Numbing lube safe for anal sex?

Originally Published: September 24, 2010 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 15, 2011
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Dear Alice,

Is numbing anal lube safe to use? It’s the only way I feel relaxed... I've always been too nervous to relax if we try to have anal without it.

Dear Reader,

Numbing lube isn't inherently harmful; however, its purpose is to temporarily deaden the sensors in the body that tell you when something isn't right, which may cause problems. If you can't hear what your body is telling you, this could lead to a painful and even dangerous end result after the numbing lube wears off. Although anal sex and stimulation may be the source of pleasure for many men and women because of the anus's proximity to the male prostate gland (aka the male g-spot) and the female g-spot, it may also be uncomfortable for others. This is because people's backdoors consist of thin, sensitive tissues that are prone to tears and irritation especially since the anus, unlike the vagina, doesn't produce its own lubrication. If you feel any pain or notice bleeding after anal sex, this could be a sign of some internal damage. To learn more about this you may read Pain from anal sex and how to prevent it.

Sex is usually meant to be enjoyable, so find what lights your fire and stoke it. But, if anal penetration doesn't do it for you, experiment to find out what does! As an alternative to using numbing lube, try other options to make anal sex more pleasurable. Firstly, the key to smooth sailing in the nether regions regardless of your port of entry is lubrication, lubrication, lubrication! To learn more about the different types of lube — from oil- to water-based and flavored to warming — check out Lube for anal sex?

Another tactic you may want to consider to help you relax is to experiment with anal masturbation. Certain toys, like butt plugs and anal dildos, may help you explore your posterior soft spots and figure out what gets you going. Additionally, you may try some anal kegel exercises (clenching and then relaxing the sphincter muscles of the anus while exhaling) to increase the ease of penetration. Once you practice a bit and become comfortable on your own, learning what feels best for you, you may find it easier to relax with your partner.

If you're the one being penetrated, your partner may also help by running one or few substantially lubricated finger(s) (the thicker the lube, the better to avoid the need for continual application) along your sphincter muscles to help them relax before you begin. As some say, "Lick it before you stick it" — make sure your anus is well lubricated before entering. As objects slide in, consider amping up your communication, whether through words or sounds, to your partner of what feels good and what doesn't, and take it slow.

If these tips don't help, consider talking to your partner and discussing:

  • What else may be affecting your ability to relax, perhaps emotional reasons instead or in combination with physical reasons?
  • Is your partner pressuring you?
  • Is your partner going about it with too much gusto?
  • What are alternatives to anal sex that would be pleasurable for both of you?

Clearing the waters with honest reflection, feedback, and consensus forming may help guide smoother, slicker sex.

The bottom line (excuse the pun) is that by turning off your pain sensors with numbing lube, you're also turning off your pleasure sensors, and what's sex without pleasure? If the anal tips don't help, consider testing the winds between you and your partner for smooth sailings.

Bottoms up!

Alice

April 15, 2011

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Alice alludes to something ("too much gusto") but it deserves to be stated in plain terms: The penetrator might have to go VERY SLOWLY. It might take multiple attempts at penetration before...
Alice alludes to something ("too much gusto") but it deserves to be stated in plain terms: The penetrator might have to go VERY SLOWLY. It might take multiple attempts at penetration before it "clicks" and you can relax. To illustrate, this is how much time it takes for me to relax and experience no pain, and I'm experienced at it: oral-anal stimulation (rimming, with dental dam), for a long while; 1 finger, gently inserted; 2 fingers, gently; first attempt at penile penetration, prob won't work because it hurts; get more lube; next attempt, maybe works, if not more lube; 3rd attempt usually works; slowly slowly slowly push in a bit, even better if I control it and I push back onto penis; get more lube, proceed. See? Some people have to go very slowly. And the entire slow process is extremely erotic.