If you've never tried anal sex before, it can seem like a big fucking deal. And like any other sex act, it's something that you should—in fact, must—prepare for. Preparation and communication are always key when it comes to trying new sex things.
If you want to be safe, sure, and comfortable, follow these seven tips from founder & CEO of b-Vibe Alicia Sinclair—because this is a woman who really knows her butt stuff.
Anal sex can be daunting, especially if you've been exposed to the endless misinformation and taboos out there about it. One of the most important parts of being able to enjoy the experience is educating yourself on what to expect. Take some time to research any subject that might make you nervous—whether that be hygiene, sensations, or psychological aspects. Don't rush into it if you don't feel ready.
Talk with your partner
Make sure that you and your partner have discussed having anal sex prior to partaking in it. Consent is key in all play and surprising your partner with a new sexual experience is never a good idea. Discuss and establish your comfort level and take small steps. There's no need to pressure yourself or your partner to do something they're not ready for. Knowing what to expect and feeling comfortable and ready will help you both have the most enjoyable experience.
Try it alone first
The same way that masturbation was, and is, extra important for understanding your vulva and growing comfortable with different sensations, it's a really great way to prepare yourself for anal sex as well. When you're on your own, you can experiment with different sensations and, if you're comfortable, sizes of anal toys, to prepare yourself. Anal beads are a great way to train your anus on your own.
A lot of people get hung up on the mess. Before anal sex, there are certainly cleaning techniques, but it's always good to keep in mind that you are, after all, sticking something in your bum. The more comfortable you get with a possible bit of poop, the less shocked you'll be if it happens.
That said, if you want to take extra precautions beyond a baby wipe or soap & water, you can use an enema for a deeper more comprehensive clean.
As I like to say, you can't go from 0 to penis. If you've begun with solo play, it's a great idea to start with fingering and graduate to toys of slightly larger sizes. The same goes if you've been playing with a partner. Work with smaller toys before you move to a penis.
Lube, at all times during anal sex, is incredibly important. Your anus does not lubricate naturally like a vagina, so extra lube is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience. Be extra liberal with the lube to ensure a pleasurable experience for both.
Go slowBy going slow, you'll give yourself time to adjust to the size and sensations without becoming overwhelmed or put-off by the feeling. If you're on the receiving end, walk your partner through what feels good—helping to manage the pace. If you're on the giving end, make sure to pay attention to your partner at all times so that you're on the same page.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.