4 Anal Sex Myths You Should Stop Believing

Anal sex is probably one of the most misunderstood sex acts of all. It carries an allure for a lot of people, whether they want to be on the giving end or the receiving end or both. However, it also scares a lot of people. This is, in part, due to incorrect assumptions and beliefs. Anal sex myths can scare people off who might otherwise be interested in trying this type of play. They can also lead people to engage in dangerous behaviours or take unnecessary risks due to a lack of knowledge.

Here at C&K, we’re all about fact-based and non-stigmatising information. So let’s bust some anal sex myths, shall we?

Anal sex always hurts

This is perhaps one of the most harmful anal sex myths, and actually likely leads to more avoidable pain and injuries. After all, if you think anal is supposed to hurt you’ll be more likely to push through pain, which can be dangerous. In fact, though anal can be intense and some mild discomfort can be normal, pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

With proper lubrication, warm-up, enthusiastic consent, and communication with your partner, anal sex does not need to be – and should not be – painful. If something hurts it’s time to adjust, add more lube, or stop for now.

And by the way: those “numbing” or “desensitizing” lubes designed for anal sex? Avoid them at all costs. The ingredients in them can be harmful, they increase your risk of injury, and (frankly) if you have to numb your body to engage in a particular sex act, then you probably shouldn’t be doing that thing at all.

Anal sex isn’t pleasurable for the bottom

This particular myth always strikes me as really sad, particularly when I see questions from people who are trying to grit their teeth and force themselves into anal sex they don’t want to please their partner.

Anal sex isn’t pleasurable for everyone and, if you don’t enjoy it, then you shouldn’t do it! However, if you do want to, it can be just as pleasurable for the bottom (the person being penetrated) as for the top (the person doing the penetrating.) Think about it: if anal sex wasn’t pleasurable for the receptive partner, why would anal sex toys such as butt plugs and prostate massagers be so popular?

One of the reasons that anal sex can feel so pleasurable for cis men and other people assigned male at birth is due to the prostate. Approximately the size and shape of a walnut, this gland is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is responsible for producing some of the fluid in semen and, when stimulated, it is incredibly sensitive.

However, anal sex isn’t all about the prostate, and can be just as pleasurable for receptive partners who do not have one. There are still tonnes of highly sensitive nerve endings in and around the butt, which can feel incredible. And, of course, it is located close to the genitals. According to a 2022 study on (cis) women’s experiences of anal pleasure: “[the anus] contains a dense network of sensory nerves that participate with the genitals in the engorgement, muscular tension and contractions of sexual arousal and orgasm.”

Yes, it’s even possible for some people to have an orgasm from anal sex without any direct stimulation of the genitals! Aren’t bodies awesome?

Anal sex is only for gay men (or: all gay men have anal sex)

Wrong on both counts! Many of the most common anal sex myths centre on sexual orientation, from who engages in it to what it means about your sexuality if you do.

Firstly, anal sex is for anyone who wants to have it. We all have a butt, after all! Liking or not liking anal sex doesn’t imply a single thing about your sexuality. Your sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to, not which acts you want to do.

Also, not all men who have sex with men (MSM) have anal sex. One 2011 survey of almost 25,000 gay and bisexual men in the US found that only 35% of respondents had had anal sex during their last sexual encounter. Some queer men do it regularly, some do it occasionally, and some never do it at all. All of this is completely normal and awesome.

You can’t get pregnant, so anal sex is safe sex

It’s true, of course, that a person cannot become pregnant from anal sex. This doesn’t mean, though, that anal is a risk-free form of sex.

In fact, when it comes to the transmission of STIs, unprotected anal sex is actually riskier than most other kinds of sexual activity including unprotected vaginal sex. However, it’s easy to mitigate this risk with a few basic precautions.

The best way to protect yourself and your partner(s) is to use a condom every time you have anal sex. If you choose to go barrier-free for anal – which I only recommend in the context of an ongoing relationship with someone you trust – make sure that both you and your partner(s) are having regular sexual health screenings.

You might also want to ask your healthcare provider if pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is suitable for you. PrEP is a daily medication for people at risk of exposure to HIV, whether through sex or through drug use. According to the CDC, it reduces the risk of contracting HIV through sex by about 99% when used as directed.

Have questions about anal sex? Not sure if something you’ve heard is accurate? Let me know and I’ll try to answer them in a future post.

FYI: this post was sponsored. All writing and views are, as always, entirely my own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.