Anal sex. There we said it. It’s one of those topics that gets whispered about—a lot. Not surprisingly, it tends to be on everyone’s sh-t list in public (haw haw) and yet, it comes up behind closed doors much more often than you’d think. But there are still many misconceptions about this type of play, and we’re here to debunk them. So scoot on closer and get educated. What we’ve learned will make it easier to, well, scoot on closer at least. Read on for the most common myths about anal sex.
Anal sex is plagued with myths, which keep it from being a widely accepted form of sexual pleasure. Recent stats out of the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour (NSSHB) show that more than 20 per cent of men and women have engaged in anal sex at least once in the past year, and that’s just the ones who are talking.
This we know for sure: To enjoy sex is to get comfortable with it. So let’s get down to the not-so-dirty basics. Here, we expose the myths that may be holding you back from experiencing the pleasure of anal play.
10 MYTHS ABOUT ANAL SEX WE’RE DEBUNKING NOW
MYTH #1: It is unnatural.
Hmmm. Not sure who put all of the nerve endings there then, if it were not for the possibility of pleasure? And what constitutes “natural sex” anyhow? Most folks engage beyond the traditional “penis in vagina” version of sex for variety, pleasure and solo/ partner configuration.
Bottom Line: Natural sex is where all parties are free to be themselves, communicating desires and enjoying consensual pleasure without shame, which can include anal play or not.
MYTH #2: It is dirty and messy.
All kinds of sex can get messy. When we lubricate, ejaculate, add massage oils and toys and let our inhibitions run wild, we end up with sexy juices and items to clean up afterwards. Condoms, towels and baby wipes minimize messes and make the clean-up of post anal-sex relatively effortless.
Bottom Line: Anal sex is practiced by many neat-freaks and can be an activity that, with the right tools, offers pleasure that’s worth a quick clean-up.
MYTH #3: It is painful.
Pain is usually an indication that you are doing something wrong and need to change: going too fast, using too little lube, or poking the sensitive lining of the rectum, among other possibilities. Yes, anal sex as any other sexual activity, can be pleasurable or painful, depending on how it is done.
Bottom Line: Sex is a skill, and skilled anal sex can be very pleasurable and pain-free.
MYTH #4: It is dangerous.
There are risks to all kinds of activities, including crossing the street. The dangers of anal play are overblown due to fear and lack of understanding about safety and pleasure. It can be hard to discern what is reasonable precautionary truth and what is fear or ignorance.
Bottom Line: A little education around proper use of anal-specific toys and safer sex supplies, combined with the patience to go slowly, will ensure safe and healthy anal pleasure.
MYTH #5: Anal sex causes hemorrhoids.
These swollen blood vessels filled with blood are around the anus and arise out of an increased pressure in the area, such as straining to pass bowel movements.
Bottom Line: Anal sex will not cause hemorrhoids if you make sure you take your time and ensure that the anus is relaxed. In fact, many believe that slow and gentle anal sex can actually relax the area enough to prevent hemorrhoids.
MYTH #6: I won’t like it because I hate rectal exams.
Having our doctor’s fingers or instruments up our butts is something most of us do not fantasize about. Doctors try to minimize discomfort but are not looking to make it an erotic experience. They walk the line between minimizing both pain and pleasure in the experience.
Bottom Line: Most folks do not find their rectal exam nearly as pleasurable as relaxed, hot and sexy anal play.
MYTH #7: It makes men gay.
Anal sex will not change someone’s orientation, guaranteed. Anal sex is no more gay than kissing. It is an activity than can be enjoyed by anyone. There are enough women willing to play with a man’s butt that there is no need to change his orientation in order to receive this kind of pleasure.
Bottom Line: Some gay and bisexual men enjoy anal play, and some don’t. Some straight men enjoy anal play, and some don’t.
MYTH #8: Real men don’t receive anal play.
There are many “rules” about what real men do: Real men don’t cry, show any emotion, should not be vulnerable. In the context of sex, to be penetrated is sometimes seen as feminine, or in other words, inferior and weak. These notions are neither true nor respectful of people of any gender. All kinds of folks enjoy being penetrated: men, women, transfolk, tall and short, bankers and environmentalists.
Bottom Line: Real men enjoy what brings their body pleasure.
MYTH #9: Anal pleasure is unhealthy.
Yes, anal play can be intensely pleasurable but it’s also very healthy. External anal play can help relax the area around the anus, which is especially helpful for those with hemorrhoids and/or constipation. Prostate massage can flush out stagnant prostatic fluid, which can harbour bacteria, more completely than ejaculation.
Bottom Line: Regular prostate play can detect irregularities in-between yearly check-ups. Gaining prompt medical attention to any changes as early as possible can have a huge impact on one’s health.
MYTH #10: Anal sex loosens the anus resulting in the need to wear diapers.
The anus is incorrectly perceived as an elastic that gets tired and over-flexes, unable to return to its original tightness. The anus does not stretch when passing a bowel movement or when pleasurable things go inside. The sphincter muscles actually relax in order to accommodate objects passing through.
Bottom Line: There are many anal sex fans walking the streets without diapers. You can be one of them.
Carlyle Jansen the founder of Good For Her, Toronto’s premiere sexuality shop and workshop centre, has been teaching workshops and coaching individuals and couples looking to enhance their sexual lives since 1995. She has authored two books: Sex Yourself: The Woman’s Guide to Mastering Masturbation and Achieving Powerful Orgasms and Anal Sex Basics for folks of all genders.