Based on my conversations, and I do talk about sex a lot, the biggest point of awkwardness when it comes to anal sex is that most, usually heterosexual, people do not entirely understand anal sex. Many guys just want to do it, not knowing exactly why, and many women can’t quite imagine it being pleasurable. Even those who do it don’t always know why it feels good.
I’ve also discovered that finding clear-cut scientific, anatomical, explanations of why anal sex is pleasurable – which is why people do it, after all – can be difficult; especially if you’re reluctant to look in the first place, and don’t want “weird” Google searches to show up in your history. So, I want to explain it to you. For now, I’m going to leave out a lot of the social, historical, cultural and religious factors that have often attached themselves to anal sex. They’re important, yes, but we must first understand what’s going on in the body before we start discussing how people feel about it.
I should point out that for the purposes of this post any references to “male” and “female” refer merely to anatomy, not gender identification.
The Anus: we all have one, and I am here to tell you that it is an underrated pleasure center. Have you ever wondered, perhaps guiltily, why it feels good to “void your bowels”? It’s simple: there are a ton of nerves in and around the anus. What we think of as the anus, the visible part, is sensitive because of those nerves. However, a great deal more sensitivity comes from the primary muscle of the region – the sphincter. This is one of the many muscles stimulated during anal sex. It is also a primary source of pain if anal sex is done with insufficient lubrication or preparation – both mental and physical. Just as many women experience pain when first starting vaginal sex, both men and women can experience pain when starting anal sex. So do yourself, and your partner, a favor: make sure you’re on the same page, and go slow!
The Prostate: quite possibly man’s new best friend. Though everyone varies in terms of what they find most pleasurable during sex, arguably the primary source of pleasure for men being penetrated during anal sex, or otherwise, is stimulation of the prostrate. The prostate is the gland responsible for part of the fluid contained in semen, and also has muscle which helps expel semen during ejaculation. It has been found to be very sensitive when stimulated through the front wall of the rectum. For this reason, the prostate has been called “The Male G-Spot.”
The Clitoris: guys (and some girls), there’s more to it than you think! The clitoris is not merely the little visible concentration of nerves at the entrance to the vagina. The clitoris divides into two branches, starting from the knob at the entrance all the way back towards the anus. During anal penetration, the indirect stimulation of the clitoral branches is the primary source of pleasure. It has also been claimed that the much-debated G-Spot is stimulated more directly through anal sex. Given that most of the pleasure of vaginal sex comes from stimulation of the clitoris, it is not too far of a stretch to see the potential for pleasure in anal sex. Another fun fact: there are more nerves in the anus than the vaginal wall.
All of the necessary components for anal sex to be pleasurable exist, at least from an anatomical perspective. But anal sex is just like every other sexual act: it’s all about the psychology. If you’re not feeling comfortable with it, it won’t be pleasurable. And, as with every other sexual act, everyone should practice safe sex, get full consent, and be careful and considerate of one’s partner. If you are interested in trying anal sex and don’t know how to go about it, there are multiple resources in the body of the articles linked to below.
For a brief historical perspective, it is important to note that men anally penetrating men, men anally penetrating women, women anally penetrating other women, and women anally penetrating men, are practices which have been around for a while. While their respective popularity has fluctuated over time, all have been practiced at some point without anyone batting much of an eyelash. As such, shaming of any kind is unacceptable.