An important part of my job as a sexual educator is informing people about the risks of various sexual activities and giving them the knowledge to make informed decisions. One of the ways to look at sexual behaviors is to place them on a spectrum ranging from no risk to high risk.
Activities that involve NO exchange of body fluids released from the genitals or skin to skin genital contact fit in this category. While saliva can spread the flu, a cold and mono, as long a neither party has oral herpes, you can kiss to your heart’s content. Mutual masturbation is about as safe as things can get and still involve genital contact. Good old humping, bumping, grinding, dirty dancing, anything with clothes is no risk. Showering together, erotic massage are acceptable as long as things don’t slip on over to other higher risk activities.
Here’s where protected sexual activity comes into play. We’re talking oral, anal and vaginal intercourse. Think barriers. It could be a male or female condom. Plastic wrap or latex dental dam type protection for oral sex on vulva or anus. Slightly riskier is oral sex without a barrier.
Any vaginal or anal sex without a barrier puts you at high risk for STIs. Using drugs or alcohol can easily cloud your ability to make good decisions. Any activity that involves the possible exchange of blood is also right up there, including menstrual blood.
Any sexual activity can have some risks, but you can greatly reduce your chances of spreading or contracting an infection by knowing how to wrap it up, cover it up or just think of something else to do! (We’ve got plenty of suggestions for you!)
When the subject of anal sex comes up many people make strange faces or negative comments. Sometimes because of their religious beliefs that teach them anal sex is wrong or unnatural, while others can’t wrap their heads around why anyone would want to go near their bum. We all have three categories for sexual acts that we deem as sometimes, maybe, or never ever would I do …that!
The reason why males and females who are straight, gay, bisexual, or undefined enjoy anal play is because there are a lot of nerve receptors in and around the opening to the anus, and it feels good for many individuals. More specifically, males may enjoy anal stimulation because it can stimulate their prostate gland causing a different type of sensation. According to The Guide to Getting It On, women may enjoy anal stimulation because the wall between the vagina and rectum swells when women are sexually aroused which can intensify orgasms. Anal sex or anal play can be with fingers, a penis, a tongue, or sex toys.
Before deciding whether to participate in anal play, both parties involved must consent and have it be on their terms. Whether someone is engaging in oral, anal, or vaginal sex it is important to always use protection unless both partners have been tested and agree to only sleep with each other. When discussing protection for anal sex there are three options: a male or a female condom with a very liberal amount of water-based or silicone based lubrication and a dental dam for oral play.
Good communication is key when it comes to ensuring that both parties feel pleasure vs. pain. The person receiving the stimulation should feel comfortable telling their partner if they need more lube, to slow down or speed up, and should be very relaxed. Check out Oh Megan to see a YouTube video on how to prevent anal sex from hurting. It is important to remember that anal play is not something you rush into.
If you are interested in trying something new with your partner it is recommended that you do a little research. The Guide to Getting It On recommends you check out: Jack Morin’s Anal Pleasure and Health and Tristan Taormino’s Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Females.