What is Anal Sex (For The Really Innocents)
Anal sex, as the name suggests, involves inserting the penis, a vibrator, fingers, or any other foreign object into one’s anus for the purpose of gaining sexual pleasure. It’s not a complicated description, but the act itself may arise some health-related complications – especially if done carelessly. These potential risks may not occur with oral or vaginal sex. The major concern and problem with anal sex are that unlike the mouth or the vagina, the anus can never lubricate itself naturally. This means, there’s no way your body could reduce the discomfort or friction-related issues. We’ll discuss these risks in detail later on.
Why Do People Enjoy Anal Sex?
The anus is filled with nerve endings, which makes it super sensitive. This is what erogenous zones are like, making the anus a part that responds pleasingly to sexual stimulation. On the other hand, for the giving partner, the tightness of the anus may provide him pleasure. Some couples find anal sex enjoyable (at least the men do), while the practice has proven downsides that require safety precautions to be reduced.
3 Top FAQs On Anal Sex
Isn’t Anal Sex Gross?
For obvious reasons, anal sex can definitely be considered gross. Reduced down to basics, you’re simply pushing your penis into a hole where your partner’s feces come out of. All sorts of alarms go off in a newbie’s head, even more so if he’s a germophobe. To be fair, people mostly plan sexual activities like these out and clean the anus properly before engaging in anal intercourse. However, there’s something called ‘fecal bacteria’ which you just won’t be able to clean off in a shower; it’ll be there when you have anal intercourse. However, for some people, the gross factor is reduced to an acceptable level by using a condom.
Is Unprotected Anal Sex Safe?
Definitely not. Unprotected anal sex poses a super high risk for numerous sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Some examples are gonorrhea, herpes, chlamydia, hepatitis, HPV, HIV, and syphilis. Oral contact with an anus has a whole other variety of threats as well, such as intestinal parasites, hepatitis, etc. Even protected anal sex isn’t considered to be entirely safe, so doing it without protection should be absolutely discarded as an option.
Do Doctors Recommend It?
Hardly anyone would disagree with the fact that anal sex has an increased risk factor of causing health problems than vaginal intercourse. A major concern of doctors with anal intercourse revolves around the transmission of HPV. Certain HPV strains definitely do cause cancer, and anal sex could provide the breeding ground that may lead to anal cancer. Studies have documented that people who’ve been receivers in anal intercourse by multiple partners are relatively more likely to build up anus carcinoma.
Another concern is the E. coli infection risk. Additionally, urinary tract infections, and bowel infections aren’t too uncommon with anal intercourse. Anal penetration causes repeated injury and tearing of the anal muscles. This could easily affect a person’s ability to control bowel movements. Ultimately, there’s a chance of fecal incontinence, or possibly being unable to hold stool in until you reach a toilet.
Moreover, causing a serious injury like a tear in the bowel or colon could take place. This requires invasive surgery to restore. However, this is an uncommon occurrence, but still a possibility. Due to all these dangers, any health specialist would recommend choosing vaginal sex over anal sex from a medical standpoint. However, for the people who choose the anal route, using a condom and being monogamous is highly encouraged.
Risks and Dangers of Anal Sex
We’ve briefly discussed a few reasons why doctors would consider anal sex to be more dangerous than vaginal sex. Here, let’s take a detailed look at some of the threats posed by anal intercourse and why.
1. Bacterial Infection Risks
The vagina creates natural lubrication during intercourse, we all know that. Oral sex comes with the same natural lubrication feature in the shape of saliva… The anus is just incapable of doing so. To make matters worse, the lining of the rectum is pretty thin too, much thinner than that of a vagina. This lubrication problem means there will be a risk of tears in the anus/rectum due to friction. As small as the tears maybe, the skin gets exposed due to them. Now stool, which obviously contains tons of bacteria naturally, passes through the anus and the rectum when it leaves our bodies. Potentially, the tears or injuries in them would allow such bacteria to invade skin; hence a bacterial infection is born.
2. Increased STI (sexually transmitted infection) Risks
STIs spread when the skin tears, opening doors for an invasion of harmful bacteria. Through the same phenomenon mentioned above, there’s a much higher risk of spreading STIs or STDs in anal sex as compared to vaginal sex.
Examples of STIs include chlamydia, HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis, etc. Some STIs have no cure at all, which is a scary thought in itself. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior for HIV transmission”.
3. Worsen hemorrhoids
This is the most commonly known threat associated with anal sex. It could worsen the issues introduced by hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are blood vessel areas inside and around the rectum that could cause pain, itching, or even bleeding. For some people, anal sex acts as a trigger to irritate existing hemorrhoids.
4. Increased risk of fistula, a rare complication
A fistula is a tear in the anal or rectal lining that grows larger than its original size. This tear could sometimes be big enough to extend beyond the bowel, reaching other body parts. This is an emergency situation, as stool from the bowel is allowed to enter other parts of the body due to this enlarged tear. Stool is filled with bacteria, and things could go wrong in all sorts of ways if it’s all introduced to different parts of our bodies. Surgery is commonly suggested for a fistula to be treated.
You probably believe that women can’t be impregnated through anal sex, even if it’s unprotected. That’s incorrect, as in rare cases, semen could enter a woman’s vagina after anal sex. To make sure pregnancy is prevented, using a condom is a must even if it’s anal sex. Keep in mind, changing from anal to vaginal sex without changing the condom isn’t recommended at all as it leads to dangerous bacterial exposure!
6. Colon damage
In rare cases, anal sex could result in a punctured colon – requiring immediate surgery. If you notice abdominal pain and/or rectal bleeding after anal penetration, consult your doctor quickly.
What to Do If You Want to Try Out Anal Sex?
Despite all of the warnings from experienced physicians and doctors, people engage in anal sex pretty commonly around the world. As humans, we’re drawn to pursuing risky, uncommon concepts. After all, Adam ate the forbidden fruit for a reason. Vaginal sex is recommended and considered to be much safer than anal sex, but humans are blessed/cursed with having a choice over everything. Doctors understand that many people would still practice anal sex, and hence they’ve always promoted a few precautionary practices to go with it. Some of these are listed below;
Being monogamous with anal sex partners is encouraged as it reduces the risk of STIs.
Make sure a healthy communication practice exists between you and your partner during sex.
Use safe-words, especially on the receiving end. Stop everything at once if you feel pain.
Go slow, and make sure the receiving partner is comfortable with the pace.
While these precautions do not eliminate all the risks and threats, they may reduce some of them to an extent. If you still do choose to go this route, speaking to yours and your partner’s physician beforehand is advisable.
It’s a natural urge in people to discover new things to incorporate some variety in whatever they do. It’s no different when it comes to having sex. We’ve already come up with hundreds of sexual fetishes just because of this reason, involving different types of sexual play. However, there’s one thing that people use to turn the entire basic form of sex into a different type of intercourse; that’s anal sex! As the name suggests, it’s easy to guess what it is, but have you ever thought in depth about it? Why do people enjoy this at all? Should you consider trying it out? This article has hopefully answered these questions. We hope you understand that acting responsibly in matters like these is absolutely vital. Your safety comes first. All the best!
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé