A long time ago, I was in a café with a group of female friends, their eyes wide and mouths agape.
We’d attempted to do it in the missionary position rather than doggy style, I divulged. And, put simply, it was an absolute shambles.
We spent a few minutes trying to figure it out, but the experience was awkward and a little painful, so we soon gave up.
I don’t quite remember how the conversation began, but I do remember how my friends’ faces went red as I shared the juicy – and embarrassing – details.
Most of them seemed eager to know more, but, at the same time, were too scared to share their own experiences.
This was almost 15 years ago and very little has changed in how we talk about anal sex since – if at all.
But it really does need to change.
I’d like to begin by acknowledging that, given I’m straight, this particular column refers primarily to those experiences. Etiquette and discussions around anal play may differ broadly in the LGBTQ+ community.
In my opinion, the issue around talking about anal sex usually stems from a sense of shame or misplaced idea that this is a ‘dirty’ sex act (you know, because of the whole poo thing).
Or that, if you enjoy anal play as a straight person, this somehow means that you are attracted to the same sex – which is not the case at all.
The latter is usually a bigger problem among men, given how they’re often encouraged to be ‘macho’ or dominant in bed.
As with any sexual activity, whether it be kissing or anal sex, you must always check in to make sure your partner is comfortable
I know many straight men who will happily talk about how they have anal sex with a female partner or enjoy oral in that area. But the idea of confessing to enjoying anal play for themselves is a big no-no.
As one straight pal told me: ‘I’ve got no issue talking about anal sex but I’ve found the biggest issue among my fellow straight male mates is lack of transparency.
‘If you’re not in a place to talk about anal play, then I think there’s possibly a lack of maturity. But nothing is more of a vibe kill than a finger somewhere it shouldn’t be if you’ve had spicy food for lunch, so I think we need to give people the opportunity to prepare for this type of sex by talking about it before you enter the bedroom.’
So, unequivocally, I say to all (straight) fellas out there: it’s okay if you like a finger, or sex toy, up the bum.
It just means you like having your prostate stimulated, which just so happens to be accessible through this particular orifice.
The first time I put a finger up a man’s bottom was an interesting experience.
It was with someone I’d recently started dating and, while giving him oral sex, I gently rubbed his testicles. I hadn’t intended to go any further than that but he looked at me sheepishly and said he’d always wanted to try it.
We had some lube handy so I figured, why not?
Afterwards, he described the experience as ‘one of his strongest orgasms ever’ and I have no regrets. Barring falling asleep before I’d had a chance to properly wash my hands… which I don’t recommend.
This particular man didn’t feel awkward about it but I’ve slept with other men who have reacted in a much stronger (and negative) way to any suggestion of anal play.
One former date told me he had no issue with anal sex in general, but then made a big point to say that he would ‘never want anything near *his* bum’ – and later repeated it.
Perhaps he just wanted to be clear about his boundaries, which I fully respect, but I sensed that there was some form of fear attached to the thought that he might actually enjoy it.
A gay friend of mine told me that he believes this thought process is very common among straight men – and he usually hears these types of stories from their girlfriends.
‘Female friends love telling me stories about how their partner likes being fingered anally, as well as having anal sex, but also say these men would never dream of discussing this outside the bedroom – and especially not with their male friends,’ he said.
Listen to your body and see where the sensations take you
But, if we don’t talk about anal sex, then we can’t share knowledge – and this can be dangerous for your sexual health and wellbeing.
If we are going to indulge, we should all, for example, be aware of anal sex etiquette, such as cleanliness and ‘douching’ – which we might associate with the LGBTQ+ community, and is perhaps not often considered as much by heterosexual people.
Hygiene is paramount no matter what type of sex you’re having or which sexual orientation you identify with. And it’s especially key with anal sex because the rectum’s lining is thinner, and therefore easier to ‘break’, making it more susceptible to infections.
Unfortunately, Relationship and Sex Education in the UK is sorely lacking in this area, so it’s doubly important that we share our personal experiences and advice to help each other.
As for myself, despite my disastrous first attempt, I did try again, when I was older. I did some research and made a point to relax and take things very slow, which helped.
Personally, I am not particularly fussed about anal play, but I have (straight female and male) friends who absolutely love it.
As a final note, as with any sexual activity, whether it be kissing or anal sex, you must also always check in to make sure your partner is comfortable.
While non-verbal communication can be helpful, such as stroking your finger near the area to gauge the other person’s reaction, a verbal confirmation, with questions like ‘is this okay?’ or ‘can I keep going?’ is best.
Anal sex can be super fun and pleasurable. But it’s not for everyone, which is fine – you do you.
If you do happen to be curious, though, don’t shame yourself. Try to enjoy sexual exploration instead. Listen to your body and see where the sensations take you.
Even if a little poo comes out, don’t fret. S*** happens.
Sure, it can be awkward but have a wash and when you’re ready, give it another crack.
Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your views in the comments below.
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