Is anal sex safe? Is anal play clean?

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Q: Anal sex is new territory for me, but not for my partner. He’s pretty into it and claims it feels good for him. Now he wants to share that experience with me… by sticking his finger in me. Is this safe? More importantly, is it clean?

Your partner is onto something! Anal play is safe, and you can make sure that your experience is squeaky clean, too. But the best way to learn if you like it is to explore it for yourself.

If you’re worried about germs, I recommend to start by purchasing a Fleet enema from your nearest drugstore. Fill it with a little bit of water from the shower. Insert and then expel slightly in and around your anus, repeating it until you feel like you’re clear.

You’re not giving yourself an enema per say, just rinsing yourself out, then washing yourself with soap and water. Plus, there’s actually not a lot of fecal matter that sits in the rectal canal or anus. Most of it is in the colon. (It’s helpful to have a bowel movement before you use the enema kit, though.)

I also suggest that your partner trim and file his nails to make sure they’re smooth. For extra comfort, he can wear nonlatex gloves with cotton balls in the fingertips. Most importantly, because the anus doesn’t produce its own lube like the vagina does, I recommend using a silicone-based lube, like Uberlube, to lessen the friction. Uberlube is awesome. It only has four ingredients and is so silky.

To avoid infections, I also don’t recommend going back and forth from anal penetration to vaginal penetration. If you’re really into it, though, and craving some G-spot stimulation, have your partner wash their hands beforehand — that really is the best practice.

Also, you definitely want to start slow. Have your partner massage your perineum, which is the area between your anus and your vaginal opening. Then take some deep breaths to allow your anus to open up and relax.

When you exhale, it’ll feel like you’re trying to have a bowel movement, but what’s actually happening is that your anal sphincter is opening up, allowing you to feel more comfortable. It might seem out of the ordinary, but anal play could become one of those things you really enjoy, especially if you touch your clit simultaneously.

Janet Brito is an AASECT-certified sex therapist who also has a license in clinical psychology and social work. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship from the University of Minnesota Medical School, one of only a few university programs in the world dedicated to sexuality training. Currently, she’s based in Hawaii and is the founder of the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health. Brito has been featured on many outlets, including The Huffington Post, Thrive, and Healthline. Reach out to her through her website or on Twitter.