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We’re bringing Sexy Mac: cheeky information about anal sex

You put what in where?! This week we’ll be discussing everything you’ve (n)ever wanted to know about anal sex. This column will define anal sex as any sexual penetration or activity involving the anus, no matter how small or synthetic the penetrating object. With as broad a definition as this, we get rid of gendering the activity and challenge the association of anal sex with a certain group of people (ie. cis gay men). This also leaves room for discussing anilingus (oral sex performed on the anus) and digital penetration of the anus (anal fingering) while resisting perpetuation of the idea that the only “true” anal sex involves a penis. Let’s get started!

First, let’s discuss anilingus. You may have heard oral-anal sex referred to by a variety of euphemisms and slang words, including rimming or tossing the salad. Like any type of oral sex, there are a wide range of activities that anilingus can encompass and oral penetration of the anus is definitely not required. Many people find pleasure in anal stimulation, while others may find it erotic to perform the sex act either within the context of humiliation/submission fetishes or just plain vanilla enjoyment. As you may expect, there are some hygiene issues related to the anus that other parts of the body don’t have to worry about, largely involving the fact that most of the time, the anus is an exit rather than an entrance. Never fear! With common sense and the most basic of hygiene techniques, anilingus is really no “dirtier” than any other type of sex act. Don’t perform or receive analingus if either partner has cuts, sores, scratches, blisters, etc. at the area of contact. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be transmitted from anus to mouth and vice versa just like the genitals. Unfortunately, there is a bit of an added risk to anilingus because Escherichia coli (E. coli) happily lives within the human intestines and can be transferred from anus to mouth with only the tiniest remnants of fecal matter. For this reason, many health professionals recommend using a barrier method of protection during such acts. Common recommendations include using dental dams, a condom chopped on both ends and sliced down the middle, non-microwaveable plastic wrap (I’m guessing microwaveable has a toxic chemical in it or something?) or a plastic glove manipulated and transformed such that the non-thumb fingers are cut off, the glove cut down the pinky side and the thumb inserted into the anus of the recipient after being a bit lubed up. This allows for penetration with the tongue or fingers but significantly reduces the chance of E. coli and subsequent digestive illness. If barriers are a major turn-off, you can use an enema to rinse the inside of the anal cavity to reduce the risk of fecal matter, or simply scrub the area gently with a warm, damp towel. Be sure not to use any rough material, as the skin of the anus is thin and full of capillaries and thus easily susceptible to cuts and scratches. Avoid contact with the blood of any sexual partner, regardless of their STI status. Finally, never ever ever switch from oral sex on the anus to oral sex on the genitals (penis, vagina or other). Urethras are very sensitive to foreign bacteria and any trace E. coli in the mouth can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other painful, annoying, unsexy genital afflictions.

The rule about no anal-genital cross-contamination applies to other types of penetration too. No hip-hopping from hole to hole like whack-a-mole with anything great or small. If you absolutely must move from anal penetration to penetration of another orifice, at least use different condoms, but note that this still has a chance of spreading germs through groin-to-groin contact not covered by barriers. Enemas can be done beforehand if you prefer, but usually things are “cleaned out” sufficiently by a trip to the bathroom and a thorough scrubbing in the shower. Enemas should also be used infrequently because they can irritate the lower digestive tract and cause problems with normal defecation. Despite what pornography might imply, some sort of lube is absolutely 100 percent always necessary for anal penetration. This prevents tearing of both the condom (or other barrier) and the anal tissue itself. The rectal lining can be torn quite easily, and the tear is at high-risk of infection due to slow healing times and unavoidable presence of fecal matter at the site of injury. The tear can then develop into an abscess or even a fissure, which must be repaired surgically to prevent bowel leakage into the general body cavity. This is rare and should not cause you fear! Just remember to use copious amounts of patience, stretching, lube and relaxation. Be sure not to use numbing lube for anal penetration, as this can mask pain and lead to preventable injury. The same principle extends to having anal sex under the influence of drugs and alcohol; it’s especially important to be sober enough to recognize pain and give consent (to every sexual activity every time, not just anal!) when experimenting with anal penetration for the first time. Also avoid using oil-based lubes, lotions and vaseline for anal penetration as they degrade condoms and can dry uncomfortably sticky after intercourse. If something embarrassing happens, as it’s wont to do during any type of sex, laugh about it and continue the activities in the shower together. Be safe and smart, my darlings!

Questions? Comments? Insults? Email me at [email protected] but remember that it won’t be anonymous.

November 18, 2016

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