How to Be Safe During Anal Sex

So, you’re curious about anal sex? You’ve probably heard lots of myths and have a vague feeling there’s something poo-related you should know about. Well, just like other sexual activities it’s always a good idea to be informed first to help make the experience run smoother and hopefully safer and more enjoyable.

What exactly is anal sex? Can anyone have it?

Anal sex is the term used for any sexual activity that involves the anus. It is when an object is inserted into the anus (yours or someone else’s) during sex, this can include fingers, sex toys or a penis. The anus is a very sensitive area, which is why people can find anal sex pleasurable.

Anal sex is something that people of all genders and sexualities can do. As long as it’s consensual you can have anal sex.

Communication always comes first

Communication (as always) is key to having safer anal sex. This includes communication before, during and after. Talking openly and honestly with your sexual partner/s is an essential part to having ‘good anal sex’.

If you’re keen on anal sex you need to have an open conversation with your sexual partner/s to check in on how keen they feel about it. Don’t spring this on them while you’re already having sex. Talk to them about how they feel about it before you’ve taken off your clothes. If they say no, you must respect that, don’t go trying to change their mind. Give them some time and space to consider if they’re keen.

Not everyone likes butt stuff but some people really like butt stuff and we have to respect this without being pushy. No one should be having anal sex if they don’t want to or are feeling pressured to by their partner.

If you do decide to go ahead and it’s not working out, you can stop and try again another time. Make sure you check in with each other the whole time – don’t worry this doesn’t have to be weird.

Try asking them:

“Does that feel okay?” “Are you comfortable with me doing this?” or “That doesn’t feel good, perhaps we can do this X.” “It feels good when you do X.”

Remember to continue the conversation afterwards, especially when trying something new for the first time! It can be helpful to debrief about the experience, although this might feel awkward at the time it can help make anal sex better in the future if you are aware of the parts that were better than others.

Lube, lube, and more lube

When it comes to anal sex you should always be using lube. The anus does not self-lubricate, therefore it’s good to use lube (and a lot of it). Having anal sex without lube can cause small tears inside the rectal lining of the anus which can make someone more susceptible to contracting HIV or other STIs.

Lube is also likely to make the experience more comfortable and more enjoyable.

Using a water-based lube is a good idea as it is condom safe and offers a slippery texture.

Slow and steady

Just like trying anything new, it’s best to start off slow to see whether you will enjoy it. This can include massaging the anus area, running a finger, or licking around the anus to create stimulation. Using sex toys is also an option as they can be bendable, different sizes and smoother.

Remember pain during sex shouldn’t be a thing. If it’s painful stop, slow down and don’t try to push through the pain.

Poo fears

One of the most common fears around anal sex is poo-related, people will often say “but that’s where poo comes from, aren’t I just going to poo?”. To which we say, not necessarily. Poo is stored in the upper bowels not where anal sex occurs (near the anus and rectum). It is possible that you might encounter a little poo during anal sex, especially if the receiving partner hasn’t been to the bathroom recently.

Remember, sex is usually a messy thing to do anyway. If you are worried, there are steps you can put in place to reduce the likelihood of a poo situation occurring. This includes going to the bathroom before engaging in anal sex and avoiding eating foods that irritate your body, for example spicy foods or dairy. You can also try using an enema to assist the lower bowel in emptying. Enemas are usually a small tube of liquid that is squeezed into the rectum and will help make you poo. They can be purchased over the counter from pharmacies. We advise against any ‘home remedies’ as they can cause harm to your body.

What about STIs

STIs can be passed through unprotected anal sex, so condoms are your best protection against infection.

It is important to discuss protection before participating in any sexual activity. It’s also a good idea to get a sexual health check before engaging in sex with any new sexual partner/s. Getting a sexual health check is usually a quick and easy process.

For more information visit Get A Sexual Health Check.

Is pregnancy possible from anal sex?

Another reason to wear a condom is to prevent an unintended pregnancy. Although it is rare to get pregnant from anal sex, it is still possible. For example, if semen were to leak down/out of the anus it could go inside the vagina resulting in pregnancy.

Tip: It’s best practice to avoid vaginal sex immediately after anal sex unless you’re changing condoms in between, this is because it can cause infection.

Have a few more questions?

If you’d like more information you can speak to SHINE SA or a GP. If you’re nervous about speaking to someone face-to-face you can call SHINE SA’s Sexual Healthline service where you can speak to a sexual health nurse for free.

Call 1300 883 793, the Sexual Healthline is open Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 12:30pm.

Useful links:

Safer Sex


Ask Dr Amy – Let’s Talk About Sexpectations