7 anal sex tips for beginners, because the back door is a bit trickier

Let’s just get this out of the way: anal sex is a major league sex move. It is not for rookies. Despite what you might have heard from friends, your partner, or seen on the internet, anal penetration is not something all people enjoy (which, as it turns out, is true of all sex acts ever). But if you’re thinking about taking the plunge, there are a few anal sex tips for beginners that should, quite frankly, be plastered on looseleaf paper all around town so everyone can get on the same page before they start. This is because, much like vaginas and every other part of our body, everyone’s anus is different and how comfortable you are with anal sex depends on how comfortable you are with your own body as much as it is about how comfortable you are with your partner.

Anal sex is not something that, if you’ve never it tried before, you can just slide into like any old sex position, despite what you’ve seen in porn or how convinced your partner is that they want your tush. Actually, having someone try to stick their erect penis (or anything else) in your ass, on the fly, in the heat of passion can be traumatizing and put a person and their asshole off anal for good. So if anyone tries that shit with you, tell them that tomorrow night you’re pegging them without warning to see how they like it and get the fuck out of there (JK, don’t do that but honestly, it would serve them right).

Anal sex is not for everyone. But in the name of being GGG (good, giving, and game), it’s worth a shot. And if you’re into it and get into it with your head on your shoulders, it can be fabulous. Here’s how to up your chances of loving the butt game:

LUBE. Dear god, lube. 

I am one of the lucky (maybe?) women who has no problem getting wet, so I never even thought about lube during all my years of vaginal sex. But tight assholes are a real thing and the first time someone tries to have anal sex with you without lube you’ll understand why. Your anus doesn’t lubricate itself like your vagina does, so you need to not be shy about slapping some lube around.

Like, all around. It can be a little awkward, but then again, so is putting something inside your butthole. You can work it into foreplay and don’t just use lube on his penis or the toy, but also around your anus before starting. It might take a while to find a lube that works for you in terms of scents and feel. I’m partial to Gun Oil (I know, it’s a stupid name), but anything water or silicone based will work best in terms of pleasure and making sure that the condom doesn’t break. Anything oil based is nice and organic — like that coconut oil you’re eyeing on your dresser; that shit works for everything, I swear — but can lead to condom breakage. Turn the hunt for a perfect lube into something fun you do together, just like boning.

You have to start talking

You don’t have to talk dirty, but you do have to communicate during anal sex when you’re starting out. Hopefully, your partner is awesome and receptive and worthy of this very holy act and is totally game for letting you be in charge. A lot of people on the penetrating end of ass-play seem to think that anal sex gives the top all the power, but as anyone with any experience in the ass-fucking arena can tell you, that’s not true. If you’re the taker instead of the giver, you are in command here. Like, more than you might be used to. So speak up. More than ever, you need to give directions about pace, what feels good, what doesn’t, and how you’re doing. This is not the time to be coy and definitely not something to do with a partner who’s not listening.

You might need to smoke a little weed, if that’s your thing

Or something. It’s totally normal to be nervous, but when you get nervous, your anus constricts itself and anal sex becomes all the more difficult. So relax. In no way am I saying that you need to be intoxicated to enjoy anal sex. (In fact, if you need to be fucked up in order to agree to something/not hate it, then maybe you don’t actually want to do it? Now we’re getting into blurry consent territory. Suffice to say, there’s a difference between “chilling yourself out to calm your excited nerves about something you want to do” and “numbing yourself to make something you don’t want to do seem more palatable” — I’m talking about the former.)

Let me tell you a funny story: the first time I had pleasurable anal sex I had been planning it for weeks, but the day of, I had a little cold. I took some medicine before bed thinking I would just sleep, but my partner was ready for some action. When he asked if I wanted to try anal again (we had been working up to it), I consented, and it was so awesome that I even asked for a second round. It wasn’t until hours later that I realized I had essentially drugged myself with over-the-counter cold medicine to prepare for butt sex. So, don’t do that (seriously, do not drug yourself), but try a glass of wine or a puff of a joint if it relaxes you. You don’t need substances to enjoy it, talking and getting nice and cozy with your partner first can be relaxing, too. When it comes to anal, foreplay and preparation is essential.

If it’s not working, change it up

This all goes back to communication. It’s likely that the first time you try anal sex, you’ll assume the standard doggy-style position because that’s what we see on TV and shit. But just like vaginal sex, the position matters and things will be different for everyone. When you’re starting out, especially if your nervous or are triggered in certain sexual situations, try starting out in missionary (yea, with your partner on top, but penetrating your ass) or in that awesomely lazy spooning-sex position. Try laying completely flat instead of on all fours. Stand up. Again, anal sex is about communication as much as it is about angles, so tell your partner where they have to go. Some positions also lend themselves to more intimacy, which is sort of hot, especially since you’re doing something a little nasty (in a good way, obvs).

If it’s really not working, stop

If it hurts or you feel weird about it, you’re allowed to call the game, just like in every sex act. Just stop. Breathe. Most importantly, talk about it afterwards. If you’re really set on going all the way with anal sex, take a step back and try anal foreplay, like using your or their fingers (with lube!) to warm the area up.

Don’t forget about yourself

The first time you try anal, you’re probably going to be focused on your asshole. Some women claim that they achieve the best orgasms ever with anal penetration, for others it’s just something they do because they take pleasure in watching the other person get off. It might take a while before you’re able to stimulate your clitoris and get off during anal sex, but I assure you, using your or their hands is essential to getting the most out of it.

You might feel like you have to poop

If you’re shy about bodily fluids, anal sex is not for you. Being nervous about what’s in your butt can ruin the whole experience of anal sex. A wise man once told me that anyone who is keen on anal action is definitely not worried about poop. There might be a little poop when your partner pulls out. But just like when you accidentally have your period and there’s a stain, you need to laugh it off or just ignore it forever and pretend it never happened — whatever your embarrassment style is, go for it. Take a warm shower before and wash up beforehand if you’re freaking out, but really, stop freaking out. You’re having sex and sex can be messy.

If you’re not nervous about trying anal sex for the first time, I would be worried about you. You got this. Use your words, relax, and enjoy.