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I love anal play because it’s a universal act that transcends all genders and sexual identities. Why? Well, because everyone has an asshole! Some people believe only those with prostates can receive pleasure from anal stimulation, but the truth is, there are so many nerve endings in the anal region – both externally and internally – that anyone can benefit from anal stimulation.
For those without prostates, there’s the A-spot, or, what I prefer calling the A-zone. This is located at the front wall of the vagina, towards the back (between the cervix and the bladder, about 4-6” inside). It can be reached directly through the vagina or indirectly through the anus (more on this later). While we’ve written a number of guides that are intended to be inclusive – including this one – we will focus more on anal play for women, transmen, and AFAB enbies.
Does Anal Sex Hurt?
While everyone has an asshole, estrogen and differences in hormones lend themselves to differences in anal architecture. This means the skin is much thinner and more prone to tearing in women, transmen, and AFAB enbies. Second, the pelvic floor, angle, and musculature are also different from those in people with prostates. The key is educating ourselves and understanding all of these differences so that we can come prepared and set ourselves up for anal sex success.
Because, anal sex should be pleasurable. It may be uncomfortable at first, but if it’s done correctly, with the right steps taken to prepare and practice, anal play shouldn’t hurt.
Many women, transmen, and AFAB enbies think they can go from nothing to something big, especially when the vagina self lubricates and opens quite easily, compared to the asshole. However, for anal sex, the key is gradual dilation, working both the muscle and the skin to learn to accommodate anal penetration. This takes proper education and patience to be able to receive your partner or strap-on with pleasure rather than pain, and to avoid injury.
Is Anal Fun For Women?
Don’t let anyone tell you anal sex is only for those with prostates. When anal play is done right, it can be fun for any gender, whether you’re enjoying rimming, rubbing, light penetration (like fingers and small toys), or deeper penetration (like penises, strap-ons, and larger toys). In fact, a 2022 study found that 40% of women in the study reported that anal touch makes other sexual acts more pleasurable for them.
Why does anal play feel good for women, anyway? Anal intercourse applies pressure on the anterior wall of the vagina, where shared nerves exist between the rectum and vagina, allowing for sexual stimulation from the anus for some women. Also, nerves from the clitoris also extend towards the anus, which may allow for some women to have clit stimulation from anal play. The anus is one of the most sensitive erogenous zones on your body, and it can send shivers up and down your spine – in a good way!
New To Anal? Here’s Where To Start
The key for anyone just starting out with anal play is to start slow and to do your research. Jumping right into (or onto) the first thing you see is the perfect recipe for disaster – and injury. While we understand there may not be a treasure trove of resources dedicated to women, transmen, and AFAB enbies new to anal sex, following this guide, developed by an anal surgeon no less, will help not only combat anal stigma, but also give you the right tools to succeed in the bedroom.
1. Get Comfortable With Yourself
Exploring your body doesn’t always have to be with a partner. In fact, I think the best time to learn about your sexuality is when you are by yourself. When you’re alone, there’s no pressure to perform, there’s no rush to get off, and, most importantly, you can focus entirely on your own body and pleasure. This will help you relax and ignore anal stigma. You can spend this time feeling your own vibes, learning what gets you off (and what doesn’t), what hurts or feels uncomfortable (and what feels oh-so-good), and what new tricks you can eventually bring into partner play.
I especially love solo anal masturbation as a way to ease into anal sex. While I encourage you to set the mood just like you would with a partner (or two), I tell my patients all the time to start out in the shower. The warm water and steamy air help relax the body and mind, not to mention it makes cleaning up a breeze!
2. Consider Douching
Believe it or not, douching isn’t always necessary before anal sex. Most people think that douching is the one-and-only step to get your booty ready for anal sex, when in fact, being ready starts with what we eat, how much fiber we consume each day, staying properly hydrated, and even managing stress levels. These things work in tandem to encourage full and complete bowel movements that leave the rectum free of any feces. That’s why we developed a Butt & Gut Daily Fiber – an easy 2-a-day regimen that includes a clinically studied prebiotic fiber source, FibreGum™, as well as peppermint to help with gas and bloating and naturally occurring bifidobacteria, Fructooligosaccharides.
When I talk to people, most will say that the feeling of being ready for anal sex is not just physical – it’s a mental issue, too – and douching helps provide that extra level of confidence they’re looking for. Hopefully, with the right knowledge and awareness, people will adopt a daily routine that encourages less (or zero) douching before sex.
However, I also recognize that omitting douching altogether isn’t practical for most people. So, if you’re going to douche, douche safely. Future Method has an anal douche that was developed not to harm their body’s pH balance, and to have maximum compatibility with the cells within your rectum.
3. Lubricate, Lubricate, Lubricate!
Unlike the vagina, the anus doesn’t self-lubricate. Therefore, copious amounts of lube are essential to safe, healthy, and pleasurable anal play from start to finish. Don’t be afraid to keep reapplying to ensure the right kind of friction.
And, not all lubricants are created equal. I prefer using silicone-based lubes for anal play because nothing else can compete with their slickness or endurance. Most water-based lubricants either dry out too quickly, requiring constant reapplication, become sticky and tacky when instead you want it to be as slick as possible, and most are not compatible with the cells within your rectum. Yes, silicone-based lube can be hard to get off and even stain your sheets, but their benefits outweigh these minor inconveniences.
While these are the two most popular options, some people prefer spit because it’s all natural (and abundant and free), but, like water-based lubricants, it doesn’t last long enough, and others prefer oil-based lubricants; however, these aren’t always a good idea since they haven’t been tested for anal play, and they’re not compatible with condoms.
Best Anal Sex Positions For Women
If porn has taught us anything, it’s that doggy-style is the best sex position for anal sex... except that’s not actually true (for most people). No two pelvises or anal canals are the same, nor are all penises and toys shaped or curved the same way, and the wrong position can make things uncomfortable or even painful. This goes back to why solo exploration can be so helpful – you can learn the ins and outs of your anus – literally – to help guide your partner or toy in ways that will make you go “ooh” and not “ouch”! Here are my top three anal sex positions and why.
Cowgirl, Cowboy, or Cowpoke
For people who are new to receptive anal sex, I recommend starting out on top. This allows you to be the one in control of the depth and speed of penetration. Cowgirl, cowboy, or cowpoke is the perfect way to ease into things while also maintaining direct eye contact to help gauge how both parties are feeling (not to mention it gives you easy access to makeout). Once you’ve relaxed and you feel ready to explore more, you can stay on top, but take a more submissive role by crouching over your partner and allowing them to thrust into you, instead of you riding them. One thing to keep in mind is if the natural curvature of your partner’s penis or strap-on is upward, this position will provide direct access to your A-zone (or P-spot).
A lot of people poke fun at missionary for being too boring, for anal sex, it provides direct A-zone (or P-spot) stimulation for most people. There are so many variations to regular missionary, but they all originate with the person being penetrated will lie on their back, while the top inserts themselves between the legs (or with the receptive partner’s legs on their shoulders or bent in towards their chest) while facing them. This position can be tricky for anal sex, but is great if the insertive partner has an above average penis or strap-on. I find this to be a great beginner position because most variations prevent deep penetration (however, there are a few that do allow this) and it’s quite intimate since you and your partner will be face-to-face.
I couldn’t recommend my top anal sex positions and not include doggy-style, where the receptive partner will get on all fours while the insertive partner kneels or stands behind them and thrusts into them. Depending on your anal canal, you may find this more or less comfortable than other positions. But, as I mentioned before, I generally recommend waiting to try this position until you’ve mastered anal sex because it allows the insertive partner to be in full control, and, because you’ll be facing away from each other, you won’t be able to read each other’s facial cues. Once you know you’re ready to try doggy-style, there are two major benefits: it allows for deep penetration and it’s easier to target the A-zone.
Best Toys for Anal Play for Women
There are two things to keep in mind when shopping for your first beginner anal toys. First, be honest with yourself about getting the right size. No one is going to judge you for starting small. In fact, by doing so, you’re actually setting yourself up for more success (and pleasure) in the long run. And, second, not every toy is an anal toy. You want to make sure whatever toy, dildo, dilator, vibrator, or anal beads you buy comes with a base that’s larger than the insertable portion of the toy. This will prevent it from getting stuck inside you and may require surgical removal. I’ve seen it all at my private practice and it’s never pretty.
So, what are the best anal toys for beginners? Start by investing in a solid anal dilator kit, like this glass set we spent years perfecting at Future Method. Made from smooth, substantial, body-compatible glass, each is designed to ease open the three anal sphincters and the surrounding skin – allowing for enhanced elasticity and a more accommodating fullness. The best part is: not only can you use them to prepare for anal sex, but also you can enjoy them for pleasure, whether by yourself or with a partner.
Other dildos, vibrators, and anal toys to look for should include ones with varying vibration types and speeds; ones made with high quality silicone, glass, or steel (vinyl and PVC tend to degrade more quickly, have noticeable drag, and aren’t compatible with silicone lube); and ones that have a slight curvature to them to help take the guesswork out of finding the A-zone. Try to stay away from toys that have crazy shapes and textures, which can lead to injury, and ones that are beyond your experience level. Learning how to have receptive anal sex takes time and practice, starting with small toys and working your way up in a stepwise progression. Remember: skin is much thinner and more prone to tearing in women, transmen, and AFAB enbies, so, it’s even more important to not rush things.
With this simple, yet detailed guide on anal play for women, transmen, and AFAB enbies, I hope you’ve come away knowing that anal sex is something everyone can enjoy. Our goal is to help break down the stigma and shame around anal play, and provide the right steps from start to finish (and top to bottom), so that you can feel confident and ready.
If you’re unsure about where to find everything you need to get started, check out Future Method’s Explorer Kit and the Future Method Glass Anal Dilator Kit. Our explorer kit has everything you need to get started and ease you and your partner into trying anal sex. And our dilators will help ensure your first time is as smooth as the glass they’re made of.
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.