by Wendy Strgar March 25, 2011
In recent years anal sex seems to have come out of the closet with more people, both gay and straight. More and more people are asking questions and admitting to having tried and liked it than ever before. This of course begs the question, are more people talking about anal sex or actually having it? The increased comfort of talking and thinking about anal sex probably began when pornographic films started including the act in all of their features and not just their hardcore versions.
The taboo around anal sex is deep and long-standing for heterosexual couples, although the practice is documented and depicted in both Egyptian and Roman civilizations. The discussion amongst health care providers is almost non-existent, dating back to the late 30s in the Kinsey data, in which only 9% of respondents admitted to having had anal sex. The associations between anal sex and homosexuality have long been part of the homophobic prejudice that still fills the airwaves. Not long ago, Representative Nancy Elliot from Maine made some crude remarks about the practice as a justification against same sex unions.
The actual statistics on anal sex, like other sexual research, are difficult to ascertain because data collection is largely through self-reported surveys. The most recent U.S. data from a national representative sample comes from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), which was conducted on 12,000 men and women aged 15 to 44. Results show that 34 percent of men and 30 percent of women reported engaging in anal sex at least once. This represents a significant jump from the 9% reporting anal sex in the Kinsey data from the 1930s.
The question about whether or not to engage in anal sex should come down to only one factor, which is whether you are interested in the experience or not. Preparing for and experiencing this kind of sexual play takes patience, clear communication and true curiosity. It isn’t something to try because you think you should want to or worse still because someone else is pushing you into it. Under the right circumstances, which include patience, extended times of foreplay and arousal, and substantial amounts of good lubricant, many people, (both men and women) report distinct experiences of pleasure, intense orgasmic response and a satisfying fullness from the experience, which makes sense given the wide array of nerve endings that infuse the area.
There is a lot to learn about this kind of sexual practice; reading books or watching a video to prepare for the experience will increase the comfort and decrease the risks involved, which are significant given the bacterial strains that live comfortably in that area of the body, but translate to illness in any other body cavity. Becoming versed in the anatomy of the area is also helpful. This background will help orient you to hands-on exploration and finding out what feels good on and around the exterior of the bottom. Become versed in the safety precautions necessary to not regret this exploration before starting. Taking the safety steps and hygiene requirements seriously is essential for a harmless and pleasurable experience. Condoms and gloves are a must, along with plenty of lubricant.
If there is one rule of thumb that applies to the exploration of anal sex it is to never force. The key to pleasure is the relaxation of the sphinter muscles that allow easy entry (with lubricant). Engaging in multiple types will help to achieve the arousal and opening that makes this play pleasurable. Motion is a different experience in this entry and should be taken with care and communication. The penetrated partner may feel more comfortable if they are initiating and directing the motion. Slow is better than fast and shallow may feel plenty deep. This is a practice that requires immense shared respect, high level capacity to communicate during sex and meticulous attention to hygiene.
Anal sex might never include penetration for you. But just giving yourself permission to explore the many sensations that different kinds of touch can elicit around the bottom may add a spark to your love life that literally turns it upside down.
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