Strictly speaking, the phrase anal play refers to any kind of sex play which includes the rectum, bum or anus whereas anal sex is more specifically about anal penetration or intercourse. Although anything about the anus in terms of sex can still be seen as a taboo topic, anal play is on the increase not just amongst the gay community but also amongst heterosexual couples.
If you are curious about any aspect of anal play or anal sex and would like to pursue it further it is first of all important to discuss it with your partner and ensure that they feel the same way. If your partner is pressured into it without feeling completely comfortable then it will most probably end up being a chore for the both of you. To reduce any anxiety you may be feeling there are a number of points to consider before embarking on any kind of anal play.
It might be a good idea to explore other avenues of anal play before you dive straight in with anal intercourse. Types of non penetrating anal play include touching the anus with fingers or other body parts and licking the anus (known commonly as rimming). You may also choose to penetrate the anus with fingers or anal vibrating sex toys, bearing in mind to first pull open the buttocks to stretch the opening of the anus for easier penetration.
So where exactly are your pleasure areas? The highest concentration of nerve endings in the body (surpassing the number found in the penis or the vagina) is actually in the opening of the anus making this one of the key areas to explore. The internal wall of the anus also responds well to any kind of pressure imparted on it. It is in here that the male prostate gland and the point of the female internal clitoral body can be stimulated.
Ready for anal intercourse? As with any type of sex, it's important to try and remain as relaxed as possible. The tenser you are, the less enjoyable the sex will be. If it feels good then carry on but if it's causing you pain you may be doing something wrong. Don't force the issue. Take a couple of deep breaths, try to relax and start again. As a rule of thumb, the more relaxed you are, the better your experience will be. Also you may want to try an anal desensitising spray.
It is extremely important to remember that unlike the vagina, the anus doesn't produce any of its own natural lubrication making anal lubricants a real must have to help to avoid otherwise painful anal sex. Also, the lining of the anus can sustain damage very easily. To prevent any damage from occurring, nails should be kept short and free of any sharp edges - rounding them off with a nail file is always a good idea. In terms of anal toys, using butt plugs or anal vibrators with flared bases will prevent the toys from going in too far if your grip is lost. Likewise, if you are using anal beads, try to select the ones that have a retrieval ring at the end.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when it comes to any form of anal play is to keep clean. Bacteria that are contained in the anus can cause problems if it comes into contact with the vagina so make sure that anything that comes into contact with the anus does not touch the vagina straight afterwards. Also, ensure that any sex toys used in anal play are cleaned thoroughly afterwards (preferably with an anti-bacterial sex toy cleaner) to prevent the spread of infection. Make sure that your hands are also washed thoroughly before and after any anal activity and always use fresh condoms.
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