Let’s Get Anal: We Ask An Expert How To Have Safe, Healthy & Normal Anal Sex

Okay, my young queer padawan, if you’re reading this, you’re curious about anal sex. And, maybe, you have a date coming up with a cutie and plan to head straight to Pound Town. Well, my good sir/ma’m/zir/thems, I’m sorry to break it to you but you can’t just dive right in there. To have safe, healthy and normal queer anal sex, you gotta to do it the right way—prepare, communicate and know your body.

Whether you’re experimenting, you’ve already attempted anal, or you’re just thinking about it, here at Syrup we’re advocates for safe sex, every time. So whatever you choose to do, read this so you can do it safely, and have sex with our respective partners that’s safe, respectful and pleasurable for everyone involved.

To best learn how to have safe, healthy and normal queer sex, Syrup spoke to actual anal sex expert and founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, Dr. Evan Goldstein. Don’t be shy… scroll down and read his tips of the trade below.

FYI, if you’re thinking about having anal sex or talking about it with a romantic partner and you’re out there researching, you’re going to come across the words ‘top’ and ‘bottom’… like, a LOT. But, before we break down what they mean, we want to mention that it’s ok if you know straight away which one you are, if you don’t know at all, if you change your mind or if you don’t feel comfortable identifying yourself as either of them or both. Just like your own sexual orientation and gender, the only person who gets to define it is you.

https://axelvalentine.tumblr.com/post/90316259607/whats-anal-like

Let’s start with: what are ‘tops’ and ‘bottoms’?

“I think of topping and bottoming as receiving or giving, right, so from a bottoming perspective, it’s the person that is opening up that is engaging from an anal perspective, and it’s their ass being entered,” explains Dr. Goldstein. 

“So from a bottoming perspective, they’re receiving and the top is the person that’s giving, whether that’s through penis, toys, fingers, the like, that would be someone that’s kind of in that realm of positioning.”

What should someone know if they want to top?

“[First,] they should all experience what it’s like to be a bottom so they know how to be a good top,” says Dr. Goldstein. “A lot of people don’t understand the concept of bottoming and if you’re not bottoming yourself, a lot of the things that you may not think of is becoming restrictive.”

“So, what do I mean by that? One is people think like, that you can just like slam your cock in and that’s it. It doesn’t work like that. The key component to being a good top is a lot of lubrication, a lot of understanding the anatomy so that it’s not just slamming it right in or foreplay—whether it’s licking, or playing or using toys or fingers.”

“And then when you’re ready to go, it’s communicating with the bottom to know that they’re feeling good and that they’re not hurting. Anal sex should not be painful, there shouldn’t be bleeding.”

From there, Dr. Goldstein explains that “there are three sets of muscles” inside your anus. 

“Everytime you go in, you’re kind of engaging and trying to relax one set of muscles. It may take you a while to fully get into somebody, so you shouldn’t just slam it in because it’s never going to work that way. A lot of people think tops have to be super dominating but the reality is that in the beginning stages, it shouldn’t be.”

“Also like choosing appropriate positions, the first entry of somebody should be in a position where the bottom is actually in control. So more of let’s say you’re sitting on me, on the top, you’re the bottom, you should be in control. So you’re sitting down on my cock, maneuvering everything.”

What should someone know if they want to bottom?

“People think that you can go from nothing to Big Cock right away in your ass and the answer is you can’t,” Dr. Goldstein explains. “Most people can’t.”

“When someone comes to me and says they really want to start bottoming, I tell them, ‘okay, it’s going to be at least six weeks before you’re able to fully receive,’ why? Because the skin and the muscle needs to learn to relax. It needs to get strong so that it could open up and doesn’t tear.”

“[What I would recommend is], for the first two weeks, you’re going to be using a small toy. Then after two weeks, you’ll go from a small to a medium toy. And so every couple of days, you’re using a toy to create really good skin so that it’s strong and tough, but also the capacity for the muscle to learn to relax.”

“And then over six weeks, you’re starting to also learn your own body, how you relax, what feels good and what doesn’t. Then, you start to learn positions with the toys on your own before getting into other play with people so you don’t hurt yourself and get the most pleasure for you and your partner.”

“Once you start using the toys, you start to realise, ‘okay, this is how much lube I need to use, and this is how I put the lube to make sure it goes all the way up inside and that everything is really lubricated in the right way.’ 

“Using the toys and learning your own anatomy and exploring all of these things on your own, then allows you to translate into play with others. Like, again, if you and I are having sex and it’s not feeling good, like feeling competent as a bottom to say, ‘This is not right, let’s stop’ or ‘Hey, can we switch and do something different?’ I think it’s empowering how we think about sex, so that now all sides are equally involved in this process to make sure that it’s as beneficial for us.”

Do you have to douche before having anal sex?

“No,” says Dr. Goldstein. “I always tell the story of one of my professors—I don’t know if he’s gay, straight, whatever but he definitely likes anal—and he says, ‘if we were to line up 10 people and me and you were going to have sex with every single one of them one after another, and they didn’t douche, they just took a normal shit the way they normally do. Nine out of ten people would be clean.’”

“Now, the phobia, the societal pressures, the community pressures are definitely there [to douche],” adds Dr. Goldstein. “[But], I’m a firm believer that the preparation for sex causes more damage than accidents that happen during sex.”

What should someone know if they want to douche beforehand?

“When people are douching, there’s three things they’re doing that are a problem. First, they’re either using a water-based solution or an enema, which is very toxic to the insides. Now, most people don’t know that because this sensation is deep inside our asses, you can’t tell whether or not it’s actually irritating you.”

“The nerves that are there don’t give you that sensation. So you think everything is okay. But when I take a look inside of somebody that is over-douching, you can see significant amounts of changes where they have more mucus that’s there, the wall inside is irritated.”

“[When you over-douche,] you’re stripping away the normal mechanism of protection. So now you have a raw inside and now we start having sex and then boom, STD injury because it’s so raw internally. Nine to times out of 10, it’s going to be clean. And so the key is with douching is smaller bulbs, understanding that you don’t need to go all the way up higher.”

“You should also be focusing on your gut health over your anal health. How are you eating the right way? How are you using fibre as a supplementation so that when you shit, everything comes out and you’re super, super clean internally? How do you use probiotics? If I’m having, let’s say, Taco Tuesday, I’m not going to be bottoming on Wednesday because I’m going to be shitting all day, right?”

 “If you’re doing it for an hour, an hour and 40 minutes of cleaning out, clearly, you’re doing something wrong. This should be, ‘I’m taking a shower, I’m shaving, I’m going to clean my ass. I’m going to douche for 10 minutes if that’. It should be a quick, boom, boom, boom, rinse and clean yourself because I see so many people that over-douche and there’s so much irritation, and so much swelling, that then when they have sex, it’s painful, or it limits them.”

Should anal sex hurt?

“No, it shouldn’t hurt,” says Dr. Goldstein. “It only hurts because you aren’t dilating and slowly easing yourself into it with toys and lube and your fingers.”

“Now, when you’re starting with toys, it’s clearly a new sensation. So some people for sure have discomfort, or some people feel the urge to shit, and those are things that you need to overcome by using a small toy with great lube. I tell people to do it in a shower so that the water is running and you feel really relaxed, you know, and do some foreplay, try to get yourself off, you know those types of things kind of set the scenario so that you’re able to start to do what you need to do, but it should not be painful. If it’s painful, then you need to see someone to make sure that we’re doing things the right way, because you don’t want to cause long lasting damage that then [someone like me] has to do something surgically to fix that.”

Is a bit of poop normal?

“Yes, shit is inevitable,” answers Dr. Goldstein. “But the key is trying to destigmatise that. People should feel comfortable to not be embarrassed and understand that it’s part for the course. But I do think like we said before, appropriate douching, using toys before, understanding your own body as a bottom makes complete sense so that you’re able to test the waters before so that you know whether or not it’s a good day to bottom or not. But also understand that that system is not 100% foolproof.”

What about bleeding during anal sex?

“No, there shouldn’t be bleeding,” adds Dr. Goldstein. “If you’re over-douching, bleeding can happen. If you have pain from a cut, or a haemorrhoid, bleeding can happen. If you’re using wet wipes and your skin externally is irritated, bleeding can happen.”

“So yes, I think that bleeding can happen and will happen in people’s bottoming career. But if it’s something that is persisting, or is painful, or there’s other associated symptoms, then I would say they need to be sought out from a professional perspective, to make sure that we’re not missing something. It shouldn’t be expected as the norm.”

What type of lube is best for anal sex?

“A lot of people don’t know silicone lube versus water based lube, and silicone lube is really still the best for pure anal sex,” explains Dr. Goldstein. “If you’re using toys, some of them need to use water based or a silicone safe most of those are called hybrids where they’re both water and silicone. But for pure anal silicone is great, but it fucks up the sheets. It also takes forever to get off, you know in terms of getting it off your skin.”

Butt Plugs & Lube

Bumper Booty Bundle Anal Sex Toy Kit by Lovehoney, $89.95 on Lovehoney.

Butt Plug Set (3 Piece) by Liquorice Dip, $36.95 on Lovehoney.

Anal Butt Plug Pack (4 Piece) by The Hot Spot, $14.02 (originally $16.49) on The Hot Spot.

Original Silicone-Based Lubricant 250ml by pjur, $49.95 on Lovehoney.

Indulge Silicone Lubricant 100ml by Lovehoney, $14.95 on Lovehoney.

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a writer and producer. He also claims to be a vine historian, avid connoisseur of low-fi beats, indie hip hop and Kermit memes. In a perfect world, he’d be married to Tyler the Creator, own an Arcanine and a Lapras, and don his own Sailor Scouts uniform. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster, which is also, coincidentally, how one might describe him.