Carnal Knowledge: Time to check out new avenues

Over the last few weeks, the most common questions I have received are always regarding anal sex. It’s unfortunate that there is not more literature on the subject as anal is at least one of the more “talked about” sexual acts. Even the shop where I worked could only find one decent book on the subject.

Anal–for those who do it and do it correctly–can be a wonderful addition to a healthy sex life. The anal cavity has a very high concentration of nerve endings, much higher than the first two inches of the vaginal opening, and has been recruiting devotees for centuries.

The membranes lining the anal cavity are about as thin as the eyelid, and can tear easily. Therefore it’s very important to use a thicker lubricant like Forplay Cream or Doc Johnson’s Anal Lube. Many stores carry lube created with this kind of play in mind and have samples for you to try. I cannot stress the importance of not using any oil- or silicon-based lube enough. You must stick to a water based variety or suffer from loose bowel movements for far longer than you’dever like to.

As I said in response to a question in an earlier column, penetration on the first go is not always a good idea. Try using one or two fingers before inserting anything bigger or start with gradual sizes of anal toys. It is important that any object you use in the anal cavity have a good wide base. Keep in mind that most regular vibrators do not have such a base. Abiding by this rule will guarantee you never have to visit the doctor for an embarrassing extraction.

On the website, relationship expert Ann Andriani recommends using your fingers to massage, rub and tickle the area.

“The key is to start slow, be patient and try to relax,” says Andriani. “Remember, this is supposed to be an enjoyable activity. Communication is absolutely essential with your partner. Let him or her know what feels good and when he or she can go further.”

If you do want to try anal play with your fingers first make sure you trim your fingernails and any rough edges that may scrape or cut the delicate membrane. If you are worried about this occurring, slip a condom over your fingers.

There are many anal kits for beginners that have become quite popular. I have mentioned the Juli Ashton kit before, as it was a top seller where I worked and received the best reviews from customers. The kit contains three different sized plugs, a vibrator and anal-safe lube.

Often stores will also carry a desensitizing lube. This is a definite no-no for beginners; you must be able to feel everything so that you can communicate with your partner to stop if something does not feel right. It is often with the use of desensitizers that tears, fissures or other complications occur.

The need for proper protection when enjoying this area of the body cannot be overlooked. Sexually transmitted infections will enter the bloodstream much quicker through the anal cavity so always use a condom to prevent transmission. Also, if you plan on alternating between vaginal and anal penetration make sure you either switch condoms or clean thoroughly as the bacterial transfer can cause infection. This also goes for toys that you plan to use on both areas. Either cover the toy with a condom for anal play or use disinfectant wipes. Never use the “flesh like” toys for anal play without first covering them with a condom. Their porous material will absorb bacteria and will likely cause a plethora of undesired infections.

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