It's not exactly reaching to say that there'll be a lot of clutching of condoms and backdoor hopes this week.
That said, of course anal intercourse is not limited to gay men. People of any sex and orientation often enjoy some sphincter-related fun. Men do it to women, women to women, women to men, using a variety of instruments that range from penises to plugs, small vibrators and other kinds of toys.
Not everyone is into anal sex, though, and that's okay. Don't let anyone tell you different, even if these days it does feel like if you're not taking it up the butt you're not sexually adventurous enough.
If you are curious, there are some things you should know, some ins and outs if you will. (Ha! See what I did there?) We all know about sexually transmitted infections by now, including HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, etc. So for god's sake wear a condom.
Stay away from products containing nonoxynol-9, an effective spermicide that is not an effective microbicide and is so irritating it can actually increase the risk of HIV infection.
What the experts say
"Repeated anal sex over a prolonged period of time can actually chronically weaken those muscles, leading to the development of hemorrhoids or prolapse, which is when the rectal tissue actually kind of falls out, in a small number of cases. People who regularly engage in anal sex should practise the same sorts of exercises women practise to keep their pelvic floor tight, the Kegel exercises . It's better to use heavier-duty condoms because there's not as much give in the anus as in the vagina. One practical piece of advice I give, especially if the insertive partner is HIV-positive, is that he withdraw just before he ejaculates so that if the condom is broken the semen winds up outside."
Brian Cornelson , director of HIV Family Practice Clinics, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto
"If your partner really wants to do it to you and you aren't sure, one of the first questions I would ask [him/her] is, 'Will you experience this in your own body first so you'll know what you're asking of me? If you're not willing, then why should I be?' You need to know that your partner's going to take his or her time and not get impatient. You have to be completely in charge of having your body entered, because this is also an exercise in trust, and if your partner betrays you by pushing when you're not ready, you won't want to try again. It's an emotionally charged issue. Stay away from drugs . E or poppers make you unable to read what's happening in your body, so it may be fantastic when you're stoned, but you may find yourself bleeding from your ass the next day. Having an orgasm first will engorge the pelvic floor with blood and help you be more relaxed."
Laila Mcdaniels , sex therapist, Toronto
"This area is an erogenous zone, and when you relax and get into that mindset of 'Do me baby, I'm giving myself up to you,' it becomes pleasurable. But it's a no-fly zone for most people. Massage therapists totally avoid that area, but, hey, if you'd massage my butt it would release a lot of tension. From a therapeutic perspective, ass work is a way of releasing stress , preventing hemorrhoids , addressing the prostate . Massaging the prostate moves the old blood out and brings new blood in, keeping it healthy. There are people who receive no pleasure from anal stimulation. Pleasure is partly learned by giving oneself permission to feel and be curious.-
Paul Barber , trained bodyworker, Toronto
"A good lube is one suited to your purposes. One you'd use for penile-vaginal intercourse is probably going to be different from one you'd use for sex toys, which is different from one you'd use for anal sex. You can try to find an all-in-one, but it's best to use one made for a particular job. Lube for anal sex should have some thickness to it so it stays put. It's not so runny it's going to slide off whatever body part or toy is being used. You also want something that lasts a little bit longer, because anal is a slower kind of sex. You want to add as you go anyway. What you absolutely don't want is something with a desensitizing ingredient [these are sold to make it hurt less], because pain is a warning sign, and you want that warning sign. There is no one best lube. The best is the best one for you."
Cory Silverberg , sex educator, co-owner, Come as You Are, Toronto
"[For women] it's important that you not focus solely on the ass, but that you also do vaginal stimulation or penetration . Clitoral stimulation is really important so that it's a whole-body experience. Women don't have a prostate, but we can experience indirect G spot stimulation through anal penetration, especially at certain angles, like doggy-style, for example. If you use a curved toy or if you curve your finger toward the front of the body when you're in a woman's ass, you're going to hit the G spot indirectly. All that separates the vaginal cavity from the rectal cavity is a wall of tissue, so you're essentially pressing through that tissue onto the G spot."
Tristan Taormino, sex educator, author, The Ultimate Guide To Anal Sex For Women, New York