Anodyspareunia: pain receiving anal sex
How to avoid a massive pain in the arse
What is anal sex?
Anal sex is anything that stimulates the anus. So this includes kissing, licking, touching, massaging and penetrating. You can penetrate with fingers, tongues, other body parts, sex toys, and all sorts of other objects I’ve heard my clients use, from root vegetables to dog toys! (Those last two are not advisable!)
This article is specifically aimed to help you understand why you might experience pain receiving anal sex and suggest ways to reduce or eliminate this pain, if you want to.
Why is a pleasurable?
The anus has the body’s second-highest concentration of nerve endings after the penis and clitoris. It is highly sensitive and many of the anal nerves also enervate the vulva and penis, so stimulating any part of the genitals arouses the whole area. As with the clitoris and penis, the anus and rectum can be stimulated to feel intense pleasure and even orgasm. Penetrating the anus can stimulate the G spot or prostate gland, which can be hugely enjoyable.
Also, for some people, anal sex feels more intimate or “naughty”, which makes even better.
Why is a painful?
It’s important to say that anal sex is not always painful for everyone, but it does seem to be an unreported issue. Also, there seems to be a general assumption that it will be painful and that this pain shouldn’t be addressed in a way it would be if penis-in-vulva sex was painful.
Put simply, the anus (body opening) and rectum (inner tube) are designed to store and release faeces (poo), not receive a penis or fist. Starting with the anus: it’s a sphincter, which is a ring of muscle that can be consciously relaxed (it’s actually 2 rings). However, we generally keep it clenched so we don’t shit ourselves. Forcing this muscle to open can damage and bruise the tissue and surrounding skin. Introducing objects that are larger than the anus usually accommodates can rip the muscle and be extremely painful.
Turning to the rectum, the walls are thin and sensitive so that we can feel when it’s full and needs emptying. The rectum usually produces enough moisture to move stools through it but nowhere near enough to lubricate an inserted object and certainly not repeated stretching or thrusting. Pressure and friction on this sensitive skin can easily cause pain and long-term damage.
Unfortunately, yes. The physical element of receiving anal sex mentioned above can often be exacerbated by emotional and psychological aspects, such as feeling nervous, anxious, or ashamed.
Many people feel anxious about trying something new, remembering previous bad experiences, feeling pain, or worrying about cleanliness. Their concerns create tension in their body and make it even harder to relax the anal muscles. Actually, any stress and worries can affect our ability to get aroused and enjoy sex.
If you’re expecting anal sex to be painful, for any reason, it may be difficult for you to enjoy it, even if what you or your partner are doing is in some ways pleasurable. This can be confusing and stressful.
3 things that might help
1. If you’re worried you might smell or taste bad
Don’t worry, you only need to wash your anus when you shower. Usually, this is enough to ensure you’re clean and ready. Some people like to use a douche to clean out the rectum. This comes with a number of short-term and long-term risks. If you do feel you need to clean your rectum, use a small bulb, soft nozzle douche with warm water. Avoid chemical douches as they can irritate the rectum, and hard plastic douches as they can cause small tears and cuts.
2. Use lots of lube
If in doubt, use more than you think you need and reapply often. Find a long-lasting lube with a feel, smell, and texture you like. You may find you want a different lube for anal play than you do for vaginal or toy play. You can never use too much lube!
3. Warm up and slow down
In order for your body to be ready for sex, it needs to be aroused. To activate arousal, we need to receive a certain level of stimulation, which gets the body ready to engage in sex, especially being penetrated. As the body is stimulated, internal and external changes occur, our heart rate and blood pressure increase and our breathing becomes faster. The rectum expands and the anus becomes more sensitive. If you’re not aroused enough or haven’t had enough foreplay then you won’t be ready to be penetrated and may experience pain.
This is why it’s important to have sufficient foreplay to prepare the body. Also, you may need to start slower than other types of sex, with more touching, kissing, and licking the anus. Take time to stimulate the area before penetrating with something small, soft, and warm, such as a tongue or finger. Slowly stroke and massage the anus to help it relax.
Only when the anus has relaxed and the recipient feels pleasure, then a slightly larger object may be introduced such as a small toy or another finger. If this is uncomfortable then stop or at least slow down and go back to the smaller object. At your own pace, slowly build up to being able to receive larger objects for longer periods of time.
Still experiencing pain receiving anal sex?
For some people, these three points are enough to help them relax enough to stop having pain during anal sex, but not everyone.
Don’t worry if not, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Rest assured, there are plenty more tips and techniques available to make anal sex pain free for you. This can include practising long and short Kegel exercises and practising penetration. You may also find there are additional steps you need to prepare so that you feel relaxed and comfortable.
Let me reassure you, there’s also plenty of professional help available. If you’re in the UK, your GP can refer you for free psychosexual therapy. In other places, you may have to pay so an internet search is a good starting point (and this article will help you choose a professional who is a good fit for you). In the US you can find a qualified clinician here.
If you want to reduce and eliminate pain during anal sex, get in touch. I’m here for you.