Hemorrhoids and anal sex — Okay?

Originally Published: June 29, 2001 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: May 22, 2014
Share this
Dear Alice,

I want to know if you are able to have anal sex when you have hemorrhoids, and if there is a way that it will only hurt as much as it does to have sex that way without them. And if so, how can I reduce the pain?

Sincerely,

KraZy

Dear KraZy,

Anal sex shouldn't hurt. However, having hemorrhoids can make anal sex painful. In addition, people who find anal sex painful often do not use enough water-based lube; others are not relaxed or aroused enough. Using lots of silicone- or water-based lube — which makes anal (and vaginal) sex more slippery and wet — can increase pleasure for both you and your partner. Relaxation will also minimize or prevent the possibility of tearing the thin lining of the rectum, and make insertion easier and more comfortable. Some people relax by taking a warm bath; others begin with a massage, starting with the butt and inner thighs, then gently playing in and around the anal sphincter with a finger. As the sensations become more comfortable and pleasurable, some people experiment by placing more fingers inside the anus. Others might progress to a small sex toy, or be ready to be penetrated by a larger toy, or even a penis. Communication with your partner about what feels good and how you want to be touched is essential for enjoyable anal play.

Although you can have anal sex when you have hemorrhoids, it's better to wait until they've healed. Friction and pressure from penetration can cause further irritation, discomfort, and pain. In addition, hemorrhoids that bleed may place you at increased risk for HIV infection, since the HIV virus can be transmitted more easily through an open "cut" or "wound." Whenever you have anal sex — if you have hemorrhoids or not — it is always safer to use condoms and silicone- or water-based lube if you don't know your partner's HIV status.

For additional info about anal health and sex play, you can check out the related Q&As below. If you're a bookworm, Anal Pleasure And Health by Jack Morin, Ph.D. and The Ultimate Guide To Anal Sex For Women by Tristan Taormino may satisfy your literature cravings.

Alice