The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex

Posted by Bradley Donner on

“Surveys suggest that young men and women - and older adults - are engaging in anal intercourse more than ever before.”1

As a site primarily involved in selling butt plugs, it should be no surprise that we love butt stuff!

While anal sex has been a part of our history for… well pretty much as long as we’ve had history, even today there still remains a lot of mystery and taboo surrounding the subject.

There’s one undisputed truth though, more and more people are having, and enjoying anal pleasure than ever before. So let’s take a frank look at our back door, and talk about how and why this contentious activity is here to stay.

The History of Anal Sex

Despite the great cultural shame that is often associated with anal sex, there is significant evidence of it’s presence throughout human history. Throughout the art of different cultures, there have been numerous examples discovered which depict these acts being performed not only between homosexual couples, but heterosexual couples as well.

“Heterosexual anal sex has been around for millenia. Paintings and etchings from Japan, China and Europe all depict men performing anal sex on women, as do ancient erotic drawings, sculpture and pottery from the Mediterranean and South America.”2

While our understanding of what exactly was going on in these ancient times might not give us the whole picture, it’s quite clear that anal sex played some role in the lives of these people, and they weren’t as closed minded as some modern societies.

Why Do People Have Anal Sex? - The Modern Perspective

One thing we do understand in much greater detail though, is why we have anal sex. In fact, many different studies have been done over the years to answer that very question.

The majority of these studies were done by conducted detailed interviews with a variety of people. One such study found that:

“Participants engaged in anal intercourse for a wide variety of reasons: to experience physical pleasure, enhance emotional intimacy, please their male partners or avoid violence.”3

This, of course, doesn’t tell us much except that we all have different reasons for doing things. Throughout the course of our research though, it becomes a recurring theme that the four reasons mentioned in the above quote are essentially the most common for someone to try anal.

Experiencing physical pleasure is probably the most obvious, and is one of the simplest to explain. Each person’s anus is filled with sensitive nerve endings. When you have sex, you stimulate these, leading to physical pleasure.

Emotional intimacy is one of a host of psychological reasons to try anal sex. A participant in a 2015 study had the following to say:

“When you’re feeling close to that person…when you are with them longer and know them better…when you are feeling comfortable with them…It is the height of intimacy. Vaginal is just like ok…I think anal is like when you’ve done everything and you finally are…you know the person well. (African American, Group 1)”4

This sense of desired intimacy isn’t applicable to everyone, and others simply do it because they want to:

“I wanted it. I wanted to give it a try. It was done to express our love for one another and I wanted to like do more. I wanted it. I wanted us both to try it. I wanted to do anything I can. I wanted the ultimate workout and he gave it to me. (African American, Group 1)”5

Our reasons for wanting it can be very different. Some are simply curious. It’s a completely new sensation, and different from any other experience you can enjoy with your body. Others enjoy the element of taboo, and like the fact that it feels dirty or wrong.

The Importance of Consent

Although many of us are simply able to enjoy this kind of sexual activity because we want to or enjoy it, one thing became abundantly clear throughout our research. Men want to have anal sex a lot more than women.

One of the primary reasons for this tends to be the impression that anal sex will be painful, which is often shared by women even before they have tried it themselves.

When anal intercourse is done right, then it shouldn’t hurt either partner, but this simple fear can often lead to a situation where a man wants to do it much more than his partner.

“Even in otherwise seemingly communicative and caring partnerships, some men seemed to push to have anal sex with their reluctant partner despite believing it likely to hurt her.”6

It’s important to note that anal sex should always be consensual, as being comfortable and relaxed is an important part of reducing pain. Yet even when some women did just try it to please their partners, they found that they enjoyed it much more on subsequent attempts.

“Many participants also reported subsequent positive experiences, or a change in their experience engaging in HAI over time.”7 Note: In this study “HAI” refers to Heterosexual Anal Intercourse.

How to Have Anal Sex

1 - Communication

When it comes to actually having anal sex, many of these studies highlight the importance of communication.

“Many women cited good communication as a requirement for engaging in HAI.”8

“If you are with a guy who knows what he is doing, it won’t hurt that bad if he takes his time and stuff…it’s really not that bad if the person knows what he is doing.”9

While the person performing the penetration is often seen to have all the power and control over the situation, the person being penetrated should really be holding the reigns. They need to be comfortable enough to tell their partner when to stop, how quick to go, and if they need a break.

2 - Lubrication

“Women who enjoyed anal intercourse specified the need for a partner who was experienced in the use of lubricants and who used them to make anal intercourse more pleasurable for the women. Conversely, women with male partners who were more egocentric about their own needs, or lacking experience with lubricant use, or both, during the encounter almost unanimously described the encounter as painful.”10

Unlike the vagina, the anus doesn’t produce a significant amount of lubrication. This means using artificial lubricants is a must when having anal intercourse.

During penetration, the lubricant will naturally start to dry out due to the friction. You’ll need to reapply it regularly, or use an oil based lube which is much longer lasting.

You not only need to make sure the penis or dildo is well lubricated, but ideally want to lubricate the outside and inside of your butt. There are even tools designed to make this easier such as a lube shooter, or lube syringe.

3 - Penetration

“I mean, to me it was pleasurable. But, like I said, we used a condom and a lubricant. And we took our time, you know? It wasn’t no rush, you know?”11

When you’re ready for penetration, there’s no specific right way to do it. The two things we always emphasise are to take your time, and be gentle.

Gradually insert the penis or dildo. If it begins to hurt, take a break. If it feels like too much, take a break. There’s no rush to get to the end, and giving the sphincters time to adjust to the feelings can make the entire experience much more pleasurable.

Sometimes the experience can just be a little distracting, and it can be hard to properly relax and enjoy the sensations.

“It has been my choice, you know…like, this is what I want, you know? I only like it in one certain position, so when it does happen, I am in control of how we do it because it is my body, you know? (Latina, Group 2)”12

Experiment with different positions, speeds, or even add in other stimulation. Many women find themselves unable to orgasm through anal stimulation, but if you add vaginal stimulation they enjoy it much, much more.

Anal: The Future of Sex?

While all the research we looked at confirmed that anal sex is becoming much more commonplace and generally accepted within society, there are some problems with this kind of research.

“As with many qualitative approaches, the sample size was small.”13

Ultimately, you can only interview so many people. While the studies we looked at made efforts do diversify their groups and get opinions from all parts of society, they at most dealt with hundreds of people. But a drop in the ocean of billions around the world.

To give a more widespread perspective, we can look at data released by Pornhub regarding the amount of anal searches on their site.

14 - Pornhub Anal Searches 2009-2015

While this data is from several years ago, it does show a consistent rise in the interest of anal sex, at least from a viewing perspective. It is likely though, that many of those people who watch anal sex will often go on to perform anal sex.

We can also look back a few decades, to the rise of oral sex. This phenomenon experienced a similar journey of being slightly taboo and hidden away, to being one of the most common sex acts performed today.

So we can reasonably assume that anal sex isn’t going anywhere, so we might as well all try to be good at it.

Note: Subsequent research may invalidate some views expressed here. Loveplugs provides this information as a service to our customers, and make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our information at the time of writing.


  1. 1 - Anal heterosex among young people and implications for health promotion: a qualitative study in the UK (
  2. 2 - Back Door Psychology (
  3. 3 - Women's Experiences with Anal Sex: Motivations and Implications for STD Prevention (
  4. 4 - Why Women Engage in Anal Intercourse: Results from a Qualitative Study (
  5. 5 - Why Women Engage in Anal Intercourse: Results from a Qualitative Study (
  6. 6 - Anal heterosex among young people and implications for health promotion: a qualitative study in the UK (
  7. 7 - Perceptions of Anal Intercourse Among Heterosexual Women: A Pilot Qualitative Study (
  8. 8 - Perceptions of Anal Intercourse Among Heterosexual Women: A Pilot Qualitative Study (
  9. 9 - Why Women Engage in Anal Intercourse: Results from a Qualitative Study (
  10. 10 - Why Women Engage in Anal Intercourse: Results from a Qualitative Study (
  11. 11 - Why Women Engage in Anal Intercourse: Results from a Qualitative Study (
  12. 12 - Why Women Engage in Anal Intercourse: Results from a Qualitative Study (
  13. 13 - Why Women Engage in Anal Intercourse: Results from a Qualitative Study (
  14. 14 - It’s All Coming up Anal ( - No Longer Published)
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