If You Want To Have Anal Sex, You Must Do This First

Maybe you and your partner have talked about anal sex, or maybe you’ve kinda-sortareferenced it in a whisper while in bed. You want to do it, but you just… haven’t yet. Talking about it is the first step—and an important one—but making sure it’s enjoyable for each partner? That’s a completely different challenge.

Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator and sexuality coach, says the biggest obstacle to pleasure for many copules is they don’t start slow enough. That’s where anal fingering comes into play.

But wait, what is anal fingering?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Anal fingering is the process of using your finger to stimulate your partner in and around the anus. Both partners, regardless of gender, can (and totally should!) enjoy this method of anal sex. Btw, there are two sphincters in the anus—the internal and external sphincters—and both can feel pleasure. (If that’s not the definition of a win-win, I don’t know what is…)

Why is anal fingering a good place to start?

Often, couples try to do too much too soon with anal sex—immediately penetrating the anus with a penis or something of similar size.

“Everyone just goes from zero to 100 and there’s no delicate time to sort of experiment with what feels good,” Sinclair says. “If you’re going to penetrate with something the size of a penis, you really need to graduate to those sizes.”

You likely introduce fingers to your vulva before inserting a penis or toy during foreplay, right? So, why treat your butt any differently?

How do you get started with anal fingering?

Before you do anything, ask for consent. Sinclair recommends having this conversation in a room where you and your partner don’t regularly have sex or aren’t planning to have sex. So, the bedroom is off limits.

During an open and honest conversation, ask each other: Is this something you both want to do? If either person answers no, then accept that answer. If you both say, “yes,” awesome! There are just a few things to keep in mind before your first time.

Should you be worried about hygiene?

If you and your partner are planning to have anal sex, the person receiving might want to make sure the anal canal is clear. This means having a bowel movement about 45 minutes before sex, Sinclair says. A simple water enema (basically a douche for your behind) works, too. “Fill it with warm water, push that into the anal canal. You can do that a couple of times until it runs clear, and then your anal canal is clean,” Sinclair suggests.

Because anal fingering is all about pleasure, if you’re the giver, make sure your fingernails are nice and short. Clinical sexologist Lindsey Doe suggests not just trimming your nails, but filing them to make sure there aren’t any sharp edges that could cause tears in the anus (OUCH).

Before you do any of this, though, check in with your partner about what they want, so you can both be present in the moment later. For more on how to prep for anal fingering, Doe’s video for her YouTube series “Sexplanations” gets into the details.

Do you need a lot of lube?

Generally, a silicone lube, or even coconut oil, is good for anal sex. But for anal fingering? Not so much. When anything wet first touches the anus, Doe says, it will generally tense up, because it’s only used to wet things coming out of it, not going in. So, take it easy and introduce a dry finger to the outside first.

Set one finger against your partner’s anus. This, she explains, is “just to let the anus know ‘Hey, we’re here. We’re friendly. We want to do more. Are you interested in that?'” Then, when the anus starts to, in Doe’s words, “pucker,” it’s time for the lube. This pucker means the external anal sphincter is having a reflexive contraction, and that happens when your partner strokes the skin around the area.

How does stimulation work with anal fingering?

There are many approaches to anal fingering, Sinclair and Doe say. For anal foreplay, you can try a simple anal massage, with small circles, bigger circles, or a finger stroke with one or three fingers. Once anal fingering actually begins, you can stimulate your partner’s external muscle by pushing down on the outside of the anus for a few seconds, Sinclair says.

Then, you can push up. Once you penetrate, you can tickle the internal muscle with the first joint of your finger. Or you can keep your finger stiff and massage in different directions with the tip of your finger. But no matter what, Sinclair says, “Remember to go slow.” Keep it slow, and you’ll keep it sexy.

Once you and your partner have practised anal fingering long enough that you feel comfortable handling multiple fingers, you can try playing with butt plugs and then, whenever you’re ready, progress to anal sex.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US. 

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