The Most Common Anal Play Myths Debunked

The Most Common Anal Play Myths Debunked

Anal play is arguably the most misunderstood and fear-inducing type of sexual activity for a number of reasons. Apart from the taboo that lingers around anal sex and exploration, many people who may be interested in exploring anal play are put off due to fears and uncertainties about cleanliness, pain, potential harm and what it means about their sexuality.

Anal play when performed with a bit of preparation and using the right tools can open up whole new experiences of pleasure, intimacy and even crazy intense full body orgasms for every body. In this article we hope to debunk some of the most common myths we encounter here at Get On Top about anal sex and play.  


It’s going to hurt

As long as you take your time, use the right products and prepare, anal play should have quite the opposite effect! The anus is rich with nerve endings just waiting to be stimulated and bring you pleasure. Sadly, some people don’t have positive experiences the first time they start to explore. If this is the case, there’s a few reasons why you might feel pain or discomfort when exploring anal play either solo or with a partner.

The first is due to not being relaxed or aroused enough. Relaxed anal muscles are essential for easy and comfortable penetration. If you’re not in the mood and are feeling tense and fearful, your anal muscles may contract making penetration difficult, uncomfortable or painful. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to stop, think about trying a different approach and try again another time. Engaging in foreplay and getting yourself well aroused is really helpful for getting into the right mental and physical space for anal play. If you aren’t really interested in anal play but are going along with it to please a partner, it’s highly likely that you will not enjoy the experience and it will result in discomfort and pain. Anal play, like all forms of sexual activity, requires enthusiastic and ongoing consent. Without it, play shouldn’t start and if consent is withdrawn as it may be at any time, play should stop immediately.

The other reason why anal play may be painful or uncomfortable is due to a lack of lubrication. The anal area differs from the vagina as it doesn’t have any natural lubrication. Without lubrication, you get friction and friction will lead to discomfort, pain and even some bleeding as the anal skin can be quite thin and may tear easily.

When it comes to lubrication, a good quality water-based lube (if you’re using toys) or a silicone lube will eliminate friction and make penetration much more comfortable and easier. Keep in mind that lubricant, especially water based types will lose their slickness over time so it’s important to keep the bottle on hand for reapplication when necessary.

It’s going to cause me damage

When performed sensibly and with the necessary preparations, the chances of anal play causing you a lasting or significant injury is incredibly small. Some people have concerns about anal play having a lasting effect on their bodily functions but it’s important to note that engaging in anal play is not going to make you incontinent, leak faeces or unable to poo.

If you’re new to anal play, you aren’t using enough lube or you have a particularly enthusiastic play session, you may find a small amount of blood after play or your next bowel movement. In that case, it’s likely you have a small tear in the delicate skin around your anus which should heal within days or weeks. If the bleeding is heavy or you experience severe pain, it’s advisable to seek medical attention as you may have an injury such as an anal fissure or perforation although this is incredibly rare.

Lubrication isn’t the only essential to have on hand if you’re thinking of having anal sex. Like with any type of penetrative sex, when it’s performed without a barrier you have a chance of contracting a sexually transmitted infection but the chances are slightly higher when it comes to anal sex. This is because of the possibility of transmission through bodily fluids entering your bloodstream from internal and external tears or fissures. The best way to protect yourself from STIs in this case is by using a condom as a barrier and lubricant to help prevent tears from friction.

There’s one more thing to note about injury and anal play that many people don’t think of. If you’re planning on digitally penetrating your partner, it’s a good idea to trim your fingernails first and think about popping on a disposable glove. If you accidentally jab your partner with a long or sharp nail it is likely to hurt them but it can also tear and damage the delicate skin around and inside the anus. Long nails are also more difficult to clean under thoroughly after play. Using a nitrile or latex glove with plenty of lubricant is a great option for not just cleanliness and hygiene but to help prevent transmitting infection.

It’s going to be messy and unhygienic

Some people think of anal play and their mind goes straight to nasty smells, poo stains and bacteria but in reality, anal play isn’t like that at all. Anal play and anal sex can be clean and hygienic if you’re sensible and take some simple precautions. Showering before anal play and taking some time to give the area a good clean with soapy water is a good place to start.

Internally, anal play involves your rectum: a small portion of at the end of your bowel. When you feel the urge to go to the toilet to open your bowels, it’s your body telling you that there is poo that has moved down into your rectum and is ready to be pushed out. If you’re feeling healthy, your bowel movements are regular and you’ve been to the toilet recently, chances are your rectum is mostly or completely clear of poo.

If you’re not sure or you’d prefer some extra peace of mind, you have the option of using a douche, enema kit or enema bulb before anal play. Some people find that using a douche as part of their anal play preparation can help them relax and enjoy their play more as they feel confident that they’re as empty as possible. In this case it’s worthwhile investing in an enema bulb. These products feature a container that you fill with warm water connected to a slim nozzle you insert to flush out the lower part of your bowel. Getting the timing and technique right when it comes to douching can take a bit of practice or trial and error to make sure you get the best results.

No matter how well prepared you are, there’s only so much control we have over our bodily functions. Given your pelvic floor area is continually getting stimulated and your muscles contracting during anal play, there is always a chance that some bits of poo that are in there might pop out or you might let out some flatulence during anal play. If this happens to you or your partner during anal play, it might make you feel embarrassed but try and keep in mind that these things happen from time to time and there’s no need to be ashamed.

Having a condom on hand during anal sex is essential for preventing STI transmission but they can also be useful during anal play with toys. Popping a condom on your toy can help with hygiene and make your toy easier to clean after use.

Speaking of cleaning, when it comes to using anal toys, it’s essential that you give them a thorough clean with toy cleaner and warm water as soon as practical after use. If you use a toy anally, we advise against using it vaginally afterwards as introducing bacteria from your anal region into the vagina can result in infection and disruption to your bacterial flora. Sharing anal toys with other people is also not advised due to the risk of infection.

I need to use numbing lube to be comfortable

We strongly advise against the use of products containing local anaesthetic during anal play. This is because if you’re doing it properly, it shouldn’t hurt. If it does hurt, it’s your body’s way of telling you to stop or slow down. By numbing the anal area, you potentially take away your ability to receive that important feedback from your body telling you that something isn’t right.

There are much safer types of products that use natural ingredients such as clove oil that are designed to make anal play more comfortable. They work by desensitizing the anal area while not inhibiting your natural pain response.

If I start putting things in there, I’ll get stretched out

The anus is incredibly elastic with highly toned muscles giving it the remarkable ability to snap back to its original tightness. The use of small to moderately sized toys and penile penetration is highly unlikely to cause you any problems. There are rare occurrences of ongoing problems caused

I’ve tried and it won’t work, it’s just too tight

When starting out with anal play, some people find that it’s not possible to insert even a finger in there. This is usually down to tension from feeling apprehensive or not using enough lube. If this is the case, slow down, use more lube and try taking some time to get more aroused and relaxed. Some people also find certain positions easier for anal penetration especially when first starting out such as lying on your side with your legs folded up.

It’s not uncommon to find that you can accommodate small toys but find penile penetration too difficult. Some people need to undertake a process called “anal training” to condition and prepare themselves for anal sex. Anal training usually involves inserting a toy such as a butt plug to help relax and temporarily loosen the anal sphincter. The amount of time you need to leave the toy in and the size of the toy that works for you depends on your anatomy, experience and preferences and may require some experimentation to find the right combination. The length of time since you last had anal sex can also make a difference as the benefits from anal training are only temporary and may only last a few hours to a few days depending on the person.

It’s really a guy thing because women don’t have a prostate

For people with a prostate, stimulating it through anal play is the goal or at least an added bonus but no matter your gender, your anal area is densely packed with erogenous nerve endings. Some women find wearing a butt plug during foreplay or vaginal sex can increase the strength and duration of their orgasms and some people have the ability to orgasm through anal penetration alone.

It’s really a gay guy thing

It’s unfortunate that some men are missing out on the benefits of anal play because they believe that choosing to receive pleasure anally has some connection with your sexual orientation. The pleasure that can be gained from prostate and anal stimulation exists regardless of what gender you’re attracted to. Prostate stimulation performed solo or with a partner can not only feel great and even bring on intense, full body orgasms, it also has well documented health benefits such as assisting with ejaculation, urine flow and erectile dysfunction. To our delight, the number of straight couples that come into the shop looking for tools to help them explore mutual anal play and prostate stimulation keeps growing. Anal sex offers everyone the chance to experience more pleasure and new sensations while also allowing couples to explore new exciting and intimate experiences together.

Spit is fine as lube

To enjoy anal play, you need lubrication, there’s no doubt about that. It may be wet and always on hand but saliva is a poor substitute for a good quality lubricant. To start with, it doesn’t last long because it dries out quickly and it doesn’t provide the level of slipperiness that you need for comfortable and enjoyable anal play. Another reason to avoid using spit instead of lube anally or on any other part of the body is because of the infection risk. Saliva is a bodily fluid and studies have shown that STIs such as herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhoea can be readily transmitted via saliva.

When it comes to lubes for anal use, if you’re planning on only having anal sex or using toys made of glass or metal, the best choice is a quality silicone lube as it provides the longest lasting lubrication. If you’re using silicone toys, it’s best to stick with a water based lube as silicone lubes may damage silicone toys. Thicker water based lubes with a jelly consistency like Wicked Jelle and Swiss Navy Anal Jelly are a great option, especially for use with toys, as they don’t drip so is easier to apply a generous amount.

You can lose toys up there

Ok, so this one isn’t a myth at all.

If you’ve inserted a toy into your anus that doesn’t have a flared base to anchor it outside of your body, there’s a very real chance it will end up inside your body. This is because when the anal sphincter closes, it pulls upwards. If this happens, you may be lucky enough to be able to push it out or retrieve it with your fingers but if not, a trip to the emergency department is necessary.

There’s a simple way to prevent this scenario. Any toy you use for anal penetration needs to have a base that is significantly wider than the shaft. Some toys that are suitable for anal use include ones with a round base like a jewelled plug or a suction cup dildo, ones with a O ring pull style such as anal beads or ones with a T shaped base. Examples of toys that are unsuitable for anal use are bullets and thin G-spot vibrators.