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5 Reasons why anal sex might be painful for you

2 min read
Cycle Care

Approved by

Astrid Kremers - Sexologist
More and more women are giving anal sex a try. Yet, many women still find it a pretty painful experience rather than a pleasurable one. We talk about some reasons why you might experience pain and also give you some practical tips to prevent it.

Yep, anal sex is popular, you read that right. More and more people are using the back door. As many as a third of women mention that they have anal sex. However, the vast majority of these women also note that it’s not only pleasure they’re feeling during a round of cheeky butt sex. 

Just like dyspareunia (pain during vaginal sex), anodyspareunia (pain during anal sex) can have multiple causes. But honestly, the first thing you need to realise is that anal sex is never something you “need” to do. Don’t take porn videos as an example and only do it if it feels right to you and you want to do it. Now that we got that out of the way: here are the 5 most common causes of pain during anal sex.

1. Too dry

Unlike the vagina, the anus doesn’t self-lubricate when you’re aroused. So, you could have foreplay all day but in the end you’d still have to lend nature a hand. They say without friction no shine, but this certainly isn’t the case for anal sex. Dryness can cause discomfort and small tears around the opening of the anus. So don’t be stingy and lube it up!

2. Pelvic floor muscles that are too tight

Try touching your toes without stretching or warming up. Can you feel the muscles in your legs pulling and burning? Yeah, your muscles down there work in the same way. Without practice or regular use, the pelvic floor muscles can become tight and short. And when a tight pelvic floor is suddenly strecthed during anal sex you’ll feel that in a very unpleasant way. Bum-mer. 

3. How the penis and anus fit together - ‘the genital fit’

Big, bigger, biggest isn’t always the way to go. Sometimes the penis is just too big or the anus and penis just aren’t a good match. The anorectum (the rectum + the anus) is on average 22-25 centimeters long and it’s twisted. Despite the rectum being able to stretch, a mismatch between genitals can still cause pain. It’s best to go slow and communicate with each other. 

4. Underlying medical causes

All pelvic organs are close to the anus. If the neighbors have loud music playing, the mirror on the wall also moves. So, when you're getting some ass, the surrounding organs also get to feel some pressure. If there’s an infection or underlying disease in these organs, such as endometriosis, infections, or bladder pain syndrome, you can experience an uncomfortable feeling during anal sex. If you think this is the reason for your pain, you should make an appointment with your GP.

5. Hemorrhoids, fissures or a fistula

You can also feel pain because of hemorrhoids, fissures or a fistula (a passage in the skin which contains pus). When someone has hemorrhoids it’s difficult to enjoy anal sex, it would just be very painful. We don’t recommend it. By the way, it’s not necessarily the case that you’ll get hemorrhoids from anal sex. This can just as well be due to exerting too much pressure when going for a number 2. 

Practical tips to prevent pain

Here are some tips to make anal sex go smooth(er):

  • Use a buttload of lube and preferably use lube specifically for anal sex;

  • Make sure you’re using the right condoms because you’re still at risk of STIs or HIV;

  • Really take your time and just go slow and gentle, there’s no time limit on good butt sex; 

  • Relax. Easier said than done, but if your sphincter isn’t relaxed it’s not gonna be a fun ride. Tip? If you practice with a buttplug or an anal dilatation set, you can slowly get used to penetration from behind. You can also practice on your own so that you’re familiar with the feeling before getting it on with your partner; 

  • You still can’t forget about foreplay! Start with one finger or use your tongue;

  • Be careful with hygiene. A combination of vaginal and anal sex can cause problems;

  • If it feels like it's going too deep you can always ask your partner to back it up. Would you like to have some more control? You can use a bumper, such as the Ohnut.

Sex shouldn’t hurt and that also counts for anal sex. Take your time and be kind to yourself and your partner. Don’t let yourself be pressured into doing something you don’t want to do. You often see anal sex in porn videos but that’s a misleading view. Keep communicating with your partner, only do it if you want to and stop when it hurts. Look at what can be done differently to make it a pleasant experience for both parties and don't put any pressure on it. And if you do use a toy, get a toy with a base because no one wants to make a trip to the emergency room for a missing item…

Do you still experience pain or discomfort after all this? Then it might be wise to visit your GP or go to a pelvic floor therapist. Nothing to be ashamed of!

Do you have more questions about anal sex? Would you like to know whether or not you should use an anal douche or what the best position is? Do you want to read stories of other women and their experiences with anal sex? You can read the story of Sophie and Femke here. 




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