For male and female couples, it’s been used as contraception for centuries (although it’s not something you should ever rely on). Even female couples have practiced it for just as long with the use of toys, fingers, and anilingus.
Throughout time, it has even been considered to be a part of gendered roles. In many cultures, whoever penetrates the other, regardless of biological sex or gender, is considered to be the dominant, masculine one, and whoever receives the penetration is submissive and feminine. That does make our current, mainstream concept of gender and sex seem pretty basic, doesn’t it?
Anal sex has an interesting legal history as well. In many places in the world, even today, you can be tried and imprisoned for engaging in anal sex– it doesn’t matter what your biological sex or your gender are. If you think that’s silly, backwards, and outdated, then consider this: sodomy laws in the U.S. weren’t struck down until 2003, in the landmark case Lawrence vs. Texas. That’s right. Just over ten years ago, you could be arrested in some places in the U.S. for having anal sex with another man.
Condoms and Lube
The FDA in the US has ruled that there are no condoms approved for anal sex. This ruling is outdated, incorrect, and dangerous. It has lead many to thinking that condoms aren’t safe to use during anal and should be avoided. On the contrary– due to the nature of anal, it is very important to wear a condom because not only are you potentially exposed to STDs and the unlikely but still possible chance of pregnancy, but it’s very common to spread or contract infections during anal.
The anus has a lot of bacteria. Even when you clean it using an anal douche, like our Vulcan Anal Douche, it can still be difficult to get all that bacteria out.
In addition to this, the anus does not produce a lubricant, unlike the vagina, which puts it at a great risk for tearing and damage– exposing the blood stream to these infections. Without a condom, this bacteria or blood can infect the urethra of the penis doing the penetrating.
Our friends over at Condom Depot assembled a list of the best condoms for anal. Spoiler alert: the FC2 is top notch for anal– even if, as we mentioned above, it’s not approved by the FDA. Origami Condoms are even attempting to patent the first ever condom explicitly for anal.
And while a condom may prevent these infections from passing between two people, using a good lubricant can prevent tearing and infection for the person being penetrated. With anal, the general rule is the more lube, the better, so go crazy.
We strongly recommend silicone lubes for anal sex. The reason they’re preferable over water-based lubes is that the anus’ entire job is to absorb water from fecal matter, which makes it very efficient at absorbing moisture. Silicone is hydrophobic, which means that while it may be impossible to get out of your bedsheets, it’s an anus’ best friend. We, of course, love, love, LOVE Liquid Silk. But WET’s Synergy is also a great option– you get all the benefits of a silicone lube with everything you love from a water-based lube. And it’s toy-safe!
Oil-based lubricants are also well-favored for anal, but they will destroy latex and polyisoprene condoms. Using the FC2 is a great option here– it’s made of nitrile.
It’s a great idea to start your anal spelunking adventures using toys. Because of their varying sizes, anal toys can help you work up to the size of a penis, plus they can add a lot of great textures and other mechanics that you wouldn’t get with body parts.
One thing to note though: if you are using toys, watch your lube. You should make sure they are either 100% silicone or not silicone at all. We strongly advocate using silicone lube for anal– it won’t encourage infection or break condoms, like oil-based lubes, and it won’t absorb quickly like water-based lubes. The only issue, of course, is that it will melt toys which aren’t 100% silicone. A great alternative to switching lubes is picking up a metal or glass toy, like our favorite nJoy Plug series.
Prostate massagers are a great way for male-bodied people to discover their bodies. Shaped much like a butt plug, these toys are specially designed to hit the prostate– a source of great pleasure. Massaging the prostate is also a great way to stay healthy and ward off prostate cancer. Just be careful and take it slow the first time as it’s quite easy to damage the prostate if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Anal beads and ben-wa beads are a great way to experience a fun and pleasurable feeling. The beads are typically threaded through so avoid losing them, since unlike the vagina, the anus can go very deep and it can be both easy and dangerous to lose items up there. When using beads or ben-wa balls, it’s important to note how many balls there are, and count them when they come out to make sure nothing came off.
Many normal vibrators and dildos can be used for anal, although there are some specially made for anal, called butt plugs. Butt plugs have a special shape. This, like with anal and ben-wa beads, is to avoid getting it lose inside of the anus. The shape is also more pleasurable to the anal walls.
Strap-ons aren’t just used for anal sex– they can be used for vaginal sex between two female-bodied people as well. But a popular use for them is during pegging– where a woman will use a strap-on to penetrate a man.
The first time using a strap-on with a partner for anal, it’s very important to go slowly. You may not know how much your partner can take and you can do some serious harm by just jamming it in there.