Interest in heterosexual anal sex or anal play has increased significantly in the past few decades.
A national study of sexual behavior in the US conducted in the 90s found that only about 20 to 25% of women and men had engaged in anal sex. But in 2009, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, as many as 40% to 45% of women and men in some age groups reported having engaged in it.
There’s nothing wrong with anal sex or anal play, and many people find it highly enjoyable. It’s true that anal sex isn’t exactly “natural.”
But humans are extremely fond of a wide range of “unnatural” behaviors. Our bodies aren’t designed for alcohol or caffeine, either, but both can be enjoyed by most people in a safe, moderate way.
Same with anal sex. The key to engaging in any risky behavior, in my mind, is to do so freely, without coercion, and with reasonable precautions to avoid pain and disease.
The human anus, unlike the vagina, was not designed for penetration. That doesn’t mean penetration can’t be pleasurable, it just means you can’t approach it the same way as vaginal sex. You need to move slowly, letting the recipient of the anal sex dictate the pace and rhythm. You also need to use lubrication because, unlike the vagina, the anus does not produce its own lubrication.
Follow the adage: “Too much lubrication is about right.” Another good adage is: “If it hurts, stop.” Anal play should feel good. If it doesn’t, something’s not working.
The other issue to be careful about is infection, either by a sexually transmitted disease or bacteria. The anus and rectum are swarming with bacteria that can cause problems, ranging from the unpleasant to the deadly if they are transmitted. Men should always use a condom for anal sex because they run a very high risk of getting a urinary tract infection (at least) if they don’t.
And both men and women should be careful about anything that has been in or near the anus. Anal sex should be the last act of the play, so to speak. Any fingers, toys, or body parts that have been engaged in anal play should be washed thoroughly before resuming intimacy.