Tips & Techniques

How To Prepare For Anal Sex

Qualified massage therapist, certified sexological bodyworker and sensual events manager Jessica Parker has some top tips on how to prepare for anal sex
by Jessica Parker
30 Jun 2021

UPDATED: 21 Jul 2022


The main things holding many of my clients back from exploring anal sex are the thoughts that it may be dirty; that it may smell; that there might be poo; or it might be painful. These are all valid fears given the lack of education around how to have pleasurable anal sex.

Anal sex has been around as long as anuses have (!) and the stigma surrounding anal sex has been gradually decreasing. According to data collected by Pornhub “anal” is the third most commonly searched term in the UK.

In this blog we’ll explore how to clean your butt before anal sex, how to relax, as well as what lubricants are good to use. This is all about how to make anal sex pleasurable, for everyone involved. 

Preparation For First Time Anal Sex

Most people focus on the physical preparation like cleaning – and we’ll get to that. First, I like to empower my clients to also focus on their emotional preparation. Any type of new body adventure can be equally daunting and exciting, so really give yourself the space to connect and ground into what you’re thinking. Voice your fears and anticipation with yourself and sit with the sensations that different emotions bring.

Being able to relax and breathe deeply can help get you out of your head and really into experiencing what your body is actually feeling. This will help you with many things in life but is especially important in sex. When we disconnect from our sensations during sex and get caught up in our thoughts we miss out on actually fully experiencing what is happening.

Aaaand Breathe

There are loads of different types of breathwork that can help you prepare for anal sex. My advice is to keep it simple and something that you find easy to remember.

Try really slowing down your inhale and focus on expanding your torso and chest with air before having a loooong sloooow complete exhale. A few pelvic floor and anal squeezes (clench then release) as you breathe or anytime during anal sex can help create blood flow and awareness in your anus. This will enhance your capacity to be present with what you’re feeling. Breathing throughout any type of sex will help with being present and staying in the moment.

Using breath during anal sex not only helps you relax and slow down but gives you time and space to notice if your needs are being met. There might be something that would make it feel better like more lube, or something that needs to be adjusted like the position.

Take A Break

Knowing that you can stop or pause anytime can also help you relax, and communicating about this with your partner(s) beforehand is ideal. I always recommend having chats about boundaries, likes/dislikes, hard no’s, and definite yes’s before the heat of the moment when the stakes are high and emotions are more intensified. Breakfast meeting about anal sex before trying it out in the evening – why not?!

I also support clients in creating their own play/sex menus. This can be a super fun way to see what you like, and chatting about it with partner(s) can help build up a playful chemistry and confidence. When you feel that you’ve got your own boundaries understood and respected you can surrender more easily to pleasure during anal sex.

I’m Feeling Tense During Anal Sex…What Can I Do?

If you find you’re getting tense during anal sex you can always change to something more relaxing like massage or spooning for a bit. In the moment you may not be fully aware of what it is that’s making you tense so never override your body’s own natural instinct. Stop, breathe, and take a moment. 

Taking time to reflect afterwards can also be helpful, giving you time to realise if there are things that you want to address to make next time more relaxing. It could be as simple as making the room warmer or something deeper may have come to the surface, such as a past trauma or injury, that you might need to seek professional help and support for. 

Importance of relaxation

For anal sex it’s important that the sphincters relax. Not only does it make the experience more pleasurable, it also reduces the risk of tearing or discomfort. Relaxation involves patience, both at the time you’re attempting penetration, and as you become more accustomed to anal sex. Practical things that can help you relax are things like a warm bath beforehand, or warmed lube. I also recommend starting penetration with smaller things like fingers or experimenting with anal dilators before working up to other toys or a penis.

Spring Cleaning

As far as cleaning prep goes basically it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. A good wash with mild soap and a few gentle sweeps with your fingertip (remember to trim your nails) just near the inside should be just fine. Some people also find that not eating a heavy meal right before helps, as does ensuring you have enough fibre in your diet to have regular well-formed bowel movements. You know your own digestive system the best; knowing when, how and after what meal you generally need to poo can help you prepare your ideal time to have anal sex without having to worry. That being said all anuses pass poo so it’s no big deal, and nothing that a quick clean-up won’t fix. Have some wet wipes on hand if you’re worried, and you can also put towels down on the bed, sofa, or floor. 

Douches & Enemas

Some people prefer douching or enemas. Just be careful to be well informed about whatever you choose with regard to these – the anus is a sensitive and delicate place and you don’t want to be messing up your natural good bacteria with too much cleaning or irritating harsh soaps. Also, be sure to have a soft flexible tip if you’re using a douche or syringe – some heads can be firm plastic and easily tear the thin internal skin of the anal canal. I recommend you search for flexible enema bulbs online if you prefer this cleaning method, and only ever use warm (not cold, and definitely not hot) water without any soap for internal cleaning. Again, it isn’t necessary, but it can bring an extra peace of mind if you’re particularly worried about mess. 

Lube, Lube, And More Lube!

Anuses are delicate with very thin skin and don’t self lubricate, so lubrication is super important when it comes to anal penetration or insertion. Without lube you can risk excessive friction which can cause tearing, bleeding or fissures. Because of this anal sex is considered particularly risky in terms of STI transmission so condom use is a must (exceptions can be if you’re monogamous and have both been tested).

It’s important to use a lube that is condom and latex-friendly. Coconut oil, although great for massage, can break down the condom materials, so it’s important to be aware that it’s best to wash your hands/toys/penis from any oils before using a condom.

Which Lube Is Best For Anal Sex?

Some people prefer water-based lube as this is best for silicone toys (like a dildo or strap-on). Just remember to keep applying a lot of it as the anus absorbs water and can quickly dry out with water-based lubes. Others prefer silicone-based as they don’t have to apply it as often and it’s often thicker than water-based alternatives. Really, it depends on your own preferences – just remember silicone breaks down silicone so don’t mix your silicone toys with silicone lube. And with water-based lube you just need to keep reapplying often.

I always suggest having all your sex accessories within reach so you can top up on lube easily. Some lubes come with added extras such as CBD essence, warming/tingling elements, different flavours. If in doubt get yourself a little selection to experiment with first before finding the brand and type that works well for you. Some people even use different types of lubricant depending on the type of anal play they are engaging in. For example organic coconut oil for when they’re having their own self-pleasure anal sex or anal massage, silicone lube for penetration with a penis, water-based lube for penetration with toys.

Whatever your preference with anal penetration the general rule is that you can never really overdo it with the lube. 

Don’t Do The Double-Dip

If you want to move from the anus to the vagina, be sure to use a new condom. If you’re not using a condom, wash the penis, fingers, hands, toy, or whatever you’re using before inserting it into the vagina. No double-dipping as this can spread bacteria and cause infections. 

Don’t Push Through Pain!

Whilst it’s normal to experience some slight discomfort or a stretching sensation during anal penetration as your body adjusts to receiving insertion, anal sex should never be painful. Pausing and taking long deep breaths to allow your anus to adjust will help you notice if you’d like more or less insertion/movement or if you’d like to ease out completely.

Really tuning in to your body is the ultimate way to increase and follow your own pleasure. Overriding and ‘pushing through’ pain can potentially cause internal damage or lead to numbness. It can also create neural pathways that aren’t going to serve your pleasure as you start to associate anal sex with pain, leading to you tapping out rather than tuning in.

It’s totally possible to have all types of orgasms with anal sex and it’s also possible that anal sex might just not be ‘your thing’ for whatever reason. Using these top tips can help set you up for success to be able to experiment and explore what works for you.

If in doubt; pause. Breathe. Follow your pleasure.

Want to learn more about anal sex?

Make sure you check out our upcoming workshops and masterclasses for more chances to learn about anal pleasure!