Explore the next big thing

Sex on Monday

Twenty years ago, the rising rates of oral sex were marveled at by the researchers. Now, if you hit 29 and haven’t participated in some kind of oral sex, you would be as common as someone without a cell phone.

Since oral, something previously thought of as dirty and subversive, has become mainstream, we are looking for the next big thing. Enter anal, the new oral sex.

A whopping 45 percent of women aged 25-29 have had anal sex, and 21 percent had it in the last year. 20 percent of women aged 18-19 have tried anal, and 39.9 percent of women 20-24.

Even the number of men participating in anal has gone up, with 10.8 percent of men aged 20-24 receiving anal, 5.2 percent in the last year. Men engaging in heterosexual anal play wasn’t even mentioned, despite anecdotal evidence saying that it is on the rise.

Welcome to college, the time of anal exploration.

But before you head out and jump on that bandwagon, put a little time into research.

Unlike vaginal sex, anal takes a little more prep and a lot more caution. With proper care, anal is fun and safe. Without it, bad things happen.

The number one thing to consider with anal is lube. Unlike the vagina, which is self-lubricating, any time you engage in anal play you need to slick up to prevent damage.

When shopping, look for something thick and goopy. The thinner lubes are great for helping a toy slip into a vagina, but they dissipate too quickly for use during anal play.

You need something that is going to continue to provide good lubrication and not dry out too quickly. The thicker lubes help keep things gliding smoothly.

Most importantly, never get one with a numbing agent. Lubes that have the word anal in their names may seem like the perfect choice, but more likely than not they are designed to numb.

Anything that reduces sensation takes away from the point of sex in the first place: enjoyment. Stick with regular lube. It’s sexier and it’s safer.

How much lube you need depends on what kind of anal play you are participating in. A single finger doesn’t need much, and neither do smaller toys. If you are going for full-on anal intercourse, a good coating of lube and then a little more should be the standard.

Too much is better than not enough.

If you are using toys, make sure that they have a flared base to keep them from slipping into the rectum. Otherwise, you may end up with a very embarrassing ER trip.

Also remember that if a toy, or anything else, has been up a butt, it should never be inserted into the vagina.

Porn is not real life, and that is especially true in regard to anal sex. I literally cringe at the thought of some of what they do in anal porn just because of how ridiculously unsanitary it is. Double dipping, ass to mouth, unprotected rimming and all kinds of other things show up in porn that can lead to infections if you try it at home.

Bacteria live in the rectum that can wreak havoc if introduced into the mouth or vagina. The same bacteria also cause UTIs.

Going bareback when trying anal can make a guy intimately acquainted with why a girl should always pee after sex. UTIs are not fun, and a condom can easily prevent them.

Once you have all the safety measures in line, including condoms for all toys and penises being used, and possibly gloves if you are using fingers, it is time to actually start.

Go slow and warm up first. Make sure that everyone is very turned on before you start playing with penetration. Relaxation is the key to anal.

The paradox is that if you think anal will hurt, it probably will because everything tenses up. Relaxation allows the muscles to stretch and accommodate.

Make sure that you keep breathing, and concentrate on keeping everything relaxed and open. You can even push out a little during penetration to facilitate it.

If anything hurts, stop immediately.

This is why numbing lube can be so bad. It may mask the results of tensing up, but it doesn’t stop any damage that could be caused by forcing open tight muscles.

If something hurts, back off and work your way back up, keeping everything relaxed and sexy. Nothing good comes of forcing the issue.

Exploration should be fun. Even if almost half of women have tried anal, only half of women who’ve tried are doing it with any frequency. Anal may not be for everyone, but lack of care and preparation should never be the deciding factor.

A little care and a lot of communication, and maybe anal will turn out to be as popular as oral sex is now. And maybe, in another 20 years, hetero anal sex will be passe, and there will be a column about how men are discovering the pleasures of the prostate.