Welcome to ass class! A workshop on taboo, desire & communication, and debunking anal myths.
First of all, happy Masturbation May to all of you! This is an excellent time of the year to reclaim ownership over our sexualities, get reconnected to our bodies and pleasure, and to like our real honest desires.
An important thing that we're going to discuss in this workshop is around vocalizing, finding and tapping into your desire as it relates to anal play.
My name is Victor Tobar, and I’m a sex educator. I’ve been teaching sex-positive workshops for around 14 years, and my background is in sex toy retail. I love selling sex toys to folks of all walks of life who’re interested in exploring and Masturbation May is such a wonderful time to explore your desires and pleasure.
I hope that we get to debunk some myths around anal and things that might make folks feel a little bit hesitant to explore anal play either with a partner or on their own.
The main question that I want you to think about as we go on with this workshop is — What’s the one big thing that’s keeping you from exploring anal play?
Without further ado, let's talk about anal taboos, communication, and desires. There are often times when we’re talking about anal play, and we consider the ass to be the universal orifice- the reason for that everybody has a butt and the ability to feel pleasure from it right, regardless of your gender/sexual orientation.
Anal play is an option for most people, especially if it’s something that you desire. However, there are a lot of reservations that folks have, and I want to encourage you not to feel discouraged. If you have reservations about anal play, it's totally normal questioning the possibilities of sex and sexuality.
Some common misconceptions or things that are holding people back around anal play that I frequently hear from customers at the sex shop and from folks on online forums etc. are concerns around pain and hygiene. Some folks have concerns about what it implies about their sexual orientation and I kind of want to start there and give you some tips and also kind of try to debunk some of these misconceptions.
Anal Should Not Hurt
So to get started, the first thing I’d like to say is that if you’re playing safely and following the right tips for anal — it shouldn’t hurt.
There is the anal sex mantra that you might hear educators saying all the time of communication, relaxation, and lubrication. And I’d like to encourage you to remember those 3 things! I’d also like to throw in exploration because exploration is a significant part of figuring out and learning what your body likes or what your body might like today as opposed to something that your body may have desired last month or last year, or when you were 15 years younger.
Let's revisit desire and the potential for pleasure in your body because that’s really important and I encourage you to continue to explore alone and with your partners.
Do Not Use Numbing Agents
With concerns around pain specifically, I would encourage you to stay away from anything that’s a numbing agent for two reasons:
1) Numbing agents such as lidocaine or benzocaine are sort of what they use at the dentists. They are topical, meaning that they numb your nerve endings and your pain receptors so even though you might not be feeling the pain that’s associated with the particular act if your body is not ready for it, you’re also numbing the ability for your body to feel the pleasure that comes from this particular sensations.
2) The other thing is that pain is your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change, so whether you need to slow down a little bit, do some deeper breathing or use more lube, you want to be attentive to that discomfort
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, some quick tips are first trying to relax the anus muscles.
The internal sphincter is an involuntary muscle, so similar to your heart, you can’t really control the way that it responds, how it pulses or how it opens and closes, so what you wanna do is create the conditions that are right for that muscle to be more receptive to insertion and also to be more likely to relax to allow penetration to happen.
Deep breathing is a perfect technique for relaxing your muscles. For the majority of people who are feeling a lot of pleasure and close to the point of orgasm, the immediate response is to tighten the muscles because it's a trained response and something that we are accustomed to. So remember to breathe, relax your muscles and get into a more open mind frame so that you’re not tightening the muscles.
It does sometimes feel counter-intuitive if you've been accustomed to clenching when you’re about to cum, or when you’re feeling a lot of pleasure. But I would advise you to breathe through it and experience the next level of sensations so that you’re prolonging your play and making your body more receptive to the different types of feelings.
If you’re doing different kinds of penetration and you’re the person who’s on the receiving end, get into positions in which you can dictate the depth and intensity of penetration.
Sex positions, where you’re laying on your back and receiving anal, might not be the most effective at allowing you to have more control over the range of motion.
LEARN: An illustrated guide to the best anal sex positions
I often think of doggy style as a perfect anal sex position. Doggy is a great position because the person who’s doing the giving has a full view of your beautiful ass but also because as a receiver you have a lot more room to kind of like move around and angle your body to the position that feels most comfortable for the penetration.
Also, positions, where the receiver is on top, like the cowboy/cowgirl positions, are great positions because you can slowly lower yourself onto the object that you are receiving.
Lubrication is key to comfortable anal sex because our butts do not self lubricate.
Using lube is something that I have to remind people all the time because sometimes you might feel like there's some moisture in your butt while you have anal play, but that’s usually the mucosa. It’s the rectal lining, which is not lubrication. So once the mucosa leaves your body, it takes a long time to regenerate. It’s not like other kinds of self-lubrication that continue to produce at different levels for a lot of people during play, like vaginal play specifically.
Using lube also reduces friction and makes penetration a lot smoother and more comfortable. It also makes you less susceptible to tears or micro-abrasions that can lead to infection and pain.
READ: How to choose the best anal lube
For anal play, I like to recommend, especially if you’re using toys, a nice thick water-based lube. Thinner water-based lubes are tremendous, and you can use them anywhere, but thicker water-based lubes help to create thicker coating so that the lube stays in place a little bit better.
So deep breathing, positions in which you can back up into what you are receiving and a lot of lube are great places to get started if you have concerns around pain. Remember to go slowly because rushing through to achieve penetration doesn’t allow your body as much space to acclimate and be as receptive of anal penetration as you might want it to be.
Communicate your needs every step of the way and be very vocal about things that need to be adjusted as well as being vocal about things that feel good. It’s handy for your partner to receive positive feedback as well as feedback for where there is room for improvement.
The next thing that I was going to talk about is hygiene. A lot of folks have concerns around anal sex being messy, but the truth is that anal sex doesn’t have to be messy.
If you think about sex, in general, it’s not 100% tidy right; there’s no way that sex is going to be completely clean and neat. There’s going to be fluids, and there’s going to be bodily secretions that are involved with sex, especially with penetration.
MASTER: Preparing for anal sex like a pro
However, if you have concerns around cleanliness or tidiness during sex, a lot of folks like to start their anal play with douching. I recommend getting a reusable enema bulb which you can pick up at your local sex shop, and you can also get it in the b-Vibe anal training kit — it comes with a douce and 3 different types of plugs to help you get started with anal.
How to Use A Douche
When you’re douching, make sure that you are not using any detergent or saline in your douche. What you want to use is lukewarm, room temperature water. Just plain water, because anything that has salt in it is going to cause dehydration.
If you buy an enema or a douche from the drug store, they usually have a solution in them. Dump that out so that you’re not inserting anything that’s abrasive into the body and causing the tissue inside the body to become frailer, making you more susceptible to an infection or ripping or tearing.
You want to keep the body happy, lush, and elastic. So if you are going to douche, make sure you’re just using water. After you douche and you have done your business, make sure that you wait, I would recommend anywhere around half an hour, sometimes longer, depending on your body and your body’s needs before you insert anything. The reason for that is that when you expel, your rectal lining is going to take a while to regenerate. That rectal lining is there to create a cushion and protect your body from infection and keep the healthy bacteria where it needs to be.
Remember to stay well hydrated. If you’re hydrated and you have regular bowel movements, then you shouldn’t be encountering poop in your anal play.
If you want to practice safe sex during anal exploration, I would highly recommend using gloves- you can use latex gloves or nitrile gloves depending on your preference or your body’s needs.
Gloves will make the surface of your hands smoother and reduce and little cuts that you might have from small hangnails or like if your fingernails might be a little bit jagged.
Using gloves also helps with quick and easy clean up. You can take them off when you’re done, chuck them, and put on a new pair if you’re going to explore another orifice or part of the body or another body, and then use your hands to your heart’s content or your ass’ content.
If you’re going to participate in some rimming a.k.a. Oral anal sex, rimming or whatever you want to call it, dental dams are great.
Dental dams are rectangular sheets of latex that you put on the anus externally and lick. If you want, you can put a little bit of lube on the receivers end so that it transmits heat and sensation a little bit better and creates a barrier that offers cleanliness as well as a layer of protection from any kind of transmission.
You should also use condoms for anal penetration. Whether you’re using toys or you’re putting a condom on your body, condoms are ideal for safer sex or cleanliness or both.
Remember that if you’re going between orifices, always change your barrier so that you’re not moving bacteria from the back to the front or from one hole to another.
If you’re going to go from the back door to the front door or the back door to the mouth, the best way to avoid infection like moving bacteria from one part of the body into another is to use a barrier and then change that barrier as you are moving from one activity to another.
So to reiterate- Gloves, dams, and condoms are an excellent way to go to avoid infection. If you are not using a barrier, then make sure that you wash your hands or the body part that’s moving between places when you’re doing that.
It depends on the activity that you’re doing. The anus is made up of muscles that are elastic and have a 'muscle memory,' which means that they’re going to go back to their original shape.
However, if you’ve watched extreme anal porn, like gaping for example, where like the anus is stretched out and kept open for a little while, it might not be as immediate. That's because your body has gone through this whole long process of warming up and stretching out, but it will go back pretty quickly afterward.
But something this brings up is a question that I often hear is: Is my butt going to become loose?
This is a huge myth that relates both to anal play and to play in the front door as well. I mentioned earlier that tissues that are internally in our bodies are muscles and like soft tissues, they are elastic and will always return to their original position if you’re playing safely. There is still the risk of having some tearing, and that usually happens if you’re not using lubrication or if you’re trying to force objects past a closed sphincter.
So another myth that folks sometimes are nervous about is like things are going to get stuck in their butt.
If you have a toy that has a nice flared base, you can insert the plug, and then your sphincters will close around the neck, and the base will keep it and prevent it from getting pulled up into the body.
I want to finish off on some communication tips because a lot of people want to know about how to bring up and negotiate anal play with their partners.
The key to good sex is communication and consent, and you want to negotiate the kind of sex that everyone involved wants to have. It should be free from corrosion and be rooted in your desire, so your partner this: Why do you want to have anal sex?
Because it feels good? Is it because it’s something that you haven’t tried before or something that you’ve tried before and you love. There are so many reasons to want to have anal sex, and that should be what’s at the center of your negotiation.
Think about your ability to give consent and ask for permission. The flip side of asking for consent is that you have to be gracious about hearing no. I encourage people to say yes and no to sex all the time. Being receptive of no can be something that we have to get practiced at, but saying no is a perfectly valid response and a good way to figure out precisely what it is you are asking for.
Come up with more activities and create a yes-no-maybe list. If you don’t know what a yes-no-maybe list is, it’s a negotiation tool that a lot of sex educators use. It's where you list activities that relate to anal play specifically- the exercise is beneficial as well as fun. For example, you can list things like I want a prostate massage, I want to use fingers, I want to try strapping it on, or I want to try some spanking or butt worship.
There is also some great butt-themed erotica out there, so I would encourage you to look up sexy stories about what people do with each other's butts. You’d be amazed by the amount of ass worship that’s out there, and I’m an ass person, so I highly recommend reading some erotica that revolves around butts.
Ass worship is literally what it sounds like, just like if you see a beautiful ass right, like treating the ass like it’s the queen or the goddess or the prince of the castle or whatever and just giving it your all, like it can involve things like massage, it can involve things like just singing its praises and just focusing sharing love to that one particular body part.
Last but not least, always keep your conversation about your fantasies open and going right- there’s a lot of different ways that our sexuality and desire changes from day to day, year over year, especially if you’re in a long term relationship.
Enjoy Masturbation May, really dive into your exploration and rekindle the fire with yourself, yeah you own your sexuality, have fun exploring it!
Not into anal play? We're hosting Masturbation May workshops for vulva-play too.