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Why So Anal about Pleasure? An Editorial

By HERWriter
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I want to preface this article by first saying, I have not had anal sex. It is on my list of sexual behaviors to explore and consider, though I am still quite apprehensive. I think my sentiments are shared by many who are interested and intrigued about the potential pleasure of a new position, but who are also anxious about the slightly "messy" logistics of making it work.

That being said, before I began doing research for this series of articles on anal play, I was not only nervous about the endeavor, but also generally uninterested in welcoming the act into my sex life. Reading about the satisfying benefits of anal sex for women, hearing the accounts of others and their experiences, and making an effort to have open conversations about the topic has opened my eyes to a new world of options. Whether you are a committed fan, a non-subscriber, or have been considering engaging in anal play, I believe it is a subject that women should make an effort to include in their sexual awareness and conversations, even if only to expand their education on the female body and become resources for friends/family members who may have questions about the behavior.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth, anal sex between heterosexual partners has been on the rise over the past decade. In 1992, 20.4 percent of women reported engaging in anal sex with a male partner, while in 2005, 32.6 percent indicated they include anal in part of their heterosexual repertoire (New York Magazine, 2006). While anal sex has historically been associated with gay couples, it is clear that people who enjoy sex with the opposite gender have adopted the practice, perhaps finally realizing what they have been missing out on. It is time for women—straight, gay and anywhere in between—to get the facts on anal play and what makes it worthwhile.

The bottom line is, like your vagina, your anus is packed with sensitive nerve endings that feel great when touched or stimulated. Although experimenting with this somewhat fragile opening is not necessarily a stand-alone endeavor (it requires some foreplay and careful lubrication), gentle exploration of the anus is a tremendous complement to other pleasure-giving (think cunnilingus). By slowly introducing the stimulation of this third hole into your sexual repertoire one step (or to be more accurate, one finger) at a time, you are opening yourself up to sensations that you won’t feel with vaginal-only penetration. Many sources suggest you begin simply with a massage of the anal opening, an action that carries almost no risk and allows both partners to get comfortable with the touch.

As you know (or should know), the clitoris is not just a little “button” at the apex of your labia—it is just the tip of an iceberg! The clitoris has legs that extend along the vagina and connect back to the anus, allowing you to feel pleasure through stimulation of the entire vulva area (O’Connell, 2005).

Unfortunately, it is often more difficult for a partner to access these sensitive areas through missionary position vaginal penetration. Rear-entry arrangements allow for stimulation of your “G-spot,” an area located on the back wall of your vagina that is encircled by the horseshoe shape of your clitoral legs. When the “G-spot” is stroked, it provides a different sort of pleasure than external contact with the clitoris. This means that anal penetration not only gives your partner access to the 6,000-plus nerve endings that make up your full clitoris, and allows for a more direct angle to hit your G-spot, but your partner can also hit the many nerve endings within your anus and rectum, which are otherwise ignored.

Furthermore, women who are currently menstruating or who are particularly nervous about getting pregnant, anal play can be a great alternative to vaginal penetration. And thanks to the fact that our society generally believes anal to be somewhat of a taboo, you will have the added bonus of feeling slightly “naughty” whenever you explore the region—a huge turn-on for many women!

I have emphasized this before, but I will do it again: It is not recommended that you jump into anal sex right away because it can be both painful and dangerous. Instead, slowly allowing yourself to get used to the feeling of anal stimulation will allow both parties to be more comfortable, relaxed and open to further exploration.

Partners engaging in anal sex should ALWAYS use a condom due to the higher risk of infection and disease transmission. Keep in mind that you should take extra precaution regarding cleanliness before attempting any sort of anal play. Start small, do your research, protect yourself and keep an open mind! Pleasure comes in all different manners, and you will never know what you like until you try!



O'Connell HE, Sanjeevan KV, Hutson JM (October 2005). "Anatomy of the clitoris". The Journal of Urology 174 (4 Pt 1): 1189–95.

Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers (1991). A New View of a Woman’s Body. Feminist Heath Press. p. 46.



Edited by Shannon Koehle

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Being someone that was forced to have anal sex against my will for 20 years with an abusive husband, I could never tell you anything that felt sexy, arousing or remotely pleasurable about it. All I can say is don't start something you can't finish because your partner may become obsessed about it.

July 30, 2011 - 9:52am
EmpowHER Guest

This editorial would appear to reflect the writer's opinion expressed in another article on the topic -- that anal sex equates with phallic penetration. While digital stimulation is mentioned, the implication is that it is preparation for and the prelude to 'the real act.'

This viewpoint, I believe, does a disservice to those who wish to expand their repertory of pleasure-giving and pleasure-receiving activities. There are individuals who will eschew 'anal intercourse' for a variety of reasons -- including health concerns, matters of physical comfort, personal beliefs and societal standards. Those individuals should not be encouraged to believe that anal stimulation practices automatically lead to anal intercourse.

July 30, 2011 - 8:15am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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