From Go Ask Alice – sex-related FAQs answered by a team of Columbia University Health Professionals:

Some tips on reducing the likelihood of tearing your anal & rectal lining:

  • 1.) Talk with your partner about the need for the inserter to go very slowly and gently, and the absolute requirement that your word is law: if you say stop, s/he stops.
  • 2.) Use lots of water- or silicone-based lube.
  • 3.) Avoid lubricant with spermicide (nonoxynol-9, or N-9) – this can compromise your rectal lining.
  • 4.) If fingers are going to be inserted in your anus, fingernails need to be well trimmed, smooth, and clean.
  • 5.) Some people like to start with a clipped nail finger in the anus, moved very slowly inside. When there’s pain, stop and wait a moment and breathe. This will allow the internal anal sphincter to relax. Once the discomfort stops, continue. If a finger is comfortable, you can proceed with other sex toys or a penis.
  • 6.) If you use a dildo, make sure it’s soft and flexible, not stiff. This will help protect you against colonic perforation.
  • 7.) If you’re still having pain with anal penetration, you may want to see your health care provider about using rectal dilators. These are a set of instruments that get progressively larger. You begin by inserting the smallest-diameter dilator in your anus. When this is completely comfortable, you can move on to the next size, and on through the largest size. Your provider can also help you plan a safe and reasonable schedule of progressing through the different sizes.
  • 8.) Consider receiving anal sex face down; this can decrease anal pressure.

For advice on reducing pain & helping hemorrhoids or anal fissures heal, click here.


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