**Full disclosure, I am not that clever and the Pleasure Chest had the most amazing "take me to your perineum" buttons for PRIDE. I give them a tip of the tainty hat for this saying.**
For someone who is completely and utterly anally fixated like me (and remember that I blame my parents), August is one glorious month. It's a month where talking about anal sex, rectums, taints, perineums, and rectal foreign objects is a-ok. Well, that might be a stretch, and I tend to talk about all this stuff on any given month, but I'm delighted that anal health has it's own month.
For those that are anally shy, this just might be the month to break your anal cherry, and it doesn't even need to include anal penetration. When you are relaxed, like in a bath, try gently fingering around your little pucker. You just might like it. If you don't, that's ok too. Anal play isn't for everyone. However, since the taint/perineum and rectum are nerve rich, it has the potential to be a sexual hot spot for anyone. This is exactly the reason why many men find anal play, licking, or penetration highly enjoyable. And get this, you don't have to identify as being any sexual orientation to like it. In case you don't pick up on subtleties well, I'm saying that many men who have sex with women also like to engage in a little anal play now and then.
Yes, it is fun to make jokes about it, but anal safety is no laughing matter. The anal canal is perilously delicate and it does not self lubricate like a vagina or mouth. This is why lube is ESSENTIAL for penetrative anal play. Really, I'm not kidding when I say you need lube (and lots of it) for penetrative anal play.
Some people really enjoy a nice shower or warm water enema prior to engaging in anal play. Since we all know what comes out of the ass, this ritual makes a lot of sense for many people. When engaging in anal play, it is best to go slow and tease, tickle, lick, or finger the taint/perineum and the area just outside of the anus.
When you are ready, make sure to use lube and gently insert one finger inside. Don't do anything else except the slow insertion of the finger since our instinct is to tense up. It takes a bit of time for your mind to say "Hey, there's something in my ass, and it's gonna be ok, so I can relax now". Once your partner is ready, you can insert the finger deeper while applying a little pressure. Make sure to go slowly, especially at the time of insertion and to use lots of lube. Don't forget that good communication is needed between you and your partner and if you are the insert-er, make sure the insert-ee has given you the go ahead to proceed. Most bottoms and good tops know that insertion is the most painful part of anal sex, so take it slow and be prepared for your partner to change their mind. Everyone I have talked to admits that there is a bit of pain during insertion, and I am not a fan of numbing creams since they can confuse and delay messages to your pain receptors. Pain is basically out bodies way of saying something isn't right, and numbing creams can result in rectal tears or irritation that you otherwise would have picked up on.
Many people enjoy digital (finger) penetration prior to penis or strap on insertion. However, the same principals apply; slow insertion with lots of lube, don't move for the first little bit to allow your partner to get used to having something in their ass, then proceed slowly and with lots of communication.
Remember that the anus has 2 different sphincters that work in opposite directions. Your outer sphincter is very sensitive and you generally have good control over it. Your inner sphincter has a mind of it's own and has the ability to tighten up without your control. That is why I say the anus is a hungry orifice, and you always need to use a toy with a base or flange. Besides being hungry, your anus and rectum can also be greedy. Your body may not want to expel what ever object you have put up there. If this happens, and it happens all the time, stay calm. If the object doesn't pass on it's own then you need to get to an emergency room. There is a curve at the end of the rectum where it turns into the sigmoideum, and that is often when a foreign rectal object enters the point of no return zone. This means it is time for a medical intervention.
Warning: graphic photo below!
As a sex educator who loves Fun Factory toys, this is probably one of the saddest photos I have ever seen. I decided to save you the horror of seeing the photo where this toy is being removed from the person's body, but trust me that it is not a pretty or sexy sight to witness. I give this person mad props for using a body safe toy, but it's a shame they didn't remember the saying "the anus is a hungry orifice". It also begs the question that this is a vibrator, and I wonder how long the person had this in their body before the batteries wore out.