More young women than ever—45 percent—are trying anal, according to the latest research from the Kinsey Institute. If you're considering having anal sex for the first time, you're probably wondering how to prepare, relax, and enjoy the intimate moment with your partner. We called in the experts: Rachel Needle, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, and Tristan Taormino, author of The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women.
Here's their advice for taking the stress out of first-time anal sex.
1. Relax your mind...and body
The last thing you want to be before attempting anal is tense. "If you're hesitant, nervous, or not into it, no one is going to get off, and what's the point of that?" says Taormino. If this is your first time trying anal sex, spend some time relaxing—take a hot bath, ask your partner to give you a sensual massage, heck, you can even meditate. You can also focus on specifically relaxing your anal muscles. To see what that feels like, tighten your butt muscles—kind of like a kegel for the other end—and then release.
2. Communicate openly
"Talk about it first. As with all types of sexual activity, anal sex is something that should be discussed beforehand," says Needle. "Communicate your fears and expectations with your partner, and make sure that you are both on the same page about things like speed, depth, etc. Trust me, this is one area in which you do NOT want any surprises."
Throughout the experience, it is your job to pay attention to what you are feeling, and communicate this to your partner. If something feels uncomfortable or painful, it's up to you to let them know.
3. Lather up
"Many women's fear of first-time anal sex stems from a fear of what goes on back there (naturally) and how that's going to play into the action," says Needle. "To cleanse yourself (literally) of such mental roadblocks, take a nice, steamy shower first."
4. Engage in plenty of foreplay
One of the best ways to ease into anal sex is to make sure you're extremely aroused beforehand. "The number-one mistake people make is rushing," says Taormino. Start with foreplay, vaginal sex, anything that turns you on. (Being one or two orgasms deep before you try any anal penetration helps.) "The more aroused you are, the more relaxed your sphincter muscle will be, and that's going to make for a hotter and easier experience," she says.
5. Use a lot of lubrication
Unlike the vagina, the anus does not produce its own lubricant. The more lube you use, the more comfortable and enjoyable anal sex can be, explains Needle. Don't forget to make sure you are using a condom-safe, water or silicone-based lubricant (oil-based lubricants aren't compatible with condoms). Don't be afraid to reapply frequently. More lube equals better anal sex always.
6. Assume the right position
Three optimal positions for first-time anal sex include:
- You on top. It allows you to control the speed and depth of penetration, which is extremely important, especially for backdoor newbies.
- Spooning. Another great pick for backdoor beginners, this position gives you shared control of your movements and adds an extra touch of intimacy, which may help you relax as well.
- Doggy-style. This position allows your partner easy entry but also puts them in full control, which might not be the best for your first time.
If you feel pain at any point, have your partner ease up, stop, or switch positions.
7. Take it slow
No matter how much lube you use, your backdoor is not a water slide. First-time anal sex should be approached like getting into a really hot bath tub. First you test the waters during foreplay, allowing your partner to gently rub around the opening with their finger, before experimenting with actually inserting anything. Whether you're using a penis, a finger, or a toy, start slowly with just the tip before inserting anything any deeper. The key here is to be gentle and communicate. If at any point things get too uncomfortable, speak up.
8. Remember to breathe
In those first few moments of penetration, the pressure tends to cause women to hold their breath. This results in the immediate tightening of those muscles, which will only lead to pain. Take deep, even breaths and focus on relaxing your entire body and release all tension. It may feel like you have to go to the bathroom at first, but just go with it.
9. Use a condom
Just because there's no risk of getting pregnant, doesn't mean you can skip the condom—they're the only way to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Just don't go from anal to vaginal penetration with the same condom as that can spread infections. Ditch the condom and put on a new one before penetrating the vagina.
10. Don't forget vaginal stimulation
There are many shared nerve endings between the walls of the vagina and the anus, so stimulating the vagina simultaneously can be extremely pleasurable. If you feel comfortable, insert something (perhaps a finger or a vibrator) into your vagina while you are engaging in anal play.
11. Don't stress over it
If you wondering when is the right time to engage in first-time anal sex, remember that there's no right or wrong answer. For some women, anal sex is a no-go and for others it's a possibility. Either way is a-okay.
Originally Appeared on Glamour