You’ve done your research. You’ve bought (or are willing to buy) lube. You’ve practiced on your own ass. Maybe you’ve even bought a toy or three now it is time to start talking about anal sex with your partner(s) and see if they’re into butt stuff.
Wondering how to gracefully bring up the subject of anal with your partner? You’ve come to the right place. Read on for the best time to bring it up, some examples of how to ask, and where to go from there.
First Thing’s First: Consent is Sexy
As with any new sex act, springing anal play on your partner without consent is a no-no. Even if they’ve shared previous experiences with anal play, make sure you’re both on the same page before introducing it to your sex life.
For most people, this means talking about anal when you’re not having sex. The heat of the moment can make it difficult to respond coherently to new requests. You also risk ruining that moment if it turns out your partner has had bad experiences with anal or has a strong negative reaction to the idea.
Instead, choose a time and place where you can have a private, honest conversation. The mood should be relaxed and open, free of pressure. Once there, here are some thing to keep in mind:
Asking your partner to receive anal pleasure
If you’re asking your partner to be the recipient of anal play, it’s important to remember that their comfort and relaxation is critical to a pleasurable experience. That means the worst way to ask about introducing anal play to your sex life is to pressure them.
You want to create a safe space for your partner to think honestly and respond genuinely. They may have had negative experiences with anal play in the past to consider. They may need some time to gather their thoughts, meaning they won’t have an immediate answer for you.
To ensure comfort and relaxation, you need an enthusiastic “yes!” to anal play. Hesitation that comes in the form of “I’m not really into this, but I’ll do it because you want to,” won’t result in an enjoyable experience.
One helpful thing you can do if you haven’t yet is to engage in anal play during solo sex by yourself first. By learning how you recieve anal pleasure on your own, you also learn the importance of going slowly, using lube, and being 100% into what’s going on. You can then talk with your partner about what you’ve learned from these experiences and express an interest in sharing this new knowledge with them.
Asking your partner to give you anal pleasure
If you’ll be receiving the anal stimulation, definitely try it on your own if you haven’t already. This will provide a good guide for what you enjoy and where your limits are. This is information you’ll want to share with your partner.
Even if you’ll be the recipient of anal stimulation, your partner’s consent and comfort are still required. Your partner may have hygiene concerns, for example. If so, have them read this post about hygiene options when preparing for anal play. But remember: even the cleanest anal sex comes with feces, and it’s okay if that’s a dealbreaker.
Another issue that can arise is stigma about anal sex. If you or your partner hesitate to engage in anal play because of social messaging, that can create a barrier to a perfectly fun and sexy time.
If you feel shame for wanting to receive anal pleasure, look into resources on becoming more sex positive. If your partner has hesitations based in shame or fear, you can share these same resources and talk about them together. Just keep in mind that these hesitations are still a completely valid reason for someone to say “no” to anal sex.
Examples of How to Bring Up Anal Sex
Talking about anal sex is a lot easier if you already talk with your partner about other kinds of sex. When’s the last time you talked about a new position you’d like to try? Has your partner ever asked to try something new?
If bringing up anal feels like a monumental task, try something a little more low-stakes. Ask your partner what their favorite sexual experiences with you have been so far, and share yours. Get in the habit of talking about sex more generally, and you’ll warm up to talking about anal sex with time.
When that happens, here are some ways to break the ice:
- “I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff about anal sex online and I’m getting curious about it. Would that interest you at all?”
- “You may not know this, but I enjoy adding a little anal play to my masturbation. I was wondering what you thought about that or whether you do, too.”
- “I’ve had pleasurable anal sex before. Do you have any experience with it?”
- “I’m really turned on by the thought of anal play. Would you be down to experiment with me?”
Overcoming Shame Around Anal Play
Many people get turned on because anal sex is taboo. If this is the case for you, keep in mind that your partner may not share the same mindset. If you’re more into it for the physical pleasure than the transgressive associations, ask yourself what kind of reaction you’ll have if your partner is turned on by the “naughtiness” of anal play.
If you or your partner are interested in anal sex, but feel like you have social hangups to overcome before you can enjoy it, here are some questions you can tackle together:
- Thinking as far back as you can, what were some of the first impressions you were given about anal sex?
- Where did those impressions come from? Who was relaying the information?
- What personal opinions have you formed about anal sex based on what others have said about it?
- What personal experiences with anal sex have you had that shape your opinions about it?
These questions may help untangle some of the stigma you and your partner have around anal play. They may also bring up even more questions about the topic. Take time to research answers to your questions. The more you and your partner understand anal sex, the less intimidating it will seem.
Again, if someone doesn’t want to engage in anal play because of stigma, that’s a perfectly valid reason and it should be respected. We all have work to do when it comes to being more sex positive. We all also need to respect our partners’ boundaries.
If Your Partner Says No to Anal Sex
If your partner says no to anal sex, that’s okay! Make sure they know that it’s okay, and that you’ll honor that boundary.
You can ask about their reasoning, but don’t argue about it. A “no” is the sexiest thing your parter can give to you. Saying “no” means they trust you enough to respect their boundaries. It means they trust your relationship will survive this boundary and that they likely see other ways to have a fulfilling sex life with you. The point of talking about anal sex with your partner is so that you know exactly how they feel about it.
There are infinite ways to get off. While taking anal play off the list can feel disappointing, remember that there are plenty of other options. You can also continue to enjoy anal play on your own and/or use pornography and erotica to enhance your fantasy sex life.
Whatever happens, have fun!
Shannon (they/she) is a sex coach and content writer residing in New Orleans.