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Whether you’re just beginning to experiment with backdoor play or you’re already a seasoned veteran, there are always ways to make your experience that much better.

As pleasurable as anal sex can be (yes, you can absolutely have orgasms!), it’s not the most spontaneous bedroom activity. Oftentimes, a lot of prep is involved and you can’t quite jump into things as quickly as you can with other sexual acts. To help make anal less painful and more enjoyable, we’ve consulted sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein. See her seven pleasure-enhancing tips below.

7 Tips For Making Anal Sex as Pleasurable as Possible

  • Relax. Just like how we were taught to relax when we first learned how to insert a tampon, anal sex calls for the same thing. Not only will this help prevent it from being a painful physical experience, but it’s also important for promoting intimacy. “Anal play is very much linked to how someone feels,” Dr. Goldstein told POPSUGAR. “Ensuring first of all that this is something you want to do and not feeling pressured into is the first step.”
  • Be vocal. Teamwork makes the dream work. Don’t be afraid to discuss any of your fears and concerns prior to engaging in anal sex, as well as during the act as well. Let your partner know whether they need to slow down, use more lubrication, or stop altogether.
  • Clean up beforehand. Being self-conscious about cleanliness back there is a completely valid concern. To prevent any possible fecal traces, Dr. Goldstein recommends a bowel movement and shower prior to getting down. Using an enema bulb is also an easy and effective way to flush out the anal canal. Not only is it more hygienic, but cleaning up prior can also remove any related anxieties during the act.
  • Warm up. Dr. Goldstein suggests using fingers, a butt plug, or a smaller dildo to get your body used to the sensation. “Make sure that anything that is placed inside has a flared base or handle,” she said.
  • Take your time. Being aroused is key to amazing sex in general, but especially when it comes to anal sex. Take your time with foreplay and allow your partner to ease into the act rather than just jumping straight in. “Stay with kissing and caressing other areas of the body, and get your partner to slowly make their way to that region.”
  • Lube, lube, lube. We cannot stress the importance of lube enough. Silicone-based lubes in particular are great for providing long-lasting, frictionless pleasure. It’s best to avoid anal sex altogether if you don’t have a bottle readily beside you.
  • Stop as soon as it hurts. Yes, anal sex can be painful, but it shouldn’t be. If you’re relaxed, aroused, and lubed up and your partner is entering slowly, it should be a pleasurable experience. But keep in mind that anal sex isn’t for everyone. “You can always take a break and go back, but it’s important to not put yourself in a position of pain,” Dr. Goldstein said.

And remember that you don’t have to rush into anal sex in one night! Think of it as a work in progress. Dr. Goldstein recommends experimenting with anal play first and then moving onto anal penetration once you feel comfortable enough.

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