On the anniversary of ONE Condoms becoming Butt Stuff Approved™ (more on that here), we wanted to revisit the topic of safe booty play.
Butt stuff has always been a popular, if not a bit taboo, sexual practice the world over. In some cultures, especially those with stricter views around sexuality, anal sex is offered as a sort of “back door” if you will, with limited consequences like pregnancy. This isn’t necessarily the whole story.
While anal sex can be a healthy, pleasurable and empowering part of your sex life, there are some risks that come along with it, some minor and some more serious. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to make sure your anal experience is as pleasurable and low-risk as possible. One very easy step…*drumroll* is by using a condom! That’s right, condoms and anal sex pair perfectly for a great sexual experience. Let’s get to the bottom of it! *wink*
What Qualifies as Anal Sex
Anal sex is actually a bit more broadly defined than people may give it credit for! Technically speaking, anal sex includes everything from penetration with a penis or sex toy, to stimulation with hands and fingers to oral sex (mouth to anus). This could be alone, or with a partner (and kudos if you’re flexible enough to enjoy some of these activities by yourself!).
If you’re looking to do a little more research, Planned Parenthood has a great hub for all things anal sex here, including a section for questions, that you can also check out!
Peachy Play: Potential Pitfalls
Are you excited to play with your own or your partner’s peach? Anal sex, like any other form of sexual activity, can be an enjoyable addition for you and your partner(s), but of course, there are also some risks involved for your sexual health and general well-being. We’re here to set the record straight about some potential pitfalls so you can play with complete and total confidence.
Unpleasant consequences that can arise through unprotected anal sex include:
- An increased risk for sexually transmitted infections, or STIs (maybe you’ve heard the term sexually transmitted diseases before) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) based on the direct skin-to-to skin contact and/or contact with bodily fluid like semen or blood. The skin around the anus and inside the rectum is more delicate than other layers of skin, and more likely to tear, which makes infection more feasible.
- An increased potential to develop intestinal and urinary tract infections due to the passing of bacteria between partners and the sensitive tissues of the urinary and digestive systems.
- Due to the increased risk of transmitting the STI called HPV (human papillomavirus) between partners, there is also an increased risk of eventually developing anal cancer (HPV is the number one cause of anal cancer).
Anal sex in general, with a condom or without, can also lead to:
- Friction and pressure against the sensitive skin of the anus and rectum can lead to anal fissures, or small tissue tears. These may heal on their own but can become infected, so it’s good to monitor.
- Due to the nature of anal penetration, some experience soreness, or even a small amount of bright red blood following a sexual encounter – these may be unwanted, but are entirely normal and should clear up over time.
And one quick note on pregnancy to dispel any myths lurking out there: pregnancy is not a risk with anal sex alone, as the female reproductive system is not connected to the anus. But, if any semen or pre-cum produced during your sexual experience makes it into the vaginal opening, there is some risk. A condom is your best friend to help prevent risk in that case
How to Enjoy Anal Sex Safely
Again, even with some of the potential risks listed above, it is entirely possible to enjoy anal sex in a lower risk, but still enjoyable way! Looking for ways to maintain your sexual health while enjoying anal sex? We’ve put together a handful of tips and tricks for you.
- Make sure you and your partner have discussed your comfort level with exploring anal sex, as well as any relevant testing history. If you’re looking for ways to start that conversation – believe us, we know it can be a bit awkward at first – check out some of our tips and tricks here. You could also make a quick Yes/No/Maybe list, too!
- Don’t be afraid to practice on your own, because of course, practice makes perfect! Whether you’re alone or with your partner(s), it can be helpful to see how you feel with various forms of touch and penetration, including practicing insertion with your fingers, or a sex toy such as a butt plug or blocking out sex positions to see which you or your partner(s) enjoy most. This will help you learn your body, from your sphincter muscle controlling the widening and narrowing of the anus, to the various pleasure centers inside of your rectum. Believe us, you’ll thank us if you experience an anal orgasm along the way!
- Use a condom if you and your partner(s) are playing together, as latex condoms can help prevent the transmission of STIs when used correctly, and can even be converted into a dental dam easily for any mouth-to-butt activities. Working as a barrier method, condoms avoid both direct skin-to-skin contact and lower the risk of fluid transmission between partners.
- Be liberal with how much lube you apply, but importantly, make sure you’re avoiding any oil-based lubricants. These include popular products like petroleum jelly or mineral oils (like baby oil), as well as lotions and creams, because they’re not designed to be used with condoms (or internally!). One of the unfortunate side effects is that they can damage the latex material in the condom and make them less effective. We recommend silicone or water based lube – if you need help choosing, you can read up on that here.
- Take your time and listen to your body. You may feel a bit of discomfort, awkwardness or outright pain, this is your body communicating with you and may be a sign that something is not right. There is nothing wrong with a break, trying something else or ending your sexual experience altogether. It’s your sex life, you should enjoy it on your own terms!
And you’re in excellent hands when you use any ONE® products, especially ONE® Condoms! We continue to be incredibly proud to be the first brand to receive FDA approval for “safe and effective use” labeling for anal sex. This came after extensive analysis, research and evaluation, and it means that standard, thin and myONE® custom-fit condoms will now feature an “intended use” claim for anal sex. You can read more about that special honor here, and browse all of our premium condoms and lubes on our site.
Now, go forth, be merry and enjoy all of your favorite butt play with peace of mind!