Q. My boyfriend and I have tried anal sex a couple of times, and each time it was very uncomfortable. I know anal sex isn't supposed to hurt (and when we try, it usually doesn't), but I don't like the way my ass feels—like having to go to the bathroom really bad. Do all people feel this during anal sex, and is there a way to do it without the discomfort? Although I am not opposed to anal sex, I do not find it nearly as stimulating as vaginal sex. Is it possible that my state of mind affects the whole anal sex experience?
S.N. (via email)
I am so glad you wrote to me because your questions and concerns are some of the most popular I receive via mail, on my web site, and at my anal sex workshops. You are absolutely right that anal sex is not supposed to hurt, and if it does, that's your body's way of telling you, "This isn't working right now!" If you feel pain, you should always listen to your body and stop. Your overall arousal, plenty of warm up and foreplay, lots of lube, deep breathing, and relaxation can all help counter pain and turn it into pleasure (which, of course, is what we all want out of anal sex!). I realize that there is a fine line sometimes between pain and discomfort, and each person is different. You need to judge for yourself where that line is.
Your letter indicates that it's not pain you are feeling, but discomfort. Let me say right off the bat that discomfort is common, especially to anal sex beginners. One of the reasons you, and many first-timer anal receivers, may experience discomfort is simply because your body is experiencing something new. Many people tell me they have the urge to have a bowel movement during anal sex; well, I recommend you stop and go to the bathroom. You may, in fact, have to go. But it's more likely that your body is just a little confused. Our rectums are used to expelling things, so when the rectum feels something inside, it sends a signal to the brain to shit it out, which is what it normally does. The next time you feel like you have to have a bowel movement, I recommend you take several deep breaths, relax, and let your ass get used to whatever is inside it. Make sure that the finger, sex toy, or penis inside you stays put and doesn't make any sudden movements. Chances are after you relax, that initial feeling will subside, and you can progress onto anal pleasure. Remember too that the more you practice anal penetration—with lube and warm up—the more your ass will get used to having things inside it, and will respond with less confusion and more pleasure.
In the end of your letter, you raised another important issue which is how your ambivalent feelings about anal sex may be affecting your experience of it. Your point is a good one: if you aren't wholeheartedly gung ho to get your ass fucked, those emotional and psychological feelings will absolutely have an impact on your physical experience. Desire is a key ingredient to hot, satisfying anal sex, and if it's missing, you can experience tension, discomfort, and pain. You may be harboring some unresolved issues about anal sex. Most of us have grown up with myths and misinformation about this taboo subject: it's dirty; it's not normal; it will cause irreparable damage. Sometimes simply getting correct information (like in my book The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and Jack Morin's Anal Pleasure and Health) can counteract any negative feelings. Now, there is also the possibility that you aren't a backdoor girl, anal sex just isn't for you, and you should respect your own desires. It would make this backdoor girl sad, but to each her own!