How to Have Anal Sex

Discover all there is to know about how to have anal sex with top tips and guidance from Lovehoney's experts.

Thinking about trying anal sex for the first time? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about having anal sex, from cleaning to trying out anal toys to picking the perfect lube.

We’ll talk you through anal experimentation and anal penetration, helping you to progressively experiment both alone, with a partner or with anal sex toys to achieve a satisfying anal sex life.

Interested in trying anal for the first time?

Exploring the world of anal sex for the first time might feel scary, but it needn’t be.

Have some reservations? Remember: anal sex is for everyone, irrespective of sexuality or gender identity. Research from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes conducted in Britain finds that the proportion of 16-24-year-olds engaging in anal sex has risen from 12.5% to 28.5% in recent decades. In the US, 30% to 45% of men and women have tried it.

Importantly, you aren’t wrong or weird for wanting it - humans have been practicing it for millennia, and for good reason. It feels fantastic.

In fact, archaeologists have unearthed somewhere in the region of 10,000 sex pots, many of which depicted anal sex in the early ages. It’s in our nature, so let’s tackle some of that stigma.

How to prepare for anal

Preparing for anal sex is an absolute must. It isn’t typically something you can try super spontaneously: you’ll need to plan ahead, discussing things like boundaries and whether you’d like to experiment with sex toys and suchlike. Laying the groundwork is an important foundation: then, you can start to build over the top of it.

Preparation isn’t something that needs to be a mood-killer. It can be pleasurable. Use this as an opportunity to fantasize about what anal sex can bring to the bedroom both for you and your partner.

Anal Sex Essentials Starter Pack



Remember: Conversations around anal sex and consent are super important. Are both you and your partner up for it? Do you have any reservations or concerns? Make sure you have these discussions to ensure you’re both on the same page.

It’s equally important to remember that pornographic depictions of anal sex should not be used as a model or a how-to manual. Pornography plays on fantasy rather than reality. You’ll rarely see porn stars applying lube beforehand or cleaning up afterwards, so don’t consider this an example.

Anal training


Worried about trying anal for the first time? It might be helpful to consider anal training. This involves gradually stretching the anus using a set of anal dilators in various sizes. Start small and work your way up to a larger size.

If this feels scary, a finger or two can also work. Just make sure to apply those golden rules: clean whatever instrument you’re using both before and after, and apply lube throughout.

Throw in some opulence


Want to treat yourself to an opulent experience? Invest in a sex throw.

Waterproof sex blankets protect your bedding from all those sexy fluids, giving you a plush, exciting pillow on which to play. Go on - you deserve it.

Preparation doesn’t diminish in its importance as time goes on, either. If you and your partner have had anal sex before, you still need to prepare. If you’ve discussed your boundaries or even finessed your favourite lube, then that has longevity, but you’ll need to prepare in the moment, too.

Bathing & douching

LHYL TVC stills 3 bath 940x450

Cleanliness is absolutely integral when preparing for anal sex. Keeping the area squeaky clean is not only hygienic, but it’ll help to ward off any nasty bacteria that could develop an infection.

Treat this part as an opportunity to indulge in a little bit of self-care. Run yourself a relaxing bath, treat yourself to a few bubbles and ensure you thoroughly clean the area.

Bathing isn’t the only way to keep clean: an anal douche is designed specifically to clean this area, preparing you for anal sex with ease. You can buy one in a fun colour, too.

Cleaning needn’t be a chore, either. Taking a soak with your partner can be super sensual and sliding your hands around their body can help set the mood.

Lube up


Just because you might feel comfortable with a partner, that doesn’t mean that cleanliness and lubrication - the two most important elements of anal sex prep - are no longer important. Always clean ahead and always, always lube up.

Sure, it’s not always sexy to plan your anal sex schedule down to a tee, so there’s room for an element of spontaneity with an established partner. If you suddenly feel in the mood and things begin to progress, dip away to the bathroom quickly and give yourself a wash. As long as you have lube on hand too, you’re good.

Whilst we’re on research: it might be useful to familiarize yourself with your anatomy. If you’re worried about anal for the very reason that it’s the same area that generates poop - don’t worry, that’s totally normal.

Remember that waste typically sits higher in the rectum, so you should be safe from any unexpected appearances. If you’ve had a bowel movement that day, you’re good to go. Stimulating the anus through penetration does involve many of the same muscles and nerve endings, but don’t worry if this triggers the feeling of needing to go. You’re safe.

Stretching of the sphincter and rectum is totally normal, because they’re both elastic. If you do experience any stretching, it won’t be permanent.

First-time anal tips

First time? We’ve got you.

If you’re feeling nervous, why not try a little bit of solo anal play before you get down and dirty with your partner? Treat yourself to a vibrating butt plug like the Lovehoney Butt Tingler or spice things up with the Lovehoney Beaded Sensual Glass Dildo. With seven inches of pure joy, you’ll be an expert in anal play in no time.

To ease in, you can begin by using fingers or a beginner’s butt plug - like the BASICS Slimline Butt Plug - to get you fully acquainted with stimulating this area. Using a small toy beforehand helps to warm up, familiarising your anus with penetration and relaxing the muscles.

Whether using a butt plug, a finger or starting off with the tip, make sure to use plenty of lube to maximise pleasure. Next, gently work whatever is being used to stimulate in until it is submerged.

Once you feel at ease, you can continue along these lines: inserting up to three fingers or moving from a smaller to a larger butt plug. Remember: use lube on each finger you insert.


Make sure to check in with your partner - as well as yourself - to ensure that you’re both feeling comfortable and pleasured. If and when you’re ready, you can try moving to larger insertables such as a dildo or a penis.

The most important thing in these early stages is to take your time. Keep any thrusting slow and gentle whilst you’re acclimatising, and as you grow in confidence you can explore different rhythms - going harder or faster - as you discover what feels good both for you and your partner.

Remember: once you’re firmly in the anal game, you need to commit to that area. Don’t move back and forth from the anus to the mouth, vagina, hands or anywhere else without cleaning first. You don’t want to run the risk of spreading bacteria.

Relaxing your whole body is key too. Try massaging your lower back or caressing your soft spots before making your way to the anus. If your body is in it, your mind will be too.

Lube is always important, but it’s absolutely essential when having anal sex. Unlike the vagina or penis, the anus doesn’t sufficiently provide natural lubrication during sex. Adding lube not only has a relaxing effect, but it increases pleasure. It’s a win-win situation.

Using lube also helps to prevent any painful tearing that can increase your chance of contracting STIs like HIV and HPV, so it’s important from a health perspective too. Skin protects the body from pathogens entering, so experiencing any tears or bleeds increases this risk. If you’re not sure about your partner’s STI status, or you actively know that either one if you is positive, use a condom.

Looking for the perfect lube? The best ones to try for this activity are the thick, specially formulated lubricants designed specifically for anal. Lovehoney Discover Water-Based Anal Lubricant is a good place to start. Because it’s water-based, it’s compatible for use with condoms and sex toys.

Sensitive skin? Sliquid Sassy Glycerin-Free Anal Lubricant has fewer ingredients than most lubricants do to protect you from any unnecessary irritation. A rash is never sexy.

Top tip: Remember to check in with your partner re the lube situation. If you feel it’s time for a top-up, communicate that, particularly if you’re the one taking either a toy or a penis inside your anus. You’ll need to apply generous amounts to both your anus and whatever you’re using to penetrate it with.

Top 6 anal sex positions

Whether you're an anal play newbie or a bona fide butt-fiddling aficionado, we have a line-up of the very best anal sex positions to make your pleasure-hungry backdoor nerve-endings sing loudly from the rooftops.

So grab your anal lube, take your pick from our top 6 line-up, and get your anal play adventures underway.

POTW- Crossed Lovers
Crossed Lovers
Cuddle Up
Love Tug
POTW-Step it up
Step It Up
POTW- The Sandwich
The Sandwich



Just as you would clean before anal, you should clean after too. Each time you’ve finished having anal sex, ensure that you thoroughly clean your anus as well as whatever you’ve used for penetration.

Clean any toys thoroughly with soap and water or a specialist sex toy cleaner. Once dry, store them separately.

Lovehoney Fresh Biodegradable Sex Toy & Body Wipes can kill two birds with one stone and help you to freshen up, but if you’re wanting to enjoy some quality time with your partner, a steamy shower will also do the trick.

Make sure you get right between the cheeks and scrub away so that you’re squeaky clean.

Go to the toilet straight after you’ve finished too. Peeing after vaginal intercourse is a must in preventing UTIs, but it’s also important to go to the bathroom after anal.

Anal sex can displace organisms that usually live near the anus towards the vagina and urethra, which can increase the chance of vaginal infections and UTIs amongst people with vaginas.

Et voilà: there we have it. You’re well on your way to becoming an expert in anal sex.

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