Inner-CourseTM Part I
Taboo-tay! Here’s What You Need to Know About Anal Sex
(Butt Feel Too Awkward To Ask!)
Why does Anal Sex cause mASS hysteria?
So why such taboo-ness over anal sex? And anal play? Why do we think it’s so unnatural and “dirty”?
Let’s get one thing off the table.
Everyone has an asshole (and everyone can also be an asshole).
Heterosexual anal intercourse has been around for millennium, and if you’ve taken art history or archeology or even some religious studies, you may have seen paintings and etchings from Japan, Asia and European countries all depict this sexual act. In a few Polynesian cultures, rectal intercourse had been practiced explicitly as a way of contraceptive (remember not everyone has access to IUD’s and other contraception).
When you look at the 1950s, anal intercourse experience had been reported by less than 15 per cent of the population. But by 1992, 16 percent of women aged 18-24 said they’d tried anal sex. But today’s data shows that 20 percent of women aged 18-19 say they’ve done it, and by ages 20-24, the number is 40 percent. In 1992, the highest percentage of women in any age group who admitted to anal sex was 33. In 2002, it was 35. In 2021, it’s 46.
Let’s be clear: anal sex doesn’t always include anal intercourse. The nerves and muscles within and around the perianal area play a part in the genital sensations of sex even if no one is engaging in any kind of anal or perianal sexual stimulation or sex whatsoever.
What’s goin on down there, anyway?
The anus — the external opening to the rectum, visible between your butt cheeks — is surrounded by two concentric rings of muscle: the internal and external sphincter. The external can be voluntarily controlled (in other words, you can think about squeezing it open or closed and make that happen); the internal can’t. The anus is rich with sensory nerve endings: it has half the nerve endings in the whole pelvic region and those are interconnected with other pelvic muscles. Like the vagina, most of those nerve endings are concentrated around the opening and just inside the rectum. The anus is unlike the vagina in that it does not self-lubricate.
The pudendal (PYEW-DEN-DAHL) nerve – something else we all have — is in the perianal region at the bottom of the spinal cord, and for folks whose nerve pathways aren’t being disrupted in some way, she is quite the powerhouse. The pudendal supplies nerves to the bladder, anus, perineum, penis, areas around the scrotum and the clitoris. A lot of the feelings people have in their genitals and pelvis during orgasm – including the spasms people can feel with orgasm or ejaculations — are because of the pudendal nerve as well as the pelvic nerve.
The pubococcygeus muscle (PC) muscle (which some people call Kegel muscles) is also in the perianal region. It stretches from the pubic bone to the tail bone and forms the floor of the pelvic cavity and supports the pelvic organs. The PC muscle also usually contracts during orgasm.
The perineal sponge is also in this region in people born with a vulva. Internal to the body, it’s between the bottom of the opening and the rectum, and is part of the clitoral system, and is made of nerve endings, erectile tissue, and blood vessels. We may feel sensations of this sponge from stimulation to the vagina, clitoris or anus or the areas around them.
Will I leak or will my rectum fall out in my maxi dress while I’m at Trader Joe’s one day?
The short answer is aw, hell NAH!
Just like the vagina there’s a very small risk of leakage and prolapse (when your pelvic muscles weaken and cause organs to slip down) over the course of a lifetime. Of course, do your Kegels, which should involve the rectal area as well (if you need a refresher on that: check out our episode on “Kegels rhymes with Bagels”).
Can Anal sex aggravate existing hemorrhoids?
YES. Part of the reason is: the anal complex doesn’t create its own lube
The anus doesn’t make enough lubrication on its own for comfortable anal sex, so it’s important to use plenty of lube. Go slowly. Stop if anything hurts and let your partner know how you feel — sex that’s painful or uncomfortable shouldn’t continue. If you have a ‘roid the size of St. Louis protruding out, hold off right now, because you’ll likely bleed or irritate further.
Can I get the clap?
Like unprotected vaginal sex, unprotected anal sex can spread STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, herpes, HIV, HPV, and syphilis. Oral contact with the anus (aka analingus or rimming) can also lead to intestinal parasites and hepatitis, so good hygiene is very important.
Which leads me to my next point: no double dipping bacteria from butt in vagina. Badness will follow. Choose a door and stick with it.
What about poop?
Most people worry about this—some planning may be necessary for those who frequently engage in anal intercourse. Like maybe you don’t order the #3 Flameado Taco Special the few days before you try it. But no need to do an enema (anal douche) prior.
Why would any woman do it?
The most cited motivators for engaging in anal sex were partner pleasure, personal pleasure, and sexual exploration or curiosity. All but one participant described partner pleasure as the primary motivator. BUT a variety of other motivators include pregnancy prevention, maintaining perceived virginity status for religious reasons, and avoiding vaginal intercourse during menstruation or even after vaginal cancer treatments.
Most women reported that they were much more likely to engage in anal sex when they felt they had a high degree of control in their relationship with a specific partner. Is this shocking? NO! These relationships are ones in which they had a high level of perceived power and the ability to decline sexual acts with their partners. These relationships were frequently described as longer-term or monogamous relationships.
So, should we try it?
More than one-third of women in the U.S. have engaged in anal intercourse, but little is known regarding women’s perceptions of anal sex and motivations for engaging in this sexual behavior. Anal sex is, not surprisingly, underreported by women and often considered a taboo topic for discussion by both patients and physicians.
Here’s the thing, sis. Anal sex has been around for eons, so just because we’re talking about it more doesn’t mean more are doing it, but perhaps just finally admitting to it! And it’s NOT for everyone. And just because Stella down the street is doing it (and talking about it at Bunco) doesn’t mean you have to. Remember, inner-course is all about finding what works best for YOU.
Here’s the link!