When it comes to anal sex, you either love it or hate it. Breaking in through the back door, which was once frowned upon as a cultural taboo, has now become a playground for the sexually curious. However, anal sex can still be an acquired taste. While it can provide a mind-blowing sexual experience compared to regular vaginal intercourse, it requires a different and careful approach in order to enjoy it fully.
Like any extreme form of sexual activity, anal sex is not without risks and dangers. It is the challenge that every sexually daring couple must pay attention to—especially the uninitiated. With the proper knowledge and precautions, you can lessen the chance of these risks interrupting your canoodling… or promptly landing you in a hospital bed.
Risks and dangers: the skinny
#1 Anal sex can be painful. “Anal sex is painful” is the classic deterrent for people who’ve tried anal sex the wrong way, and for those who are curious but still undecided. To bust this myth altogether, we’ll say it now: anal sex is only painful if done the wrong way. [Read: Does anal sex have to be painful? The ass lover’s guide]
The anal cavity is built to get things out, not in. It is, in many ways, anatomically different from the vagina, which is designed to accommodate a penis or objects of a similar size and shape. For this reason, anal first-timers are advised to proceed slowly and carefully, complete with relaxation and muscle exercises to prepare them for penetration. Engaging in rough and abrupt penetration will likely result in screams of pain instead of moans of pleasure.
#2 Internal injuries. As mentioned, the anal cavity is quite different from the vagina. One of these differences is the composition of the tissue inside the anus. While the vagina is made up of tough, flexible muscle tissue which can stretch to accommodate a large penis or deliver a baby, the anus is made up of a weaker kind of tissue and a thin mucous membrane, which can easily tear from rough and careless sex.
The anus is also incapable of producing a natural lubricant like the vagina does, which eases the friction of penetration. This means that if you proceed without any form of lubricant, you might risk lacerating the skin of the penis or the walls of the anus. [Read: Why do guys like anal sex and you you give in and try it once?]
If you draw blood during anal intercourse…
#3 Injuries that lead to infection. When a mishap, indeed, happens and a tear occurs during anal sex, not only it is painful, but it also poses a risk for other complications. One of these is the risk of infection. Remember: the anus is used to expel fecal matter from the body and, as a result, houses a lot of bacteria in its environs. Infection also leads to abscesses, which make the healing process longer, and defecation difficult and painful.
Unclean toys or even fingers are another vehicle for infection. Make sure that your toys and hands are cleaned prior to using them during anal sex.
#4 Bacteria and viruses. Let’s say that both partners are pretty much used to anal sex and manage to avoid injuries. The loads of bacteria housed where the sun don’t shine is still a big risk to the one doing the penetrating. These bacteria can easily get into the urethral tract of the penis, or could be ingested if you don’t use proper protection or practice good hygiene.
To avoid this, ask your partner to clean up thoroughly with a douche before sex, or just use a heavy duty condom that can resist friction during intercourse. Another way is to avoid oral contact with something that was used for anal intercourse. Remember to also change condoms when switching from anal to vaginal sex. [Want to make sure you’re both clean? Check out: 9 wild ways to have sex in the shower and enjoy it!]
#5 Sexually transmitted diseases. As mentioned, the fragility of the anal cavity and its lack of natural lubricant to flush out foreign bodies make anal sex more prone to delivering STDs to both partners. In case of an injury, STD infections will be easily absorbed into the bloodstream of the receiving person. This risk can be minimized by using protection properly.
#6 Penis fracture. Anal sex poses a major risk of penis fractures, due to the anus’ unique anatomy. As mentioned, the musculature of the anus is not really built to take things inside it. Due to its different position compared to the vagina, a poorly aimed thrust could crash the penis into the pelvic bone, which can be painful to both, and might injure the guy’s penis.
In order to prevent this from happening, do some research on safe and comfortable positions you could assume during anal sex, without diminishing your pleasure.
#7 Anal sex can get messy. One of the horrors of anal sex is when the unspeakable happens and the receiving end involuntarily “lets go” during the heat of the moment. While this is not an immediate health or safety risk, it can be embarrassing and a bit of a hassle, due to the apologies and cleaning up you’ll have to do afterward. [Try: The bottom of it – 10 misconceptions about anal sex]
The anus possesses a ring of muscle called the anal sphincter, which is responsible for the movement of the anus opening. Opening the anus is not completely voluntary, and relies on the nerves deep inside, which detect the presence of fecal matter about to exit the anus. If these nerves are stimulated, let’s say by a penis passing through them, the anal cavity relaxes its muscles, which eases the passage of feces.
To prevent this from happening, ask your partner to empty their bowels prior to anal sex, or avoid anal sex altogether if your partner recently suffered from diarrhea.
#8 Loosening of the anal sphincter. As mentioned, the anal sphincter regulates the anus opening. This is an involuntary motion tied to the passage of fecal matter from the anus during a bowel movement. If you engage in anal sex regularly, the anal sphincter loosens gradually in order to accommodate a penis or a sex toy passing through it.
If this happens, the person might find it difficult to hold their bowels voluntarily, resulting in leakages and partial incontinence. This can be avoided by practicing Kegel exercises before and after anal intercourse to maintain control over the muscles in the anus.
[Next, read: The curious guy’s and gal’s guide to first time anal sex]
Anal sex can be an enjoyable and exciting experience for couples who want to try something out of the ordinary. However, it is not without risk and dangers. By being informed and taking the proper precautions, you can make anal intercourse a safe and enjoyable experience for you and your partner.
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