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34 Anal Foreplay Tips You Probably Can't Live Without
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You might think “anal play” means sticking stuff up your butt, and while that’s certainly part of it, anal play can encompass many a butt-centric sexual activity, like rimming, or anal massage. You can totally engage in anal foreplay without having to have penetration of any kind (be it a toy, a finger, a dildo, a penis) go up you your partner’s bum. Whether you’re just looking to change things up, or just want to take your time with backdoor foreplay before you do dive into penetrative anal sex, anal foreplay can be a super pleasurable addition to anyone’s sex life. The great thing about anuses is everyone’s got one, so you can give and receive to your heart’s content if you so choose.

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Nowadays, anal sex is no longer the ~taboo~ subject it once was, which is a good thing! Lots of women who've been there and done that say it's a welcome addition to their sexual repertoire. But just like you must walk before you can run, you must have some sort of anal foreplay before you go for the full monty of anal sex. Or, you know, you can do butt play and leave it at that forever, because it's your booty and you make the rules.

You (hopefully) already know the basics: ALWAYS use lube, never put something that was in your butt in your mouth or vagina, and butt plugs are your friend. But there's so much more to know about anal play, and so here, several sexperts break down their best anal foreplay tips for both first-timers and experienced butt travelers. Happy butt stuff!

1. Make sure you’re feeling completely supported and relaxed.

Regardless of if there’s any penetration going on, anything with anal requires lots of trust and relaxation, safety, and comfort, says Tia Evagelou, sex and relationship expert.

2. Establish a safe word or two before you dive in.A series of safe words can include:A word that means ‘Yes, I love it’A word that means ‘Slow down’ or cautionA word that indicates ‘Stay in connection and talk to me,’And a word for a hard stop.

“Sometimes people try to [have sex] through it, instead of speaking up, because they don’t want to ruin the moment for the other partner or they don’t know how to formulate their needs and sometimes even override their body’s resistance, potentially adding more discomfort to the experience,” says Evagelou. Having pre-set safe words will make you and your partner feel supported and safer to explore.

3. Breathe!

“This can’t be emphasized enough,” says Evagelou. “When we are tense, contracting [our muscles], or disconnected from our experience, we are blocking our pathways to pleasure,” she adds. If you relax and breathe, you’ll likely be able to feel more pleasurable sensation.

4. Ask for permission and be respectful of your partner’s body.

“Let them know what you are doing and ask for their permission to do so,” says Evagelou. This might take a bit longer, but it’s well worth it, as it establishes trust, safety, and connection for both to have an enjoyable experience. Plus, active consent is sexy, IDC what anyone says.

5. Have the receiver guide the penetration.

While you might think the receiver takes a more passive role, have them guide the penetration to their satisfaction. This can feel empowering as they get to control the speed, depth, and angle of penetration in allowing their body to feel good, says Evagelou.

6. Pick up a silicone based lube.

Vanessa Geffrard, MPH, a sexpert for Lovers, recommends silicone-based lube, like UberLube as it lasts longer compared to water-based lubes and you’ll need less of it. Just keep in mind that not all silicone lubes are safe with silicone toys (some are and some aren’t, so there’s no flat rule for this unfortch. Your best bet is to google the toy you’re working with and double check as it should be listed in their product info), in which case, water-based lube is safer. And hey, water-based lube is still way better than spit —or at worse, nothing. Eeek!

7. Try it with a dildo first.

If trying anal foreplay with a partner is like your olympics, it makes sense that you might want to try it beforehand in a lower stakes environment. Geffrard recommends the Fun Factory Limba M Dildo as the smooth, bendable nature of the toy allows for easy angle changes for what’s comfiest for you, and there’s a suction cup on the bottom allowing you to “practice” anywhere with a flat surface, like your bedroom or the shower.

8. Try giving anal foreplay a test run when you’re on your period.

Of course, having your period shouldn’t make you miss out on sex, but if you’re squeamish about having vaginal sex on your period, anal might be a good substitute in those times. “Many women report feeling more pleasure practicing anal sex during their periods while wearing a menstrual cup inside their vaginas,” says Mia Sabat, sex therapist at Emjoy. The menstrual cup is thought to stimulate the internal walls of their vagina, which can be an added plus to the sensation of anal sex.

9. Treat anal like a door, literally.

Foreplay is so important because you have to “ring the doorbell” before entering, explains Isharna Walsh, founder/creator of Coral, a sexual wellness app. “Massage and warm up the anus before entering anything inside,” she says. Be a good guest (even if it’s your own bootyhole), and don’t just Kool-Aid Man yourself through the door.

10. Prep a “resting station” for any toys or lube that you might be using.

Some people who use toys learn to have a small handkerchief close by, so they can rest their toy on a “safe” spot when they aren’t using it, explains Angela Watson, of Having little details like this worked out ahead of time can give you more freedom to enjoy the experience and not stress about little things.

11. Try Sacral Massage.

It’s worth it to take 15-20 minutes giving the receiving partner a sacral massage (aka the portion of the lower back just above the butt crack), says Walsh. “The muscles and nerve endings in the sacrum extend to the whole pelvic girdle and can help release tension,” she adds. Plus, massages always feel good and anything relaxing is a bonus, always.

12. Stimulate around the anal opening first.

“Having your back door be a part of sexual play does not mean you need to have anal sex,” says Gigi Engle, sexpert for Womanizer. While internal stimulation can be great too, “you can achieve just as much pleasure without ever putting anything into the anus,” explains Engle. “Massage or lick around the anus,” she adds, as it’s full of nerve endings that can provide pleasure in and of itself.

13. Don’t neglect your clit!

“Having clitoral stimuation is super important during anal play because it helps a vulva-owner to relax and become fully aroused — both critical steps in enjoying butt stuff,” according to Engle. You can try a traditional vibrator, or go for a suction toy like the Womanizer Liberty, which Engle recommends.

Liberty Vibrator



Suction toys simulate oral sex, so while your partner might only be able to give you oral attention to one spot at a time, with a suction toy you can feel like they’re going down on your clit while they rim you.

14. Try a heated lubricant.

Sensation Personal Lubricant

Sliquid Organics


K-Y Warming Jelly Personal Lube

k y


Warming lube can help heighten pleasure and make you even more comfortable in the moment. “The heat that is created actually helps to bring blood flow to the area and help increase stimulation to the pleasure receptors in the rectum/anus,” explains Dr. Niket Sonpal, MD, of Brookdale Hospital Medical Center. The active ingredient in these heated lubricants is propylene glycol, says Dr. Sonpal, which is the same substance used in Fireball Whiskey. Some other brands use capsaicin, aka the active ingredient found in peppers. In either case, heated lubricants should be fine for both anal and vaginal use (not in the same sex session, just like, you don’t need to buy a separate, dedicated warming lube for your butt ONLY, is what we mean). Just be careful when touching your eyes, Dr. Sonpal warns! K-Y makes a warming lubricant that’s readily available that Dr. Sonpal recommends, or Sliquid Organics' warming formula.

15. Relax those booty muscles.

There are a bunch of li'l muscles around your anus that can be pretty tight if you're not relaxed. And as logic follows, if those muscles and your anal sphincter are tight, inserting anything can be painful and difficult rather than pleasurable and easy. Try something like deep breathing or a relaxing massage with your partner to make sure both you and your bum muscles are sufficiently chilled out, pre-anal play.

16. Create a chill anal play area.

Listen... All sex can sometimes be messy, and anal sex and foreplay is no exception. If this is gonna stress you out to the point that you're unable to relax and enjoy yourself, try prepping your space ahead of time. Like, maybe strip the fancy sheets off your bed or cover your comforter with a soft, washable blanket.

17. You might think you're pooping, but you are not.

The butt is full of nerves (hence, the point of anal play and foreplay), but that doesn't necessarily mean it can tell whether something is going in or out. You can put an end to things at any time, but just know that the feeling you have is probably just from the ~new stimulation~, not a sudden urge to go.

18. Get a water-based lube.

Sexologist Jill McDevitt says to secure a quality water-based lube ahead of time. This will make rubbing and massaging even better. Even if your foreplay doesn’t involve penetration for now, lube makes everything better and can increase sensitivity. A great option is Lelo’s water-based lube—it’s slippery enough that it won’t gunk up on you, and it looks chic AF.

Lelo Water-based lube



19. Get some toys in there.

McDevitt also recommends trying a vibrating anal toy with a broad head. “Simply place the head against the anal opening but don't insert, or glide the toy in a circle around the opening. External anal vibrations add completely new sensations. Alternate between the vibe and your finger to really tease.”

20. Pay attention the butt cheeks too!

Just because your ultimate goal is the butthole, doesn’t mean you should totally ghost your partner’s butt cheeks. Sadie Allison, founder of and author of Tickle My Tush–Mild-to-Wild Analplay Adventures for Every Booty, recommends starting off with a sensual booty massage. Using lube, “place your thumbs in the creases where the legs meet the butt cheeks and glide your thumbs along the crease from the inner thigh area to the outer side. Lift and repeat. Then, put your palms together in "prayer position," placing them on their tailbone and gliding up and down their buttcrack."

21. It shouldn't hurt.

This is where lube comes in. It should basically just feel like you might need to poop. You don't! (I hope you don't.) "Relax your muscles, and breathe," advises sexologist Emily Morse. "Use a lot of water-based lubricant."

22. Try it on your own first.

You know how it's basically impossible to tickle yourself? This isn't the same, but trying out anal foreplay on your own is informed by a similar mind-set. You won't be surprised as much by your own, um, touch. It won't be the same as it would be coming from a partner, but it's a good way to feel out if you're into the sensation.

23. This is a case where shower or bathtub sex might actually be good.

Usually, shower sex is bad and very hard to successfully pull off. But because relaxation is so key here, trying anal play in a place where you're more likely to feel calm and loose is helpful. Plus, if you're worried about cleanliness (which isn't a real problem, but it's an understandable concern), moving things to a place where you're already getting clean helps out.

Skin, Leg, Bathtub, Human leg, Beauty, Hand, Plumbing fixture, Bathroom, Bathing, Room,

Carolyn LagattutaStocksy

24. Start small.

The whole point of anal play is to keep it simple before working your way up. "To prepare a bottom for sex play, start with fingers, tongue, or a very small sex toy designed for butt play," says clinical sexologist Nancy Sutton Pierce. "An option is to purchase a butt plug kit that uses several plugs of graduating sizes just for this training."

25. The person doing it should err on the shallow side.

Everything that goes in should be "just the tip." The nerve endings you're trying to stimulate are in the anus—hence, the moniker "rimming"—and not all the way up there, which is generally the painful part and also the part that makes you feel like you need to take a huge dump. Imagine it like a basketball hoop, and the ball should just be rolling around the rim of the basket, not actually making the basket. Does that help? I know nothing about basketball.

26. There shouldn't be any rapid-fire movement immediately.

Vigorous jamming of fingers anywhere should not happen immediately. "So much of sex is fast—especially in porn—but anal play has to be prepped," says Morse.

27. You can vary up positions.

No, not all butt stuff needs to be done doggie-style. It's true it might be a little harder to get some solid eye contact going on when face-to-anus things are happening. But! There are a variety of positions to try, like lying on your back with your hips elevated or sitting on his face in reverse-cowgirl. Move around until you find one that makes you feel most at ease.

28. Communication is key.

The only way to know what works and what doesn't is to be totally honest with you partner about what they're doing. Pierce stresses the importance of always being tuned in to how the other is feeling and being vocal about your preferences.

29. It's not dirty.

As clinical sexologist Kat Van Kirk says, the anus and the lower part of the rectum actually have very little fecal material in them, which means it tends to not be nearly as dirty as you think.

30. That being said, you can totally clean things up.

The key to anal play is comfort, so do whatever you need to help with any lingering anxiety. "Using an anal douche is not harmful if only done once in awhile and might help you relax your concerns about your bowels," advises Pierce. You can use something as simple as warm water for a quick cleanse too.

31. It feels best when there's some additional stimulation going on.

Vaginal, clitoral, nipple-centric—whichever feels best for you. While some women only need butt play à la carte, most women can't come from anal stimulation alone. "The anal part is something that's an accent. It adds to the overall experience," says Ian Kerner, sex expert, researcher, and author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman. (Incidentally, women who have had anal sex report more frequent orgasms than those who haven't.) That being said...

32. Make sure your partner doesn't use the same butt finger in your vagina afterward.

Why do you think The Shocker exists? Necessity is the mother of invention. "Baby wipes should be mandatory on every nightstand," Morse says.

33. If you try it a few times and hate it, don't keep trying it because you think it'll eventually be tolerable.

"Assuming you have a considerate lover who's invested in you feeling good, I think you'd know within the first five times whether you like it or not," Kerner says, explaining that this depends on a variety of factors. "I've encountered women who hated receiving oral sex initially but love it now, and it was because they were self-conscious. It depends on your levels of inhibition, your feelings about your partner, your feelings about your body. If all these things are good to go, and you just don't like the sensation, you'll know pretty fast."

34. You don't need to get a wax.

"Most women don't get Brazilians simply to engage in anal foreplay," Kerner says, based on his research. #Yep.

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Carina Hsieh Sex & Relationships Editor Carina Hsieh lives in NYC with her French Bulldog Bao Bao — follow her on Instagram and Twitter • Candace Bushnell once called her the Samantha Jones of Tinder • She enjoys hanging out in the candle aisle of TJ Maxx and getting lost in Amazon spirals. 

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