Jun 262013

My girlfriend and I are considering experimenting with anal play on each other. But I am really nervous. I research everything, and several medical sites indicate anal play or anal sex can be linked to loss of bowel control. We are only considering anal toys like small butt plugs and anal vibrating probes (no sharp edges and made for this activity), but I am still quite nervous.

I did try a butt plug once before privately, and afterward I was a bit discomforted and itchy. There was no bleeding or terrible pain, but it felt more like a pulled muscle. Yet it made me nervous. Is some discomfort or “itchiness” normal if it was my first time? I did use lube, but then I researched and my fear began about trying anal play again, until my courageous girlfriend suggested it.

I realize these sites often report the worse case options (e.g. a headache is brain cancer, etc.). But I think people considering anal play for the first time could really use some advice as to the risk of loss of bowel control. Small tears and such can heal, but permanent damage scares me (more than my girlfriend). Having sad that, I have close friends who are very into anal sex and none of them seem to have a bowel problem!

–Jittery Instead of Jazzed

Stick with your girlfriend and your friends on this one, and take a deep breath. Just because you want to put things up your butt doesn’t mean you’re headed into the land of adult diapers! The few cases I’ve heard of where anal penetration lead to serious problems always involved drug use and irresponsible practices like no lubrication, no warm up, and foreign objects. As long as you go slowly, use lube and appropriate butt toys, you’ll be fine.

When you engage in anal penetration, you learn how to relax and control your sphincter muscles. Contrary to common myths, you are not stretching out those muscles, loosening them, or damaging them. As for your first anal experience, it’s common for the first time you have something in your ass to feel strange. Your ass is used to expelling things, not taking them in, so the feeling takes some getting used to. The itching may have been caused by a reaction to the lube or the material of the toy. I recommend you give it another try, have some patience, and go at your own pace.

Apr 252013

I gave my Sexploration lecture at Bucknell University on Tuesday April 23, and there was a huge crowd. I often do anonymous questions at college events where students write their questions on notecards and everyone has to write something, even if it’s “no question.” The anonymity gives folks the freedom to ask their most pressing questions. I only had time to answer about 60% of the questions, so I’m answering the rest here. I’ve combined some questions that are on the same topic.

Is it weird that I want sex all the time even though I’m a virgin?
No. It’s common to have sexual desires regardless of your sexual experience. Remember what I said about the problematic concept of virginity? I encourage you to define sex as broadly as you want and not buy into the cultural construction of virginity.
Recommended: The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women

How often do most people masturbate?
It varies wildly from person to person, and how often just one person masturbates can vary depending on their energy level, desire, stress, opportunity, etc. There are some interesting stats you can check out. In general, I don’t think masturbation is ever a bad thing. Everyone should have a sexual relationship with themselves, and it’s a great way to figure out what you like.

I masturbate so much it’s turned into a chore; any tips for spicing it up?
Masturbation shouldn’t be a chore! But people can get into a repetitive rut. Don’t think of it merely as a quick way to get off, think of it as a date with yourself. Try changing positions, experimenting with new stimulation techniques, adding lube and a toy to the mix.

How long does it take to give a guy a blow job?
There is no set amount of time that it takes anyone to do anything sexual. If you’re giving the blow job, take charge of the situation and do it for as long as it feels good, for as long as you want to. If you get tired or overwhelmed, switch to using your hand or doing something else.
Recommended: The Expert Guide to Oral Sex 2: Fellatio

How long should a guy last during a blow job?
I hate to repeat myself, but: there is no set amount of time. Depending on the guy, the stimulation of oral sex could bring him to orgasm slowly, quickly, or not at all. Blow jobs do it for some people and not for others.

How nutritious is semen and how can I convince my girlfriend to swallow?
Semen has little to no nutritional value because you don’t ingest all that much of it. You don’t want to convince anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. You can share your desire with her and tell her why it turns you on, but ultimately, it’s her choice to swallow or not, and you’ve got to respect it. Also, swallowing semen is a riskier practice in terms of safer sex than not swallowing, and I am a fan of condoms for blow jobs.

How do you improve oral sex?
Since you didn’t specify, I’m going to make some statements that apply to all kinds of oral sex (cunnilingus, fellatio, and analingus), then give you some particulars. Enthusiasm, focus, tenacity, and paying attention to your partner’s body language are all good qualities to have when giving oral sex. Use your fingers and hands along with your mouth. For cunnilingus, experiment with different techniques using your lips, mouth, and tongue, and ask your partner to tell you what she likes (if she doesn’t know, explore and ask her to alert you when you’ve stumbled on something great). For fellatio, concentrate on the head and the sensitive frenulum on its underside (remember our anatomy lesson); experiment by applying different amounts of pressure with your mouth along the head and shaft. For analingus, use your tongue and lips to get into the folds of the sensitive anus.
Recommended: The Expert Guide to Oral Sex 1: Cunnilingus, The Expert Guide to Oral Sex 2: Fellatio, and The Expert Guide to Advanced Fellatio

I don’t think I enjoy sex at all. The picture of the vagina (in your presentation) made me squirm, and I have one. What can I do to be comfortable and enjoy the experience when my partner wants to have it?
First, this is a question I can’t answer with a pithy one minute (or three sentence) response. It was a line drawing, but an explicit one, of a vulva, and we are not used to looking at those images on the big screen or in public, so it can make some people uncomfortable for a number of reasons. But you said you don’t enjoy sex at all. Could you be asexual? If you have sexual desire, then it’s a matter of getting comfortable with your body and with sex. Do you masturbate? It all begins there, so I’d start with establishing a sexual relationship with yourself before you address sex with a partner.
Recommended: Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving

What is the best way to have sex in a long distance relationship?
I assume you mean when you and your partner are apart? Use technology to keep you connected. Dirty text messages, naughty instant messages, steamy emails, and Skype with mutual masturbation. I caution you against sending naked or sex pictures to each other, however, since we’ve seen all the trouble that can cause.

Got any good positions?
Each position has its pros and cons, and experimentation is key. If you like Missionary, try Flying Missionary where the person on their back puts their feet on their partner’s chest. If you like Cowgirl, try Froggie where the person on top balances on their feet. If you like Doggie Style, try Tailgate, where the receiver lies on their stomach and the penetrator then lies directly on top of them.

Do you have tips for using a toy to stimulate the G-spot?
Pick a curved toy like Pure Wand, and always aim the curve toward the front of the person’s body. Many G-spots respond to deliberate, firm pressure rather than gentle stroking, so don’t be afraid to apply pressure—just make sure your partner is aroused and ready before you do.
Recommended: The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation and The Big Book of Sex Toys

Does size matter?
The easy answer is no. People are way too wrapped up in penis size, when most folks want a compassionate, responsive lover more than a particular size. But I don’t want to deny that everyone has different tastes and turn ons, and some people do like penetration with big stuff. But that’s why God created dildos.

How do I get a vibrator and which kind do I get?
If possible, visit a sex-positive store like The Smitten Kitten, Good Vibrations, or Babeland. When you shop in person at stores like these, the toys are out of their packages, so you can see and feel them, feel the vibration, hear how quiet or loud they are, plus you benefit from the advice of experienced sex educators who work there. If that’s not possible, try one of their websites; they all have detailed product information and customer reviews.
Recommended: The Big Book of Sex Toys

I’m a girl. Do I need to shave my pubic hair before I have sex?
Your pubic hair is your business! It’s a matter of personal taste, just like how you cut and style your other hair. Some people let it grow, others trim it back, and others wax or shave some or all of it off.

As a female, how do you know if you’ve had an orgasm?
I want to say, “Oh you’ll know!” but I want to be more specific. Some of the physiological responses include: a feeling of release; muscle contractions of the uterus, vagina, and sphincter muscles; other muscle contractions and muscle tension throughout the body; involuntary muscle responses that cause you to make strange faces; and cramping of hands and feet. Talking to your peers about what their orgasms feel like is a great way to open up a conversation and hear from real people about their experiences.
Recommended: The Expert Guide to Female Orgasms and The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women: How to Become Orgasmic for a Lifetime

How long does it take a woman to climax?
There is no set amount of time, and I hesitate to even say there is an average amount of time. Women often put pressure on themselves about this (I hear all the time “It takes me a really long time,” or “It takes too long”). Concentrate on what’s going on and how it feels, and don’t think about the clock and how you measure up to it.

Do you have any suggestions for mixing things up during sex?
Lube. Sex toys. Role play. Analingus. New positions. Porn. Do anything except intercourse. Mutual masturbation.
Recommended: What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety

Do you poop when you have anal sex? How do you have “clean” anal sex?
When you have a bowel movement, feces stored in the colon pass through the rectum, down into the anal canal, and out the anus. The colon is the storage area, and the rectum and anal canal are pathways. If you have good bowel habits and plenty of fiber in your diet, then there should be very little fecal matter in the rectum and anal canal. When you play with fingers, a toy, or a penis, you’re not going beyond the rectum. Go to the bathroom before anal play. In addition, take a warm, soapy shower or bath before anal sex to make sure your genitals are clean. You can even slide a soapy finger into your anus. Always use the most mild soap you can—either a castile or pure glycerine. A trip to the bathroom and a shower will go a long way toward you having relatively clean anal penetration. I say “relatively clean” because I want you to be realistic. There are no guarantees in life, and some amount of fecal matter may be present in someone’s rectum. If you want to go the extra step to make sure you’re totally cleaned out, you can give yourself an enema beforehand.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women

How safe is anal sex and how do I avoid anal fissures?
I always recommend that people use safer sex barriers if they are not currently tested and in a sexually monogamous relationship. You can transmit most sexually-transmitted infections (including gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HPV, genital warts, herpes, and HIV) through unprotected anal sex, especially penis/ass intercourse. In addition, as I said in my presentation, the ass is made of delicate, sensitive tissue which is susceptible to small tears or anal fissures. The best way to protect against them: use gloves to make your fingers butt-friendly, use plenty of lube, focus on warm up and don’t rush penetration, and, as the receiver, listen to your body.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women

Is it inappropriate to go up to someone and say, “Wanna fuck? Right here, right now?” (I’m female.)
I like people being direct about what they want. I appreciate shameless assertion of your desires. So I don’t think it’s inappropriate to speak your desires in the right context with potential lovers. But, that said, there are repercussions for women who speak openly about their sexual desire, so you’ve got to take those into account, knowing that reactions to your honesty will be mixed (see next question).

How can I, as a woman, express wanting to have sex without looking like a slut?
Just do it. Own it. Don’t let anyone shame you for your sexual desires, experience, or consensual behavior. And don’t shame other women for theirs. Don’t buy into our society’s double standards that applaud men for their sexual prowess and punish women for the very same behavior. (Easier said than done, I know.)
Recommended: He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know and What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety

How do we as a society combat false sex information like the “What Not To Do Guide to BDSM,” aka Fifty Shades of Grey?
You’re right, Fifty Shades of Grey is not an instruction manual, it’s a romance novel with some kink thrown in. But lots of people have read it and it’s opened up conversations about kinky sex, which is ultimately a good thing for society. If a friend mentions reading it or being inspired by it, be ready to let them know that it’s not a how-to and have recommendations for other resources that give solid information about BDSM.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Kink and SM 101: A Realistic Introduction

I am really into bondage. How do I bring it up to a casual hookup without being scary and intense?
It’s all in the way you present it. Be direct and put it out there (“I want to tie you up” or “It would turn me on if you tied me up”) and make it clear that it’s a suggestion that your partner is welcome to embrace or turn down. If they agree, be prepared to give them information about safety before you start and always use a safeword.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Kink and Midori’s Expert Guide to Sensual Bondage

How does a girl approach the idea of being a dominant with a guy?
Talk about roleplaying fantasies and see what kinds of scenarios you each come up with. Suggest some scenes where you play a dominant role and see what he says. Context is everything.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Kink

Why do I have rape fantasies? It feels problematic.
Our fantasies often do not reflect our politics. Rape fantasies can be about exploring submission, masochism, surrender, objectification, control, and a slew of other dynamics. Although “rape” is the hot-button word in this question, the operative word here is fantasy. It’s a fantasy where you create the script, imagine the details, call the shots, and know how it ends—which is an entirely different thing than actual rape.
Recommended: Toybag Guide to Playing With Taboo and Mollena Williams’ two chapters in The Ultimate Guide to Kink

Any advice for a woman who wants to peg her man? Techniques, a particular toy, a particular position?
Pegging is strap-on anal sex where the woman is the giver and the man the receiver, and it can open up a whole new world of erotic exploration for couples. Great anal sex is all about the warm up. You’ve got to take your time, relish each sensation, and tease your partner into a frenzy before any serious penetration begins. As for toys, I love the Mistress dildo by Vixen Creations and any harness made by Aslan Leather.
Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and The Expert Guide to Pegging

What are your thoughts on tantra, sexual ecstasy and spirituality?
That’s a big question on a big topic. More and more people are getting interested in sacred sexuality, the intersection of sex and spirituality, sex magic, and Tantric sex. I want to refer you to two of the best, most accessible books on the subject: Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century and Tantra for Erotic Empowerment: The Key to Enriching Your Sexual Life.

How do you feel about porn, which often portrays false or fantastical situations? How realistic is porn? Is it misleading?
Well, it depends on the porn! Much of mainstream pornography portrays a fantasy and a performance, so there’s a lot of athletic positions, high energy and high libido, heightened reactions to stimulation, and earth shaking orgasms (both real and performed). You don’t often get to see honest communication, awkward moves, enough warm up before intercourse, a focus on other kinds of sex besides intercourse, partners being shy or quiet, stopping and starting, and much more. I like to portray more realistic sexual scenes in my films, where people verbally negotiate, ask for what they want, use lube and sex toys, focus on activities that turn them on rather than a “script” of how sex should unfold, get into positions that feel good for them, and allow enough arousal time and stimulation to allow female performers to have real orgasms. There are lots of feminists who make porn, and you may want to check out their films as well as films featuring real couples including Make Love Not Porn.
Recommended: The Feminist Porn Book

How can gender identity affect a sexual experience or a sexual relationship (even mentally)? How can we avoid gender identity becoming a point of contestation? We are both doms.
This question requires a longer answer, so I gave it its own Ask Tristan post.





Mar 272013

There has been a lot of talk about HPV recently with the release of the new vaccine. But most of what I read for women concerns HPV in the vagina and PAP smears. As a girl who’s way more into anal sex than vaginal sex, what do I need to know about HPV? Can a person get HPV in their ass, is there a test for it, and how is it treated?

–Concerned Anal Citizen

There are more than one hundred types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), and more than forty different strains can be sexually transmitted and affect these areas: the vulva, vagina, cervix, penis, scrotum, anus, and rectum. HPV is a virus most closely associated with genital warts, although not all forms of HPV cause warts. Some of the strains of HPV are low risk and resolve themselves without treatment. High-risk types of HPV can cause abnormal cell growth and cervical cancer. According to Planned Parenthood,

At any time about 20 million people in the U.S. have [genital HVP infections]. Between 10 and 15 million have high-risk types that are associated with cervical cancer. HPV is so common that about three out of four people have HPV at some point in their lives.

The most common way to spread HPV is through vaginal and anal intercourse, but it can also be spread through rubbing, fingering, oral sex, or sharing sex toys. Condoms protect against HPV, but HPV may be present in the skin not covered by a condom, which is why gloves and dental dams should also be used.

Yes, you can get HPV in your ass. If it is a kind of HPV that manifests as genital warts, they can appear in as little as three weeks or as long as six months after infection. The warts begin as small pink bumps that look like cauliflower florets in or around the anus and rectum; they tend to spread rapidly, forming clumps of bumps that may be itchy. The bumps could be painful if they are irritated. Their incubation period is usually one to six months, but they can grow more rapidly if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system. Remember, in many cases, someone with HPV may have no visible symptoms at all; in these cases, a physician will be able to see them during a rectal exam with an anoscope. Genital warts can go away on their own; or, they can be removed from the skin by applying chemicals to them (usually acids), burning them with an electric needle (electrocautery), freezing them with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) or with laser treatment. Even after visible warts are removed, HPV remains in your body, and the warts can recur.

The strains of HPV that can cause precancerous lesions on the cervix can be detected through a pelvic exam and PAP test. If you have HPV in your ass, it’s less common to have treatable precancerous lesions present since there is no cervix or cervix-like place for them to develop, though it’s still possible to have pre-cancerous cells which precede rectal cancer. To test for the presence of HPV in the ass when there are no warts, a physician takes a swab of the rectum and sends it for laboratory analysis (similar to a vaginal PAP test). If you regularly engage in unprotected anal penetration and think you have been exposed to HPV, you can request a rectal exam and an anal papilloma screening (also known as an anal PAP test). If the PAP results come back abnormal, then you should have an HPV test which tests the cells for the HPV virus. If the HPV virus is detected, you can have a colposcopy where they take a biopsy and can look closer at the cells. You can spread HPV from your ass to your vagina and vice versa, so if it has been discovered in one place, it’s advisable to get the other place checked. People diagnosed with HPV should have regular exams to monitor recurrences and prevent complications.

In 2006, a vaccine for girls and women was released that can prevent four strains of HPV: two of the strains account for 90% of cases of genital warts and two account for 70% of cervical cancer cases. The vaccine, currently marketed under the name Gardasil is recommended by the FDA for girls and women aged 9-26. However, women over 26 who have never been exposed to one or more of the strains of HPV can also benefit from the vaccine. Researchers still know much less about HPV infection in boys and men, including its long term effects, risk of cancer, early detection, and potential treatments, although several drug companies are (including Merck, makers of Gardasil) are conducting clinical trials on the vaccination of boys and men.

Sep 052012

Are you able to have anal sex if you have hemorrhoids?

The first rule of thumb when it comes to sex is don’t do something that doesn’t feel good—physically or emotionally. Hemorrhoids do not feel good. Probing them with a cock, dildo, fist, finger, or any other penetrative object can intensify this pain (and not in a fun way). Anal play with hemorrhoids also increases your chance of anal tearing, which, in turn, increases your risk of transmitting diseases.

For these reasons, it is best to hold off on anal play until the swelling goes down. If you’re unsure whether your ass is ready to cum out and play, talk to your doctor. Do not be embarrassed. Physicians have seen and heard it all, especially in the anal realm.

If your hemorrhoids are mild, the swelling has decreased, or you cannot wait to stick things in your ass, remember that anal play with hemorrhoids (or without hemorrhoids, for that matter) requires a lot of open communication. And lube. Lots of lube. Lube is necessary for all anal play. But it is ESPECIALLY important when you’re dealing with hemorrhoids. There is no such thing as too much lube. So lather, rub, dip, and slather on the magical, slippery stuff. Your ass will be happy you did.


Abby Spector is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where she majored in Feminist/Gender/Sexuality Studies. She is currently interning for Tristan, a job that allows her to write about sex, research feminist porn, and play with dogs (among other, equally awesome things). When she isn’t working, Abby enjoys comfortable nudity and salty foods. Her dream? A world where she could sit around naked and eat overly-salted french fries. Her blog is Sexy Awkward Times.

Sep 252011

I started doing anal play about 10 years ago. At first, it was somewhat uncomfortable, but I persisted, and my persistence paid off. I am now able to take a 10″ long dildo with a wide circumference. I thoroughly enjoy it, but I wonder: how deep can you go? Once, I tried a longer toy. After about five minutes of working it all the way in, I took it out, and there was some blood on the dildo. I went to the bathroom, but there was no more blood. It shook me up big time, so I didn’t insert anything for a week for fear of hurting myself. After my hiatus, I didn’t feel any pain and went back to playing, and it felt good. But that blood thing scares me — did I reach my limit?

–When Should I Say “When”?

If you’ve ever seen a porn video of someone taking a huge cock, a giant dildo, or even a fist (and beyond the fist!) up her or his ass, then you know that the butt is capable of a lot. The rectum has the ability to expand a great deal, but remember that it is still quite delicate. Even with plenty of lube and warm up, you can still have a minute cut in the lining of the anal canal or rectum. The longer and thicker the thing penetrating you is, the higher your chances of having one of these small tears. It’s only natural that when we see blood, it’s scary.

You did the right thing: you gave your ass a vacation from penetration. As long as there is only a small amount of blood, and it goes away within about a day, then your ass is on the road to healing itself. However, use common sense. If your ass is bleeding, you feel pain or serious discomfort, then you should see a doctor.

Aug 302005

My boyfriend has recently began fucking my ass (and I’ve even used a strap on with him), but we both have a concern. We tried it with K-Y Jelly and he had some mild bleeding afterwards. I bought a lube that my friend suggested called Anal Lube, made by Doc Johnson. Then I read an article that said that some lubes with “anal” in their name have some sort of numbing agent which is bad for you. Is the lube I bought safe?

–Mistress A.

Both KY and Doc Johnson’s Anal Lube are safe water-based lubes. There are other lubes out there — with names like Anal Ease, Anal-Eze, Tushy Tamer, or sometimes, simply Anal Lube, like the one you purchased — which I do not recommend. These lubes contain Benzocaine (or a similar ingredient), a topical anesthetic that numbs your anus and rectum. To find out if a lube contains this chemical, simply look at the ingredients.

Because these lubes numb your ass, you literally cannot feel it and you are in danger of hurting yourself. Anal sex should never, ever be painful. If it hurts, stop. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that whatever you’re doing isn’t working. Using desensitizing lubes can lead people to go farther than they normally would or take something bigger in their ass than they should. The result is a sore ass, possible tearing and damage to the delicate lining of the anal canal and rectum, and pain after the fact that isn’t exactly going to want to make you rush right out and try anal sex again. Plus, in the off chance that the anal penetration is pleasurable, you won’t be able to feel that either.

As for your partner’s mild bleeding, that wasn’t from the lube. As long as it was only a little spotting with no other major symptoms, it’s fine. Some people bleed a little, while others don’t, and as long as you’re going slow and being safe, there is nothing to worry about.

Aug 072005

I have been in an ongoing debate with my girlfriend for a little over a year now concerning what I consider to be an urban legend about the dangers of anal play. My girlfriend and I enjoy anal play and take part in it on a regular basis. However, she is absolutely convinced that anal play over a long period of time (years) will damage the anal sphincter and result in anal leakage, or the inability of one to retain their feces in their rectum. Apparently her gynecologist told her that homosexual men often end up having to wear tampons in their anus to prevent embarrassing accidents because their anal sphincter has become so stretched out from anal play.

I was a paramedic for eight years and am getting ready to go into medical school. I have spent a good deal of time studying the human body, and I have tried to explain to her that this story just does not make sense from a physiological or anatomical standpoint. Rather, I believe that this is an urban legend which was propagated through the usual channels and which can likely be traced back to two separate verifiable issues:

  1. There are men who wear tampons in their anus, however it is done as part of a fetish such as feminization or cross dressing and is in itself part of the sex play and not necessitated by an inability to retain their feces; and
  2. There have been cases, I suspect, where persons damaged their anal sphincter by inserting objects which were too large and/or without proper lubrication and in doing so physically injured the tissue, causing tears and other damage, possibly to the point of affecting retention.

In these cases I think it would be highly unlikely that the injured party would attempt to rectify the situation using a tampon, but would more likely seek medical attention and undergo surgical repair of the injury. Unfortunately, my girlfriend doesn’t buy my theory, and while she has never refused or even hesitated to participated in any kind of sexual play, she does occasionally make a statement to the effect that I will wish that I had listened to her by the time I’m forty. What do you think?

–Urban Legend Myth Buster

Your girlfriend and her gynecologist are wrong, and you are right. Lots of anal play over time increases circulation to the area, exercises and tones the sphincter muscles, and helps you stay more connected to your ass in general. It does not cause you to lose control of your bowels. Certainly there have been cases where people developed certain anal ailments after years of anal play (more commonly, people develop anal fissures). But in my experience, the problems were caused by unsafe anal sex practices, like not using lube, combining drugs with anal play, or shoving huge things in the ass without warm up.

As to the tampon issue, you’re correct on both counts. There are men who play with tampons as part of a fetish, but no one who is incontinent should ever use a tampon anally. If you’ve truly lost control of your bowels, there are several medical options, but tampon use isn’t one of them.

Jul 262005

I have always enjoyed the feeling of anal penetration while making love to my husband. He enjoys finger fucking me or using a butt plug or other toy. It all feels great and we both enjoy it very much. Here’s the problem: about four days after anal sex and continuing for another week or so, I experience something akin to irritable bowel syndrome. It gets progressively worse, until about the eighth day after sex, and it slowly goes away. The feeling is very discomforting, yet we don’t want to give up anal sex. Any thoughts as to why this happens, and what I can do to eliminate it?

–Angry Butt Wants Relief

Anal sex alone does not cause irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS), or symptoms associated with it. Those symptoms can include chronic diarrhea and/or constipation, cramping, bloating, frequent bathroom trips, and abdominal discomfort. When you use plenty of lubrication — which you always should — sometimes you can have loose or runny stools for up to 24 hours after sex; also, if you engage in heavy anal play (for example, using big toys or fisting), you can have some cramping afterward. However, neither of these things should go on for as long as you describe.

It’s also odd that the symptoms don’t appear right away, but several days later which could mean they are not related to the anal sex at all. I suspect that you have an existing gastrointestinal problem and that your anal play is aggravating that condition and causing it to flare up. I recommend you see a gastroenterologist promptly to get to the bottom of your problem. When you do, make sure to be honest about your anal play with your doctor, as it’s important to give health care providers “the whole picture” so they can treat you more effectively.

Jun 102005

My partner and I have been experimenting with anal play for years. We are both very comfortable with it and enjoy it enormously. With my first pregnancy, we had anal sex more than vaginal sex because he felt more at ease. I didn’t mind as I feel extraordinarily close to him during anal lovemaking. I had no hemorrhoids at all during or after my first baby. In the six years since her birth I still had no experience with hemorrhoids and we increased our anal sexual enjoyment tenfold.

With my second pregnancy, we again have had a lot of anal sex. I am now seven months pregnant, and I am experiencing hemorrhoids. I am aware of what they are, how you get them, and the steps to avoid them, but they are still there. Can regular anal sex cause hemorrhoids? I am trying a number of remedies to get rid of them and one is gone, but it seems there is a skin tag or a small pucker of loose skin where it was. Can I expect this to go away or will I always have a remnant? Are there usually remnants of hemorrhoids once they go away or will my ass go back to its normal tight and smooth self? My ass is a BIG part of our sex life and I am worried about how this may affect us. Should I consider surgery to get it back to the way it used to be?

–Preggers and Panicked

Hemorrhoids are blood vessels in and around the anal opening and lower rectum that have filled with blood and gotten very swollen; they can cause itching, irritation, bleeding and pain, especially during bowel movements. Getting hemorrhoids is extremely common for pregnant women for a few reasons: constipation can be common during pregnancy, and straining during bowel movements causes hemorrhoids; an increase in certain hormones causes the walls of your veins to relax which means they can get swollen more easily; the uterus puts pressure on pelvic veins causing them to swell. The fact that you didn’t get them the first time around was very lucky. The cause of your hemorrhoids is your pregnancy, not the anal sex. Although, while you’re having a flare up, anal sex can aggravate the condition by irritating your already inflamed anus.

A skin tag that appears after a hemorrhoid (also known as a hemorrhoid tab) is the result of a swollen external hemorrhoid, usually one that’s serious and not properly treated. Skin tags do not go away on their own. Most skin tags are benign, and they can be removed by a physician. My concern is that you are treating your hemorrhoids yourself, and improper treatment may have caused the first skin tag, and you don’t want to get any more. I suggest you consult a doctor about your hemorrhoids and the skin tag to see what your options are. In the meantime, make your health and pregnancy your priority for now, and try not to stress too much about your sex life. After your baby is born and you can treat your hemorrhoids with the help of a doctor, then you get back into the swing of things. With patience and good medical treatment, your anal sex life should not be affected.

Dec 152004

I started doing anal play about ten years ago. It was somewhat uncomfortable, but I persisted. Well, my persistence paid off. I am now able to take a dildo about 10 inches long and about 7.5 inches in circumference. I thoroughly enjoy it, but I have a question about how deep you can go. I tried inserting it to about 12 inches, and I got it worked in, but after about five minutes, I removed it, and there was blood. It shook me up big time. It stopped immediately, but I didn’t insert anything for week for fear of starting something I couldn’t stop. I felt no pain and it felt good. Is the blood a big deal?

–Size Queen

Since the rectum is quite delicate and covered by mucous membrane, even the gentlest of penetration with the smallest of toys can cause a small tear and a little bit of blood. It’s usually not cause for concern as long as the amount of blood is small and there’s no serious pain or discomfort. However, in your case, you’re using very long, thick toys for penetration that give you more of a chance of causing an abrasion or tear; you must realize that a twelve-inch dildo or one that is nearly eight inches thick is huge and not common. When you penetrate your ass with something longer than about ten inches, you move beyond the rectum into the sigmoid colon, which is made up of fragile tissues. Technically, anything bigger than 10 inches could perforate this, especially if it’s inflexible. Plus, an extremely thick dildo can stress the rectal lining. My advice is that at the first sign of blood, you should stop immediately and give your ass a few days to recover. If these big dildos continue to make you bleed, then I suggest you select smaller ones.