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How to prepare for anal play

A Guide to Perfect Anal Play

Home » Guides » How to prepare for anal play


Anal sex can be daunting, in particular, if you have been exposed to the endless taboos and misinformation about it. One of the most important steps that you can take in order to enjoy the experience is to educate yourself on what to expect. Take some time to research any topic that might make you nervous from the sensations to the hygiene or the psychological aspects.
Anal sex can seem like a massive deal if you haven’t done butt stuff before. And like any other sex act, it’s something that you should prepare for if you want to do it. So, if you want to be safe and comfortable for your first anal sexual encounter, follow the tips in the below article and things should be more clearer and hopefully you’ll feel more relaxed. Bear in mind, these recommendations are for anyone that plans to have sex with a partner of any gender identity or sexual orientation (whether they have a penis, or intend to use a strap-on for penetration).
Before we go any further, it is important to keep in mind that you do not need to rush into it if you don’t feel ready.
It’s also important to take things slowly, you can start by using your well-lubricated finger(s), to get used to the sensations of anal play before inserting your sex toy of choice or penis. Take your time and experiment with different motions, the amount of pressure you apply and ensure that you don’t hurry things as you could hurt yourself if things move to fast.
If you are planning on using larger vibrators and sex toys, we recommend that you “warm up” first with a smaller device. By starting with a small toy it will help with the insertion of a larger toy, but at the same time, it will help with your arousal, building for a fabulous sexual action.
As with any sex toy, when it comes to anal sex toys it is incredibly important to keep clean because this will prevent bacteria from being spread. If you are sharing toys, it is advised to use a condom, to prevent transmission of infection.
Despite anal sex capturing many people’s curiosity and intrigue it is seemingly still shrouded in mystery and can be kind of intimidating. We will try to break down anal sex facts vs. fiction to deliver a first-timer anal sex how-to guide. To give you some clarity, read the tips and tricks on how to prepare for anal sex that will make it as safe, clean, pleasurable and as exciting as possible. So here are the things I wish I’d known the night before my first anal experience (if you are a receiver or the giver of anal sex):

anal sex prep - how to

Talk with your partner

Make sure that you and your partner have discussed having anal sex before trying it. Surprising your partner with a new sexual activity is never a great idea, consent is key in all play. It is better to discuss with your partner and establish your comfort level and just take small steps. Just remember that there is no need to pressure your partner or yourself, to do something they are not ready for. And if you can’t talk about anal sex or any butt play, you are probably not ready to have anal sex.¹ 
If you will have the chat about posterior play it will also help you make the actual act more enjoyable and comfortable for you both.
Butt and anal play can mean a lot of things. Firstly, you’re going to want to decide what exactly is going down. And in order to do so, you can answer a few of the below questions.

  • Are there any things you do not want to do?
  • Are there other things you want to try?
  • Is penetration happening?
  • Are toys going to be involved?
  • What to do to make your experience more comfortable (lube, condoms, butt plugs)?

Like all sex, anal play is more enjoyable when accompanied by foreplay. This should be part of the discussion topic as to what gets you both turned on. So, if are wondering if anal sex actually feels good or if it is only pleasurable for some people, here is an anal sex fact for you: butt sex can be pleasurable for anyone with a botty. To give you a better understanding, the skin and tissue in and around the anus are different from the vulva. But there are nerve endings and when they are stimulated, can help you or your partner have an anal orgasm.
For those with a prostate, a big butt sex orgasm will occur by stimulating the prostate through the anus. As for vagina-owners, an anal orgasm will occur by stimulation of the A-spot or G-spot, an analogous area that has very similar tissue as the prostate.
In a nutshell, knowing what to expect, and feeling ready and comfortable will assist you and your partner to have the most enjoyable experience.

talk with partner about butt sex

Experiment on your own

Before you even contemplate placing something in someone else’s backside be sure to explore your own bum. If you do not feel comfortable with putting a finger in your bottom or exploring with a sex toy you probably are not ready to penetrate another person’s butt, and vice-versa.
This step is important because the same way that masturbation is essential in understanding your body and growing comfortable with different sensations and what turns you on. Therefore, masturbation is a great way to prepare yourself for anal sex and you can start with a simple anal fingering at your own pace. Making your botty part of your masturbation session will not only boost your comfort and confidence with anal play, but it will also help you discover your peach from a new perspective.
One great way is to start with your go-to solo-sex moves. You can put lube on your fingertip and experiment and explore with sense, pressure and touch. Using a lot of lubricant and by gently and slowly inserting your finger into your anus, you will get to know how it feels.
This Sliquid lube is considered the go-to lube when it comes to anal play as it is organic, vegan, and blended with botanical extracts. It’s really good quality and affordable lube for you and your or partner’s rear.
During arousal, lubricant can help these muscles relax so that you can slide a finger inside.
Here’s what to expect if have you never touched an anus before and don’t know what to expect or how it will feel. You will feel two muscles contract around your finger: the external sphincter which you can contract and release at will, and the internal sphincter, which is an involuntary muscle and it is regulated by the autonomic nervous system.
Then, exercise by squeezing the external sphincter around your finger and allow it to release like you are trying to push something out of your bottom. When you are comfortable and ready, you then can push the finger a little farther to explore the internal sphincter. Then, you can practice by breathing slowly and you should feel it release slightly.

When you are comfortable fingering your anus, you can then experiment with different sensations and different types of anal play. Using small anal sex toys are an excellent way of preparing for anal play and sex. Anal beads are a great adult toy for beginners as they are petite and you can move at your own pace.
Commence by inserting the smallest bead, and gradually when you feel comfortable insert more. And like we mentioned before always use lots of lube. Because the backside doesn’t naturally lubricate as the vagina does, that is why it needs a little helping hand. If you’re using silicone anal toys (or any other silicone sex toy), do not use silicone lube as they can get damaged. With silicone toys use only water-based lube.
Once you’re comfortable with anal beads, try using like a vibrating butt plug. Again, use loads of lube and insert it slowly and gradually adjust to the feeling.

experiment on your own with anal play

Preparation and clean up

The majority of people get hung up on the possible mess associated with anal play. Before anal play and sex, there are some cleaning techniques you can use. But keep in mind that you are sticking something in your butt. The more you get used with the idea that there is a possibility of a bit of poop, the less shocked you will be if it happens.
That said for a more comprehensive clean that goes beyond soap and water or baby wipes, you can use anal douching or an enema or for a deeper clean.
This is probably one of the first things people wondered about when it comes to the prep involved for anal sex. FYI, poop is “collected” in the upper bowels and not the anal canal the bit you will use for anal sex and is far enough in that no penis is big enough to reach it. If you are having regular bowel movements, you should be more than in the clear. So the fear of faecal residue and poop droplets joining in on the ass sex fun journey are a bit baseless.
If you can, go to the toilet 60 to 30 minutes before anal sex, do and also never hurts to do a good shower pre-butt sex. Washing off before anal play can make you feel clean and hence more relaxed and sexy.²
An unscented wet wipe can do wonders before bottom sex if you have no time to shower. Just don’t introduce fragrances, new or different products to your nether-bits, which could produce irritation (and you don’t want that before any sexual encounter).
But the ultimate goal here is to wash away any sign of a bad wipe job and to make yourself feel clean so that you can enter the encounter with complete confidence.

clean up anal play

Maybe use an enema or anal douche

As we mentioned an enema and anal douche in the above section we will dive a little bit deeper. Before we go any further, we need to explain what an enema or anal douching actually is. Basically, it is the process of passing liquid through the anus and into the large intestine to clean the bowels but it is not a requirement when to preparing for anal sex. But if you want to take extra precautions beyond a wet wipe or soap and water, which are sufficient, you can use an enema or anal douching for a deeper, more comprehensive clean. About an hour before anal play, lubricate the tip or the anal douche (or enema kit), either sit on the bathtub or toilet, insert the nozzle into your bum, and then squeeze slowly the water into the hole. Keep the liquid inside you for a few seconds before letting it out. Repeat the process until the water runs out clean or until the device that you use is empty.
“If you continue to use enemas regularly, there are risks related to muscle function and an imbalance of the electrolytes,” says Jessica O’Reilly, Ph.D., a sexologist and host of the podcast Sex With Dr Jess. “I generally don’t believe they’re necessary.”³

enema or anal douching

Try rimming

The oral-anal play has many nicknames: rimming, analingus (if you like to be fancy), tossing the salad, just to list a few. This can include licking, kissing, sucking and any other pleasurable action that requires oral-to-anal contact. Rimming traditionally doesn’t involve penetration with the tongue, but if that is what you fancy, go for it!
According to Dr Goldstein in this article: “I highly recommend rimming for those about to engage in anal sex, as it will help get you relaxed and ready to receive!” he says. “It’s amazing what a little tongue action can do. It can help put the receiver’s mind at ease while warming them up to relax their sphincters.”³ 
However, there is an indisputable intimacy when it comes to oral anal sex as it involves your partner’s tongue doing swirlies in and around your backdoor and like we mentioned before please ensure that you and your partner are on the same page before introducing tongue to the anal play. Because let’s face it, B-town is probably not the first destination on everyone’s list of body parts to take a tongue to.
Even if you try rimming which can provide some lubrication naturally from the spit, the lubricant should still be your go-to choice.
In this case, you can go for a flavoured lube. Take the same method when it comes to salad tossing and drizzle (pun intended), why not season your lover’s anus with your preferred flavoured lube. It will have the double benefit of tasting delicious as well as helping your lips and tongue slide over sensitive areas.
Rimming can be experienced and enjoyed as a standalone act or done as foreplay to any other sexual venture that you and your partner are up for. You don’t need to have penetrative anal sex if you don’t want to. So, as we mentioned before ensure that both of you are on the same page before going any further.


Use toys to prepare for anal sex

If you take one thing from this guide is that you should never insert anything into your butt that doesn’t have a flared base. Because unlike the vagina which has a cervix and comes to a full stop, the rectum keeps going into the abyss of your intestinal tract. Using a sex toy with a flared base will keep any device firmly rooted on the outside of your body and keep you safe.
Once you have a trustworthy anal toy that is ideal for beginners, use some lube, start slowly, and insert the plug into your rear bit by bit. As you insert the toy, try to relax to accommodate it and then, have your partner remove it. Re-charge with lube and insert again. Repeat this method of slow-in, slow-out five or six times, or until you can fully insert the toy (until the flared based).
Continue if it feels good and comfortable, but if it’s too much, it’s okay to end that session and then try again at a later time.
“I instruct most of my clients to use a small plug for two weeks, then both a small and medium plug for the following two weeks and then finally a large plug for two weeks.” says Dr Goldstein.⁴
If you think that you will go from zero to hero (aka dildo or penis) overnight, well you are asking a lot of your anal sphincters.
Why does it take so long? Because your anal sphincters are a muscle, similar to your biceps. And the same as your biceps when you are exercising them it increases your ability to flex and relax them on command. Remember, since your anus is always in contraction mode, so to consciously relax this muscle is key for getting it into tip-top shape, and that takes practice and a lot of exercises.
Similarly, it would take a lot to stretch the anus to the point where it couldn’t come back, such as frequent use of very large sex toys. But one thing to keep in mind that after the first time having anal sex, you might just relax which makes it feel like it’s gotten bigger. Don’t worry that is normal.

anal toys

Or a finger or two

I know we mentioned fingers earlier but that was on your self, now we will speak about finger action with your partner. Although being penetrated digitally is not quite the same as being penetrated by a penis or a sex toy, it will give you a better understanding of the sensation that you are going to experience and will help to stretches things out a bit.
The sphincter muscle is tight which means you need to experiment with anal play first, whether if this is a finger or a little anal sex toy. If you don’t have a sex toy this is where anal fingering comes in handy. This will help your partner learn how your anus works, anatomically (and vice-versa too). “The nice thing about finger dilation is that your partner can massage the muscles in the anus to get them to fully relax, which should lead to the most pleasurable engagement,” describes Dr Goldstein.⁴
Generally, one finger is more than enough. But like we said before, everyone is different and you just need to do what feels right for you and your partner and always be aware of your limitations.
Dr Goldstein notes that “long or jagged fingernails can lead to localised injury.” For your own safety, it is good to trim and file your nails so that there are no sharp edges or hangnails so you don’t have your butt sex session ruined. You should avoid all together inserting anything that might perforate the intestines. Hey, the more anal sex facts you know the more prepared you will be.⁴

how to use fingers to get ready for anal sex

Now, onto anal sex

So now that all the prep is done, remember don’t jump into anal sex cold. After at least 10 to 15 minutes of foreplay, you are warmed up and relaxed and you know you feel it, you like it, you want it, then you can go for it. If you and your partner have comfortably prepared for anal sex this far, take things slowly, use plenty of lubrication, and stop if it becomes too painful. If you were wondering what are the best anal sex positions here is a list that might help you. ⁵ But for your first time, you can start with doggy style, missionary, and spooning as they are the most beneficial at this stage.
O’Reilly recommends that you “Practice breathing deeply as your partner inserts a quarter-inch at a time. As the depth increases, practice mindfulness by tuning into your breath. You’ll likely find that your muscles relax as your heart rate slows.”²
As your partner is filling you, play with other parts of your body that please you at the same time, you can use your hand or a vibrator or other sex toys. Your partner may also lend a helping hand, but they absolutely must wash their hands (especially if you are vagina, vulva, or clit owner) says Kim Langdon, an obstetrician/gynaecologist at Parenting Pod in Valley Cottage. ⁶
Like we mentioned earlier, no matter what, if it is painful, stop. Because anal sex should be pleasurable and it should never hurt. Just stop and go back to doing whatever turns you on.

anal sex

Pick a side

Unfortunately, an STI isn’t the only thing you have to worry about dealing with when having anal sex. In a nutshell, bacteria found in the anus can cause vaginal infections, that is why is good to stick to one side. “Never should the penis or dildo travel from the rectum to the vagina,” says Dr Gersh. ⁴ 
We know in the heat of the moment things can happen, but you’ll want to avoid spreading bacteria to the vagina via your tongue, fingers, sex toy, or penis. But with precautions after anal penetration, you can avoid any unwanted health issues. If you are using a condom, be sure to take off and roll on a new one before proceeding on to vaginal sex. If you are using your hands or a toy, or not wearing a condom, be sure to wash thoroughly after anal sex. Bacteria, such as hepatitis A and E. coli, can be spread from unclean anal sex practices.⁸ You also want to follow these practices if you move from anal to oral sex too.

pick a side

Go slow

If you have followed all of the above steps you should be physically and emotionally prepared, to have anal sex with your partner. One important thing to keep in mind is to go slow or at a pace which will give you time to adjust to the size and sensations without becoming put-off or overwhelmed by the feeling. To help with this, if you’re on the receiving end, walk your partner through what feels good, helping them to go at a pace that works for you.
And if you’re on the giving end, pay attention to your partner at all times, and make you are on the same page.

go slow

Use lube

Unlike the vagina, your bum will not self-lubricate, no matter how excited you might get, hence utilising a lubricant is especially important to prevent any tears in the delicate tissues of the rectum. The pH-balance of the anus is different from the vagina, so you might want to go for a lubricant specifically created for anal use, such as YES. But check it is compatible with condoms and silicone sex toys.
There are two main reasons for using lube for anal sex:
1. It reduces friction and makes the experience more pleasurable.
2. Without lube, the friction produced by anal sex is guaranteeing tears within the anus, they are so small you don’t know that they’re there. This means your risk for STIs is increased because those small cuts are a gateway for certain bacteria and viruses that can get into the bloodstream.


Using condoms is important

Even if you are in a monogamous, committed relationship with a male partner, anal sex calls for condom use. With anal sex even there is no risk of pregnancy, but condoms are the only way to prevent STIs. Another benefit of using condoms is to keep things clean. Is not going to be a shit show but with your partner’s penis that far up your ass and with the in-out movement that comes with intercourse in general, things are going to get pushed around and, well, shit happens.⁹

condom for butt play

You should be extremely aroused

In order to make anal sex feel as good as possible, we need to get back to your sphincter muscle and how you can relax. Yes, breathing will help you relax and learning to unclench those muscles is also good, but what makes the difference is just how aroused you are.
Of course, this varies from person to person but according to this research, it takes at least 20 minutes for a woman to become sufficiently aroused¹⁰.
With arousal will not just bring relaxation but also a higher threshold for things that might disgust you contrarly¹¹. Because of this, anxiety over the fact that your partner is about to stick it in your bum, or maybe your nervousness about any possible pain, is subsided. You are more capable of enjoying the moment when aroused as opposed to getting yourself stressed out turning what could be fun into a daunting experience. So relax and do whatever turns you and your partner on and aroused.

butt sex aroused


Anal sex, particularly the first time, could have some side effects for your intestines. Not to get too graphic, but the way you pooped before the first time you have anal is a far cry from the way you’ll poop in the days following your first experience with anal and every experience with it that follows.⁹
You might feel constipated and gassy, because of the extra air bubbles that come with penetration (from a penis or a toy). It’s normal, so no need to worry.

aftermath of bottom play

The bottom line

So now that you know what anal sex involves, are you ready to put it into practice? But, in a nutshell, if you and your partner have an established relationship where you feel comfortable talking what you are curious about trying and what turns you on and how you feel during sex, anal sex could be another fun way to explore your sexuality. Just remember to take the proper precautions to make anal sex enjoyable and safe, and it can be an excellent option. If you decide to try it and you don’t enjoy it, no harm is done.
There is a multitude of other ways to have fun, to just see what work for you and your partner, just experiment and enjoy the experience. Being honest and open with one another about the experience and what you like and don’t will just help you grow and learn together.
Some of this might sound pretty intense and you realised anal sex is not for you, just remember you should never feel pressured into doing something you are not ready or comfortable with.
But if anal play is something you’re interested in and you feel comfortable trying it, there is no reason it can’t be a pleasurable and fun time. Just remember the above, and you will be on your way to an incredible anal experience.
Are you still not sure? Or does it sound crazy? Considering that 36 percent of adult women have tried anal sex, more people are part of the Anal Sex Club than there are who own cats!¹² Or even are vegetarians and vegans! So why not join the Anal Sex Club.

¹ (Source: Cosmopolitan (2019), authored by Paisley Gilmour, How to prepare for anal sex [accessed August 2020])
² (Source: Yahoo (2019), This is exactly what you should do to prepare for anal sex, according to experts [accessed August 2020])
³ (Source: Shape (2020), authored by Gabrielle Kassel, How to Prepare for Anal Sex, According to Experts [accessed August 2020])
⁴ (Source: Health (2021), How to Prepare for Anal Sex, According to Experts [accessed August 2020])
⁵ (Source: Shape, authored by Gabrielle Kassel, Best Anal Sex Positions [accessed August 2020])
⁶ (Source: Parenting Pod, authored by Kim Langdon M.D. [accessed August 2020])
⁷ (Source: Greatist (2019), authored by Gabrielle Kassel, The One Thing You Absolutely Must Clean After Sex [accessed August 2020])
⁸ (Source: Healthline (2019), authored by Kimberly Holland, Anal Sex Safety: Everything You Need to Know [accessed August 2020])
⁹ (Source: Glamour (2019), authored by Amanda Chatel, 5 Tips I Wish I’d Known About How to Prepare for Anal Sex [accessed August 2020])
¹⁰ (Source: American Psychological Association (2003), authored by Etienne Benson, The science of sexual arousal [accessed August 2020])
¹¹ (Source: Health Land (2012), authored by Alexandra Sifferlin, Why Sex Doesn’t Gross You Out When You’re Aroused [accessed August 2020])
¹² (Source: Wiley Online Library (2015), authored by Lyndsey S. Benson MD, MS Summer L. Martins MPH Amy K. Whitaker MD, MS, Correlates of Heterosexual Anal Intercourse among Women in the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth [accessed August 2020])