Common Anal Sex Problems
First published December 10, 2019
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Feature image by 🍑Nati’s SweetPeach🍑


Most of the problems people have, or experience, with anal sex involve pain. No matter how gentle or patient a partner is, the overwhelming majority of recipients experience pain, at least in the early stages of their journey. This is compounded and prolonged because the recipient doesn’t or can’t identify the source of the pain. There are many sources and simply saying “Ouch!” or “Anal Sex hurts” gives no guidance to the penetrating partner. For those who are persistent, eventually the pain goes away. But a bit of knowledge goes a long way and pain can be avoided altogether. The following list are links to the sections dealing with each subject.

Anal Sex – Background and Perspective

It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman, it is worth considering the average woman’s experience with being penetrated vaginally. Considering the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior conducted in 2010 revealed almost 1 in 3 American women (aged 18 to 59) reported some pain the last time that they had sex, it is no surprised nor should anyone be alarmed by problems people encounter with anal sex.

As with vaginal intercourse, anal sex should not be painful and there is a lot of false information that over inflate the risks of having anal sex. If you want anal play or anal sex to be easy and worry free, then it is good to know the structure of your back passage and how to control it. At this point it is worth reading about the comparison between anal and vaginal sex experiences.

In short, people have been shoving cocks and other things up their asses for millennia without knowing anything much about the anatomy of their back passage. Anal Sex has historically been a standard method of contraception, preserving a woman’s “Virginity” as well as just for the pleasure of it. Yet, in the modern, western world, mainstream media and sexual education resources constantly promote stories warn of many perils and risks associated with the practice. This article will explain in some detail where things commonly go wrong for people trying anal sex and dispel most of the negative press.

Two sphincters and two brains

Misconceptions about the anus

It is very common for people to refer to the human anus as “the sphincter” which is not accurate, is misleading and leads to assumptions that cause many problems for people attempting to have anal sex. The term anus is rather ambiguous. It can mean just the visible exterior opening or the entirety of the complex structure(s) that controls the release of digestive waste (Poo). Just inside the visible opening is the channel between the rectum and the outside world. This is the anal canal.

The anal canal varies considerably in length from person to person. In some people the anal canal is less than 2cm (maybe 1/2 an inch) long but can be as long as 5 cm (2 inches) in others. There are multiple muscles structures that surround anal canal. There are two groups of sphincters. These two separate collections of muscles are called the internal (inner) anal sphincter and the external (outer) anal sphincter.

Most people who know about the two anal sphincters think they are stacked one on top of the other. It is widely (and falsely) believed that the External Anal Sphincter (EAS) is at the bottom of the anal canal (just under the surface of the anus) and the Internal Anal Sphincter (IAS) at the top where the anal canal transitions into the rectum. To make the point again, this is not true.

The visible anus

EAS visible as ring around the anus

Both sphincters surround the full length of the anal canal with the outer sphincter encasing the inner sphincter. The sometimes visible “ring” of the anus is only the lower end of the outer sphincter which rolls over the end of the inner sphincter. It is just the end of one of the sphincters that creates the familiar puckered ring which can be quite prominent on some (see figure “Lower Ring of EAS” – Image provided by @69SweetPeach).

The EAS is actually separated into three muscle structures that are also connected to other muscle and tissue structures. All this considered, it is very hard to find consistency in the illustrations and descriptions of the anal sphincters. This is most likely due to individual differences which result in the Lower Ring not present or not obvious on many people (see figure “EAS not visible” – Image provided by @69SweetPeach).

EAS not visible

Details of the two anal sphincters

The three sections of the EAS clearly illustrated (see parts A, B and C – click on image to enlarge).

It is universally accepted that the three parts of the EAS work together and are control by the voluntary nervous system, but the IAS action is entirely involuntary, and it is in a state of continuous, maximal contraction and is responsible for 85% of the closing force on the anus.

The first problem people have with anal penetration is getting the IAS to relax/open. As will be discussed later, this is something of a catch-22 because (without any anal training) relaxation of the IAS is caused by pressure on and the stretching of the rectal walls.

Of course it is essential to be mentally and physically relaxed to make anal penetration easy but, just as people think it is all systems go, their ass it relaxed, they feel the EAS relaxing (which they can see at the very entrance to the anal canal) attempting anal perpetration forces the IAS open, straining the muscles and Ouch!

Problems with the inner sphincter

Preparing for Anal Sex

Being mentally and physically relaxed is important to the process of opening the inner sphincter. A fear of shitting in the middle of proceeding is a show stopper for both sphincters for most people. Even if you consciously over-ride your fear and start pushing out to open the outer sphincter, the inner sphincter is not going to let go while there is any fear or anxiety. Enemas are standard practice to elevate the fear of actually shitting. It makes sure your passage is clear and you are mentally comfortable.

When trying to avoid pain from anal penetration, you don’t ram something through the outer sphincter so remember to be considerate of the inner sphincter. You need to take time to massaging the inner sphincter with the tip of what ever is going in, finger(s), penis, toy, whatever. You should take time to read the article Ready for Anal Sex.

The Automatic response

Control of the inner sphincters is a semi-Autonomic response (see: Autonomic nervous system). The internal sphincter responds automatically to pressure from stuff accumulating in the rectum. When pressure is put on the inner sphincter from the inside it starts to “let go”. That is when you experience the sudden urge to poo. But you can consciously control you outer sphincter to stop yourself shitting. You don’t just shit as soon as you get the urge, just because the inner sphincter recons it is time to do so.

This is why pausing just as you get past the outer sphincter is standard advice. As long as the receiver is calm and relaxed, the inner sphincter will respond to the massage and pressure. It can be a great help for the receiver to take control in the initial stages. Position is everything to give the receiver control. Even if the Giver initiates proceedings, it can help greatly to get the tip of the penis (or toy) in and then stop and wait and let the Receiver control the next step of the penetration, when they are ready. That is to say when they feel the internal sphincter relax. Many don’t even realize that it is the internal sphincter relaxing that makes them feel read for more penetration.

So you take the initial penetration in stages. Pushing out to pass the outer sphincter and even while you are still pushing your ass out, wait for the relaxation of the inner sphincter before pushing through. The Receiver should try pushing and then resting repeatedly to let the cock slide in.

Problems with the overwhelming urge to poo

The urge to poo results from stretching and pressure on the walls of the lower rectum. This causes the inner sphincter to relax. This sensation results from ass being fully penetrated. An overwhelming urge to run to the toilet just as you are getting started is a very common problem for beginners. As soon as something passes through the inner sphincter the autonomic nervous systems tells the brain it is time to poo. The receiver often feels an uncontrollable urge to shit which sends them running to the bathroom.

Most need to be confident that the urge is not from shit that will end up all over their partner or the bedding, so again if the Receiver has had an enema to clean out their back passage then you know there is no need run off.

Problems caused by the angles

At the top of the anus is the first significant turn to be navigated. It is the same for males as it is for females.

Normal position of the Anus and Rectum

Sitting, standing, lying flat on your stomach or your back, kneeling, etc., most of the time the anal canal (the tube that connects your rectum to the outside world) is roughly in-line with your belly button. The diagrams illustrating the placement of bladder, reproductive organs and the rectum differ significantly and don’t really show how the organs rest on top of the pelvic floor. While the anal canal and the rectum are part of a continuous Tube, the turn into the rectum, towards the spine (the Anorectal flexure), is so sharp it looks more like the anal canal connects to the underside of the rectum.

The rectum is inflated in these illustrations. Normally it is not. When the rectum is empty, as most want it to be for anal sex, the internal organs of the lower abdomen site on top of the rectum and squash it flat on top of the anal canal. The first time you put your finger in an anus (yours or your partners) this might lead you to believe the top of the anus is sealed shut. You need to hook your finger towards the back of the tail bone. Then you will feel the expanse of the rectal cavity.

The anorectal flexure

This is the join between the anal canal and the rectum. It is intentionally choked shut by yet another muscle called the Puborectalis muscle. You have to coax your way past this. In some people this turn can be a very sharp bend, in others a little less as shown by the different depictions of the human abdomen here (it has nothing to do with male vs. female). The sharp turn (also called the Anorectal Angle) is maintained by a very important muscle called the Puborectalis muscle. It hooks around the top of the anus. Because it is not seen as part of the muscle structure of the anus or rectum it is commonly overlooked.

Getting through the Anorectal flexure

So opening your ass is not just about opening your anus. Your Puborectalis muscles must also relax. People who are regular anal sex recipients will tell you that getting excited by the thought or anticipation of anal sex triggers the feeling that it is time to go to the toilet. What most don’t realize is that the feeling is the Puborectalis muscle relaxing in anticipation. This happens as a result of “Classical Conditioning” of the anus. The puborctalis muscles needs some level of warm-up for it to relax. You will need to provide a good warm-up if you are not yet into anal sex or excited by the prospect of being buggered.

Remember also that part of the “Fight or Flight” response of the body is to tighten all these muscles. This is the single biggest issue for people have trouble with latent anxiety about having their ass penetrated. Being in the mood is so important. This is why there is such polarization between some people who just don’t have a problem with anal sex and others. The good news is that the body makes its own adjustments as the mind and body get use to the idea of something being pushed in there. That is why wearing a but plug is so good for training. It is more about training the brain and nervous system than stretching the muscles.

Positioning for Anal Sex

Position is very helpful for reducing pain during the initial penetrated of the anus. Especially if you are not well practiced in controlling those important muscles which have a will of their own. The combination of pushing your ass out by lifting your knees to your chest and straining as if you are going to poo relaxes the anal sphincters and straightens the Anorectal flexure.

This is why it can be better if the Bottom starts off on top. Specifically, the bottom starts in a squatting position and trying to poo. Other very effective starting positions include the Yoga Child’s pose which can easily transition to doggy. Many find Spooning, lying on their side, to be a mentally and physically relaxing position. The receivers knees need to be up near their chest (like child’s pose but lying on your side). This exposes the anus and also lends itself to the pooing action for easy entry. Finally there is Happy Baby. It hands a lot more control of the penetration to the top, but it also allows clear access. The Top can adopt a very stable kneeling or standing position, minimizing the amount of fumbling they might otherwise do. All of these positions allow the receive to take control of the rate of penetration as well.

Slide show of anal sex positions

Different pains

Stinging Pain

This is the easies pain to prevent. If you anus is stinging then there is not enough lube or you are using the wrong lube. What Makes a Good Anal Lube is an article dedicated to the subject.

Muscle Pain

Forcing either of the anal sphincters open before they are ready will cause this. It is exactly the same type of main that you experience when you “pull” any muscle. Once you strain an anal sphincter it is too late to back off and start again. The strained muscle becomes bruised, is very sensitive to touch and very painful if stretched. This is a show stopper. You can expect it to take a day or so for the muscle to recover.

Referred Pain

Beyond the anal canal there are no pain receptors to tell you thing are going wrong inside. After you get past the sphincters and the Puborectalis, you may experience pain that is hard to pin down or describe. This is Referred Pain map. It shows where you may sense pain when internal organs are stressed.

Where you might feel pain when an internal organ is distressed.

Failing to navigate the Anorectal Angle pushes straight into the wall of the rectum above the anus. It may not solely be the rectum complaining. In the case of a male it could be the prostate and seminal ducts which are directly above the anus. For a woman it could be the cervix or uterus.

Body positioning and the angle of the penetrating object will dramatically ease the task of navigating the Anorectal Angle. If you lean back the kink becomes sharper. Crouching forward, literally try to put you head between your knees, will straighten this section out (See Getting through the Anorectal flexure above). Most of the time, internal distress from anal sex triggers a head ache, migraine, pain in the neck or back.

But we are not all the way in there yet. Next you have to worry about the intestinal folds. Use gentle gyrations as you insert further. Ensuring you don’t push the tip into, or behind, one of the rectal folds.

IF the Bottom experiences a sharp (internal) pain accompanying a “POP” sensation, you have forced through one of the rectals folds or the normal internal twists and turns. This usually result in the onset of nausea if you keep pushing things. To stop a savage POP and pain, the Bottom must do the pooing thing while the Top works on navigating the channel.

The basic navigation steps

The Top enters the anus aiming for the belly button. This is the natural line of the sphincters (the anal canal). Then you tilt the shaft gently toward the back to push the tip into the rectal cavity. You then follow the spine while not over stressing/stretching the Bottom/anus. It is important at this point that the bottom tries pooping things out. Stimulation of the rectal walls will trigger this automatic poo response. The Bottom just needs to go with the sensation. The rectum and anus will be pulled in line. As you go deeper, start tilting things towards you front again. Follow the curve of the lower spine and giving the Transvers folds time to get out of the way.

Summary of Common Anal Sex Problems

As the body (ass) gets used to things going in as opposed to coming out, the body becomes more accommodating. Issues with maneuvering will become a thing of the past. The mind will learn to control all the muscles to automatically facilitate anal penetration. The first step is to simply try and do a poo when you are working something in. Just start by getting the tip in and then pushing it back out with your ass. As you try pushing out with your ass, start pushing the dildo (or whatever) in gently. Pushing it out again and while still pushing out with your ass, push it back in with your hand.

You should also check out another reference I have written called Good anal lube. You will need lube, lots of lube. More lube than you can possibly imagine. injecting lube before you start is the place to start.

A lot of this material and the ideas for this article come from an online group I moderate. If you want to see these references and more, FetLife is free to join and your can follow this link to Anal 101 where the stickies have alphabetic listings to this and more.

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