Not too long ago, anal sex and all things butt foreplay were stigmatized and thought to be taboo. Now that the concept of “butt stuff” is a bit more out in the open, many people are interested in engaging but unsure how to get started and what to expect. While you may be interested in anal foreplay as a way to prepare for anal sex, remember that sex doesn’t have to solely revolve around penetration. Foreplay can be a fulfilling way to warm up for the main event, or can even be the main event itself.
If you’re curious about anal foreplay, we’ve got four tips to help you get started, whether you want to try it solo or with a partner. As with any sex, it takes time to understand your anatomy and what feels good for you, so a solo session isn’t a bad idea before asking others to join. Either way, here’s what you need to know.
1. Prep Physically and Emotionally
First, the emotional prep is important. Make sure you and any partners are on the same page about what you are and aren’t into trying. Discuss boundaries and comfort levels beforehand as well as after to make sure nothing changed for anyone involved. Do your research and famiiarize yourself with the act of anal sex, including terms and locations of things like the A-spot (aka the “female prostate”) and the P-spot. Having some knowledge will help you feel more confident and ready to explore.
To prepare physically, make sure to ready your area and mindset for potential mess, which, well, can occur. Have plenty of lube nearby, as well as any other items you may need or want, such as towels, toys (start small), etc. When it comes to anal play, lube, and lots of it, is essential to help minimize risk of injury and maximize pleasure for everyone involved. Unlike the vagina, the anus is not self-lubricating, so spit alone won’t cut it. While you can use either water-based or silicone lube, I recommend something that’s extremely slick, and nothing beats the smoothness and endurance of silicone lube.
Toys are one of the best things about foreplay because they help pre-lubricate the anal canal before you go into full-on penetration. Unfortunately, many toys aren’t compatible with silicone lube, so water-based is the way to go in this case. If you can find a toy you like that’s made of glass, metal, or another material that is compatible with silicone lube, that’s optimal as it will make the transition to anal sex super easy without having to switch from water-based to silicone.
One other apparatus that most people aren’t familiar with are lube shooters or lube applicators. These make such a difference because most insertive partners (tops) just squirt a little lube on the penis/finger/toy/butt, but this doesn’t properly and adequately coat the entire anal canal. Using a lube shooter, you'll be able to distribute the lube into the rectum and along the walls of the anal canal, which makes penetration so much easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
Lastly, you don't need to use a rectal wash before foreplay — just a quick shower to freshen up the external area will do. However, if full-on penetration is on the agenda after foreplay, then, yes, you may want to use a rectal wash if it'll help make you feel more confident.
2. Don’t Forget About Other Body Parts
While butt play may be the focus, don’t neglect the full-body experience. There’s still potentially a penis and vagina involved to give attention to. And you don’t even need partner-to-partner penetration by any means if that’s not your preference. Stimulating erogenous zones like nipples, necks, abdomens, taints, etc. or mutual masturbation can greatly add to the experience. Don’t forget about good, old-fashioned kissing, too. Focusing on these other areas and sexual acts can help further relax and prepare the anus for penetration if that’s what you’re building to.
3. Relax Butt Muscles
Relaxation, like lubrication, is key. Before engaging in any backdoor play, try some deep breathing or a sensual massage to set the mood and help relax butt muscles. Prior to insertion of any body part or object, the sphincter needs to be mellow.
If it’s your first time trying anal sex, we strongly recommend taking the time to prepare the anus as far out as possible before receiving penetration from a partner or toy. We fully support the use of butt plugs to safely get the anus used to penetration and recommend investing in an anal kit with three gradual dilators.
When you’re ready to use your kit, use plenty of lube with gentle play until you feel pressure against the anal sphincters. Try to consciously relax to accommodate, and then slowly remove, all in one continuous motion. Re-lubricate and insert again with a similar technique of slowly inserting, meeting resistance, and then slowly pulling out. One should not feel pain at all, and most may require this technique to be done a handful of times before complete insertion. If it’s too much, it’s okay to end that session and try again another day. We suggest using the small plug for two weeks, then both the small and medium plugs for the following two weeks, and then finally adding in the large plug two weeks after that. Once you’ve gotten to the point that you can accept all three sizes with ease, pat yourself on the back (or the butt) for completion of this dilation accomplishment.
It’s critical to train your anal sphincters to accommodate a butt plug, toy, or penis, and that takes time. Your anal sphincters are muscles just like your biceps or deltoids, and as such, they need periodic exercise to increase their flexibility and overall distensibility. This recommendation might sound like something you’d expect from your personal trainer, but practice is key. Remember, with the anus always in contraction mode, deliberate muscle relaxation is key for getting and staying in tip-top shape.
4. Go Slowly and Avoid Pain
Two words: no forcing. When you’re ready for any penetration, go slowly and lube, lube, lube. You may want to use your hands first to help the area relax and get warmed up, the same way you would with a vagina or penis. You can also try rimming — oral-to-anal pleasuring. If experimenting with a partner, remember to communicate. The partner receiving the pleasure (the bottom) should not be submissive and should verbalize what does and doesn’t feel good, as well as control the speed and depth of penetration.
If anyone gets uncomfortable physically or emotionally, stop. At the first sign of pain, don’t try to keep going. This could cause damage and discomfort. Seriously, we mean this. Don’t be worried about disappointing your partner or not being able to follow through, which cis men are often concerned with in the case of pegging (usually involving a cis woman wearing a strap-on dildo and anally penetrating their partner, who is often a cis man). Point blank, if it doesn’t work the first time, simply try again later. If using toys, consider going down a size and working your way back up. Make sure to choose toys that fit your current comfort level to avoid tearing and have a base so they don’t get lost inside you.
Lastly, remember the front-to-back rule. Never put something that was in a butt in a vagina, mouth, or around the eyes without thoroughly washing it or changing the condom first. This includes fingering. Going from butt to anywhere else can lead to infections you definitely don’t want. With that said and these tips in mind, go forth and anal foreplay.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Future Method, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.