Advice for an Anal Virgin: Take it slow (and slippery)

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Q: I'm an anal virgin, so to speak. Can you really lose muscle control if you have lots of anal sex? It would be embarrassing to have "accidents" if you had no control. Also, is it recommended to have an enema before you engage in it? The idea of a feces covered penis isn't too arousing to me.

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Both good questions … First off, if you're careful not to damage the anal sphincter muscle, you shouldn't experience any loss of bowel control no matter how much anal sex you have. Like any other muscle, the anal sphincter can be stretched and exercised to accommodate and compensate for quite a lot of activity. ;-) However, it is possible to damage the muscle if you're not taking reasonable precautions, and if the sphincter is damaged, it can lose a degree of function. So, to avoid that, just keep the following things in mind:

1. Lube is your friend. Oh yes, yes it is. You'll want to use a fairly thick lubricant that doesn't lose its "slip" too quickly (forget KY jelly … it's not fit to be used for anything but medical exams). If you're using a latex condom or latex toy, don't use an oil-based lubricant. If you're using any other sort of toy, make sure your lube is compatible with the toy material. You can test a small amount of your lube on the base of the toy, and see if there's a reaction (low grade silicone toys, for instance, can degrade when used with silicone lubricant). I personally use glycerin-based lube, but some women find glycerin can trigger yeast infections … ick! A lot of lube companies make sample-size packets, so try a few different brands out until you find one you like.

2. Take it slow. If you try to penetrate quickly, especially your first few times, it will be really uncomfortable. Stretching the sphincter muscle too fast will cause a truly unbearable burning sensation. This is actually why you should NOT use a "numbing" lube, even though they're commonly marketed for anal play … pain is a warning sign of potential muscle or tissue damage, so you definitely want to be fully aware of it.

I'd actually recommend buying a small dildo or butt plug, and trying it on yourself a few times before trying full anal penetration with your partner. Or, if your partner is game, practicing with a lubed-up finger is also a good way to "ease" into things, without risking pain or muscle damage … and it's a great enhance