Relaxing your anal muscles (and lots of lube) is key to pleasurable anal sex. Read on for our advice on how to keep your butt (and brain) happy to welcome anal penetration.
"Everybody" (we use this word loosely) says anal sex hurts, right? And yet, if you watch porn, both gay and straight, you'll see actors apparently happy to receive some eye-watering attention in that area.
Pleasure is clearly 'acted' in many (most?) porn films, but camouflaging pain is near impossible. The body will naturally flinch and flex away from pain. No amount of acting skill can override this instinctive reaction to pain.
So, are porn stars a different breed, employed for their love of hardcore anal? Why do they apparently feel all pleasure and no pain when the rest of us sometimes (or always) do?
Relaxation is key to pain-free anal sex
Only when you are relaxed, both physically and psychologically, will anal sex be pain-free.
First of all, anal sex isn't for everyone. You don't have to do it if you don't want to. It's part of a sensual smorgasbord of sexual activities, and while some folks help themselves, others prefer to leave it...
Psychologically, anal sex is still quite taboo, and there is often a fear of pain (understandable!). If you've internalized these feelings, you'll have done it through your bum, and your sphincters will remain firmly clenched.
Ignorance around anal sex and how our bodies work and respond are other factors. Even if your head & heart says yes to anal sex, and you're feeling relaxed and enjoying the play, your body can still refuse to cooperate.
Understanding the anal sphincters
The butt has two sets of anal sphincter muscles.
The first set is the external sphincter - the anal muscle at the entrance. This is the one we are most aware of and have the power to control and relax.
So far, so good.
The internal anal sphincter is the one we have no conscious control over. It lays about 2.5-4cm inside, and you are probably not aware of it. This sphincter controls continence and is always in a state of continuous maximal contraction, except when we go to the loo. This second sphincter is the one that needs to be coaxed to relax for pleasurable anal sex.
Relaxing this muscle is key to pleasurable anal sex.
Anal pain means "STOP!"
Relaxing the internal sphincter is not a case of mind over matter, unfortunately. You have no control over it. This sphincter can involuntarily tense up and say "no thank you" to anal sex, even if you are super-turned-on and relaxed. Forcing the issue at this point will result in pain.
Basically, you are being owned by your butt.
Relaxing the internal sphincter will only happen with more time, lots of teasing, patience and anal lubricant.
Anal sex should never be rushed, and you should never push through pain. Pushing through teaches your brain to expect pain, and your butt will be even tenser the next time you try it. Understanding how your body works; what you do and do not have control over is a crucial step towards pleasurable anal sex.