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If you’re ready to slide into anal sex, like literally, know that this is one sex act that def needs some prep, especially if you haven’t spent much time in B-town.

We’re talking safety, cleanliness, a lot of lube, and some major arousal to help make the experience more pleasure than pain.

That said, even the prep can be pleasurable. We talked with sex educator and coach Kenneth Play, co-founder of intentional sex-positive community Hacienda Villa, to find out more.

If your date is pulling into the driveway and you’re panicking, breathe. As long as you’ve got lube and access to some soap and water or wipes, you’re good, says Play.

“If you want to feel fresh before playing back there, it’s always OK to say, ‘I just want to take a quick pit stop to the bathroom,'” Play adds. “After all, a fun play session is all about your comfort.”

Bathroom break not possible? Wipes can do the trick, too, says Play. “Unless you like a little brown sugar with your coffee! Hey, no kink shaming here.” *Wink*

If you don’t have the basics on hand, you might want to reschedule your butt sesh or switch gears with an equally pleasurable act.

Quick tip

Sh*t happens, and it’s NBD. But it does need to be addressed on account of the bacteria factor. To share the love and not the bacteria, don’t go back to front — as in from butt to mouth, vag, or hands — or to a different partner’s butt without a quick clean in between.

And remember, lube isn’t just an erotic addition to butt play — it’s a must for your comfort and safety. That’s because lube helps prevent painful tearing that can increase your chance of contracting HIV and other STIs.

“Apply (lube) generously and, if you’re bottoming, be vocal about when you need reapplication,” explains Play.

Access to wipes or another way to wash up after can also help reduce the chance of other infections.

And while we’re on the subject of safety, don’t forget about barrier protection if there’s uncertainty about an involved partner’s STI status or if a partner has an STI.

Good to go? Here are a few quick pointers:

  • Lay down a towel or dark blanket if you’re worried about mess from lube, spunk, or residual poop.
  • Don’t skip the before play — it’ll help you relax and make anal oh-so-much better.
  • If you’re priming for play with a toy, have a hanky or designated “safe” resting spot to lay it down before and after use.

Making sure you’re stocked up on lube is the first order of business.

Just steer clear of numbing lubes, which can make it hard to feel when something’s not right. Taking things slow and steady is a much safer way to help keep discomfort to a minimum.

Quick tip

Starting slow can ~literally~ save your ass, which is a tight space made of some very fine and delicate tissue. Not only will rushing make it a lot, er, harder, to penetrate, rushing can also make anal sex super painful and cause injury.

You can also use the time to get your derriere ready for action. This could mean trying it solo with your fingers or a toy, or grooming back there.

“Beyond wearing a butt plug to open yourself up, prepping for anal play is really up to you and can range from washing the exterior with soap and water to douching or doing an enema,” says Play.

If you’re expecting anal to become a permanent fixture in your repertoire and plan to partake often, Play recommends investing in a bidet. “It’s an excellent way to keep your undercarriage sparkling fresh.”

Spontaneous sex is fun and all, but having more time to prep for anal comes in especially handy if you’re new to the game and dealing with common roadblocks, like the fear of pain or poop making an appearance.

These tips can make all the difference for a beginner preparing for anal.

Consider anal training

Think of it like training for a sporting event, only in this case the muscle is your sphincter and the event is an anal sesh.

Anal training involves gradually stretching the anus with a set of anal dilators or plugs, in varying sizes, starting with the smallest and working your way up over time to a larger size.

If you find the idea of toys intimidating, use your fingers, beginning with your pinky.

And don’t forget to use lube. Lots and lots of lube.

Invest in a sex throw

Yup, sex throws are a thing and they’re the cat’s pajamas for anyone who likes to get messy — or doesn’t.

Waterproof sex blankets come in standard mattress sizes and protect your bedding while also giving you a plush surface for play.

Need a suggestion? Try the Liberator Fascinator Throw, which is available for purchase online and comes in a travel size so you can take your pleasure on the road.

Look into different positions

Downward Dog isn’t the only way to have butt sex. Being in the know about what positions you can try will help you find ones that are comfortable for you and your partner(s). This is especially important if you or a partner is living with a disability or pain.

Feel free to practice with different positions before the big show. We won’t tell.

Get in the know about your back-there anatomy

Treating yourself to a little Rectal 101 before trying anal can help increase your comfort level, especially if you have any hang-ups around the poop thing — which is common, BTW.

Without going into a full anatomy lesson, know that:

  • Poop sits higher up in your rectum and is unlikely to make an appearance, especially if you’ve already had a bowel movement that day.
  • Anal penetration stimulates a lot of the same muscles and nerves involved in BMs and could trigger the feeling of needing to go, but you won’t.
  • Your sphincter and rectum are elastic and meant to stretch, but that stretching isn’t dramatic or permanent.
  • Anal orgasms are a thing and possible whether you have a prostate or not.

Set aside time to shower together

Schedule your foray into anal with enough time to enjoy a shower together. This can do double duty as before play to help get you each relaxed and ready, and up the receiving partner’s confidence when it’s time for penetration, says Play.

“One of my favorite sex hacks for someone trying anal for the first time is to start with a sensual shower,” says Play. “Washing your partner and sliding your hands over their soapy body is sexy and sensual.”

He continues: “After thoroughly rinsing the soap from the anus, start with light rimming while using a waterproof vibrator on the clit. If your partner has a penis, give them a hand job. This way, your partner will feel fresh and confident to move forward, knowing your tongue has already been all over it.”

Congrats on taking the plunge! Enjoy the afterglow, but first, aftercare.

Remember, microscopic fecal matter may still be present, which is why cleaning up right away is important.

Use a wipe or soap and water to wash your butt and genital region, and then wash your hands thoroughly. If you used a toy, wash that too.

After cleaning up, take some time to check in with each other. It’s not unusual to feel a little vulnerable after engaging in anal for the first time. This is a good time to talk about how you’re feeling about the experience and what you might want to do differently next time.

Anal sex can still hurt a little, even if you do everything right. If you’re feeling sore back there, a soak in a warm bath with Epsom salt can help soothe a tender bottom.

A little prep goes a long way when it comes to anal sex, especially for beginners. That extra time can pay off tenfold in the way of increased intimacy, sheet-twisting pleasure, and possibly an orgasm or two.

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.