Doin' the butt — objects in anus?

Originally Published: October 6, 1994 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: March 26, 2010
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Alice:

I recently posted the question about the finger in the anus. I'd first of all like to thank you for your answer. It was, as usual, helpful. I think this web site is fantastic and incredibly healthy for everyone. Maybe, with the help of things like this, we'll actually get to the point someday when people can ask about things like this without having to need anonymity.

Anyhow, the reason I'm writing again is that I would like a little more info. Are there OTHER medical risks associated with anal penetration? What if the object is larger than a finger? Should penetration occur only so far?

—Experimenting

Dear Experimenting,

Hooray for talking openly about sexuality! As for your questions, the anus can be stimulated with fingers, tongue, penis, or pretty much any object with smooth edges and a flared base that will fit comfortably (comfort, of couse, being subjective). The anus is a highly sensitive area for many people, which is why it can be extremely pleasurable to have it stimulated, and also why, for the most part, your body will tell you when something is too big or in too far.

Some things to keep in mind during anal play: The anus is less elastic than the vagina, so make sure objects are inserted slowly and that the receiving person is relaxed. Also, the anus is not self-lubricating, so using plenty of lube is key for comfort, safety, and pleasure. Many people enjoy a thicker lube for anal play since the tissue is so delicate. Check out the question Lube for anal sex? from the Go Ask Alice! archives for more info on staying wet. If using condoms for anal sex (which is highly recommended since anal tissue can easily tear, exposing both parties to any STIs either partner has), it's important to make sure that your lube matches your condom. For example, water-based and silicone-based lubes work well with latex condoms, while oil-based lubes (like baby oil, vegetable oil, and Vaseline) can break them.

Assuming the receiver is comfortable with it, objects up to ten inches can safely be inserted into the anus. But it's crucial that the object has a flared base. The sphincter muscles in the anus can squeeze involuntarily which can pull objects into the anus. Lubed-up sex toys like an egg-shaped vibrator can easily slip up the anus and be hard to retrieve, which can result in a trip to the hospital, a decidedly un-sexy ending to your back-end expedition. Another key factor to remember is that the old party rule of "no double dipping" applies here too. Moving objects from a person's anus to a vagina or another person's anus can cause infections. It's a much safer idea to wash the penis, finger, or object first before re-inserting, use different condoms, or to use a different object altogether.

In women, the clitoris has "legs" that extend along the vaginal lips back to the anus, and in men the prostate gland lies just inside the anal opening. Accordingly, many people experience anal stimulation as extremely erotic on its own and during vaginal intercourse. Whether with a finger, a penis, or a dildo, no movement or rhythmic motion, enjoy your safe and wild anal play!

Alice