How to Have Anal Sex for the First Time

Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on June 08, 2024
7 min read

Anal sex is any kind of sex in which you or your partner inserts something into your anus. It could be a penis, finger, or toy.

There's nothing wrong with having anal sex as long as it's between consenting adults. But only you and your partner will know if it's something you want to try. As with any sexual desire you may have, it's important to talk with your sexual partner or partners openly and honestly before trying something new. You want to be sure that everyone is comfortable and willing before having anal or any other type of sex. Remember that it's also OK for someone to change their mind about what they do or don't want at any time.

Even when it's something you've decided with a partner that you want to do, first-time anal sex may seem like a daunting prospect. With patience and care, anyone involved can have a good time — no matter their gender, sexual orientation, or genitals. However, you may have doubts or questions about how to do anal for the first time. So here’s what you need to know.

What is rimming?

Rimming is a word used for oral-anal sex. Some people may do this before other anal sex acts. Rimming does come with some risks of passing infectious bacteria including E. coli, so it's a good idea to shower before and after and take other precautions to avoid a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or other infection.

If you want to have anal sex, it's important to talk to your partner about what specifically you want to do. Consent and a clear agreement are important for any kind of touching, kissing, oral sex, or penetration.

The key to having a good time when trying anal sex is, without a doubt, preparing correctly for it. Knowing what’s going to happen and being ready for anything will go a long way in helping you relax both mentally and physically. This will make for a smoother overall experience.

Preparing for your first anal experience involves searching for information online, talking with your partner, and buying a few things. While experienced people may skip some of these steps, here are the essential measures for preparing for anal sex:

Talking to your partner.Trusting your partner is, by far, the most important thing for a successful anal experience. Try to make a special effort to listen to any doubts or concerns both before and during the experience, and talk to them about your own questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with all aspects of anal sex before actually trying to do it.

Making sure you’re safe. Just like any sexual activity, practicing anal sex safely is essential for preventing conditions like HIV. Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a fantastic way to partially ensure your safety. However, you should also use condoms — even if you’re only using toys.

Buying the necessary things. While condoms may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about sex, lube is just as important. Your anus doesn't make its own lubrication, so make sure you buy a lot of water-based lubricants.

Doing anal for the first time will be different for everyone. Discovering your body and anal pleasure can be a wonderful experience, and you should do what feels the most comfortable. However, if you don’t know where to start, here is a basic guide of how anal sex might go:

  1. Start by doing some foreplay with your partner to warm up. If you want, you can also do oral and vaginal sex at this point, but remember to switch condoms when you want to start with anal.
  2. Slowly explore the anal area by caressing and touching it without penetration. If you’re the recipient, try to concentrate on how it feels and pay special attention to the good sensations that arise. If you’re the giver, go gentle and constantly make sure your partner is comfortable.
  3. Put a generous amount of lubricant on both the penis and the anus. Then, start penetrating the anus a little bit and pulling out completely. Repeat this until the penis is entirely inside the anus — but make sure to stop at the first sign of discomfort or pain. It’s crucial that both partners feel relaxed, excited, and comfortable.
  4. Finally, try to find a comfortable pace and experiment from there. Anal sex can stop at any time, so don’t feel pressured to last until ejaculation. Instead, feel free to switch to vaginal or oral sex (as always, change the condom) or stop having sex altogether if either partner feels uncomfortable.

While these instructions are written for two partners, keep in mind that the penis can be replaced by a toy or fingers. This means that these guidelines are also valid for couples where neither person has a penis or for people looking to get into anal masturbation.

You can try different positions for anal sex just like you would for vaginal, oral, or other types of sex. It's OK to experiment as long as you and your sexual partner or partners are all on board. If you find that a position isn't comfortable, change it and try again, or move on to something else.

Whatever position you choose, remember that you should use lubricant for anal sex. Your anal tissue is delicate and can bleed or tear if you aren't careful.

Like all forms of sexual contact, some risks are involved in anal sex. STIs are a big concern when having anal sex — this is even truer for HIV, as anal sex carries a higher risk of this condition. You can avoid most of these risks by keeping in mind some specific precautions. Here are some of the most important safety tips for anal sex:

  • Use a condom at all times, even if you’re using toys. This will almost completely remove the risk of transmitting STIs both ways. Furthermore, remember that it’s extremely important to change the condom if you want to go from anal to vaginal or oral.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a lot of lube — when doing anal, a lack of lubrication could lead to pain and discomfort. Using too little lube can quickly lead to frustration and physical damage to the anus.
  • Try to relax as much as possible. A tense anus is more prone to not letting anything go through. If you force it, you could end up with a tear in the anus, which could later get infected.
  • Go to the bathroom about 30 minutes before starting anal sex. This will avoid most accidents while also reducing the chance of infection.

As with any other type of sex, communication with your partner is essential, especially when you're trying anal for the first time. Check in with your partner often. Consider choosing a safe word that means you should stop, pause, or ease up.

It's normal for anal sex to feel strange or somewhat uncomfortable when you aren't used to it. But you should never feel pain. If there's pain, it may mean you need more lubricant. Or it could mean that you are just feeling tense and anxious. If so, it's OK to stop for now and try it again later.

If you keep having trouble and still want to pursue anal sex with your partner, consider using a small dilator to help you relax your anus.

People will feel different ways after having anal sex for the first time. It's important to talk to your partner about how the experience was and whether it's something they want to do again. It's always OK to change your mind.

Hygiene is also important after anal sex. Take a shower or otherwise clean up well. You should never move straight from anal sex to vaginal or oral sex without washing first. 

If you feel pain, are worried about the possibility of an STI or other infection, or notice anything else unusual after having anal sex for the first time, talk to your doctor.

Anal sex is an option for people of any sexual orientation or gender and is OK to try if you and your partner agree and consent to it. There are some things you should know before first-time anal sex to make sure you don't cause pain, injure delicate anal tissue, or make infection more likely. Talking openly with your partner before during, and after -- as you should when engaging in any kind of sexual activity -- is essential.

  • Does anal sex hurt? 

A common misconception suggests that anal sex is a painful experience if you’re the receiver. But this isn’t the case — correctly doing anal usually involves little to no pain.

  • What does anal sex feel like? 

Unfortunately, there aren’t any clear guidelines regarding what anal sex will feel like for you. Every person will get a different sensation, ranging from pain to extreme pleasure. Furthermore, your experience depends on your genitalia and whether you’re the receiver or the giver.

  • Should I use anal sex toys? 

Despite the taboo surrounding them, sex toys can be the perfect introduction to the world of anal sex. Just make sure to keep them clean by washing them before you use them and by covering them with condoms.